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hum/noise from soundcard

I am going out of my mind!! Can anyone help me out here??

I'm recording into a PC using a SoundBlaster Audigy card which is SUPPOSED to have a SNR of
-100db. (Yeah, RIGHT.) However, there is about -60db of noise. It's ridiculous. Even if I have nothing going into the soundcard's line in... Noise!!! White, pink and brown... It's all there. Along with a hearty dose of 60 cycle.

I'm on my last leg trying to eliminate all the damn noise, and the last possibility I can imagine is I'm just getting crappy power. Has anyone had any experience using a decent UPS to smooth out the juice?? I'm tired of trying to groundlift everything *just right*. I've tried signal isolators, hum removers, balanced cables, unbalanced cables, nothing works... Maybe it's time to just get a new soundcard?? =) Thanks guys...


Kev Sat, 03/02/2002 - 00:48

It may be time to get a new soundcard.

The power inside computers is from switch mode and it is designed to be so I don't think a UPS will solve the problem unless it is to do with an earth loop sort of thing. If it is an earth loop issue a transformer to AC couple things instead of DC could go far to solve some of the problems.
A computer is a noisy place so internal sound cards with analog circuits can suffer. This is why some make breakout boxes with the analog parts there and it also give more space for connectors.

When using the cheap sound card or the Mac sound with a 3.5 mm connector I usually end up with a TX in the line.

daniel_c Sat, 03/02/2002 - 03:01

Talking from expereince , its your soundcard that is the problem. I had a Soundblaster PCI64 and if I tried to record using the mic input there would be a massive DC offset in the signal , absolutely killing headroom and signal to noise ratio.

Its worse if the soundcard is integrated onto the motherbosrd. there is absolutely no shielding in the audio path and theres a dirty great big power supply right back there.


Mercuri Sat, 03/02/2002 - 08:11

Nope I don't have any open mics... I actually don't have anything attached to the soundcard and I still get tons of noise.

I think Kev's right... I got the Audigy thinking the 100db SNR was recording quality when in reality it's a little more like the playback, which doesn't really do much for me. :(

I'm thinking I should move up to the digital realm and get something from Terratec or RME Audio. Has anyone worked with these and heard the SNR?

P.S. Creative Labs sucks for recording applications. This I now know.

Blackhawk Wed, 03/06/2002 - 15:22

This sounds to me like the classic problem of harddisk/CD drive electrical interference due to the proximity of the soundcard to other components.

To test this, put on a set of headphones connected directly to the Audigy, and crank up the volume. Now try accessing the HD or CD Drive and the noise will appear, or become a whole lot worse if it was there to start with. Even minimising and maximising windows or even just moving the mouse can cause this, and aside from trying to move your Audigy as far away from other components as possible, there's no real fix.

Mercuri Wed, 03/06/2002 - 19:18

It does do that... Moving the mouse, screen-redraws (damn video card) and a whole bunch of other stuff.

I'm dumping the Audigy and going for an all-digital setup. ST Audio makes a killer unit (the System 3000) that has awesome specs. (120dB dynamic range and virtually non-existent harmonic distortion!!) It's only $900 but it's got a killer clean sound. I can crank this baby without so much as a hiss!

Not to mention that it has an ADAT interface I can hook up to my digital mixer and have the world's most awesome compact PA.... Mwahahahaha... ;)