Page about the occasional loud white/static noise or screech issue on Xonar cards that some experience.
- 16 May 2020: Possible solution 1 updated.
- 11 May 2020: Page updated.
- 10 May 2020: Article published.
Why it happens
I personally only had such an issue only 1 time in over 10 years on my old PC, a Intel Core 2 Duo with DFI P35 motherboard, AMD Radeon HD7790, Xonar DX and Windows 7. At that moment my PC was under heavy load and I jumped to a different position on a YouTube video. Most of the reports involve playing a video on YouTube or another video site or in a video desktop application. Currently, I'm thinking it has to do with some sort of big delay in processing the sound which causes the driver to go haywire. Could be related to very high DPC latency or something else.
Some reported having this issue only after updating to Windows 10, never had this on Windows 7.
1. Disable all of Xonar's recording inputs and use the Microphone or Line In from the onboard audio card or buy a USB microphone
To do so, open Windows Sound (right-click on Windows Volume tray icon-> Sounds or if missing type in Windows search: “change system sounds”)-> Select Recording tab-> Right-click and select Disable for: Microphone (ASUS Xonar...), Line In (ASUS X...), ALT (ASUS X...), AUX (ASUS X...), Stereo Mix(ASUS X...) and Wave (ASUS X...). Then right-click on Microphone (HD Audio.../Realtek.../SupremeFX.../USB Mic...) and select "Set as Default" and "Set as Default Communication Device".
2. Lower your system DPC latency
- Install UNi Xonar drivers with Low DPC Latency or C-Media Panel configuration. Optionally, use XonarSwitch to control the sound card settings. Do not use ASUS Audio Center.
- Do not enable any sound enhancements in ASUS/C-Media/XonarSwitch panel.
- Disable SpeakerCompensation.
- Check this article for other tips to reduce DPC Latency.
3. Avoid IRQ sharing between Xonar card and other devices
To do so you could try switching the other devices interrupts from Line-based to MSI, see info here. Do not switch the Xonar card to MSI as it will prevent your system from booting. You can try this in conjunction with moving the card to a PCI/PCIe in which the Xonar card IRQ is shared with less devices.
General recommendations and what else can you do
As a precautionary measure, you should set the volume in Windows and applications close to 100% and control the volume from the amplifier, speakers or headphones. If you are using headphones that do not have a volume control, you should buy a headphone amplifier so that you can control the volume.
Keep in mind that nothing is worth permanently damaging your ears.
When the issue happens you can try the Xonar Driver Restart instead of restarting the PC.
My old answer from the UNi Xonar FAQ page:
Q: Occasionally, I get a loud white/static noise or screech. Why is that and is there something that can be done to prevent this?
A: There are at least two instances:
- It may be a issue or incompatibility between the motherboard and the Xonar audio card. Ironically, ASUS motherboards seem to be most prone to this issue. Unfortunately there isn't much it can be done. You should look into updating the motherboard BIOS to the latest version. If that does not solve the problem a possible solution would be to change the motherboard if you think the card you own is worth it.
- A Windows 10 only issue. Discussions for this case are talking place on this page. No solution has been found so far except reverting back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
General recommendations: If you run into this issues and have not found a solution you should either buy a different audio card that's not powered by C-Media audio chips (so no ASUS or HTOmega), buy an external DAC or at least take some precautionary measures like controlling the volume with a amplifier while having Windows volume always set to 100%. Keep in mind that nothing is worth permanently damaging your ears.
- ASUS Xonar DG, Xonar DGX, Xonar DG SI, Xonar DS, Xonar DSX, Xonar D1, Xonar D2, Xonar DX, Xonar D2X, Xonar HDAV, Xonar HDAV Slim, Xonar Essence ST, Xonar Essence STX, Xonar Essence STX II, Xonar Xense.
- Other C-media CMI8786 and CMI8788 audio chipset cards:
- Auzentech: HDA X-Purity 7.1, X-Meridian 1G, X-Meridian 2G.
- HTOmega: Claro, Claro Plus, Claro II, Claro Halo, eClaro.
- Razer Barracuda AC-1.
- TempoTec HIFIER Serenade