I've no idea if there's a suitable Stack Exchange for poltergeists. It appears to be software, hardware or virus related, so I thought I'd try here, seeing as Ghostbusters is just a film, so I can't call them.

I'm not going mad, and this isn't a joke.

There's what appears to be a radio stream coming out of my speakers, except I can only hear it when the volume knob is turned down to the min setting whilst the speakers are on, which makes no sense. Sometimes it's French, which also makes little to no sense.

The speakers are Logitech 5.1s, I forget the model number, and I'm running XP 64bit. If that makes a difference.

I'd suspect it could be some sort of crazy virus, but I've been randomly killing processes whilst the poltergeist is active and it hasn't killed it, so I'm not sure about that.

Once again, I'm perfectly sane and this really isn't a joke. Perhaps other people have had this problem but have been too afraid of the reaction to ask anyone (please don't have me committed to an insane asylum).

Googling for strange noises coming from speakers didn't really get me anywhere. Has anyone heard of a virus that can do this and affect the volume controls on the hardware in that way?

  • Sounds like a Windows "Feature" ;-) – Moab Sep 23 '10 at 19:17
  • You're not going mad. I have a set of speakers that do the same. It's quite eerie. +1 for your wording! – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 23 '10 at 20:18
  • I get this a lot, too bad the Poltergeists can't really sing – Ivo Flipse Sep 24 '10 at 6:44
  • Best title ever +1 – The Disintegrator Apr 18 '11 at 2:01

It's not a new problem: PC speakers also pick up radio

This seems to be a common example (to judge by a Google search) of radio frequency interference or RFI, though it's not something I've heard on a PC. The speaker wires may be acting as an aerial and picking up a radio signal, which you then hear from the speakers. The loudspeakers may also be implicated: some models seem to have better shielding than others.

You could try moving the speaker and mains cables, and folding up (rather than coiling up) any spare bits of wire, or changing to shorter, better-quality shielded speaker cables. If that doesn't work, try adding some ferrite rings to the speaker and mains cables. [...]

Basically your speaker cables work as an antenna and picks up normal radio.

  • But - French radio in the North West of the UK? How far can radio waves travel? – bcmcfc Sep 23 '10 at 20:01
  • 2
    quite far: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_propagation – 分かりますか Sep 23 '10 at 20:06
  • 3
    An old physics lesson is coming back to me, in which a crude diagram depicted radio waves bouncing off the atmosphere :) – bcmcfc Sep 23 '10 at 20:26
  • 3
    as a proponent of both physics & crude diagrams, I'm glad to hear it – 分かりますか Sep 23 '10 at 20:28
  • Haha, it's a good combination! – bcmcfc Sep 23 '10 at 20:50

Chances are that something is picking up a radio station through another channel somewhere and the speakers just amplify the signal. This is actually quite common.


Your speakers are acting as a basic radio. What you need to do is use grounded outlets. This will typically fix your problem.


One of your cables is acting like an antenna. Get some of the various "ties" (used to keep your cables untangled) and tie up/bundle each of the cables. I was picking up some Mexican station and this worked for me. Apparently, this "shortened" cable then does not act like an antenna and pick up the radio stations.


I had a similar problem once with a TV/radio card. It turned out that the TV/radio card's FM tuner didn't always turn off. Sometimes it just lowered volume down to minimum. It was based on BT878 chip which was plugged into line-in port of the soundcard.

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