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I use a set of external USB speakers at the office which have no power-source other than my laptop USB port. Sometimes they're silent, and at others it sounds like an electric moth is fluttering around inside the main speaker, or perhaps it's best described as rapidly-fluctuating static. This doesn't happen when my machine is doing any heavy crunching, it just comes and goes.

This has happened with other USB speakers on other laptops too in my experience. Any idea on what causes this, and how I can fix it?


I unplugged the speakers from the audio jack on my laptop but left them plugged into the USB port. I've not heard the flutter for several hours now, so I'm certain it's not a power-issue - at least not a power issue with regards to the USB port...

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electric moths. interesting... if my (normal, non-usb, powered 2.1) speakers are turned up loud i can hear a sort of electric water trickle. or maybe my atom box is doing R2D2 impressions, i'm not sure which. – quack quixote Apr 19 '10 at 19:28

It may be interference from a cell phone nearby. My speakers do that if I have my cell phone too close.

Kind of a phht phht phht noise....

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I do have a cellphone. I'll experiment with its placement to see if I find any patterns. – Sampson Apr 19 '10 at 17:11
Three quick buzzes three times in a row? Yeah, I've had that happen from time to time on my radio. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Apr 19 '10 at 17:16
No - this sounds more like static. – Sampson Apr 19 '10 at 19:21
A clicking, staticy interference can come from WiFi. Is your phone connected to a wireless network? – Sidnicious Apr 23 '10 at 16:03

It could be that the sound levels on the card and the sound levels on the speakers need adjusting. I ran into a similar issue, and I found that the sound level on the speakers was set to the max while the sound card itself was turned down to a minimal volume.

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