Why does the sound on my PC become distorted/scratchy when I use the DVD or CD Drive?
January 27, 2005 6:33 AM   Subscribe

PC Sound Filter: Can anyone explain why the sound on my pc becomes distorted / scratchy when the DVD Drive or the CD Drive is in use? Its starting to drive me nuts. (specs inside) Thanks.

1gb ram - 3.2mhz - 80gb hd - WinXP SP1 - Drive is a DVD RW CD RW combo - Graphics is ATI 9800 XT - Sound is an external Creative labs Audigy 2NX.

This is what happens - I could be using winamp to play songs that are on my hard drive, and they sound fine, but whenever the cd/dvd drive is being accessed (for anthing) it distorts all the sound. The problem isnt specific to winamp, I've tried other players and it’s the same with them too. Thanks again….
posted by kev23f to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: Well, since you have an external sound card, electromagnetic interference is probably not the problem. I bet it's bus contention issues. Try to make sure that all of your drives are set to use Ultra DMA and not PIO mode. This page has a runthrough on how to enable it.

You may also want to make sure you have the latest drivers for your motherboard's chipset (like the VIA 4-in-1 drivers) and sound card.
posted by zsazsa at 6:45 AM on January 27, 2005

You might try changing the IDE channel the CD-RW is connected to.

I had a similar problem a machine I was building (using onboard audio, so this may not apply) and that cleared it right up.
posted by cosmonaught at 10:13 AM on January 27, 2005

I've heard some explanations to this problem attribute it to the power supply not being up to the task of powering everything at once. Anything with moving parts (i.e. DVD/CD drives) suck a bit of power. And that video card you have is no slouch either (hm, although, I think that version has it's own power supply?).

Anyways, what sort of wattage is your powersupply? Perhaps consider getting a heftier one? (350W + should be fine). A power super duper user would recommend 400 W +.
posted by eurasian at 10:16 AM on January 27, 2005

I would go with bandwidth. As in, you're out of it. Audigys are pretty crap at coping with bus saturation. My gut tells me that you need to (find and) install a high performance USB 2.0 PCI adapter card.

However, if you've got a VIA-based motherboard you're probably screwed. They have serious timing issues that cause exactly this sort of problem. There's not really any way around it. I bought a new motherboard.
posted by krisjohn at 10:03 PM on January 27, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers everyone, zsazsa's answer was the winner.
posted by kev23f at 3:49 AM on January 28, 2005

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