I have Windows 8 and a Realtek high definition audio integrated in the motherboard. For some reason I always get crackling sound when I listen to anything.
It doesn't always happen and it last a split second. It's more like an abrupt burst. And I can't do anything about it. I tried reinstalling the drivers or changing the sound quality from the control panel. This is pretty irregular as it can happen when I move the mouse on a button. Sometimes it gets worse and I usually don't see this effect when I first start the PC but it gets worse as I use it more and more.
Also, the computer sometimes hangs for a split second too when I hear the crackling sound.