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Thread: Audio Front Panel jacks

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    Insomnia Robscure's Avatar
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    Audio Front Panel jacks

    Hello everyone, I'm back with a new question today

    [SOLVED]

    Yes!!! I solved it! Rather than breaking apart the front panel (as others have done), or ordering a new one and replacing it, which doesn't always work, I simply disconnected the front panel's USB ports from the Motherboard, viola! Absolutely zero interference!

    Mwahahaha this is GREAT! Finally!

    A lot of people have this problem and I finally solved it, for anyone who doesn't care/need/use their front panel USB ports then this is the easiest and best fix yet!

    I recommend a sticky of this thread or something because this is a common problem that I have found no good solution for on the internet, I think this might be the first time and people can benefit from this information.


    I have the Lian Li PC-A17 case and at the front (top) there are a few USB ports and Audio jacks for headphones + mic.

    My problem is that the Audio quality in the front panel jack is bad, when I have my headphones on and don't play any sounds at all I can hear a loud static... During playback it is clearly distorted and scratchy at times.

    There are absolutely no problems when I plug my headphones in the rear panel (replacing the speakers, there aren't two available ports to use simultaneously in the back as far as I'm aware)

    Sure, I can (and do) use the rear panel for my headset, but obviously it is inconvenient to have to lean back there and disconnect/reconnect when I wish to switch between headset and desktop speakers.

    So my guess is that either there aren't proper drivers installed on the front panel... or it has something to do with hardware configuration...

    .... both of which I don't know how to fix... Windows Device Manager isn't detecting any new devices when I plug into the front panel's audio jacks, and I don't see any cables unplugged from there which I might need...

    Although there is an AC97 (or w/e) connector hanging out of my Audio Card (default with Maximus II Formula) is a front panel meant to connect to the audio card directly somehow?

    Anyone had any experience with similar issues and can offer some technical advice please?

    Thank you
    Last edited by Robscure; 08-11-2010 at 12:12 AM. Reason: SOLVED - important fix for people with front panel audio problems

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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    What are the front panel connectors connected to internally?
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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    What are the front panel connectors connected to internally?
    I'm going to have to get back to you on that question.

    I'll check next time I shut down my PC.

    Thank you, hopefully you'll see my response

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Okay I just opened up my PC and had a look around, the front panel is connected directly to my Audio Card via the "HD audio" connector/thing... The wire is connected and undetachable from the front panel, it has two connector/things, one is "HD Audio" the other is "AC '97"

    There are no other cables for the audio except that single one with the two connectors.

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    chance is its picking up interference, you can wrap the cable in tin foil then insulation tape to stop it shorting anything. i get the same with the corsair 800d but my external amps got the headphone jack so i never shielded the front ports.

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Quote Originally Posted by GoNz0 View Post
    chance is its picking up interference, you can wrap the cable in tin foil then insulation tape to stop it shorting anything. i get the same with the corsair 800d but my external amps got the headphone jack so i never shielded the front ports.
    My amp has a jack in the front as well, but when I plug my headphones into it then it just makes the speakers give super bass but it doesn't come through my headphones, the audio continues through my speakers but sounds very different with high bass.

    Hmm it is possible that the cable is getting interference, good point!

    Should I route the cable behind the case/motherboard instead of across the motherboard? right now the cable is routed across my motherboard, so it hangs over the motherboard and is wedged between my GPU and RAM...

    I'll reroute the cable and see if that helps, thanks for that tip...

    But I'm still curious about the front of the AMP, I never realized I could use that for anything... How does that work?

    Thanks a lot Gonz0, you're awesome, +rep

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    I placed the wire differently in the case, instead over going over the motherboard it goes behind the case's side panel like the others... Nothing changed with regards to the static however...


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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    I just read this someone wrote on another forum...

    I fixed it! I had the case apart to fiddle with my fans so I decided to give it another shot. I pulled the module out of the front bezel and cut it open with a Dremel. It was more or less as I expected. The audio part of it was in its own sub-unit made of translucent plastic embedded in the molded black plastic thing. Cutting through enough of the surrounding plastic revealed let me separate it and sever the common ground, which was the only wire connecting the different parts.

    I covered up the exposed ends of wire with electrical tape, stuck it back in the bezel, and now I've got working USB, eSATA and a headphone jack with no interference!

    I gotta say be careful with this though, it's impossible to see what you're doing, so you have to be very careful not to cut into the sub-module too much. I very nearly cut a wire inside the audio part, which would have ruined it.

    It's funny, there's a lot of misleading information on the web about this problem. Most people seem to think it's either EM interference because of an unshielded cable or just an inherent problem with on-board audio. But it's definitely a grounding issue. You learn something new every day!


    I'm confident that he is correct because I just spent an hour wrapping aluminum foil around my cable and it still has interference hahahahaha

    However... I move the cable around while the PC is on and I notice that the interference increases a lot whenever it nears the PSU, RAM, GPU.... if I keep the cable away from all of them (which is impossible actually) then it has minimal interference, but STILL does have audible static...

    It's not just static though, when I run FurMark, and my GPU is churning out frames and heating up, then I can hear the GPU usage as if my headphones were an electronic stethoscope... lol

    I need to figure out how to stop this "grounding" or whatever is causing this interference!!!

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    I get interference (not static though) from my Xonar DX, but like yourself, only when using headphones.

    In Counter Strike Source, even when looking up and down, giving the graphics card something to do, the noise I get (hard to describe) changes in pitch, suggesting it's the graphics card interfering. Then again, when the hard drive thrashes if I'm watching a video or music, I also get more interference (I can almost time it with the HDD activity LED), so maybe there is no single component giving problems.

    In summary, I'm not much help really, just sympathy!

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Quote Originally Posted by this_is_gav View Post
    I get interference (not static though) from my Xonar DX, but like yourself, only when using headphones.

    In Counter Strike Source, even when looking up and down, giving the graphics card something to do, the noise I get (hard to describe) changes in pitch, suggesting it's the graphics card interfering. Then again, when the hard drive thrashes if I'm watching a video or music, I also get more interference (I can almost time it with the HDD activity LED), so maybe there is no single component giving problems.

    In summary, I'm not much help really, just sympathy!
    Yeah, and it is only when you plug your headphones into the front panel, amirite?

    This is a common experience I've read... It probably is a grounding issue as others have said... and they have fixed it by RMA their front panel...

    I don't want to do that so I'm just stuck I think...

    I notice if I adjust the volume control on my headset then I can minimize or remove the interference completely... It has a little knob which you can control, I lower the headphones to 50% or 45% and then windows volume on max and it sounds pretty good... Still, I'm a perfectionist and it pisses me off lol

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Quote Originally Posted by Robscure View Post
    Yeah, and it is only when you plug your headphones into the front panel, amirite?
    Nope, my headphones are left in, and it doesn't happen if I don't change it to the front panel headphones in the Xonar software.

    That said, the Xonar DX is a bit different to most sound cards - you can hear a switch from the card itself when you flick between headphone and speakers, so presumably the headphone output is completely disabled when the speakers are set as the output.

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Wrapping the cables in tin foil or (for a better, neater, but more expensive method) metallic braiding is pointless unless the braid is itsef connected to ground, and is useful in some circumstances. The problem (from the source you quoted) appears to be the use of a common ground fr both the digital USB signals and the analogue audio signals - the current pulses from the digital signals on the eath line are superimposed on the audio line (series mode interference. Screening is effective in reducing common mode interference.

    If the siuation the quote described is corrct, it is poor design. It does make me wonder if tere sould be an additional metod of grounding (perhaps through the front module mounting arrangements) that isn't being used correctly, but without seeing the arrangements, I wouldn't like to comment.
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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Wrapping the cables in tin foil or (for a better, neater, but more expensive method) metallic braiding is pointless unless the braid is itsef connected to ground, and is useful in some circumstances. The problem (from the source you quoted) appears to be the use of a common ground fr both the digital USB signals and the analogue audio signals - the current pulses from the digital signals on the eath line are superimposed on the audio line (series mode interference. Screening is effective in reducing common mode interference.

    If the siuation the quote described is corrct, it is poor design. It does make me wonder if tere sould be an additional metod of grounding (perhaps through the front module mounting arrangements) that isn't being used correctly, but without seeing the arrangements, I wouldn't like to comment.
    Yeah well this poor design happens to be a reoccurence among many cases from Antec, and I have a Lian Li, so I think it is common....

    Would disconnecting the Front Panel USB's from the Mobo resolve this issue? I'm going to do that and find out!

    [EDIT:] IT WORKED!!!

    [SOLVED]

    Yes!!! I solved it! Rather than breaking apart the front panel (as others have done), or ordering a new one and replacing it, which doesn't always work, I simply disconnected the front panel's USB ports from the Motherboard, viola! Absolutely zero interference!

    Mwahahaha this is GREAT! Finally!

    A lot of people have this problem and I finally solved it, for anyone who doesn't care/need/use their front panel USB ports then this is the easiest and best fix yet!

    I recommend a sticky of this thread or something because this is a common problem that I have found no good solution for on the internet, I think this might be the first time and people can benefit from this information.


    DIY and troubleshooting FOR THE WIN! Haha I'm so happy.

    Thanks everyone for the effort in helping!
    Last edited by Robscure; 08-11-2010 at 12:13 AM.

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Glad its fixed always good to hear of a result!

    Disconnecting the USB conections will have stopped the digital signal pulses nthe common earth return from affecting the analogue audio.
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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Glad its fixed always good to hear of a result!

    Disconnecting the USB conections will have stopped the digital signal pulses nthe common earth return from affecting the analogue audio.
    If I had've known this was the problem 2 years ago that would've been awesome

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    Re: Audio Front Panel jacks

    Wonderful thing, 20:20 hindsight!

    Seriously - it can be difficult to diagnose computer (or other electronic) faults at long distance. Earth loop and grounding faults can be equally hard as a lot depends on the physical layout of wiring and components or, as in this case, what appears to be trivial detail in the provision of ground returns..

    Whether or not the module you have in the case is part of a faulty batch, is badly designed or engineered, or just badly installed is again impossible to determine without physically examining the layout and installation in some detail.

    But the important thing is that you have found a solution that works for you, in this instance.
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