clicks and noise with audigy 2 zs

I have a SB Audigy 2 ZS sound card and it’s a good sound card, but the right channel always has lots of pops and clicks- around 2-3 per second. I don’t remember if it always did this, or if it started doing it more recently. I always used to record and only take the left channel’s recording, because it was much cleaner, but now i would like to expand to stereo recording, and i cannot do that with the right channel popping and clicking all over the place. If anybody has any advice on how to fix this problem, that would be really awesome. Thanks.

First make sure you have the latest soundcard drivers. Creative has a whole section on pops and clicks on their forum, check it out. Are the pops and clicks just in n-track or with any playback?

The fact that it’s on one side ONLY makes me think it’s hardware related in some way. That could be almost anything in the chain from bad shielding to a flaky chip.

Well i will check on that section on the Creative website, but it’s not just during playback. When i look at the recording viewmeter, it shows lots of activity on the right channel. When i play things back, the pops and clicks are audible in the left channel mostly. I can still hear them in the right, but not as much. Should i just look for a new soundcard? Or do you think there is a way to fix this?

That’s hard to say. I suggest removing the card and reinstalling it in another slot, or even in the same slot, but physically remove and reinsert it in any case. Double check the connections and cables – all of them.

Do you see activity in the input meters on the right channel when nothing is plugged into the card? Keep in mind that you may see SOME activity at the default settings of n-Tracks input meters. The default to -60, so a slightly noisy card can exhibit noise at the lower range of that. If it’s noticeably higher on one channel and nothing is plugged into the card them it may very well be time for a new card.

An Audigy 2 ZS is pretty quite, so that’s another reason I see it as being a hardware problem. I have one on my work machine. Let me know what your settings. I’ll see if I can figure out something more.

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but you are not, by any chance, recording via the microphone input, are you??

This would explain every symptom, thus:

Noise: due to the fact that the microphone input needs a mono microphone built for 5 V phantom power.

Clicks/pops: probably due to a mismatch for the same reasons.

One channel only working: due to the fact that the tip/ring/sleeve are connected differently - tip: signal, ring: 5V phantom power, sleeve: ground (that much they have in common)

I still loathe Creative for using a common connector type for a completely different purpose, and making it a de facto standard.

If you are not using the mic input, please disregard this message. :p

regards, Nils

Well first of all, no, I am not using the mic input. Thanks for covering that base though.

Secondly, you mean I should uninstall my soundcard, physically remove it from the computer, then reinstall it again? And I’ll check all the levels on the viewmeters after I reinstall it, but right now the pops and clicks are clipping in the right channel. When there aren’t any pops, the recording viewmeter shows a tiny, tiny bit of volume above -60, but it is unnoticeable. And I’ve made sure that absolutely nothing is plugged into the card. But I’ll try uninstalling it, since I tried all that Creative said to do if pops and noise occur. My settings were already the way it wanted them to be. Thanks, and hopefully reinstalling will do the trick.

I do not know if this is the same as your issue, but I have a simalar issue with my audigy2. In my case the noise is linked to network activity, If I am playing a game, or playing or recrding music, and something like email hits the network, I get random clicking sounds. I have found that if I disable the onboard network port, the noise goes away. I do not know if this is chipset releated, or just a flakey motherboard (MSI KT6 Delta-LSR).

When you physically remove the card, do a couple of extra steps. Take an eraser and rub the gold contact at the bottom (then blow off the eraser strings). Then take a small flat screwdriver and run it back and forth in the slot. This trick has revived many a “defective” card. Even though the contacts are gold, sometimes they seem to build up a residue or something.

Yeah, physically removing and reinstalling the card is to force a reseting and reconnection of the contacts. Sometimes that does wonders, as vulcan points out.

The hovering around -60 is expected.

That’s a very good thought, grumpy. Along those lines, check out mouse movements as well. We have seen the mouse interfering, but I think that was a USB problem.

Ok, thanks for the tips. Just in case it’s broken for good, what types of soundcards would you recommend for recording at least 8 input channels at once? I’ve been looking at fairly good soundcards and then getting a Presonus Firepod for all my mic inputs, but that will be pricey. Anything else that will get the same result? Thanks

The firepod is a soundcard (audio interface).

You don’t need a separate soundcard if you have the Firepod

Do you mean that I don’t need to replace the messed up soundcard I have before I can use a firepod? Like I don’t need a soundcard at all for it? Or if my soundcard makes noise I can use the firepod without hearing that noise in the recording?

The Firepod IS an audio interface (ie. soundcard).

You plug it into your firewire port, install the drivers and then Windows sees it as an audio device.

You can take your soundblaster out, or leave it in if it doesn’t cause any conflicts.

I leave my soundblaster LIVE in the PC as the default windows device to playback windows sounds etc. and just use my Edirol DA2496 for audio apps.