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How to avoid crackling via USB (static noise at mainboard-plug? USB-cable issue?)

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Jan 21, 2020
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#1
Hello, i need some help, please!

I use a RME ADI 2 DAC plugged into the USB 2.0.-port on a PC (MSI B450M mainboard). From time to time some kind of "static crackling" builds up and the only solution seems to be plugging the USB out of the mainboard and back in. Shutting off the DAC or pulling the plug on the DAC itself doesn´t work. I have an Intona USB isolator, and it doesn´t help - it happens with and without it. It tried different USB ports, but it´s the same, even with the USB-ports on the other side of the case that are coeccted to the mainboard via cable. I can hear it through headphones and speakers.

When i replug, the crackling seems to go away for at least a few days until it creeps back some day.

I think i have the problem since i tied a bunch of cables together, so the USB cable is close to other cables, like power, display-port, other USB-cables.

Maybe i could solve the problem if i seperate the USB->DAC-cable from the others, but i don´t really want that.

But i am not sure, maybe i changed the cable when i re-organized the calbing stuff. So maybe it has something to do with the cable.

Could a different USB cable help in my case? The one i am using now doesn´t have the ferrite-cores or how you call it. I don´t know what these do.

So i could just try some stuff and just buy some other USB-cable with more shielding or whatever, but i really don´t understand the problem and would like to know what causes it before i buy something.
 

Matias

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#2
Try different cables temporarily to check if it solves. Or maybe add a PCIe USB card, or try an USB hub.
 
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#3
It sounds like static is building up in the sheath around your cables, as a result of a dielectric effect. If you don't want to separate the cables from the bundle you could try earthing the plastic shielding around the USB cable using some bell wire.
 
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Thread Starter #4
Thanks for your answers so far. I will try the things you suggested, but because it could take some days for the problem to come back again it takes some time until i can do it.
 
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Thread Starter #6
Thanks, i will try this as well. On one occasion i had the impression the problem occured when i used WASAPI (exclusive) and it disappeared when i switched to WASAPI (shared) in MusicBee, but i am not sure about this. I could not reproduce it yet, but will try.
 
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#7
I've had my iFi Zen DAC (well, could also be my thx amp as well, or eve just the analog cables involved or my cans themselves) do that every once in a blue moon, but in my case I've always assumed it was because my phone was nearby and receiving a call or text message (not sure anyone remembers this, but of my teachers could guess when someone was texting because it would cause his speakers to crackle (they were on but with no music playing)). But in your case, since it seems to keep going once it starts until you do what you described, my guess is there's an issue on the software level, or on the hardware level in terms of your motherboard's usb hardware (it would be disappointing if it was your DAC, given the price and whatnot). As always though, try another usb cable just in case.

Try reinstalling the DAC's USB drivers, or reverting to an older version. You mentioned WASAPI exclusive possibly causing an issue; do you use the DAC in exclusive mode often? Does this only happen when in WASAPI Exclusive mode? You might want to try ASIO if your DAC and playback software support it. Since you mentioned you're on WASAPI, I'll assume you're on Windows 10. You could try rolling back any windows updates or even roll back from the current version of windows, possibly, as it could be a Windows issue as well. Also, did you upgrade the DAC's firmware prior to having this issue?
 
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