Constant buzzing in headphones

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Fred Barclay
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Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby Fred Barclay » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:19 am

Hi mates. There is a constant buzzing noise in my headphones, even when volume is turned off/muted. This occurs when using two separate distros (LMDE and Kali), and with two different brands of earphones. I also have a duplicate computer (exact same model and hardware) that I tested with Mint, and the buzzing is present there as well, so I know it's not a bad sound card on my computer.

The buzzing increases when I move my mouse, and I think it gets a bit louder when there's more white or light colours on my screen.

I've tried both the standard 3.16 kernel and the 4.9 kernel from backports in case my hardware needed a different kernel, but it persists with both.

The buzzing isn't present immediately when the computer starts, but it always begins on boot during the "waiting for /dev to be fully populated... done" step.

Looking online for solutions (such as this), my loopback and automute are down all the way, and there's no keyboard backlight (this computer is a desktop).

System info:

Code: Select all

$ inxi -Fxz
System:    Host: <redacted> Kernel: 4.9.0-0.bpo.3-amd64 x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 4.9.2)
           Desktop: Cinnamon 3.2.7 (Gtk 3.14.5+4) Distro: LinuxMint 2 betsy
Machine:   System: Dell product: OptiPlex 790 v: 01
           Mobo: Dell model: 0J3C2F v: A00 Bios: Dell v: A05 date: 05/28/2011
CPU:       Quad core Intel Core i5-2500 (-MCP-) cache: 6144 KB
           flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 26341
           Clock Speeds: 1: 2620 MHz 2: 2613 MHz 3: 1599 MHz 4: 2577 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1366x768@59.79hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Sandybridge Desktop GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 10.3.2 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 6 Series/C200 Series Family High Definition Audio Controller
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.9.0-0.bpo.3-amd64
Network:   Card-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection driver: e1000e v: 3.2.6-k port: 3080 bus-ID: 00:19.0
           IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
           Card-2: D-Link System DWA-140 RangeBooster N Adapter(rev.B2) [Ralink RT3072]
           driver: rt2800usb v: 2.3.0 usb-ID: 002-003
           IF: wlan0 state: up speed: N/A duplex: N/A mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 500.1GB (5.2% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD5000AZLX size: 500.1GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 39G used: 9.0G (25%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2
           ID-2: /home size: 145G used: 16G (12%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda3
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 40.0C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 197 Uptime: 1:22 Memory: 2052.7/7867.0MB Init: SysVinit runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.9.2
           Client: Shell (bash 4.3.301) inxi: 2.1.28

Code: Select all

$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
ctr                    16384  2
ccm                    20480  1
pci_stub               16384  1
vboxpci                24576  0
vboxnetadp             28672  0
vboxnetflt             28672  0
vboxdrv               454656  3 vboxnetadp,vboxnetflt,vboxpci
cpufreq_powersave      16384  0
cpufreq_conservative    16384  0
cpufreq_userspace      16384  0
binfmt_misc            20480  1
ip6t_REJECT            16384  1
nf_reject_ipv6         16384  1 ip6t_REJECT
nf_log_ipv6            16384  5
xt_hl                  16384  6
ip6t_rt                16384  3
nf_conntrack_ipv6      20480  7
nf_defrag_ipv6         36864  1 nf_conntrack_ipv6
ipt_REJECT             16384  1
nf_reject_ipv4         16384  1 ipt_REJECT
nf_log_ipv4            16384  5
nf_log_common          16384  2 nf_log_ipv6,nf_log_ipv4
xt_LOG                 16384  10
xt_limit               16384  13
xt_tcpudp              16384  18
xt_addrtype            16384  4
nf_conntrack_ipv4      16384  7
nf_defrag_ipv4         16384  1 nf_conntrack_ipv4
xt_conntrack           16384  14
ip6table_filter        16384  1
ip6_tables             28672  1 ip6table_filter
nf_conntrack_netbios_ns    16384  0
nf_conntrack_broadcast    16384  1 nf_conntrack_netbios_ns
nf_nat_ftp             16384  0
nf_nat                 28672  1 nf_nat_ftp
nf_conntrack_ftp       20480  1 nf_nat_ftp
nf_conntrack          114688  8 nf_conntrack_ipv6,nf_conntrack_ftp,nf_conntrack_ipv4,nf_conntrack_broadcast,nf_nat_ftp,nf_conntrack_netbios_ns,xt_conntrack,nf_nat
iptable_filter         16384  1
ip_tables              24576  1 iptable_filter
x_tables               36864  13 xt_LOG,ipt_REJECT,ip_tables,iptable_filter,xt_tcpudp,xt_limit,ip6t_REJECT,ip6table_filter,xt_addrtype,ip6t_rt,xt_conntrack,ip6_tables,xt_hl
fuse                   98304  3
ecryptfs               98304  0
cbc                    16384  0
encrypted_keys         20480  1 ecryptfs
lp                     20480  0
dm_crypt               28672  0
arc4                   16384  2
rt2800usb              28672  0
rt2x00usb              24576  1 rt2800usb
rt2800lib              94208  1 rt2800usb
rt2x00lib              53248  3 rt2800lib,rt2800usb,rt2x00usb
mac80211              671744  3 rt2800lib,rt2x00lib,rt2x00usb
cfg80211              598016  2 rt2x00lib,mac80211
crc_ccitt              16384  1 rt2800lib
rfkill                 24576  2 cfg80211
snd_hda_codec_hdmi     49152  1
intel_rapl             20480  0
snd_hda_codec_realtek    90112  1
snd_hda_codec_generic    73728  1 snd_hda_codec_realtek
x86_pkg_temp_thermal    16384  0
intel_powerclamp       16384  0
coretemp               16384  0
kvm_intel             192512  0
kvm                   589824  1 kvm_intel
irqbypass              16384  1 kvm
snd_hda_intel          36864  3
crct10dif_pclmul       16384  0
snd_hda_codec         135168  4 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec_realtek
crc32_pclmul           16384  0
snd_hda_core           81920  5 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec_realtek
ghash_clmulni_intel    16384  0
snd_hwdep              16384  1 snd_hda_codec
snd_pcm               110592  4 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_core,snd_hda_codec_hdmi
intel_cstate           16384  0
intel_uncore          122880  0
ppdev                  20480  0
parport_pc             28672  1
snd_timer              32768  1 snd_pcm
iTCO_wdt               16384  0
iTCO_vendor_support    16384  1 iTCO_wdt
dcdbas                 16384  0
mei_me                 36864  0
mei                   102400  1 mei_me
serio_raw              16384  0
pcspkr                 16384  0
intel_rapl_perf        16384  0
evdev                  24576  16
snd                    86016  14 snd_hda_intel,snd_hwdep,snd_hda_codec,snd_timer,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_pcm
parport                49152  3 lp,parport_pc,ppdev
lpc_ich                24576  0
mfd_core               16384  1 lpc_ich
shpchp                 36864  0
soundcore              16384  1 snd
ext4                  593920  2
crc16                  16384  1 ext4
jbd2                  106496  1 ext4
fscrypto               28672  1 ext4
mbcache                16384  3 ext4
btrfs                1056768  0
xor                    24576  1 btrfs
hid_generic            16384  0
usbhid                 53248  0
hid                   118784  2 hid_generic,usbhid
raid6_pq              110592  1 btrfs
dm_mirror              24576  0
dm_region_hash         20480  1 dm_mirror
dm_log                 20480  2 dm_mirror,dm_region_hash
dm_mod                118784  3 dm_mirror,dm_log,dm_crypt
sg                     32768  0
sr_mod                 24576  0
cdrom                  61440  1 sr_mod
sd_mod                 49152  3
crc32c_intel           24576  1
ahci                   36864  2
libahci                32768  1 ahci
aesni_intel           167936  2
aes_x86_64             20480  1 aesni_intel
glue_helper            16384  1 aesni_intel
lrw                    16384  1 aesni_intel
gf128mul               16384  1 lrw
ablk_helper            16384  1 aesni_intel
i915                 1241088  5
cryptd                 24576  3 ablk_helper,ghash_clmulni_intel,aesni_intel
i2c_algo_bit           16384  1 i915
psmouse               135168  0
libata                249856  2 ahci,libahci
firewire_ohci          40960  0
i2c_i801               24576  0
scsi_mod              225280  4 sd_mod,libata,sr_mod,sg
ehci_pci               16384  0
i2c_smbus              16384  1 i2c_i801
drm_kms_helper        155648  1 i915
ehci_hcd               81920  1 ehci_pci
firewire_core          65536  1 firewire_ohci
crc_itu_t              16384  1 firewire_core
e1000e                245760  0
usbcore               249856  6 rt2x00lib,usbhid,rt2800usb,rt2x00usb,ehci_hcd,ehci_pci
ptp                    20480  1 e1000e
drm                   360448  6 i915,drm_kms_helper
usb_common             16384  1 usbcore
pps_core               16384  1 ptp
video                  40960  1 i915
button                 16384  1 i915


Alsa settings:
alsa.png



Thanks!
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Frazatto
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby Frazatto » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:46 pm

Fred, it is very probable that the problem is with your hardware.
It's very common problem, I use a MacBook and every time I have a larger download it will start buzzing.
The only hardware that never did such things was an old standalone SoundBlaster I had in 1990's, all the other "generic" ones that come onboad had this problem.

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chrisuk
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby chrisuk » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:27 pm

I think it's one of those problems that can be caused by numerous different things, Fred. I can't help, except to say; you could try turning the PC volume up high, and turning the volume down on the headphones (assuming they have a volume control on them). It might keep you sane while you find an answer ;)
Chris

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phd21
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby phd21 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:00 pm

Hi "Fred Barclay",

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

Try installing "QasMixer", turn off "loopback mixing" if it is enabled; and with certain applications like "gradio" on my system, having the input0 (mic1) set to "StereoMix" instead of mic will cause buzzing. I do use the Input0 = StereoMix to record system sound (ie: music app) along with my microphone when using SimpleScreenRecorder.

Also if you computer has front and rear jacks, try another jack...

FYI: There are some really nice graphical (GUI) programs for sound that start with "Qas", like the fantastic "Qasmixer", in the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) that you can install and use. Sound "Mixers" can be a little confusing if you are not familiar with them. If you bring up "Qasmixer" and make it fullscreen, on the right side you will have mixer devices where you can control your system sound. If you do not see the mixer devices, hit "F6". The mixer item "sysdefault" will show all installed sound card devices, and you will have various options to adjust various volume controls using "sliders" which you can turn off and on using the "dot" below the volume slider. There are also various other check boxes below that you can use, and depending upon your sound card(s) that sometimes includes headphone checkboxes and or sliders as well, like "Headphone Jack Sense".

The applications included are:
- qasconfig - browser for the alsa configuration tree
- qashctl - mixer for alsa's high level control interface
- qasmixer - desktop mixer with features similar to alsamixer

Qasmixer is a desktop mixer application for alsa's "simple mixer interface" and offers features similar to alsamixer. it also features a sytem tray icon with basic mixer functionality.

Install "libasound2-plugin-equal" which is another system wide equalizer that's in the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) that shows up in "QasMixer".

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.2, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,3gb Ram,160gb hdd, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Lanser
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby Lanser » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:21 am

Hi Fred. Couple of questions for you. :-)
Can you describe the buzzing? Does it vary in frequency or is it a static tone? Does it sound anything like classic analogue 50Hz mains hum?
Are your headphones passive or active ? Are your headphones 8Ω or high impedence? Does the volume of the buzzing vary with changes to the sound volume?
Do you get the same buzzing if you connect the output to an external amplifier ?

Lanser
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Fred Barclay
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby Fred Barclay » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:05 pm

phd21, I owe you a coffee or something! :) Guess I've been using laptops too long - I completely forgot that desktops often had more than one output jack! The back one is working fine with no buzzing.
I did have to use qasmixer to get output from the back jack:
sound.png

Loopback mixing was already disabled.

Frazatto, I would have thought that it was simply bad hardware if it didn't occur on another, identical computer. Maybe it's something to do with the way Linux interacts with the hardware? :?

chrisuk: no headphone volume controls, unfortunately. I've only got some earbuds that aren't absolutely low-end, but don't come with anything fancy either.

Lanser: I'm not sure what 50Hz buzzing would sound like, but if it's anything like the first few seconds of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccdbQFnpNh8 then no, the buzz isn't too much like it. What I'm hearing is a bit higher pitched, has some crackles (especially when moving my mouse), and is pretty constant.
The earbuds are passive.
I'm not sure about the impedence and I don't have the specs handy, but if I track 'em down I'll post it here. These look identical to the ones I usually use on this computer. They're just some cheap earbuds I picked up in the States.

The buzzing does not change as I adjust the system volume, even if I mute it.

I don't have an external amplifier handy but maybe I can check in a little bit.
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phd21
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby phd21 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:24 pm

Hi "Fred Barclay",

You are welcome...

That's great the buzzing in your headphones is gone and that it was something simple.

I noticed something strange on some desktops, like mine, that they are sometimes using one audio jack for dual purposes, like "Line in" and or "microphone in". My Microphone would only work well in the front jack, not the back one.

Have a great day and night ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.2, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,3gb Ram,160gb hdd, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Lanser
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Re: Constant buzzing in headphones

Postby Lanser » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:40 pm

Hi Fred. Glad to hear you have a work around for the problem.
Thanks for your replies. I was trying to figure out where in the signal path the buzzing was getting in, and what the source could be.
My best guess based on "no noise using the rear jack" instead of the front, is that the cable between the mother board and the front panel is either not well shielded, or is running next to one of the SATA cables.
There is a lot of RF noise inside a PC case and it's easy for an analogue audio link to pick up stray sounds. Particularly if the load [headphones] have a high impedance.
If you are curious, take a look inside the case and check out the cable paths. Even moving the jack cable a centimetre away from the HDD cable may solve the problem.
cheers
Lanser
Please Don't Charge the Particles. It Only Gets Them Excited.


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