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I have a Lenovo Thinkpad W530 laptop, its accompanying docking station, and an M-Audio Fast Track Pro external USB audio card.

When I plug the audio card directly into my laptop, the sound is great. When I dock my computer and then plug the audio card into my docking station, the sound becomes distorted, even at low volumes.

It is digital distortion you might experience from a bitcrusher audio effect similar to this sound.

I've talked to Lenovo support and tried different docking stations but the same thing happens.

My question is, what could cause this? I would expect a docking station to pass through the USB data cleanly but it seems like it is processing it somehow.

If the docking station is causing problems with my audio card USB, could it affect other USB devices as well?

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closed as too localized by Moab, Indrek, Nifle, Canadian Luke, 8088 Sep 10 '12 at 6:00

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The docking station probably has a USB hub, which may be adding random latency to the audio streaming. Other data such as to/from a HDD doesn't care about such latency. –  sawdust Sep 7 '12 at 17:28
    
If you add this as an answer, I'll mark it as the answer. A USB hub between the two is the obvious answer. –  Jason Sep 9 '12 at 17:44

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