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I can hear a constant ticking sound in the background at roughly a frequency of 2 per second mainly when nothing it playing. I have a Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 card and 5.1 speakers connected -- and the latest driver I can find for it for my OS (Win XP SP3).

It didn't always do this, but I don't recall exactly when it started (for example if it was after I installed some hardware or software). Anyone have ideas on what could be causing it or how to fix it?

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Possibly relevant: superuser.com/questions/432401/… – Oliver Salzburg Aug 5 '12 at 19:33
up vote 3 down vote accepted

OK, I've apparently found the culprit and fixed the problem myself -- although the solution doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

While checking to see if it was being cause by one of the many devices clustered around the system and speakers, I happened to notice that if I moved my Internet gateway/wireless-router nearer to my NAS the sound grew louder -- not that either of them have anything obvious to do with sound generation. Anyway, I got it to go away completely by rearranging things so that now the gateway is as far as possible from the NAS enclosure (which is about 6 feet vs the roughly 8 inches they were apart previously).

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Wireless interference. While your router has nothing to do with sound, it surely emits radio waves (a.k.a. WiFi signal), and your soundcard acts as an antenna, picking it up. – Piskvor Jan 6 at 13:38
    
@Piskvor: The mystery is why would moving my gateway/wireless-router further away from my NAS cause more WiFi signal interference? Neither of them are directly connected to my computer, and the latter doesn't use WiFi itself. – martineau Jan 6 at 15:40

Take a look at the wiring. Those sound cards are not exactly new. I had a SB128 (and it still works) and I remember I also had that ticking sound sometimes. I managed to make it go away was by replacing all the wiring coming from the card to the speakers and lubricating the connections with WD40.

Good luck.

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Yes, that was my first thought from other things I've read about the possible causes, however it turned-out to be a device --somehow -- in this case. Thanks for your thoughts. – martineau Aug 5 '12 at 19:03

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