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As the title says, there is a loud whine from speakers when I am not playing an audio track on my PC. The PC has a stereo output to a Yamaha AX-590 (yes, it's old) amp that goes into two SB-CR77 Technics. Only thing that stops it is turning off the amp or playing some audio. What could this be?

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Computers are notorious for creating various types of electronic noise. When you use the internal sound card of the computer a lot of this electronic noise will be sent out on the audio cable and can picked up by the amplifier.

The only way I know of to get rid of this is often to use an external sound card connected to the computer through USB. And this is not necessarily guaranteed as the sound cards do differ.

Sometimes you may reduce the electronic noise from the computer using a sound cable that has filters or an isolation transformer. A search on Amazon or similar for "ground loop isolator" gives some suggestions although I have not used anyone of them and cannot make recommendations. (Technically the whine you hear is probably not ground loop noise, but the solution can be the same as for that).

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Had the same issue here with a PC and AX-590. Solution was simple in my case.

Here's what I tried:

  • Replacing speaker wire.
  • Removing the clutter of power sockets, moved everything into just 1 power socket.
  • Buying new high-quality RCA > 3.5mm jack cable.
  • Removing devices on the same power socket to see if it was caused by another device.

Still, there was this super annoying static hiss that went up by down when moving the volume knob. It was driving me mad... Then I connected my phone to the 3.5mm cable and tada no issues, so I started looking at my PC.

Plugged the headset that I have in the AX-590 headphone jack directly into the PC. Same annoying white noise. I then started disconnecting all cables and found the culprit.

It was a cable going to the monitor to be able to use the USB ports on the monitor. Removed it since I don't use them anyways and even when I move the knob to max volume no noise at all, it used to be audible at like 30% volume. I have no idea why this started acting up all of a sudden, but I don't care. The noise is gone! And I can enjoy quietness when I am not playing any music :D

Hope this helps someone.

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