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Solution to getting rid of pop-sounds when audio is being played in Windows after being idle for some time

RandomEar

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2022
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Disclaimer
There's various sources of pop-sounds in audio devices and the Windows audio stack. The following solution only applies to one specific case, which might also be related to the audio output and the DAC you use. Please keep that in mind when looking for a solution for your "pop-lem".

Problem
Your audio system is connected to a PC. In my case, I have an SMSL SU-9n DAC connected via optical S/PDIF to my motherboard's optical out. After not playing any sound for a while, some component in the chain - maybe the motherboard sound chip, maybe the DAC, maybe something else - will enter some form of power saving mode and turn off the outputs. As soon as any sound is played after this happened, the component will wake up again and turn the outputs back on. The result is a loss of a couple of audio samples at the very beginning and a soft "pop" sound from the speakers.

This annoyed the hell out of me and I have checked various solutions, including some power saving settings in Windows, different audio drivers and so on. Nothing changed, up until I stumbled upon a tiny little program called soundkeeper.

Solution
  • Download soundkeeper
  • Extract the soundkeeper archive and copy the contents to C:\Program Files\Soundkeeper
  • Create a textfile named "Soundkeeper.txt" with the following content
    Code:
    start "" "C:\Program Files\Soundkeeper\SoundKeeper64.exe" /Zero /Primary
  • Rename the text file to "Soundkeeper.cmd"
  • Copy the .cmd file to "C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"
    (change YOURUSERNAME to the appropriate Windows user name)
  • Run "Soundkeeper.cmd" and check in Task Manager, whether the Soundkeeper process is present - it should be running and will from now on start with Windows.
Soundkeeper does nothing else than to output zero-samples, if no other audio is playing in Windows. You can also configure it differently, but it wasn't necessary for me - check the documentation, in case the above solution doesn't work for you.

There are some things to consider here, including the fact that you're giving an unknown program access to your audio stack. I can only say that I've checked the download using virustotal.com (came back clean) and have been running this for a couple of weeks without problems. Hope this post helps a some users with their personal "pop"-problem.
 
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