Fixed Windows 7 Sound (Popping, Cracking & Skipping)
I’ve had some strange issues with my PC since building it… It’s had an odd sound problem in which the longer the PC is powered on, the worse it seems to get. It would crack, and pop, and even skip and cut out for a brief moment. It made consuming any form of digital media unbearable unless I were to reboot the PC beforehand.
Now some initial thoughts might be that my PC is garbage, but it’s running an Intel Core i7 920 processor on an EVGA x58 SLI3 motherboard with 6GB of G.Skill PC3 10666 triple channel RAM. Now my next thought was that my speakers had issues, but I debunked this by plugging in headphones and it was still an issue, also a close personal friend of mine who has a very similar build was experiencing issues as well.
I’ve quite literally been looking for a solution to my problem for MONTHS, and even formatted my HDD and reinstalled Windows 7, to no avail.
I was determined to fix this problem, and almost purchased a new sound card, until I learned from a friend that it wasn’t going to help, as he already purchased one and still experienced the same issues.
I started doing some extensive research on the subject and heard, quite literally, every excuse in the books on this one. I had somebody say that it was uTorrent and all of it’s connections to my computer causing the sound to have bad latency.
I had gotten alot of recommendations on the subject, but had trouble testing them all, since the PC had to be powered on for a few days before the issues started occurring again… so during my waiting time I did more research before seeing a small message board post about audiodg.exe causing sound to drop out.
After hitting many dead ends, I decided to check into what exactly audiodg.exe is responsible for… and it seems like it’s Windows 7’s new sound engine, but also processes and is responsible for controlling DSP enhancements and effects.
This was my big breakthrough.
I started looking for ways to disable or reduce audiodg.exe’s responsibility since I had seen some users reporting that the sound skipping and popping was only during times when audiodg.exe was taking excessive CPU usage (it shouldn’t ever take more than 0, to maybe 1 percent).
Searching through the audio device manager in Windows 7, I found a quite curious section labeled enhancements, and I instantly made the connection to DSP enhancements and thus audiodg.exe.
My solution in the end wound up to be quite simple, but it just took alot of research to get there, and I’m hoping to spare others that research, so just follow the steps below, and you shouldn’t have these issues anymore.
After all those, just reboot for good measure, and you should be well on your way to a more enjoyable audio experience.
For curious users, please use a DPC latency checker to see if your hardware has issues with live audio and video. This was a valuable utility for me to monitor my progress during my experiments.
I used Thesycon’s DPC Latency Checker, as it’s a freeware utility and displays a nice graph over time of your latency.