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I recently got an Acer Aspire desktop, and am having issues using it with my M-Audio M-Tack usb interface. I hear a constant high-pitched background noise in my Behringer monitors, as well as cpu[?] noises when I move my mouse etc.

Interestingly, I have observed that the noise is much worse/louder when I unplug my HDMI monitor.

My question is: What can I do to eliminate or lessen the noise? Is it a problem with the computer, is it a fixable grounding issue (HDMI clue), or something else?

I would really appreciate any tips/advice!

UPDATE 01/25/2017: Still trying to isolate the problem...

I have tried a different computer, with exactly the same results. No problems whatsoever when I use with my laptop. The cpu noise is relatively bearable, but the high pitched whine that comes on when I start recording or voice chat software is annoying.

The only gain/volume control that has any affect on both types of noise is the gain adjustment knob on the back of the speaker.

When I record a track, it sounds like the only detectable noise enters it through the mic, i.e. the noise is not actually in my input, but the monitors produce it whenever the input becomes active.

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This could be a variety of things but there are a few things you can do to trouble shoot.

  • Ensure that everything is plugged into the same outlet. In some cases crossed grounding can cause buzzing if things are plugged into various outlets.

  • Try a different USB port on your computer. Since the interface (from my research) is buss powered the port you are using may have an issue.

  • Make sure all your gains are relatively equal i.e. you are running your speakers at a mid range volume setting as well as your interface so you are not driving something to hard to overcome a low volume setting. Generally the harder you run something the more likely you are to get buzz.

  • Is this always occurring (from all audio playback software you have) or is this only occurring during recording/mixing, what happens if you just play back an MP3 from a major music player?

  • Thanks for the tips. I have since done some more trouble shooting, it seems to me that the hdmi cable thing may have been a coincidence. It seems to me there are two distinct types of noise, on that is constant (cpu noises etc.) and one that is only audible when my input becomes active, a high pitched whine. – user11770 Jan 26 '17 at 1:25
  • Everything is plugged into the same output; I have tried different usb ports, the whine when the device input is active (for recording etc.) is not affected, but the cpu noise is less when I use the front panel usb ports. About gains, I have tried different combinations, and find the only gain/volume control that has any affect is the gain adjustment on the speaker itself, so I have that on minimum and compensate elsewhere. The mostly bearable cpu noise is constant, the high pitched whine only occurs when the input becomes active, like when using recording/audio-chat apps. – user11770 Jan 26 '17 at 1:33
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Does your laptop monitor go dark when plug in your HDMI monitor? If so, it will likely be the inverter for the display backlight. This is also the principal culprit when a laptop actually emits bona-fide acoustic whine.

It will change when unplugging the power supply, and it will typically also change with screen brightness. Also if your laptop supports batteries of different cell count, switching to a different-size battery might change the noise.

  • It's a desktop... on my laptop, there was no noise whatsoever. This desktop, and a different one I tried, both have the problem... – user11770 Jan 26 '17 at 1:35
  • Desktops typically have the same sort of display attached as a laptop would have. Specially, I believe this answer refers to the LED backlight panel. – user9881 Jan 30 '17 at 23:19
  • In any case, this is more of a comment than an answer. – user9881 Jan 30 '17 at 23:20

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