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HDD use + front panel audio = static noise

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27 June 2009 06:02:25

Hi all. I've recently been trying to figure out how to fix this problem. Essentially when my headphones are hooked up to my cases front panel (sound, mic, usb, FW) I get a ton of static that seems to be noise from the HDD's working.

Current pc specs:

Silverstone 850W power supply
HT Claro Omega Audio card
SATA WD raptors (raid 0)

Now here's what I've tried:

1. Unplugged the front panel USB/FW cord. Didn't work
2. Plugged the same headphones into the rear of the computer, worked, no noise.
3. Tried manipulating the front panel audio cord so it doesn't hit my video card and such, didn't work.
4. Mobo audio is turned off in the BIOS
5. Removed all OC'ing


The noise isn't quite noticeable in FPS games where there's constantly sound happening, or just listening to music. But when it's quiet i can here it. Games with a lot of HDD use, like WoW for example, the noise is *constant* and the pitch is always changing based on the load I'm putting on the HDD's (like if i turn my camera quickly in a crowded city).

I'd really like to figure this issue out, between all the money thrown into the various parts of this PC i really don't think i should be getting these issues.

And before someone asks "why don't you just keep them plugged into the back?" I'll say this: When I'm using VoIP, or anything to talk to people in-games, I don't want to have to keep unplugging my speakers to plug in my headphones. It's a real pain, have to reach under the radiator and through cords and crap.

Thank you for any help, I'll be monitoring this so ask any questions you need.

More about : hdd front panel audio static noise

a b B Homebuilt system
27 June 2009 09:53:21

Do you have a quality case with good wiring?
27 June 2009 09:59:53

I hAVE a ANTEC 900 and a X-FI extremeGamer sound card and the front panel STILl sucks (full of static) its like that for both the Sound card and onboard audio >_> such T_T tell me how to FIX T_T!!!!!!!!!!!
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
27 June 2009 10:01:04

You need to make sure that the wiring in the case is EM shielded, as your hard drive spins it creates a varying magnetic field giving you noise in your line. Shielded lines are a bit harder to come by but if you get a splitted to plug into the back of your computer and an extension you can run it out of the back of your computer and get around your issue.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Should solve your problem
27 June 2009 10:17:35

okay im so sorry icewolf69 T_T im stealing ur blog coz i dont noe how to start one T_T , but hey mine i dont think has anything to do with the HDD >_> it just static >_> for some reason :S i hate it >_> i need to use the front panel as i have multiple headphone getting to the back is a pain >_>
27 June 2009 12:09:40

Well Zhemin it can also be caused by the video card, your case LED's, or CPU. i'd try to pull the cord away from any components while it's on to see if that helps. then try disconnecting your LED wires from the mobo.

There's also a good tutorial on eVGA's forums on wraping your front panel audio connector in foil and electrical tape to reduce noise. I'll see if i can pull it up.

I'm going to try that, and maybe hunter's suggestion also.

I also have a Z-5500 on order, so if all else fails I'll just plug my headphones and mic into the speaker control system on the Z-5500.


27 June 2009 12:11:40

GhislainG said:
Do you have a quality case with good wiring?



Well i don't know if *any* case has quality wiring these days. they're all made in malyasia and china, and let's face it, these companies are trying to make money and will cut corners when they can. you can tell that just by noticing that your front panel cable is JUST long enough to get to your audio input. I'd like to wire it behind the mobo, but that's not going to happen.

My case is a silverstone TJ-09 though. and for the price i paid for it, i would think that's about as "quality" as i'm going to get.
a b B Homebuilt system
27 June 2009 12:36:33

Wouldnt have thought of wrapping them in foil and electrical tape but if you run a wire from the foil to your case its now grounded and pretty well shielded. I would give that a shot first because worst case you use a bit of foil and a couple bucks worth of tape but it seems like a sound idea.
15 May 2010 00:05:48

hi guys, old thread i know but I have spent most of the afternoon trying to solve similar issues, so i thought I'd share some knowledge :D 

obviously the problem lies with EM interference, and i found a post on another forum (link lost: i powered down to try it!) saying that (particularly for antec cases) the problem is caused by the front USB and AUDIO headers sharing a ground connection, hence i set to work decoupling them.

the following applies to an Antec 300 (and probably all other antecs and many other cases):

1. take front panel off (plastic bit, clipped on with plastic hooky clips)

2. locate plastic block containing connectors, unscrew, and prize lid off with a small electronics screwdriver or similar (I started with a plectrum)

3. under the headphone socket there was a black earth wire which looped under the mic jack and was soldered onto the back of the USB port on the left, I snipped it as close as possible to the USB end, leaving me around 1½" slack wire to play with

4. cut/filed a groove in the edge of the plastic box to allow the cable to pass outside

5. as i screwed the box back in I caught the wire between the plastic block and front panel, such that the splayed ends of the wire touched against the bare metal of the case chassis.

thats it!! careless wire stripping left me with only 4 strands of wire exposed, which doesn't provide an ideal contact, but it has still eliminated ALMOST all of the noise (I'd say it's around a 75% reduction), but i think to do any better it may be useful to wrap the wire as Hunter suggests

If anyone wants to try this, but is unconfident, I took a few photos for a pictorial but haven't uploaded them yet, if you want them, let me know!
21 November 2010 01:57:40

Im going to reopen this: this seems to be usual in Antec cases. As both of my 902's have the same problem. I really would like to avoid FanterA's mecking so, have anyone figured a easier method yet?
3 December 2010 14:56:07

Add me to the list of Antec owners with static ridden front panel audio. I'm really glad I googled the problem cos for the life of me I couldn't figure out what was going on. I was also curious about why the static (which in my case isn't just static, but a sort of low volume high pitch whine as an accompaniment) seemed to fluctuate and change constantly. Interesting to hear the OP's comments regarding his HDD interfering and causing it. Based on what I've read it's definitely interference of some sort. So it wouldn't surprise me. At least can evidently be eliminated.

Zhemin - this is the first page I've visited since I started searching about the problem a few minutes ago, but I'll be hunting down a solution one or another. I'll keep this thread updated when I find the simplest, most user friendly and idiot proof way to get it done.

It's a shame Antec didn't do a little more R&D on this. In the few searches I've done it looks like a large number of people have this issue. Mostly 900 owners, but it obviously effects their other models like my 100. Surely Antec should have picked up this flaw during R&D.
5 December 2010 18:17:15

good job, rxracer... keep us posted and anyone with any input is welcome!
1 May 2011 06:29:03

Just to add - I've just experienced this issue - affected both my speakers and my headphones coming from and Auzentech Forte. Even switching to digital out there was still this drumming static noise.

My case is also an Antec but a P182.

Tracked down the source (after moving mobile phones away and unplugging virtually ever single cable!) - my microphone default had switched to the front panel choice, which was producing the static. Nothing was plugged in but you could see the noise level moving in time on the Sound panel.

Just selecting the back panel mic eliminated the problem immediately. Funnily enough, after going back to the front panel moments later, the noise had disappeared. But the cause really was the front panel mic.

No idea if the Antec wiring is sub par or what but hope this helps...
2 December 2011 06:49:38

I have the same problem with my case. I have a cosmos 1000 and using the mobo sound. The HDD seems to be the problem, as when it goes into full use it will start clicking or whining - sounds like static. I did similar things like remove usb connectors, move the audio cable so it wouldnt touch other cables. It's certainly some interference, i dont get this on the rear panel but I want to use the front for less obvious reasons. I plan to do the wrapping in aluminum foil with electric tape over it.
3 January 2012 21:21:46

I know this is an old thread, but it is the first result that pops up when searching Google for "front headphone static noise", so it is likely that people will come here looking for a solution...

I had the exact same problem as icewolf69. Reading through this thread I saw the post from rxracer and that gave me an idea. Although I don't have an Antec case (I have a Sharkoon), the headphone connector is mounted on the same circuitboard as the front USB ports.
So I made two small modifications by cutting (scratching) the circuitboard so that the ground connectors of the USB ports were no longer connected to the headphone ground pin. And that solved the problem. I've made a photo to show what I did (look at the two blue arrows).

23 April 2012 06:03:04

I have been looking for similar issue and solution.
I just want to add just in case there are others with similar scenarios.
I do have a Strikecool Strike-X ST.
I usually play music/videos with an external HD (which is plugged in front).
The static is only really noticeable when volume is near maximum.
Now when I disconnected the HD in front, the static immediately went away.
So I suppose I have the same with everyone else here that the grounding is same with the usb.
Thinking of scratching the board too but since I just built my unit (new case), I'd let Aerocool know and what recommendations they'd give.
Thanks all, it helped me narrow down the problem after reading this thread.
12 July 2012 13:26:00

Aspegic said:
I know this is an old thread, but it is the first result that pops up when searching Google for "front headphone static noise", so it is likely that people will come here looking for a solution...

I had the exact same problem as icewolf69. Reading through this thread I saw the post from rxracer and that gave me an idea. Although I don't have an Antec case (I have a Sharkoon), the headphone connector is mounted on the same circuitboard as the front USB ports.
So I made two small modifications by cutting (scratching) the circuitboard so that the ground connectors of the USB ports were no longer connected to the headphone ground pin. And that solved the problem. I've made a photo to show what I did (look at the two blue arrows).

http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/3843/reparatie640.jpg


This method worked perfectly for the Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow Edition case. It is very sad that a case nearly $300 requires a manual mod to fix such a basic feature.

You have no idea how much better I feel knowing I won't have to deal with technical support and most likely getting another flawed PCB sent to me, or worse having to pay to have this case shipped and leaving my new gaming PC components with no home for weeks.
29 July 2012 20:11:43

SwordOfWar said:
This method worked perfectly for the Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow Edition case. It is very sad that a case nearly $300 requires a manual mod to fix such a basic feature.

You have no idea how much better I feel knowing I won't have to deal with technical support and most likely getting another flawed PCB sent to me, or worse having to pay to have this case shipped and leaving my new gaming PC components with no home for weeks.


I also have a Thermaltake Level 10 case. How exactly do you go about scratching the PCB?
1 August 2012 11:08:36

I tried scoring/ scratching the my azza solano 1000 front audio panels PCB to separate the usb from the mic phone jacks, but my hard drive/PC electrical noise still remains. On my PCB the front side ware the jacks are has some of the green coating as well but none electrical lane wires that i scored on the underside. I'm wondering if i need to score the front too.
2 August 2012 12:02:06

I would like to add on to this thread that I am having identical issues with my Corsair Carbide 500r case. I have not read of anyone else having this issue with this case, but sure enough I am getting static or crackling whenever I move my mouse or scroll or mostly anything. It is not very loud, but when I am not listening to anything it is very annoying. It's probably important to report that if I plug my headphones into the audio port in the back of the case, there is no static or crackling. Just the front.

I cannot for the life of me figure out a solution. I'd like to bump this thread to see if anyone else with a 500r is experiencing these problems?
20 October 2012 22:56:44

I know its an old case but as someone suggested- It is easily found via google when searching for front audio jack interference.
I had an Antec before, no problem. Recently for another build I bought an Aerocool - I now get these static sounds/interference.- Real pain i must say.
14 December 2012 10:18:29

ercsrlm said:
I also have a Thermaltake Level 10 case. How exactly do you go about scratching the PCB?


I personally just took a kitchen knife with a rippled blade and took my time slowly scratching away. I used the tip of the knife as well as a straight saw motion over the PCB. You need to keep scratching it until you pass the green layer, as well as the metal layer that is under the green layer.

I suppose you could use any sharp object, like a box cutter (razor) etc to do it. You just need to go deep enough that you separate the metal layer of the PCB.

Just take your time and do it carefully so you don't break the PCB by accident. You could probably just cut the PCB completely (Not tested or recommended though), but you would have to find a way to hold the parts back together for it to be secured into the case again.
18 June 2013 19:28:55

I am so happy right now, I found the solution, for me at least, but couldn't have done this without this thread.

I have blueberry case with 2 usb ports on each side from the audio jacks, and i always had my USB mouse and USB keyboard plugged in the front which made a lot of static which i couldn't handle, it was so simple for me, I just had to unplug the mouse and keyboard and stick it in the back ^^.

It was like this - USB | USB | GREEN jack | PINK jack | USB(mouse) | USB(keyboard)

I know this will only fix problems for some of you but still it helps, free those USB ports near the jacks on all times or get better cables with better protection from static.
18 June 2013 19:44:58

I don't think i ever found a solution to this. I ended up plugging the headphones through the 5.1 speaker system. But the cutting of the front panel circuit board is certainly interesting. I think i'm using the same case i had in 2009 when i made this thread, i'll have to try it some time.
8 December 2013 08:30:19

Same problem, I know it's an old thread but yeah static hissing from front panel audio. In my case I have an HT Omega Striker, for some reason the quality sounds clearer through the front panel with headphones. I did some research and found that the back of the sound card is designed for speakers and amps so in other words the front panel will sound clearer with headphones. I have yet to test plugging in speakers to the front panel, but I'm curious.

I game and also use it to play/write music, it's basically a night and day difference, I have the HD audio connector for the Antec 900 running to the FP port on the sound card. Am I mistaken with what I've stated or am I not far off base. Anyhow, the first issue would be finding out if my sound-card is damaged, doesn't seem to be though, just sounds a hell of a lot better clarity with the speakers plugged in the front panel. The hissing and noise of the mouse moving, keyboard clicking drives me nuts and gives me a head-ache.

Your support is appreciated, thank you.
8 December 2013 20:02:33

I had a similar problem to most others here. I'm using a Silverstone SGO-2F. Plugging headphones into the front panel gave me a constant clicking sound. I also had a Bluetooth.Wifi adapter plugged into an extension cable and then plugged into the front panel. However, it was not on at the time of the issue. Moving the adapter away didn't make any difference. However, as soon as I unplugged the adapter, the clicking stopped.

I hope this helps others.
8 December 2013 22:18:26

I have a solution that should work for you guys, I was speaking with an electrician who works with computers so he knows allot about grounding, etc. Simply wrap tin foil around the cable, test it out make sure its filtering out the sound. If you have it wrapped properly just wrap electrical tape around it. I tried it and and it works, no more computer noises and hissing.

I realize this has been mentioned, but duct tape is not a good choice, it simply wasn't designed for things like this.
5 March 2014 00:19:11

I had This problem just now in a Cooler Master Enforcer Casing.. i did not risk trying to scratch on anything but i uninstalled realtek sound driver in control panel.. restarted the computer and its fix.. i think its when i installed the audio driver when a webcam that has an external speaker and was plugged into the back panel of my case.. that might have screwed the audio driver..
8 April 2014 20:58:56

GUYS I FOUND THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM!!!!!!....CHEER UP!!!!!.....

IF UR MOUSE IS PLUGGED INTO THE USB PORT ON THE FRONT THEN DISCONNECT IT AND CONNECT IT TO THE BACK USB .
THEN PLUG UR HEAD PHONE INTO THE FRONT USB PORT

AND IF UR MOTHER BOARD SUPPORTS HD SOUND THEN U MIGHT NEED TO DO ONE MORE THIND IF U STILL HEAR THE SOUND .U NEED TO RESTART YOUR PC AND OPEN BIOS SETUP .SO TO NORTHERN BRIDGE CONFIGURATION AND SELECT AC97 INSTEAD OF HD .SAVE YOUR SETTING AND REBOOT..AND UR DONE...NO MORE BUSSINGS !!!!!
14 June 2014 10:34:23

I solved the issue of the interference in my PC disconnecting the grounds of the audio jack, USB etc between them. At first the audio malfunctioned without being grounded so I wired the ground of the audio jack to the ground coming in the HD-audio cable of my PC. I also had to bridge the ground of some USB on the right of the scratch to others on the other side. Finding the ground was easy using the tester. You've got to see which spots are inter-conected using the resistence mode. I touched the ground with one of the tester cables and all the pins one by one with the other cable. The pins which were corresponding to cables from the HD-audio connector and were also ground where isolated by scratches of the USB grounds and connected via a wire to and only to the audio jack. Sorry for my English, I'm from Argentina. Hope this helps ! (link to an image below)
https://scontent-b-gru.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t1.0-9...
16 June 2014 20:35:44

Hey everyone, as I've fixed this issue on my last 3 cases I thought I'd post my thoughts and the reason this is a common issue.

I just fixed this on my Thermaltake Level 10 GT case. (Previously on my Antec 300 and 600 cases). My issue, while similar, is interference from the video card while the video card is under load.

See attached image while I explain.

http://i.imgur.com/QWY44hq.jpg

The reason this happens is because the case design assumes that it is OK to connect the headphone jack to COMMON GROUND. You'll notice that the PCB is grounded to the chassis when it is attached (A) and that shares the ground with both the USB (B) and Audio (C). As people mentioned, you may see feedback from USB devices as the ground is shared. The truth is, this audio jack should not share any ground, and should only be grounded via the header back to the motherboard.

When Audio uses a common ground like this, it will pick up all sorts of noise that other devices are bleeding into the chassis. Isolating the ground to the audio header on the motherboard will resolve the issue, as the sound card SHOULD have proper noise filtering that won't allow garbage to back flow into the audio header.

With this case, cutting the PCB (D) as shown will both remove the shared ground from the USB (B) and remove the connection to the chassis ground (A).

If you are having this problem on a different case, just isolate the points as I have and make sure that your audio ground does not have continuity with the USB (B) or chassis (A) ground. Also NOTE that you must disconnect the audio/usb header from your motherboard when testing continuity, as the ground points will be connected through the motherboard and show continuity, which is normal. Disconnect when testing!

Let's hope some day case designers give their head a shake. Until then, good luck everyone.