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In April I bought these speakers - http://www.ebuyer.com/94472-logitech-x210-2-1-speakers-970191-0120 - The speakers connect to the sub-woofer and the sub-woofer is connected to the mains, the audio card and a controller dongle.

When I first bought them they crackled a little but I just put up with it, it had happened with the same computer on my old speakers. Having moved house this week I took a little time to try and figure out what the cause is.

I have noticed that the crackling only occurs when my PC is on. It is less frequent when going through POST but picks up when Windows starts loading. It continues whilst the computer is idle but can become louder and more frequent when I am actually using the computer though I cannot figure out a pattern for this.

The crackling occurs whether the sub-woofer is connected to the computer or not. I guess this rules out drivers or volume.

I have tried moving the speakers away from the computer and the crackling doesn't stop or become quieter.

My housemate has suggested that it could be a component inside my PC interfering with the speakers or even perhaps some other device being amplified by the PC.

Is there a way to work out what is causing the crackling or protect the speakers from interference caused by something else?

[I am currently at work at the moment and won't be able to try suggestions til later tonight. I am already planning on trying to connect the speakers directly to the computer instead of the sub-woofer and try to plug it in further away from the PC.]

------ Edit -----

I've moved a few things around and it seems the interference dies out when the 3.5 connector is moved away from the computer and increases substantially when moved close to the audio card. I can't detect a difference when moving around close to the PC so it could be anything in there that's causing it.

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This question would be better moved to; avp.stackexchange.com –  wonea Aug 5 '11 at 11:47

4 Answers 4

I was experiencing the same problem, then i checked the speakers by playing songs from my phone and found that speakers were working fine.

What i did to solve the problem (on windows 7)

  • right click the speaker icon in the tasks-bar
  • go to "playback devices"
  • right click on "speakers", go to "properties"
  • go to "levels" tab
  • slide "Rear Pink In"(my mic was plugged in) to minimumn level
  • click "OK"

After doing this, my speakers stopped crackling.

As Satish Motwani said, late answer but it may be helpful to someone.

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Late answer, but it may be helpful to someone.

I just fixed a similar problem at home today (while googling and coming upon this page). Only the left speaker was crackling, connected or disconnected to computer audio output. I disconnected every cable including power, cleaned them, cleaned the sockets and jacks, and put them back together. No improvement. I then let the speakers play hard rock on higher volume and went away for about 30 mins. I return, stop the player and the crackling is gone !! (No, I have not gone momentarily deaf :-) I can hear my CPU fan). Try it out, it may work.

I do not know why but maybe some residual charge inside speaker was flushed when I turned up the volume. Like a loudspeaker or speakerphone whining. I am using Altec Lansing MX 5021, BTW. I never faced this earlier, it is probably showing its age now.

There was still a slight humming. I muted the microphone from my sound driver application, and that humming is also gone.

I've moved a few things around and it seems the interference dies out when the 3.5 connector is moved away from the computer and increases substantially when moved close to the audio card.

============

I faced the same problem once with my Sony Walkman. It turned out to be a bad AC adapter. It worked fine when I used it on battery.

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Maybe the power supply to the speakers is "dirty", i.e. not getting a clean sine wave. Try running an extension cord from a different power outlet, but still using the audio from the PC. If that stops the crackling, then one of your power sockets might not be quite right, or your PC is sending feedback through it. Try using a different power board or wall socket if you have those options.

Also, make sure everything is connected securely, and there is nothing jammed in a plug or socket of the connections. If the speakers have separate wires going into a spring clip that you have to connect rather than RCA plugs, that they are around the right way. While the speakers are crackling, see if you can wiggle any of the cables to affect the crackling, that may also give you a clue.

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It's currently connected to a 6-way that I use for the PC/Monitors, etc which is pretty old and battered, so this could be something to try out. I'll add it to the list to check. Thanks. –  Septih Aug 5 '11 at 11:53
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It's also a generally bad idea to run data/audio cables in parallel to power cables. It may be unavoidable right up next to the PC, but try to keep them separate apart from that, if they must cross, make it at a 90 degree angle. This prevents possible induction of noise from the power cable into the data/audio cables. –  Daniel Ball Aug 5 '11 at 11:56
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Something like that occurred with me before. The problem was just a surge protector. I bought another one - same manufacturer but the most recent "version" - and the noise disappeared. As Electrical Engineer I think it was as camster342 said, a "dirty" power supply, since some manufacturers do not care about a more perfect sine wave. –  kokbira Aug 5 '11 at 12:14

You could probably eliminate your PC by plugging the speakers into something else such as an MP3 player, possibly even in another room in your house (if possible).

If using a different device the speakers still crackle, it's the speakers themselves, if they only crackle when connected to/near the PC, it's probably the PC.

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