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HD noise in headphones

Posted on 2006-06-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
This is a peculiar problem.  Whenever i have headphones on and no audio playing, if there is "heavy" hard disk acctivity, i hear i kinda of like squeak in my headphones everytime the hard disk is accessed.  It doesn't do this on the main speakers, and it corrosponds direclty with the HD activity light.

Machine:
HP nw8000 mobile workstation

Any ideas what the cause might be?
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Question by:maninblac1
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9 Comments
 
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Callandor earned 350 total points
ID: 17019105
Your headphone wires may be acting as an antenna and picking up RF from the hard drive circuit board.  Better shielded wires would help, or shielding the hard drive.
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Expert Comment

by:Iggy79
ID: 17019581
Have you tried a different pair of head phones?
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by:maninblac1
ID: 17020669
Yeah, different headphones result with the same problem.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17020794
The RF may be leaking onto the sound card.  Which sound card do you have?  The better ones are more resistant to this.
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Author Comment

by:maninblac1
ID: 17020819
I believe it's a SoundMax integraded audio card, remember this is a laptop.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17020854
Since it's integrated, not much of a chance of replacing the sound card.  I think you'll have to live with it.
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Author Comment

by:maninblac1
ID: 17021329
Why is the hard drive generating RF!?!? The only thing i can think of is the magnetic acuator might be causing a induced current in the headphones, but that should have a frequency far greater than the human ear can hear.  And even harmonics would be so quiet as to not make any difference.  And that magnet should be so weak that it shouldn't generate sufficient interference anyway.  Or am i just underestimating this.
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Assisted Solution

by:fredshovel
fredshovel earned 150 total points
ID: 17021657
Hi MIB,
My guess would also be RF -- and I agree with Callandor that it's probably coming via the soundcard.
In my way of thinking headphones are just speakers and speakers shouldn't need shielded cable to shield RF because the signal has already been amplified (albeit very small amplification) by the soundcard. RF is usually a problem in cables that are unshielded that then get amplified -- then the RF gets amplified. But if the soundcard is creating the RF it would also be amplifying it.
On the subject of 'underestimating'. I think most PC users underestimate what inferior audio products the PC industry delivers to them.
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Author Comment

by:maninblac1
ID: 17021874
You could be right fred....my headphones have a "volume" feature midway on the cable.  I'm assuming i guess, (since i haven't opened that little thing up) that it's an active bandpass/lowpass filter for the frequencies of my headphones.  This would explain the amplification of such small variations in voltage that result in this annoying squeak.  And obviously since it's audible it occurs in the pass zone and in my range of hearing.

(Looks at the little blob on the cable)  "I didn't know you could make filters this small"....stares in awe, still have 2 more years of college to go....*sigh*

Then again, maybe it's just a riastat and adjusts the resistance of the cable.....hmmmm ponders....either way it's some sort of interference generated by the hard disk....thanks guys.
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