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Speakers making constant clicking sound

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by khix, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. khix

    khix Private E-2

    We JUST got a new Acer computer, came with speakers, and the speakers are making a constant fast clicking sound. Moving the speakers around makes the volume of the clicking go up & down, but the clicking remains. Turning off the speakers stops the clicking. I tried unplugging the USB & the jack from the computer, and plugging it back in, but that didn't help. Why is it making a clicking sound and how to stop? This is brand new!
  2. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Greetings, khix.

    Any number of things could be causing the clicks - poor cable shielding, a leaky capacitor somewhere, mismatched drivers, sound card issues, volume level overdriving, close proximity to a cell phone or some other RFI source, etc.

    Frankly, if you rule out anything discrete (outside of the computer), that means you'll probably have to open the case to find the culprit. If this is a brand new machine, then there go any warranties.

    You could try a few things - Safe Mode to see if your symptoms change, plug the speakers into another machine, try headphones to see if the clicking is heard, etc., but if I were in your shoes, I'd RMA in a heartbeat.
  3. handygal

    handygal Sergeant Major

    I usually call that the pre-call warning sound. I get it for a few seconds right before my cell rings or I get a text message. My new phone makes it click twice as long, it's an incredibly annoying sound.

    Since the sound changes when you move the speakers around, I don't think it's in the speaker. It sounds like interference. Do you have a cordless phone or a wireless router close to it? It would have to be something transmitting constantly and the only thing I can think of right now is a wireless router.

    Edit: Of course Caliban gave a list of possibilites. I meant household items that might be transmitting constantly and easily resolved.
  4. khix

    khix Private E-2

    We don't have a wireless router. I tried moving a cell phone further away from computer - clicking remained.

    There is a cordless phone about 15-20 feet away....it's plugged in, but we never use the phone anymore since we no longer have home phone service - could that be the culprit?

    To test, I plugged the speakers into our old computer, which is in the living room (new computer is in kitchen), but it's about the same distance from the cordless phone. Anyway, speakers work perfectly fine on that computer. Why the difference?

    Currently, I have our old set of speakers hooked into the new computer & they work...no clicking or anything. Later today, I will plug in the new speakers again and see what happens.

    The only difference between the old speakers & the new Acer speakers is that the old set gets its power from an outlet. The new set gets its power from the tower (it has a USB cable).

    The only thing on this desk with this new computer is a Lexmark printer, a big Samsung CRT monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, the tower, and wired Uverse modem thingy (sorry, don't know what to call it...router?) Could any of that cause interference?

    I do not plan on opening the tower or doing anything major to this computer. It is new & I am still learning it...plus, I am not a pro by any stretch of the word! And I do NOT want to void any warranty!

    Caliban, what does "RMA" mean?
  5. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    RMA = Return Materials Authorization. In other words, take it back to the retailer and demand a new machine, or, if you had it shipped to you, request an RMA for the same purpose.

    I'd set my sights on that - you might try a different USB port, preferably one on the back panel of the desktop. If you still get the same symptoms, then I'm leaning towards something going on with the power or shielding for the USB circuitry. The fact that you can plug the speakers into another machine and lose the clicks seems to indicate a problem with that Acer desktop.
  6. khix

    khix Private E-2

    I've tried every single USB port on the tower this morning....I get the clicking sound with every single one.

    If something is wrong with the USB circuitry, would it affect other things beside the speakers? The mouse & keyboard are plugged in via USB & they appear to be working fine. What other symptoms would there be with bad USB circuitry?

    We just bought this computer yesterday, so I'm sure the store would have no problem taking it back. It would be a hassle, but I'd like for everything to work on something that's brand new!

    Out of curiousity, is Acer is a good brand? The other computer we were looking at was an Emachine. Is Emachine a good brand? If we took this one, should we get another Acer or maybe exchange it for the Emachine?
  7. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    I know it's a hassle, but you should demand satisfaction. Make the techs there crank up the machine so that you can demonstrate the issues.

    Not going to get into the pros and cons of OEM brands. If the computer will do what you ask it to do, if the price is right, if it contains quality components and the OEM offers competent support, and if you like the looks and feel of the machine and included peripherals, then it's a good computer system.
  8. handygal

    handygal Sergeant Major

    Darn it, it's in the computer. That really is a hassle, just as you get through the biggest part of the setup.

    Acer is a decently good brand and I have the same opinion as Caliban about brands. I've only had one Acer and it's not a good machine but that can happen, i don't know anyone else who doesn't love theirs. Can't really say what is good by brand with computers. Less so than by something like a car manufacturer.

    If you are tempted to just keep it and use the old speakers, I think i would not do that. USB is in such high use these days. If something isn't right in the usb you could have bigger issues later.

    If you like your new computer and everything else about it has been as good as you had hoped for, you could exchange it for another of the same model. There might have been a quality control problem in assembly and didn't get caught in production.

    I would search the model you have and the model you are considering just to see if there is any chatter about a problem consistently or others having out of the box issues. This or another model of Acer on another production line might not be having any issues and you just happened upon one.
  9. TimW

    TimW MajorGeeks Administrator - Jedi Malware Expert Staff Member

    I think I would take it back to the store and let them see/hear the issue. They may then let you exchange for another set up.
  10. khix

    khix Private E-2

    Thanks everyone!

    Well, we took the computer back to the store. Couldn't get the emachine, they were already out! (was only 1 left yesterday). So got another Acer. Same exact model.

    Hooked it all up & sure enough, speakers were clicking! Well, after much moving around of the speakers, we figured out that the clicking is the loudest when it's next to the AT&T 2wire Gateway Uverse modem thingy. When we moved the speakers as far away from the 2wire as the cord would allow, there was either no clicking, or it was very faint. So, our guess is the 2wire is somehow causing interference? It's not a wireless modem/router...it's a corded one. But, is this a normal issue with USB speakers & the 2wire? Have you heard of this problem before? Can anything be done to fix/prevent it?

    If needed, & if the computer is otherwise ok (which it seems to be), we can just use our old speakers. But, if you think this is a major issue or cause for concern or otherwise abnormal, then I guess we'll take this one back as well & just get a different brand.
  11. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    Strange problem.

    Must be something going on with the way Acer is shielding these days - we've got a 2Wire80 wireless gateway from AT&T sitting about 4 feet from a pair of JBL USB speakers, and never a peep.

    If that is the case, then I doubt you'll have any additional problems - shielding glitches usually only present as noise.

    One thing you might try is picking up a cheap USB hub (something like this - you can usually find them at any electronics department or store), hook it up between the desktop and the speakers. The hub's extra shielding might improve things.
  12. khix

    khix Private E-2

    So, what exactly is shielding?

    And why would bad shielding cause the speakers to act up, but not the mouse/keyboard?

    Or could their something wrong with the 2wire? Every so often, we do hear a VERY high-pitched noise coming from the 2wire. Is that normal?

    Next time I'm out, I will pick up USB hub, and see if that helps.
  13. Caliban

    Caliban I don't need no steenkin' title!

    From Wikipedia:


    Shielding can also be implemented in other ways, such as wire cages or mesh, metallic ink, metallic foam, etc.

    I was thinking that this could be a shielding problem, but it's very possible that it's not. As I mentioned in my first post, there are many possible causes of strange sounds (eg: "clicking") coming from speakers.

    That "high-pitched noise" coming from your 2Wire is not typical. Better get that checked out.

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