Sound Distortion Problems

motionman

Active Member
My system has developed some serious sound problems. There is a distortion that makes sounds have a vibrato effect. Think Daleks! The speech is understandable but the distortion is too great to put up with. It happens on all sources. video such as YouTube and Zoom, Spotify (is that MP3?), radio channels, CDs (Yes, some of us still use them!) so it's all that I use.

What have I tried?

  1. Re-installing sound-card drivers.
  2. Running Windows sound troubleshooters.
  3. Swapping speakers for known working ones.
I don't know what to try next. Could it be a memory or disc space issue? My PC is running very slowly at the moment.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I'm running Windows 10 Home 64bit
 

DavidG1

Active Member
You will need to post the specs of the computer and ideally post a screen shot of task manager to show the CPU usage
 

motionman

Active Member
Hello and thanks for the posts. My speakers are hard-wired to the PC.

I'll post a screenshot from the task manager. I have 14 of them! I'll just post the first but I can upload the rest if that is needed.
Tsk Mgr [01].jpg


As for my PC:

  1. Hard drive: 930Gb with 781 used and 149 free.
  2. RAM: 16 Gb.
  3. Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2310 @ 2.9 Ghz.
  4. 64 bit.
I hope this was the info you needed?
 

motionman

Active Member
...oh yes and in device manager, I have the following:

  • NVIDIA High Definition Audio
  • Virtual Audio Device (Wave Extensible) (WDM)
  • Realtek High Definition Audio
  • HD Webcam C270 (It's a Logitech.)
 

DavidG1

Active Member
Your CPU usage is quite high at 74%. Have a look in device manager and find out what is using up the resources. I can see that Acronis is using at least 20% In one form or another.
Your hard drive is getting fairly full (781GB) and probably slowing the system. You may benefit from getting an SSD as a boot drive and using the hard drive as storing most of the data or at the very least try and free up some space.
You could also do a refresh of windows keeping your files.
start>settings>update and security>recovery>reset
 
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Kapkirk

Active Member
If you are not permanently using Acronis go to the add/remove programs and uninstall it.
Then Make sure that your audio device is set to Realtek High def Audio. reboot machine and all should be well again
 

motionman

Active Member
Sorry, with hard-wired, I mean the speakers are connected to the computer with wires. They are fitted with standard jack plugs (usually 3.5mm?) and they are colour coded. I have checked them and they all appear to be good.
 

jimscreechy

Active Member
Ah ok, if you have a headphone jack on the front of the pc can you try plugging the speakers into that and see if you still have the problem.
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
Also check for malware with Malwarebytes, I've seen this problem before where it damages your audio codecs and causes that sound.
 

motionman

Active Member
Thanks for all the replies. I'll work through them. It looks like Acronis is being greedy but I have used this as my primary backup mechanism. The SSD boot sounds interesting. Is it relatively simple to set up?

During a Zoom meeting this evening, I had some warnings up about system resources and audio so this reinforces the idea that this is where the issue lies.
 

motionman

Active Member
With Adobe remote access to my PC, a very stubborn old copy of Bridge was uninstalled creating an additional 1.29Gb of space. This appears to have resolved the sound distortion issue on all audio output devices. I'm going to approach Acronis to see if I can run a less hungry version of True Image.

I used Malwarebytes to scan the drive so malware may have been part or all of the issue.
 

DavidG1

Active Member
I'm going to approach Acronis to see if I can run a less hungry version of True Image.
It appears that Acronis started to introduce antimalware/antivirus in the latest version 2021. It may be that you could either ditch your current Antivirus and continue with Acronis AV suite or the AM/AV components of Acronis might have a separate uninstaller/installer. I note that you say you have also used MBAM - it is worth keeping the number of antivirus/antimalware packages to a minimum in general less is more as they too tend to slow down the computer.
 

motionman

Active Member
David,

Thanks for the further thoughts and information. I have unwittingly probably overcrowded the defences on my PC. I also have Zone Alarm and a daily HitMan Pro scan.

All this has probably, as you say, added to the speed issues of my PC and the sound distortion issues. I've seen Malwarebytes and Hitman Pro as software to seek out malware and Zone Alarm as my firewall/anti-virus software. Including your suggestion about using Acronis anti-virus software what might be an effective suite of software to rationalise things and speed things up?
 

DavidG1

Active Member
I just use the paid version of bitdefender it has antivirus/antimalware has its own firewall as well as the other bells and whistles email protection, antiransomware, browser protection etc. Most paid AVs will offer similar. There really is no need to have a whole host of other separate defence software. For Windows 10, the average user probably all that is needed windows defender/security suite. Windows own firewall is adequate. I occasionally use MBAM for a one off scan but then uninstall it after I have finished.
Acronis's software suite is quite new so I haven't see any evaluation of it yet, but at the moment it is hogging your system quite a bit. Just noticed this review that also comments that it has a big footprint in terms of resources
 
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Bolosun

Active Member
Just reboot your system in safe mode and see if the sound is distorted. If yes, then you most likely have a h/w problem.
 

motionman

Active Member
Thanks for your reply, David. I've been pleased with the performance of Zone Alarm and I've used it for years so sticking with it is probably what I'll do. However, I note that PC World extolls the virtues of the combined package offered by Acronis. It does acknowledge the large resources footprint of it but says most modern computers should easily cope with it.

I have a ticket in with Acronis at the moment on the resources issue so I'll see what they say

Going back to my original issue, how could I increase resources on my aged PC? Is this about disk space and RAM or does my CPU come into the formula as well? Your SSD boot drive suggestion is also something that I will consider.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

DavidG1

Active Member
Going back to my original issue, how could I increase resources on my aged PC? Is this about disk space and RAM or does my CPU come into the formula as well? Your SSD boot drive suggestion is also something that I will consider
It is about all of those. Your memory at 16GB should be fine, I suspect your system is being slowed by your mechanical hard drive which is 83% full and your CPU being swamped by Acronis and other processes etc. If you can deal with any of those that would help. I would recommend getting an SSD ideally a 1TB, either doing a clean install (this would mean reinstalling your programs - a pain) or cloning your 1TB HDD to the SSD, reformatting the HDD and then moving some your less used data off the SSD onto the (now blank) HDD so that is about 50% full . I am aware that your CPU is a limiting factor and is now 10years old. It really depends on how much you want to spend. Apart from upgrading to an SSD I certainly wouldn't go spending a lot of money, at 10years old your PC might be reaching the end of its useful life. At least you could take the SSD and reuse if needed on a new system.
 

Bolosun

Active Member
h/w i.e. Hardware problem.

Sorry, I was under the impression this issue had been fixed... No?
I think most people have decided it is a s/w issue. I would make sure before disappearing down that particular rabbit warren. It would only take a couple of minutes to test. Then do some housekeeping on the system; regcleaner, remove unwanted s/w and try again. One question though: when did it start playing up? Had anything changed before it started? Eg installed some s/w, h/w, system or program error?
 

motionman

Active Member
OK, to take up some points and answer a question....

  • The super-slow computer problem has gone and the audio distortion has as well so creating enough headroom to achieve this (By deleting an unwanted app) has got me back to a usable speed.
  • Tracking back to identify the event is, (I find) often difficult. I suspect that the bath was filling slowly and needed the tap turning off! I did update my Adobe photography apps and this resulted in new, quite large, software being downloaded and this was the block being dropped in the bath that caused it to overflow.
  • Using a regcleaner would seem like a good idea. Any recommendations?
  • I'll check through my apps to see if there are things that can go.
  • I'll put up with my old banger of a CPU for the moment and start saving my pennies for a new machine. I went for a Novatech last time as you could select the components and build a system.

I want to improve the resilience of my system to this happening again so the introduction of an SSD would appear to be a good way forward. A quick dip into Amazon gives me a price range for 1Tb of between £50 and £100. which is affordable. Can I just use a USB to connect this in?

Should I defragment my HDD? I have heard that this can damage it.

My current HDD is so full as I am a photographer and it's jammed full of pictures!

Any further thoughts would be appreciated.
 

DavidG1

Active Member
A quick dip into Amazon gives me a price range for 1Tb of between £50 and £100. which is affordable. Can I just use a USB to connect this in?

Should I defragment my HDD? I have heard that this can damage it.
Not quite sure what you mean by using a USB to connect it in
If you are simply wanting to use the SSD as an external drive that would be a waste - you need to clone the HDD to the SSD to make the SSD the boot drive. Doing it this way performance will be dramatically improved.
If you can I would clone the SSD internally by opening the case and mounting it on a spare SATA and power cable. This would avoid the need for a USB-SATA adapter. However it would still be fine doing it out of the case. All SSDs come with free cloning software downloadable off the manufacturers website.
Most SSDs have similar speeds - ADATA, Crucial, Samsung etc. Samsung are a premium brand Crucial middle of the Road and ADATA a bit cheaper. Also check the warranty. I have and would recommend a crucial 1TB MX500 SSD
Defragmenting an HDD shouldn't damage it unless it is on its last legs, SSDs shouldn't be defragmented at all this will shorten the life significantly.
Registry cleaners are generally a waste of time, however if you want to try download the free version of ccleaner (when you install uncheck any adware that is bundled) and use its registry cleaner. After that uninstall ccleaner.
 
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motionman

Active Member
Not quite sure what you mean by using a USB to connect it in
I'm just illustrating my lack of knowledge David!

So the best way would be for me to find a way to mount the SSD inside the case and attach it to a spare 'SATA' which will be a socket type of arrangement? There is usually a series of these inside the case?

Thanks for the buying advice.

I already use CCleaner. Another thing in my large defense battery! I notice that you always uninstall afterward. This is to keep things as simple as they need to be and conserve resources?
 

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