April 2, 2010 12:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting broken, static filled sound coming out of my sound card jack. I know it's not my speakers because I've tested them out on other computers.

Is there a good way to fix this? Hopefully without getting a new sound card.
posted by amsterdam63 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Hm. Doesn't sound good. However
1. If you own a desktop pc, getting a cheap sound card is pretty darn cheap. Even a used one is probably fine unless you were doing really high end audio work, in which case, you probably wouldn't be asking this question. : )

2. Try different applications that make sound. If you have a device attached to your computer (cd player), try that. See if there's any difference in what's generating the crappy sound.

3. Make sure you haven't recently installed some kind of game or something that would have modded your audio card's drivers.

4. Finally (and you probably tried this) make sure the gain/level of your output volume isn't maxed out everywhere.
posted by bitterkitten at 12:36 PM on April 2, 2010

Make sure it's not set to play sound from the microphone jack to the speakers. Even without a microphone actually plugged in, this could cause a bunch of extra static - especially on a cheap card. Just mute the microphone in the control panel audio settings to be sure.
posted by Diplodocus at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2010

Did you try taking the card out and putting it back in? (Assuming you have a desktop and it's in one of the slots.) I was experiencing some video card craziness a while back, taking it and out solved it - apparently it had gotten loose.
posted by exhilaration at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2010

If it's a desktop PC, unplug pretty much everything and see if it's still happening. Try turning off other sockets nearby - you might be getting some electromagnetic interference, though this sounds like a whole lot more.

Beg, steal or borrow a pair of USB headphones or speakers off someone - plug em in and see if they have the same problem - if they do, it's likely to be an issue with the software, rather than your hardware.

When did it start happening? If it was after installing some new software, try getting rid of it and see if the problem goes away.

If it's not a software problem, then it might be a short circuit in the case. If it's a desktop, then take the side off and see if there's any draping wires around. There's a pretty low probability of this.

Lastly, if you've got a laptop, you might have to take it someplace to get it checked out. Or find a friendly techy to take a look.
posted by radioedit at 2:16 PM on April 2, 2010

What soundcard are you using?
posted by fantasticninety at 2:37 PM on April 2, 2010

Has anything happened to the jack you plug the speakers in to - like the speakers fallen off the desk and yanking the cord? It sounds like a solder joint is broken.

If the other things being suggested don't work, I'd try the card in a different computer. If you still can't get it to behave, see if you can't find a friend who dabbles in electronics - the hardware for an audio jack is pretty bulky so it shouldn't be too hard to check with an ohm meter and, if anything is reading less that right about zero, do a quick remelt on the solder joints. After all, if it doesn't work it's not like you're going to break it?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:41 PM on April 2, 2010

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