PC speakers w/scratching sound replaced – same issue

cokeviola

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I was having an issue with my Harmon Kardon HK395 speakers – every so often, a scratching sounds comes from the right speaker. This started about a month ago. I replaced the entire unit – subwoofer, speakers and wires – and I am having the same exact issue.

Any idea of what the problem is?

Thx!
 

Algrim

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When my speakers exhibited crackling sounds it was coming from my pre-amplifier.
 

cokeviola

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pendragon1 - I searched how to clean the port, and did try cleaning the jack with a plain cotton swab, but that didn't help - is there a better way?

Algrim - Do you know of anything to look at on the sub-woofer that may help?

Thx!
 

pendragon1

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@pendragon1 - I searched how to clean the port, and did try cleaning the jack with a plain cotton swab, but that didn't help - is there a better way?
that with some iso or contact cleaner, you can also use interdental brushes.
also, any other new electronics in the room, even a new phone? anything new on the other side of the wall? desktop speaker can pickup interference from some things signal outputs. like how you can hear some cell phones are about to get a call by the noise in near by speakers. you can try a clip-on ferrite bead attached to the audio cable to stop that.
 

cokeviola

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pendragon1 - ok thx so much, will try this out.

I can't think of any other new interferences, I live with another person in a house, but no new electronics to speak of.

Another friend suggested it could be some loose wiring in the PC related to the sound board, but I don't think there is an easy fix for that.
 

Algrim

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You state that the noise comes from the right speaker. Reverse your channels to see if you now hear it from the left. If so, you’ve isolated the problem to somewhere upstream. Continue until you get to your source.

In my case, upstream was an amp, a preamp, and source. Changing out preamp indicated pristine source so that was isolated.
 

pendragon1

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Another friend suggested it could be some loose wiring in the PC related to the sound board, but I don't think there is an easy fix for that.
there are no wires to become loose. either you have onboard or a add in card, no wires.
 

travm

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there are no wires to become loose. either you have onboard or a add in card, no wires.
cokeviola
Like Pendragon said, but with either a really old sound card, or if your computer uses onboard sound, it could be components aging and introducing some noise.

You could buy a cheap USB sound card and see if that changes anything, or just pull the trigger on a decent USB DAC or Soundcard, perhaps;
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E168291...ndcard&cm_re=soundcard-_-29-132-084-_-Product

Do let us know what your computer is (assuming its a computer thats driving these speakers).
 

toast0

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Is it better or worse if you use the headphone jack on the front instead of line out on the back? (you'll have to fiddle with volume settings, of course)
 

travm

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travm It's a Dell Inspiron 3847, about 7 yrs. of usage on it.

Does this answer anything?
Yes it does. It's very hard to diagnose little issues like this, but seeing as you have replaced your speakers already i would suggest purchasing an add on sound card. Even a very inexpensive one will be made with higher quality components and to most will sound better. They aren't hard to install either. You could also get a usb sound card (also often called a DAC, especially when they don't include an amplifier) and just plug it in. USB sound cards also come in a wide range of quality and price. I wouldn't get the cheapest usb however.
 

RAD

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So this likely won't help, but let me relate to you the dumb self-fail reason that was causing the scratching in my speakers... I discovered that some of the time when I was sitting down to use my computer I would toss my cell phone onto the desk too close a speaker. Something about the cell phone was causing interference which was generating a crackle. I honestly don't know what it was about my cell phone, but you have no idea how much time I spent taking apart and testing every component and cord in my audio system and my computer's audio output chasing this ghost before I figured it out.
 

pendragon1

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So this likely won't help, but let me relate to you the dumb self-fail reason that was causing the scratching in my speakers... I discovered that some of the time when I was sitting down to use my computer I would toss my cell phone onto the desk too close a speaker. Something about the cell phone was causing interference which was generating a crackle. I honestly don't know what it was about my cell phone, but you have no idea how much time I spent taking apart and testing every component and cord in my audio system and my computer's audio output chasing this ghost before I figured it out.
GSM based cellphones cause it, been like that since they came out. they used to sell light up antennas that reacted to it.
 

cokeviola

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travm - Thanks for pointing out these items. Do you have any suggestions for a specific add-on sounds card or usb sound card

toast0 - Thanks, am trying this now
 

travm

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Cheap soundcard
https://www.newegg.com/asus-xonar-se/p/N82E16829132086?itemPosition=1-12&exactIndex=7

Solid step up from the cheap one, but still reasonable
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16829132084?itemPosition=1-12&exactIndex=9

USB option for easiest install
I am not the best person to suggest a USB DAC, this is simply an inexpensive option. I know there are better options I just don't know much about. You could research some yourself.
https://www.newegg.com/creative-sound-blaster-x3/p/N82E16829102107?itemPosition=1-11&exactIndex=0

Those are my recommendations, but realistically almost any option (except the sub $50 usb ones) would be made better than your current onboard sound.
 

B00nie

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Cheap soundcard
https://www.newegg.com/asus-xonar-se/p/N82E16829132086?itemPosition=1-12&exactIndex=7

Solid step up from the cheap one, but still reasonable
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16829132084?itemPosition=1-12&exactIndex=9

USB option for easiest install
I am not the best person to suggest a USB DAC, this is simply an inexpensive option. I know there are better options I just don't know much about. You could research some yourself.
https://www.newegg.com/creative-sound-blaster-x3/p/N82E16829102107?itemPosition=1-11&exactIndex=0

Those are my recommendations, but realistically almost any option (except the sub $50 usb ones) would be made better than your current onboard sound.
http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/intel-hdaudio/intel-hdaudio.html said:
HD Audio Realtek ALC880 demonstrates rather good audio quality for integrated audio. It sounds very much like Creative Audigy. If you strain your ears to hear the fragment details, you may notice the slightest difference (a bit better transparency at high frequencies for Audigy). However, if you extend the interval between HD Audio and Creative Audigy auditions to five minutes, it will be impossible to hear the difference.
So the built in audio performs just fine, his only problem is a broken 3,5mm jack socket.
 
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