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When I move files, a small 'noise' noise comes through my headphones or speakers. It only happens when moving files. Is there a reason why moving files causes this slight static? It only lasts for as long as the files are moving. I'm not as much as annoyed as I am curious.

It is a Gigabyte board with a integrated sound card. I'm running Windows 7. I don't think it used to do this but I'm not quite sure.

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Operating System? Specifications? Sound card driver version? It's basically your I/O interruption your Audio, but under normal circumstances this should not occur. – Tom Wijsman Oct 19 '11 at 22:12

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

This is a classic, if extreme, example of why some audiophiles really prefer discrete sound cards rather than onboard audio.

What is happening is that there is no isolation (or the isolation has failed) between the signal pathways for data and the signal pathways for audio on your mainboard.

When electricity, even miniscule amounts, runs along one pathway and runs parallel to another pathway, sympathetic electrical currents will be created in that parallel pathway. Audio equipment is especially susceptible to this because it eventually converts any digital information into analog, and those random bits of sympathetic current suddenly become audible sounds.

This principle of sympathetic currents is the same thing that works inside a transformer, where coils of wire wound around ferrite cores create magnetic fields which excite electrons within coil of wire around a core which are parallel to the original. The ratio of the number of coils in each wire and the composition of the ferrite (iron) cores allow for control of the output current based on the input current.

If you're just curious, this is the answer.

If you want a solution: More expensive mainboards generally have some sort of correction or isolation structure that prevents most of this cross-talk. Or a $10 soundcard from your local electronics store, simply because it processes the audio signals in a local physically distant (even if only by a few cm) from the electronic noise on the mainboard, will produce a markedly quieter (not quiet, but less noisy) audio signal.

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Thanks so much, that makes perfect sense now that I think of it! I'll probably never go as far as fixing the solution. It isn't very audible and the sound card itself is pretty nice in my opinion. – Xander Lamkins Oct 19 '11 at 22:33
The term "sound card" usually refers to a discrete audio card, a seperate device that connects to the mainboard. Onboard audio is usually called "onboard audio" (or "onboard sound") so as to differentiate between a discrete card and the onboard sound. I'm glad that this makes sense to you and has helped you understand what is going on. – music2myear Oct 19 '11 at 22:40
If you get desperate (some computers even transmit noise to USB devices) you can get an external soundcard (DAC) that connects to your computer via optical/Toslink. Since it is connected by light only, it is impossible for noise to be transmitted from the computer. – cloneman Apr 11 '13 at 6:22

I get the same for all kinds of IO and video operations on my laptop. It's likely a poorly shielded audio out port picking up interference from high speed communications such as your hard drive and video. You could try attaching a cable shield to the end of your headphone/speaker cable to see if that prevents the static. They come in a variety of sizes.

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