I am new to any audio work. I have an Intel NUC PC with a 3.5 mm TRRS out. It doesn't have a grounded mains plug (I am in the UK). This is connected to a Motu Stage B16 mixer via a TRRS to left/right split XLR cable. I then have a pair of PA speakers connected via XLR to the mixer. The NUC is connected to a separate power strip to the mixer and speakers.

I hear a very annoying clicking/static buzzing sound. But when I move my connection from the NUC to a proper desktop PC with a sound card, it disappears.

Would a USB sound card or DI box (USB or jack one) solve my issue?

  • Can you be more accurate about the noise. Clicking seems to refer to very short noises (even if they are frequent), buzzing sound at the opposite, constant… with clicking sound it can be too short buffer size. With constant sound, a ground loop noise (but I don’t see how the loop is made). Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


A USB sound card usually has better isolation from interference than a built-in DAC, but there's no guarantee. A DI box won't help against this particular problem.

You could check if the PC has a Toslink output (some have Toslink on the same 3.5 mm connector as the analog audio out), that would definitely solve the interference problem (but you'd need a Toslink->analog adapter).

  • Interesting, I'm curious as to why a DI box won't help? Won't that isolation because of the transformer (soundonsound.com/techniques/using-di-boxes)? The NUC PC only has USB and TRRS output.
    – GodAtum
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 19:32
  • 1
    a DI box converts the unbalanced signal to a balanced signal. This will prevent interference from leaking into the balanced signal. It can't remove interference from the incoming unbalanced signal.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 6:13
  • Unfortunately a USB sound card did not work. This is the sound (turned the volume up to make it easier to record) dropbox.com/s/c8qkt1mn2t8nrbf/sim%20sound.m4a?dl=0
    – GodAtum
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 13:26

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