Frustrating Sound Issue between Graphics Card + SB

Discussion in 'Sound Cards and Speakers' started by stg213, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. stg213

    stg213 Geek Trainee

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    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum... decided to ask as I can't find anything quite like my issue anywhere.

    I'm having a sound issue for more than a year that has been driving me crazy!

    A bit of background/system info:

    MB:Asrock 890FX Deluxe 5
    CPU: AMD Phenom II 1100T
    GFX: Gigabyte GF 590
    SB: Creative Recon 3D Fatality
    Ram: 16 GB Corsair
    PSU: Chieftec 1000W\
    OS: Win7 SP1

    The problem started as I said about a year ago when I decided to get a discrete sound card due to my last one (i had the elite pro from creative) breaking.

    I stayed a while on the onboard but then soon got a d2x Xonar (PCIex) right out of the box I started having the "issue"

    The issue is, that in certain games, in certain graphical modes, the sound goes poppy/hissy/white noise/crackling and the 5.1 channels start "jumping around" front channel to right or back speakers... on and on until I either exit the game or change the game mode.

    The "fix" that worked for the Xonar was to downmix the no. of channels from 5.1 to 2.1... then the issue went away...

    In some games the "issue" appears only during an in-game cut-scene... then the "fix" would be, after the cutscene is over to alt+tab, change 5.1 to 2.1, then back up to 5.1... and it would be fine until the next cutscene.

    I just blamed the Xonar for being crappy... had found some similar posts on the internet... had even a firmware update supposedly exactly for this issue (which didn't help)... so I just got used to it and moved on.

    A few months ago I decided enough is enough and got the current Creative Recon 3d... and out of the box... the same issues... in the same games... in the same places... bummer :|

    By now I wasn't about to blame it on the sound card anymore... and after much hair-pulling I tried switching the slot (from the pciex x1 to a free pciex x16) -> and hurray "problem solved"... or not... as I was soon to find out... a few weeks later the issue returned...

    I then tried to switch the slots again, back and forth... this didn't help anymore... so then I went through all the things I did prior... and the "thing" that made the problem come back was to update the Nvidia GFX Drivers. So... I rolled back to the version where I didn't have the issue... and indeed the problem went away...

    A few weeks later... a new whql driver came out and I had to upgrade... and issue back... A few weeks after that... a new beta... same... next beta... same... next whql... problem gone...

    Yesterday I got Far Cry 3... and again I had to upgrade the GF driver... right now I'm on 310.64. and yeah... issue back...

    Now what's driving me completely insane is that the issue doesn't appear everywhere, but only in certain games or as said certain graphical modes:

    Assassin's Creed 3 -> no issue
    Far Cry 3 -> menu: no issue -> ingame issue starts as soon as the gfx engine initializes
    Alan Wake (Both) -> no issue
    EVE -> no issue except in Captain's Quarters where the issue starts as soon as the gfx engine for first person initializes (the engines differ from the rest of the game and CQ)
    X-Com -> issue all the time, even in menu

    In some games, as stated previously, the issue only appears when a cutscene is presented, and the cutscene is a .avi or similar and not using the in-game engine in real time.

    It appears over dx9 and dx11 alike... i saw no "isolation" to one or the other... x-com is dx9... battlefield is dx11 and both share the issue. Assassin's Creed 3 is DX11... no issue... Eve DX9... and the issue only appears with a part of the engine.

    My best guess at the moment is that some sort of graphical processing is causing the video card to induce a feed-back in the mobo that isn't handled properly and spills over in the SB... either overloading it or causing it to not get a smooth voltage...

    What I've tried so far:

    - disabling onboard audio
    - playing with 16 bit / 24 bit sound modes and frequencies
    - disabling all "nvidia hd audio" devices in device manager
    - enabling / disabling spdif throughput
    - moving the soundcard around various slots (x1 and x16)
    - updating the hell out of all the drivers I could find
    - switching between 5.1 and 2.1 modes (on the creative card this doesn't help anymore :( here the hissing/popping continues in 2.1 except the channels don't switch around)

    Until now the only 1:1 correlation I could find is the Nvidia Driver... some cause the issue, some don't... and sadly most of them do...

    Now short of changing PSU + Mobo + Gfx Card I'm all out of ideas... but as you may imagine that wouldn't be exactly cheap... and I would really like to avoid it if I could...

    What I would really like to find out is exactly what "graphical modes" cause the issue, in which module so I know what feature to disable in order to stop it from happening (either on the video side or on the sound side... whichever might help). Now I'm not a noob when it comes to hardware, I've been building my own rigs since '96 but this one I just can't get my head around... I of course know that the best I can hope for is a workaround... and that the issue is hardware related... and that upgrading my rig will eventually solve the issue (but as the 690 isn't exactly cheap... and the rest of the rig either... I'm not in a particular hurry to throw 1000-2000$ out the window for a hardware incompatibility).

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! :)
  2. Jan Benedict

    Jan Benedict Geek

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    If you have any spare PSU with higher wattage than the one your using, you can test it out.. Or if you have any other motherboard or a spare computer test your sound card there..

    Hope it helps..

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