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6/23/06 Playing CDs on PC is all snap, crackle, and pop!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 22, 2006 3:02 AM PDT

Whenever I play any music CDs (store bought) on my computer drive, it sounds like an old phonograph record, full of pops, snaps, and crackles. Not terrible, but enough to be quite annoying. I know it's not the CDs themselves, as they play fine on other CD players. Is this a hardware or software problem? If you have any ideas as to what could be causing this, could you please list the possible causes so that I can troubleshoot these areas? Thanks.

Submitted by: Robert A.
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Answer by Miguel K.
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 22, 2006 3:02 AM PDT

Robert, The "pops, snaps, and crackles" you experience during the playback of compact discs suggest a memory or system resources issue. Multimedia applications use an awful lot of resources, and when several programs don't play nice and try to take more than is allotted to them, bad things happen. The particular media player that you are using may be playing a role, too.

Let me illustrate the last point with a personal example: Years ago, I would routinely play music files or CDs while I browsed the Web, read e-mail, scanned my PC with Norton AntiVirus, or performed other resource-intensive tasks. Regardless of how many programs were running at the time, music playback was flawless as long as I used Windows Media Player (WMP), RealPlayer, or J. River's Media Jukebox. However, as soon as I opened my then-favorite application, Musicmatch Jukebox, the playback would be seriously sabotaged by both skipping and seemingly endless artifacts such as pops and cracks! The situation usually improved only after closing all other applications.

Clearly, the demands placed on my computer by the MusicMatch Jukebox led to conflicts related to the distribution of computer resources. Adding more memory helped, but I saw no reason to spend a lot of energy (and money) trying to solve the issue when other applications already in my computer performed better and allowed me to have multiple programs running simultaneously. Thus, I stopped using MusicMatch Jukebox, despite its considerable strengths.

If you haven't already, play a CD using a different media player. (iTunes would be an excellent choice, but you can visit for other popular choices.) If the problem is not reproduced with the new application, the problem likely lies with your default media player. Updating to the latest release of the player or reinstalling it to repair corrupt files may solve the problem. The troubleshooting steps discussed below might help, too.

If the issue persists even after you try different media players, start thinking "memory." This is particularly true if your computer has less than 512 MB of RAM and/or has an older processor. Make no mistake, even machines with powerful processors and plenty of memory are not necessarily immune to this problem. Firewalls, antivirus and antispyware software, and operating system components running silently in the background can and do place a heavy burden on system resources. (Spyware would be another consideration, so don't neglect scanning your PC for it!) Adding memory will improve overall performance noticeably, not just during music playback. But let's try a few other tricks first.

Interestingly, you did not mention having any problems playing music files like mp3s - something which, in this day of age, I have to assume you do. And if the issue is indeed limited to CD playback, your next troubleshooting step should be cleaning your optical drive's lens, as debris and dust may be at the root of the problem. You can find inexpensive CD lens cleaners at most electronics and computer stores, as well as office supply retailers like Staples. They are essentially CDs with thin, delicate brushes attached to their playing surface. As the disc spins during playback, the brushes sweep away contaminants off your lens.

However, if the "pops, snaps, and crackles" also occurs during the playback of digital files stored in your computer, you might be dealing with either hardware or software issues - or both. Before investing in new memory, there are several things you can try to optimize the media player/optical drive interaction:

Rule Out a Corrupt or Outdated Driver

Driver problems will prevent your optical drive and media software from communicating as they should. This leads to performance issues.
1. Right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop (or Start Menu, if applicable), and select Properties from the list..
2. On the System Properties box, select the Hardware tab.
3. Click on the Device Manager radio button. The Device Manager box will open, listing the components that make up your system.
4. Your optical drive will be listed under DVD/CD-ROM Drives. Expand this field and find your drive.
5. Highlight and right-click your drive, then select Properties.
6. Verify that the device is working properly. (If a message states differently, click the Troubleshoot button to find out what is wrong and how to correct it. Addressing this issue might be all that's needed to solve your problem.)
7. Select the Driver tab, and click Update Driver. Windows will try to determine whether a new driver is available. You can always visit your drive's manufacturer's website and check for the latest driver version there.
8. If necessary, download and install the new driver.
9. Exit all dialog boxes, and restart your computer.
10. Play a CD to determine if the issue has been solved.

Optimize Audio Playback

The following steps apply to Windows Media Player 11 (Beta) and earlier versions of the player. If you do not use WMP, please refer to your particular software's help files to determine how to optimize audio playback. (It would be impossible to discuss every popular media player here!) The goal is to select those options that enhance playback and sound quality, and compensate for problems present in the digital data.

1. Open Windows Media Player and click on Options.
2. Select the Devices tab on the Options dialog box.
3. Select your CD Player from the list, then click the Properties radio button.
4. In the drive's Properties box, select Digital under Playback.
5. Check the "Use Error Correction" box.
6. Press OK to exit.
7. Play a CD to determine if the issue has been solved.

If none of the above troubleshooting steps solve the problem, it might be time to add memory. At this point, you should also consider the possibility that your optical drive might be failing. The good news is that the price of CD burners and DVD players has fallen considerably, so an upgrade might be significantly more affordable than you suspect.

Hope you find these suggestions useful!

Best wishes.

Submitted by: Miguel K. of Columbus, Ohio
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another possibility: directX
by mikimiska / June 22, 2006 7:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

Just another possibility: update DirectX drivers. I had problem with loud clicks when opening/closing/playing DVD unit, upgrading to latest DirectX helped 100%.


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Audio: pops, snaps, and crackles...
by aalopes / June 22, 2006 8:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

This is the first time a read something regarding this issue.
As a matter a fact, I also had this problem (thought I was the only one...) when playing MP3 music files in Windows Media Player.
I noticed it in the very first day I bought my Pavilion notebook. In fact, this was enough to make me return the product to the seller and have a new one.
I realized that if I played me MP3 files in Winamp, those "pops, snaps, and crackles" just desapeared!
I can state that this fenomenum occured eventually because my WMP 9 wasn't so that good, because nowadays I play those same files in WMP 10 without a scratch.
Concerning equipment specifications my computer can handle with ease all audio playback, so the main reason behind all this is concerned with software maulfunction.

HP Pavilion Pentium 4 3,2 Mhz
512 Mb RAM

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by AMIT JAIN / June 22, 2006 8:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

Apart from what Miguel has suggested , which is obviously the right track . I am of the opinion that
the right speakers , maybe Creative with a subwoofer
will cut out all the crackle and other such annoying
sounds by giving it a lot of depth .
It is also possible everything else being okay the
onboard sound is not upto the mark .Depending on
the motherboard even a lower end sound card from Creative themselves would enhance the sound considerably . Believe me the sound is quite good .
The above suggestions can be improved further with Bose speakers but it does not make sense to make such
expenditure and make every thing PC centric .
My Bose wave system is a seperate station . Though the music is all obtained by burning CD's on the PC .

Amit jain

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Cd Snaps Crackles and Pops!!!!!!!
by Reevus / June 23, 2006 12:21 AM PDT

I used to get this problem on my PC when i burned CD's on my Pc. The problem i had basically was my PC was being overworked. It never affected me as i convert my Cd into the itunes format at the highest quality. When i brought i brand new top of the rang CD rom drive the problem stopped. I advise buting a new CD rom drive you dont have to blow the bank you can get very good cd rom drives for a very resonable price. is a very cheap website i advise you check it out

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Pops , snaps and crackles
by booraz / June 22, 2006 9:25 PM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

I had this same problem a few years ago when I installed a new sound card on my system. The same symptoms were experienced with two different cards. As soon as I removed the cards the problem went. Eventually I installed an M-Audio sound card, which gave me no problems.
Also, if you do have a separate sound card as well as a built in one on your motherboard then make sure to disable your onboard one in your bios settings as they can conflict.

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Sounds like one of the cheap computers
by 4jackie40d / June 22, 2006 11:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

This sounds like a VERY CHEAP computer with only 128 megs of memory and running XP ! The scourge of the O/S's almost as bad as what ME was ! . . You need a good CD-Rom or DVD-Rom that's fast and a GOOD sound card ! These on board sound things are an AFTER THOUGHT by the mother board makers and generally put out a bad quallity sound
First thing to check is the amount of memory and add a lot to it the more the better ! I run 2 gig's . . I bought my mother board on what and how much it would hold
( it has 4 slots can go to 4 gig ) Then check the age CD-Rom or DVD-Rom you have it could be giving you signals of going out . . and last of all check the sound card !

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Update Driver
by rimbaud / June 23, 2006 12:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

Good answer! Updating my sound card driver was what fixed my problem!

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CD Backround noise!
by bigjtk / June 23, 2006 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

1. Dirty line A/C. This is a big problem In Dallas/Fort Worth. Old Transformers and lines can cause a lot of problems. Put an APC Battery backup on line. This can solve a lot of problems and save your computer too.
2. Bad or cheap power supplys. I see this a lot too.
3. Unshielded speakers. Some older speakers can cause problems.
4. Dirty Computer. I see this all the time. Take all the slot cards and clean the slots with electrical contact cleaner.
5. Old Modems. Hardware based modems can start to buzz.
Pull out your slot cards one at a time, re-boot and check.
6.With Creative software, Check your Line in setting. If nothing is connected to it, turn the volume to 0.
7. I\0 conflicts, Put your sound card in a different slot.

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(NT) (NT) Now that's an answer!
by risibilis / June 23, 2006 1:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.
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Check the Soundcard Driver too.
by tkareem / June 23, 2006 9:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

Miguel suggest the problem may be a bad driver, than goes on to discuss how to update the CD/DVD Drive's drivers. If this problem doesn't just occur with CDs and occurs with MP3, WMA, web audio or other sound source playback you should update the Sound card/chip drivers instead.

The update process will be the same as he described for the CD/DVD Drive, except it can be updated from the hardware tab of Sounds and Audio Devices in Control Panel. Select your sound card from the list and click the Properties Button. When the Properties dialog is displayed, select the Driver tab and then click Update Driver (pretty obvious).

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Bad CD sound
by donaldbellcyborg / June 24, 2006 5:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Miguel K.

I've got 512 memory/xp/1.8 processor
I have a cd drive with nero software and an creative extigy soundcard on my e problem is when i try to play a cd in my d drive cd rom.cds play perfectly in e drive but scratch pop and skip in the d.i notice when i put the cd in several players open simultaniously,winamp and the extigy player.i'll close one but the sound is still distorted.when i first got the system i could put a cd in the d drive and copy it to the e.this ability ceased in a month.the sound is so distorted i need to download the cd to my hard drive and then burn it.this has been driving me nuts for a couple of years.any suggestions?

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Answer by Paul K.
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 22, 2006 3:03 AM PDT

Hi, Robert, let's see if we can take the Rice Krispies out of your CD. First, let me say, since I don't have any idea what your computer may be or consist of, I will assume XP and all other standard options.

Let's start by tackling what may be a simpler issue, software. Depending on what you use to play your music, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc...each may play music differently and cause distortion. Some will put out bass better than others, which if the speakers are standard PC speakers, will often cause distortion and noise. Try different software and see if it makes a difference, turn down the bass a bit if possible. If this solves it, this may be a good indication you need better speakers.

Moving on to another issue, dirt. Your cd player has a lens and through this the laser strikes the pits and lands which make up the data on the cd. Now, if that lens becomes dirty, the lens scatters the laser, perhaps enough to not play a cd at all or will create the noises you have been experiencing. Ah, there is a solution, for a few dollars, you can buy a laser lens cleaner just about anywhere electronics are sold. The disk will typically come with tiny brushes attached to a cd\dvd special disk, that when inserted, spins up and wipes away dust and dirt from the lens. What if it's too dirty to play you ask? No problem, many have a certain way to insert the disk so the brushes go across the lens possibly cleaning it off enough to allow the disk to play and continue with a thorough cleaning. In the case there is too much build up from home or outdoor pollutants, the CD player may in fact need to be taken apart to be cleaned by someone who is skilled enough or licensed to do so.

Another problem and more serious is the laser itself. While they can last for a long time, they do wear out. If this happens, the laser will no longer function to read a disk correctly and eventually at all. In that case, it's time to buy another. Luckily CD\dvd drives are getting cheaper all the time and even the cheaper ones may last a long time. Other problems with the drive may occur as well but as with the laser which is most common, the drive is typically replaced.

On to the pc. There is a lot depending on your computer itself. Your speakers play a big part along with your sound card and software you use. The speakers put out your sound which is fairly obvious. If the speakers can't handle sound very well or are older speakers, they do create distortion and can snap , crackle, pop, typically due to the amplifiers no longer working correctly. The best thing to do in this case is to replace the speakers with a better\newer brand of speaker and there are many types and brands to choose form. Another issue with the speaker amplifiers is they pick up other EMI (electro magnetic interference) noise. If you turn on a fan, or some electrical appliance, the older \cheap amplifiers will cause the speakers to hiss, pop, they pick up on noise. The best solution in this case is to once again, replace the speakers. A dirty or loose connection to the speaker port or bad\bare speaker wires can also cause interference.

Now that the speakers are out of the way, let's discuss your sound card. If you have no sound card, you probably have onboard also called integrated sound which is a sound port connected directly to the motherboard and uses an onboard\integrated chip to control your sound. This is not typically the best sound option to have and many prefer a sound card. The onboard typically does not handle sound very well and can cause a lot of distortion and other noises when playing music. Also the onboard takes your system resources to run as where a sound card comes with it's own. I for one have not had a problem with onboard sound as far as noise goes, but many have. How do you know if you have onboard? Well, taking off the side cover on the pc or however the case may open, and looking to see if your sound port is connected to the motherboard or if it's a card plugged into a PCI slot. That said, the obvious and best way to go would be to get a sound card if you don't have one. There are many to choose from and can range from 9.99 on the cheaper end and up. (note: some pcs come with a sound card and onboard like the hp pavilion 512 w for example) so if you have more than one sound port, this could be why.

To go off this last paragraph, you may have a sound card or integrated sound issue. Typically with the integrated sound, the drivers required to run it may need updating. If updated properly and to the newest working drivers possible but still having these issues, then going to a sound card would once again be the best option. If you have a sound card already, the drivers issue may still apply. As sound technology grows, the drivers may need updating to keep the sound card running properly with your software\players. You may in fact have a sound card that is simply bad and needs replacing or if it is older and can no longer get proper drivers to keep it current.

A few basics to review, clean the cd rom, update your drivers for your sound card, or onboard, testing the sound card with a good set of speakers is a good way to see if it is indeed the card and\or speakers both and If you use a set of speakers you know work well, and still get this noise, or test the speakers on another pc and they work, is a good indication of an integrated or sound card issue. Also, a high EMI can cause distortion even in a good set of speakers and they should be kept away from high EMI devices.

Well Robert, I hope this helps you with your issue and you can eventually enjoy clear sound.

Submitted by: Paul K. of Gladstone, Michigan
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Snap, Crackle and Pops caused by Speakers?
by tkareem / June 23, 2006 7:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Paul K.

Poor or overloaded speakers do not cause snap, crackle and pops. This is always an indication of something going wrong before the sound reaches the speakers. Have you ever heard any speakers that snap, crackle and pop whether on a stereo, home theater system or radio? They may boom, buzz or hum. The problem was described specifically to be snap, crackle and pop, not distortion or some other kind of noise.

1) However, if you suspect a speaker problem, test with headphones. The problem should not be heard with headphones.

2) If you suspect a CD problem test with other sound sources like MP3s, WMAs or web based audio. The problem should go away. Furthermore if it's a dirty laser or defective CD drive it will have an even bigger problem reading data cds.

3) If you suspect drivers test with other sound sources like MP3s or web based audio. The problem should not go away.

Most onboard sound chips do not create problems for most users and will rival low cost sound cards in sound quality. In addition, they do not require more resources than a sound card if they include a DSP (and with today's CPUs any extra resources used are insignificant), unlike onboard graphics chips which use system RAM and may use CPU resources.

The most likely cause is a driver, IRQ or memory resource conflict.

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Just FYI
by PKsteven / June 24, 2006 1:46 AM PDT

Your statement is FALSE. Pc speakers with bad amplifiers WILL do this.
And YES I have heard this on radio, etc...from bad wiring\blown speaker.

1) However, if you suspect a speaker problem, test with headphones. The problem should not be heard with headphones.

Fine to test with headphones but problems can arise through each port individually and this may not always tell you. Not saying you can't but if it's the speaker port and you don't hear it on headphones, you may assume the speakers and replace them to find it's the port. That's why I say to try a known good pair.

2) If you suspect a CD problem test with other sound sources like MP3s, WMAs or web based audio. The problem should go away. Furthermore if it's a dirty laser or defective CD drive it will have an even bigger problem reading data cds.

I believe I mentioned all this.

3) If you suspect drivers test with other sound sources like MP3s or web based audio. The problem should not go away.

Refer to number 2.

You say most onboard sound chips do not create problems for most users? You obviously don't google or help in forums much.


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by icewire / June 26, 2006 1:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer by Paul K.

If yer sound card is really old like mine (soundblaster16)(i like to be nostalgic) you may be experiencing these problems. My card is crap compared to the onboard one. It DOES have this problem. I have not come up with a way to fix this. if you have a computer with a lot of ram for stock (512mb) memory shouldnt be an issue (512 can run photoshop, fl studio, internet explorer, firefox and opera all at once). I dont know about the drivers. With my unofficial testing, i have also ruled out software being my problem(hooked up graphic equalizer to test bass output).so, if anyone knows how to fix a soundblaster 16, tell me how.

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Honorable mentions
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 22, 2006 8:16 AM PDT

Robert, It?s going to be impossible to be absolutely certain what is going on without either hearing this or seeing the PC, but we can make some well educated guesses as to what is happening.

There are two ways to play a music CD on a PC, analog and digital.

In analog playback, the optical (CD-ROM) drive itself decodes the CD into analog audio and the audio is fed over a cable from the drive to the sound card as an analog audio signal (the analog signal is the same signal that you hear using the drive?s front panel headphone jack if your drive has such a jack, and indeed such a jack (if present) would allow you to test the CD drive?s analog audio channel quickly and easily).

In digital playback, the audio files on the CD are read as digital computer DATA files over the IDE port (just like any other computer file), and the sound card and playback software convert those files into a Wave signal for playing through [by] the sound card.

We also need to consider a third possibility that you didn?t mention, namely that this has nothing to do with CD playback and that in fact all sounds played on your computer have the artifacts that you mention. This can be ruled out by getting an MP3 file that you know to be ?clean? and seeing that it plays properly on your computer. The normal Windows sounds are too short and the clicks and pops, even if they are occurring, might not happen while playing a short ding or beep. You want a sound file several minutes long to test this. If you hear the clicks and pops while playing such a file, then the problem is a more general unrelated to CD playback. Sound cards use both interrupts and DMA. Consequently, computer configuration issues unrelated to the audio system can cause problems in sound reproduction, but trying to troubleshoot this, if it is your problem, would be beyond the scope of this response. Also, see the comments in the next-to-last paragraph of this response, the problem might simply be coming from an unused but unmated channel of the sound mixer.

If you are using analog playback, it is possible for the analog audio cable from the optical drive to the sound card (or motherboard) to pick up electrical noise from inside the PC. This could cause what you are experiencing. While you could replace the cable (use a shielded cable if you are not doing so already) or experiment with rerouting it, the inside of a PC is an electrically noisy environment, and a better solution would be to switch to digital playback. Digital playback will generally provide a cleaner sound than audio playback (and, also, for ripping it can be faster, a LOT faster, 16 to 52 times faster).

Exactly how you select digital vs. analog playback varies by media player ... for example, it?s slightly different in Windows Media Player, Winamp and Music Match (and even in different versions of each). Also, it depends to some degree on your operating system (Windows 98, 2000 and XP are all slightly different). So let?s take Windows XP and Windows Media player as an example.

First, you must enable digital audio playback from the drive. This is prerequisite, it doesn?t select digital playback, but if you don?t do it, you CAN?T select digital playback. This is a per-drive setting in Control panel. To make this setting in Windows XP, go to Control Panel / System / Hardware / Device Manager, expand CD/DVD-ROM drives (click the small + sign), select the drive in question, right click, properties, then select the ?Properties? tab, and be certain that the box that says ?Enable digital CD audio for this CD-ROM drive? is checked. Do this for each optical drive that you plan to use for CD playback OR RIPPING. The exact location of the setting for other versions of Windows is similar but will be slightly different.

Second, to select digital audio in Windows Media Player (WMP) (These exact instructions are for WMP 10): Open Windows media player (you will have to fully expand media player so that you have the menu bar visible). Select Tools / Options, then the ?Devices? tab. From the list of drives, select the drive(s) in question, then click ?Properties?. You will see two choices of either digital or analog playback, one for playing the CD, one for ripping (extracting) the CD (as you might do to convert the CD?s music tracks into MP3?s for an MP3 player). Also, you will see a checkbox to use or not use error correction. The exact procedure here will be different if you are using a different player (Winamp, Music Match, etc.) or even if you are using a different version of Windows Media Player, but in general there is an ?options? or ?preferences? or ?settings? menu somewhere, and somewhere within that (deeply buried, in some cases) there is a checkbox to select digital or audio playback.

An additional possibility that we need to consider is this: When you listen to sounds (audio) on your computer, you are not hearing a single device, you are hearing whatever ?mix? of devices you have selected in the system mixer. Double-Click the volume [speaker] icon in the system tray (lower right by the clock), and you will see the playback mixer [if there is no speaker icon, go to Control Panel / Sounds and Audio Devices, and check the box that says ?Place Volume Icon in the task bar?]. On my computer, I have ?Wave?, ?Midi Synth?, ?Line In?, ?Auxiliary?, CD-Audio?; yours may be different (and if you click Options / Properties, you will be able to control which mixers are present). [By the way, analog playback comes through the ?CD-Audio? slider control, digital playback comes through the ?Wave? slider control.]

The clicks and pops that you are hearing may not be coming from the optical drive at all (regardless of whether you are using digital or audio playback), but might be coming from an entirely different channel. For example, if the clicks and pops are coming from an otherwise unused Line In source that is not muted, you will hear them. Consequently, you may be able to resolve your issue by either muting or turning down some of the other channels besides the Wave or CD-ROM channel that the CD playback is coming through. [Note that if you mute or turn down the Wave channel, you won?t hear normal system sounds.] One thing to try would be muting all channels other than Wave and CD-Audio and seeing if the problem goes away (and if you are using digital playback, also mute the CD-Audio channel (which is only for analog CD playback) as well).

Hopefully, these suggestions will allow you to resolve this matter.

Submitted by: Barry W. of North Canton, Ohio



Hi Robert. Unfortunately, the problem that you're inquiring about could be caused by any number of issues. First and foremost, if you have an older computer, your computer could be overwhelmed by having to process the audio in addition to whatever else you are running. You might want to check your CPU usage and memory usage while trying to play a CD. In Windows XP, you can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del and then, depending on your version and/or your settings, clicking on the "Task Manager" button of the window that appears. When Task Manager appears, click on the "Performance" tab. Look at the CPU Usage and PF (PageFile/Memory) Usage. If either of these seems really high, you might have a problem. You can check which applications/processes are using the most memory/pagefile and/or CPU by clicking on the "Processes" tab and clicking on the column that you want the processes to be sorted by.

If this does not indicate any issues, you might next want to make sure that you have the most up-to-date media player software and the newest stable driver for your sound card. You can do this by going to the manufacturer's website and downloading the newest stuff for each thing.

If you don't know what kind of sound card you have, you can click on Start --> Control Panel --> System. For Windows XP, you then have to click on the "Hardware" tab and then click on Device Manager. For older versions of Windows, you can just click on the "Device Manager" tab. Next, click on the "+" symbol next to "Sound, video and game controllers" and then look for something that indicates the brand and/or model of your sound card. For example, the onboard sound module on my machine is shown as "Realtek AC'97 Audio". Once you find this, find the manufacturer's website or a driver supplying website and download the newest driver. Sometimes, if you can't find the driver elsewhere, you can disable the item in the Device Manager by right-clicking on it and clicking "Disable" and then confirming "Yes" and then going to the Windows Update page (Go to Internet Explorer, click on "Tools", then "Windows Update".

Often when a device is disabled, Windows Update will try to find the newest driver for the device and ask you if you want to install the new driver to fix any problems that you may have been experiencing that caused you to disable the device. But like I said, try to find the driver elsewhere first, as Windows does not ALWAYS have the newest drivers. If installing new software updates to your media player and installing new drivers for your hardware still does not solve the problem, there are still other issues that you can investigate.

A friend of mine does a lot of sound recording and was having a similar problem of clicking noises when playing back some of his recorded stuff. He figured out that it was his wireless network card interrupting the audio signal by taking attention from the processor occasionally. Although this may seem strange, if you have a wireless network card on your machine, you may want to try disabling it and then playing a CD.

If this solution still does not solve your issue, you probably should simply open up your machine and make sure that all of the cables from the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM or whatever you are using to play the CDs are securely connected to the appropriate places. If you are unsure of where the disc player is supposed to be plugged into, you can probably visit the hardware manufacturer's website and find directions for installing it. Again, find the hardware manufacturer of the disc player just as you did for the sound card (Device Manager) except click on the "+" symbol for "DVD/CD-ROM Drives".

Also check for any damage to the cables and replace any damaged cables (the cables shouldn't be more than a few dollars to replace). One more thing to check is that the cables are a good distance away from other parts, especially the hard drive, as the magnetic interference of the hard drive can cause a lot of audio issues (mostly sound warping, but other issues have occurred). Once you're sure that all of the cables are connected correctly and securely and that none are damaged, the next solution that I have to offer is to upgrade the firmware of your CD/DVD drive. This procedure is not exactly for the faint of heart, so if you're uncomfortable with doing it, then you might want to just take your computer to a shop.

However, if you are willing to work a little, you can find directions for updating the firmware of the drive either at the manufacturer's website or search on Google for something to extent of "update cd-rom firmware". Finally, if none of these procedures seem to solve the problem, you might just have a faulty CD/DVD drive. Try multiple CDs in the drive and see if the problem is the same with all of them.

If this is the case, I would suggest you simply go buy a new CD-ROM from a local computer store for a small amount (usually around $10-20). If you use, or want to use, the drive for other purposes (such as DVD playback or CD/DVD backup) and are experiencing problems in these areas as well, then make sure you buy a drive that is capable of performing these tasks as well.

If you need something more than a standard CD-ROM, you can check out websites such as or for good deals on CD/DVD burners and such, as retail stores tend to make them up quite a bit more than those sites do. As for brands, Plextor is supposed to be one of the best drive makers, so try to get one of theirs if you can (a lot of brand name drives such as Sony are actually Plextor drives with a Sony cover on them, but you can usually find this out by searching on Google for the model number of the drive). I hope this helps!!!

Submitted by: Kyle S.



First, Robert, you don't state what hardware or software you are using to play your CDs through. But here are some basics that may get you started in finding and/or fixing your problem. Do each step separately and in the sequence I have outlined for you.

First, make sure that all the cable connections IN your computer are CLEAN and SECURE.

Second, get a GOOD quality CD/DVD cleaner and follow its directions completely.

Third, IF you have a sound card you need to turn off the sound in your BIOS. The vagueness of your post shows that you will probably have to have this done by a professional. OR if you have the instruction book for your motherboard you can extremely meticulously and CAREFULLY start at the beginning of that book and go through it one step at a time until you find the setting governing your sound and turn it off.

Fourth, IF you do have that sound card and have the BIOS set correctly you need to install the drivers and software for the sound card. If you don't have a CD that came with your sound card you can download from this site a program called "Belarc Advisor". This program will tell you all the hardware and software you have installed in your computer. You can then go the site of the manufacturer of that sound card and download it's drivers and whatever software you want for it. You can then set your sound card's software the way you like.

I hope it doesn't come to what comes next in this list of things to do and it's probably unlikely, HOWEVER:

Fifth, IF you are running Windows and IF you have played any of the Sony BMG CDs with that rootkit on them last year on your computer, that may have opened up a whole other can of worms....LITERALLY! You can download from this site a program called "Rootkit Revealer" and then use it to see if you have been affected. If you find you have Sony's rootkit on your Windows computer, you can go to their website and download a tool to remove it.

Sixth, IF you do find and have to remove Sony's rootkit, THEN you need to clean up your computer from any malware that may have penetrated the holes that the rootkit had in it. UPDATE and run your antivirus. Then UPDATE and run your anti-spyware programs. If you don't have any of those I can suggest some.

"Avast Anti-virus" is a very powerful FREE anti-virus program. "Spybot Search & Destroy" with it's 'Tea Timer' found in the Advanced Mode coupled with "AdAware SE" are extremely thorough when used consecutively. Both are FREE. You can download all three of these programs from this site. I have experience with all three programs and like them all. But remember, NO anti-malware program is going to do you any good at all if not UPDATED constantly and USED frequently. I update and use mine DAILY. Can't be too careful. Wink

Seventh, no matter what the outcome of steps Three through Six, and whether you have to use them or not, supposing you are running Windows, it would be a good idea to run ScanDisc and Defrag just for insurance. Just be sure to shut off all running programs while Defragging. Since this will include your anti-malware programs, it's a good idea to disconnect altogether from the internet while your programs are not running.

I hope this helps you solve your problems or, at least, gives you some ideas of your own to use.

Good Luck!

Submitted by: Julie A.



When asking if it could be software or hardware the answer is yes, it could be one or the other or both. The way to start is, work on the easiest solution and move towards the hardest solution. The simple start is checking the cables. If the jack for your speakers is not plugged in all the way, it could cause sound distortion. The next easiest thing would be speakers. If you have extra speakers or speakers you know work, try them instead of the ones currently hooked up to your computer.

The next simple solution is updating the drivers for your sound card. If it fixes the problem all it costs was a download. The quickest way to check for an updated driver is to run the windows updater. It should be in your start menu, or if you can?t find it there, click start, choose run, and in the run window type wupdmgr.exe then click the OK button. If there is an updated driver, it should be in the optional updates.

Personally I have had mixed results letting windows updated my drivers. I prefer to update them myself, it?s all according to your comfort level. I would suggest only updating the sound driver if available. If you want to update the sound card yourself go to the device manager, for XP, click start, right click on My Computer, and left click on properties, then choose the hardware tab, and finally click the Device Manager button.

Once you are in the device manager, click the little box with a plus sign in it by the device called Sound, Video, and Game Controllers. There might be a number of thing listed, usually you?re looking for the audio controller. Once you know the type of audio controller you have, you could Google the audio controller name. Personally, I try to find the manufacturer of the sound card, then go to their site and almost everyone has a support link that includes drivers. Once you get the drivers, any more there is usually a setup you can run that will take care of updating the drivers for you. If none of the above works, it?s probably time to consider hardware. The hardware fix would involve cracking open your computer. You should be able to get a sound card for around $30 all the way to $100 plus. If you have never installed anything, you might want to consider getting a friend who has to help you. It?s not really that hard, but the first time for anything is a little confusing. Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Jeff B.




There's a couple of possible issues that can cause this. The exact cause could come from a couple of sources.

1.) It could be an audio driver issue.
2.) It could be a conflicting bit of software
3.) It could be your Antvirus software.

1.) IF your computer has always done the skipping and pops and whistles bit it could be a driver issue. Check the manufacturer's web site for and update.

2.) It could be you've got a number of audio apps loading their stubs (i.e. Quicktime, Real Player, etc.. loading those nifty little tray icon gizmos). These stubs are supposed to make things faster but in reality they only suck up free memory and drain your computer of performance. Turn them off! Unfortunately, you can't remove them from Windows startup permanently without removing the entire application. Quicktime's little icon applet is notorious for it's almost viral behavior.

3.) Certain antvirus software packages tend to be notorious for slowing things down to a crawl and causing issues. Norton AV most certainly has a bad reputation for this. Consider that whenever you insert any kind of CD or DVD into your computer, the AV software jumps to attention and starts scanning the thing for viruses. This is normally a good thing. The hitch is when you start playing a track - or ripping to your MP3 player for that matter - your media player and your antivirus software is trying to both read the music/video files AND trying to scan for viruses at the same time. This can result in the pops and cracks you're experiencing.

So what to do about your antivirus making your life miserable? You can set your antivirus to NOT scan audio CDs. Of course, given the Sony rootkit fiasco of a few months back, that may NOT be a good idea.

You can try another antivirus app. Some behave less intrusively than others and require less overhead.

Or, the issue can be a combination of any or all of the above.

Submitted by: Pete Z.



The "popping" sounds many people get on computer drive usually come from the settings on their media players. Much of the time this distortion noise comes from "overdriving" the song. (Think of the sound a boom box makes when it is turned up too loud).

There are quite a few settings you can look at:

First be sure you have not blown the speakers attached to your computer. The quickest way to check this is to switch from speakers to headphones. If the distortion is present in the headphones the problem isn't with the speakers.

Next check the volume control settings on the computer screen. The volume and the wave should be somewhere around the midpoint. Any higher and the signal may distort a bit depending upon your speakers' power capacity.

Next check the settings on your media player. If you have your Equalizer set too high or set with too much bass you signal can distort. Windows media player comes with an surround sound add-on called "SRS-WOW" that, when combined with the graphic equalized nearly always distorts the signal and gives you a popping sound.

One last thing to consider is your sound card - the better the card the better the sound.

I hope it helps!

Submitted by: Steven N. of Memphis, Tennessee




Do you hear the snaps and crackles while listening to other sounds on your computer, such as ones from videos or games? If so, the most likely cause of these problems is your sound card. Sometimes sound cards can break for various reasons, and from then on any sound coming out of them can be filled with extra noise. A slightly less likely cause for this problem could be your sound card driver, which may need to be updated at the manufacturer's site. However, if you hear the snaps and crackles only on CD's, it could indicate other problems. One could be that your CD drive is defective, or its connection is loose inside the computer. Also, it could be a problem involving the software you use to play CD's. Here is what I recommend doing to troubleshoot:

1. Play a full-screen game or play a video, and see if the problem occurs there, as if it does, you may need to replace your soundcard or update the drivers.
2. If your sound is fine in the other applications, try opening the CD in another program, and seeing if it plays well. If it does, the problem lies with your default CD-playing application.
3. If the sound has the same problem in these other CD-playing programs, but not in games/videos and such, then the problem most likely is your CD drive or its connection.

Hope this helps!

Submitted by: William J. of Concord, Massachusetts




There are a number of possible causes for this problem, one place to look is what sound card you have? Is it an integrated sound card (that is, is it part of the actual mother board), or is it an added sound card that plugs in to a PCI slot on the mother board.

Are you running other Apps at the same time, if so which ones as some to use a lot more resources than others. How much memory do you have, 256 mb or higher is more acceptable, 512mb is a lot better. What CPU are you running.

The pops an cracks etc can be caused by other aps taking more resources than normal and thus basically starting and stopping the Disk / sound suddenly.

Try running a cleaning disk in the ROM but for my money check your resources first. I?d even have a look inside the case and make sure that the leads into the ROM are intact at both the ROM and the motherboard. Then try extra memory, or if you have the $$$ and have a spare PCI slot try adding a sound card with its own dedicated memory.

I have until recently had 512mb ram and have an integrated motherboard but haven't had that problem arise, so possibly start with memory bring it up to 512, if you already have that see if you can borrow another CD ROM before buying one if that sounds better then you have found the cause.

Do these in any order you choose.

Hope this info is useful, Regards Keith

Submitted by: Keith A.
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Other advice from our members
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 22, 2006 8:16 AM PDT

Snaps crackles and pops. Could be audio clipping. Check that the audio output from your soundcard isn't overloading your amplifier. If the noises coincide with the louder peaks of the music then this could be the problem. Or perhaps you have the volume a little too high and your audio amp is going into clipping, especially if you are using a loudness control which boosts the bass, perhaps the bass on the equalizer is a little high. A good test for this is to turn the volume down a bit and hear if it still happens. If it stops, the solution is obvious.

Submitted by: Ian



Hi Robert,

Funny, I was having the same problem just before I read your question this morning. I was using Musicmatch Jukebox 10 to listen to a Miles Davis cd while I worked on my e-mail. I tried playing the cd and I heard only 5 seconds of each track with hisses and pops in each one. I checked the Jukebox help file and found this:

"Some CD drives may have problems extracting digital CD audio. Such problems will present themselves as poor audio quality, "hissy" audio, or other audible distractions in the music. By placing a check in the box next to, "Do not optimize my CD playback," the audio will extract as analog, thus helping to eliminate issues with digital playback."

I changed the option and now sound quality is crystal clear. Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Edward S.



Here is a question that I would ask is this. Does it happen with any other sound source? If it happens in all sound sources, then the next step I would take would be to see if all of the connections on the sound card are secure. Check the speakers to see if they are correctly connected. Check and see if any cables inside the computer may have come loose. Make sure the sound card is seated properly if it is not built in on the motherboard. Also, check and see if your drivers are up to date on your sound card.

If that does not correct the problem, or if the problem is only prevalent when playing CD's, check and see if you have the most up to date drivers for your CD-ROM drive. Another question that may be asked is when was the CD-ROM drive last cleaned? How dirty is the general environment in which the computer is normally used? If it tends to be dusty, you may want to try cleaning the CD-ROM drive.

Submitted by: Christopher S. of Chicago, Illinois



Hi Robert,

I had exactly this problem - in my case it was the CD-ROM drive hardware causing the problem.

I bought a very cheap server to act as my home gateway but also wanted to use it for general stuff, including audio CDs. When I tried to play even top quality store bought CDs, I got more pops, clicks and hisses than you can shake a stick at. Because this machine was intended to be a server, it only had a very basic CD-ROM drive - no DVD or write capability, obviously a very cheap device, despite coming from a quality manufacturer.. To load server software and data this does a fine job, the ECC and CRC checks, etc., will correct any minor anomalies, but audio CDs are much more demanding.

To be able to write backup files on the server, I installed an LG Dual Layer DVD+/-RW drive, on the same IDE cable as the CD-ROM drive (the machine had only one IDE header on the motherboard, the hard drives are all SATA). Popped in an Audio CD - perfect! Better, in fact, than in the high end audio player in my car!

So my guess is that your CD drive is the place to start investigation, try cleaning the head (very carefully!) if you can get at it. Certainly worth checking the IDE cable also and the sound cable from the drive to the sound card if it has one (some older drives do). If you can play an MP3 on the machine with no interference, that would clear your sound card/chip. If you decide to get a new drive, make sure it specifies read/write capability for audio files.

Good luck.

Submitted by: Sav. M. of the United Kingdom



Two possible causes to the pops:

1. The connector of the PC sound output may be oxidized. Clean up the speaker plug with alcohol. Then, push it in and out of the sound output jack a few times as well as rotating back and forth a few time while the plug all the way in to clear the oxidation in the jack.

2. Speaker volume and tune attenuator may be oxidized. Rotate each of the knobs quickly to clear the oxidation from the carbon plate in the attenuator would help.

If both did not change the situation, you may have a bad sound board or on board sound circuit. Change the sound board or disable on the on-board sound and replace it with a good sound board.

Submitted by: Carl C. of Troy, Michigan



This guy is most probably having a problem with his sound card's drivers. I think he's using Creative sound cards. I had the same issue when I was using Creative Sound Blaster Live card with drivers that did not agree well with Windows XP (pre SP-2 days). I solved the problem in 2 ways:

1) Downloaded latest drivers from creative's site - But this did not help
2) I noticed that I always played my CD's in creative's default media player (play center), so I changed the default player for audio CD to Cakewalk Pyro, and it worked fine. Now, I use iTunes as the default player for audio CD's, and have not got any issues. Creative's play center is banished from my PC now Wink

I am not sure if 1) or 2) did the trick (or maybe SP-2?), but I hope this helps!

Submitted by: Dipankar M.



I had a similar problem to this on a PC i had, i never got to the very bottom of the problem but the quality of CD Playback did get considerably better if i reduced the video acceleration down to the minimum.

This can be found under the display control panel --> settings tab --> advanced button --> troubleshoot tab.

Move the slider all the way to the left this solved my problem probably not ideal if you do a lot of gaming but for a word processing pc this shouldn?t cause a problem

Submitted by: Des



Could you have a DRM-Protected CD? A DRM-Protected CD has encryption built in to prevent piracy. My suggestion is simple: Press the SHIFT key down and hold it down when inserting DRM-Protected CD's -or- Disable the AutoPlay feature on the disc drive you plan to use.

Submitted by: Mike S.
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CD Audio ,,,Snaps craclles and pops-
by g, balis / June 23, 2006 12:11 AM PDT

Hi, Robert-
All the answers I?ve read are OK , but the matter is "compare" ,you must try a mp3-CD played on the same player you tried your Cd Audio , if it is fine ,I will recomend the same explained by Edward S,however try with WinAmp player and try not leave another program working at the back.
Sometimes other programs interfere on CD playing and is very disgusting.
Hope this helps-

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Those Krazy Krackles
by zxcver / June 23, 2006 1:56 AM PDT

It's kind of like describing a noise your car is making, isn't it? Happy

If you always hear the snap and crackle (even when no particular sound is being played) it could be a lot of things to do with speakers:

* noisy electrical outlet (speaker may share a circuit with a loaded line or a line that also serves some type of electrical motor)

* bad cables (loose or damaged cables connecting the speakers to the PC or to each other can cause a static sound)

CD audio on a PC can also be a bit confusing because there are usually two cables you can connect to a CD/DVD drive to get audio into the computer. The flat IDE/ATAPI cable, which HAS to be connected transfer digital data, including digital audio.

Therefore, digital audio is always possible if your computer is capable of processing it. Although digital CD audio isn't really demanding, some media players add special effects to the audio (like Windows Media Player's equalizer, True Bass, and WOW effects) and/or video "eye candy" (Visualizations) that can eat up processing power.

The other cable is the analog audio cable, which is a very small four-wire cable that attaches to your motherboard or sound card. This cable must be present to allow non-digital audio. Non-digital audio require practically no processor cycles. In effect, your sound card/motherboard simply acts like the amplifier of a home stereo, boosting volume from the source (the cd rom drive, which is acting like a cd player) to the speakers.

With audio problems, it can also be helpful to clearly note the specific nature of the noise.

"Static" like what you hear on an AM radio broadcast is a "scratchy" noise. The sound continues uninterrupted.

"Distortion" is somewhat akin to the type of sound you hear when a stereo is played far louder than the speakers can handle. This is where "clipping" comes into play, which sounds like a loud "pop" sometimes with portions of the sound dropping out.

"Cracks" and "pops" are akin to the sound you may hear on a scratched record.

Again, it can be important to note if the sound play is uninterrupted by the noise. If so, that almost definitely indicates some type of interference problem, maybe with an internal or speaker cable.

If there is pausing of the audio, then it's more likely to be a performance problem (the CPU can't keep up, so the pop and crackle is sound actually stopping and resuming).

If the audio SKIPS, it could be performance, a bad disc (unlikely here) or a bad cd rom drive.

A further handy test - if possible - is to swap components. If you're careful to not have the volume cranked too loud, you can usually plug PC speakers into the headphone jack of a portable stereo/mp3 player/etc device. Just keep the volume all the way down on BOTH devices when you plug in, then slowly turn up the volume on both until you hear what you're playing. This eliminates the speakers and their wiring as a potential problem.

If you have a spare computer, swapping cd-rom drives, cables, and (if equipped) sound cards between this PC and another will further help eliminate sources of trouble. You could remove all cables from the CD ROM drive, then try to play an MP3 or other sound file from the computer, to see if the CD-ROM drive itself is somehow at fault, or if maybe digital audio is causing the problem.

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More about connections to sound card
by abemon / June 23, 2006 2:10 AM PDT

Building on what Christopher S. of Chicago said:
In addition to the connection for your speakers, also check the connections for line-in and microphone. If, for example, you have a line-in device plugged into microphone by accident, or vice versa, this can cause intermittent buzzes, clicks, hisses in playback over your speakers.

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by abelizondo / June 23, 2006 8:56 PM PDT

it might be that your player is already old. perhaps the lens is near its extinction.

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Re:Playing CDs on PC is all snap, crackle, and pop!
by rdoran01 / June 22, 2006 10:57 PM PDT

Well, I'm a musician (drummer at my church) and one thing I hate is annoying static...and blasting bass music from other peoples cars... ;o( Anyway I have a Mac with iTunes, but if I had that problem (which thankfully I don't) I would first check the EQ settings, (if your software has any)...with iTunes there are some settings that purposefully sound a lot lika a cheap AM radio, ''small speakers'' is one that comes to mind, complete with static. Then there are others that royally kick butt. I custom made one to bring out the clarity of the high-hats, and other cymbals while still retaining the blended drum, guitar, bass and vocal mix.

Oh BTW I can run Adobe Illustrator CS2, PhotoShop CS2, Safari and iTunes simultaneously with no drop out of any sort! :o) grafixrj

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Playing CD's on a PC
by bberman0611 / June 22, 2006 11:05 PM PDT

I have what may be a related problem. I have a store-bought CD, and it plays just fine in my car. However, every PC I have tried it on, and every music player program I have tried, will not play track 1. Some will not play the CD at all, because of the problem with track 1. I get an error message box (I forget the message number now and don't have the CD with me). Again, it plays fine in both of our family cars. Any ideas ?

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Beware of CD/DVD Disc Cleaners
by kathyables / June 23, 2006 2:03 AM PDT

I used a CD/DVD DiscWasher cleaner on my older HP machine, and immediately thereafter, I began to hear the snap, crackle, pop, whenever I tried to play some CD music. I believe that this particular disc cleaner did some damage to my CD/DVD burner drive. I tried just about everything I could think of to get the drive back into working order. I checked out many tech websites to research what could be done, but nothing worked. Eventually, the drive refused to work at all. Because it was the only computer I had at the time, I bought an external CD/DVD drive. I just didn't want to invest any more time with the defective drive.

Just recently, and because, optical drives are so inexpensive, I bought another CD/DVD burner drive to replace the defective drive. With all the rebates that I got, it really cost me just shipping and handling, about $20. I swapped the defective drive with the new one in about 30 minutes, and it worked perfectly. It was also an upgrade to the older one, much faster.

So, I believe that some disc cleaners may be the cause of damaging optical drives. At least, in my case, I have no doubts about it.

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Try changing the priority of the audio codecs
by Phloptical / June 23, 2006 2:57 AM PDT

Yes, it sounds weird, but where your audio codecs appear in the list could very much impact how you hear the audio. The way I understand it, and I'm no computer science major, is that each packet of info has to get analyzed through the codec list to find the right one. So if your playing an mp3 and your mp3 codec is way at the bottom of the list, windows will filter through all the ones before it until it gets to the right one. That time that it takes creates pauses in the tunes, lost information from other packets....blipps beeps and ticks. This solution has worked for me several times.

I don't know if there's a specific "best" top 5 list of codecs, but I personally place the mp3 one first, since that's what all of my music is encoded in, and then pick the M$ ones after, like the PCM guy; blah blah blah. You're going to have to play around.

Now, the main question......where do I do this? Well, the list can be found in Device Manager under the audio section..sound audio, game controllers. click the audio codecs and choose properties. Select the Properties tab and there is the list. To change priority, click the codec and select Properties and then adjust the number. Again, play around with the different ones to see what you get. But my opinion is that this is the problem. Not hardware, not bad speakers or EMI (kinda stretching on that one, unless you live next to an unshielded power transformer)....just a codec thing. My bet is that if you were to run another OS, like linux, your music would play fine. Download Knoppix live CD or something and boot that up, see how linux handles your music. 10 to 1 it'll sound fine.

Good luck.

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RE: Playing CDs on PC is all snap, crackle, and pop!
by brgrja / June 23, 2006 11:27 AM PDT

May i suggest narrowing down to the issue. Ask yourself the following questions: -
Was ur computer always like that?
Did you made any changes to the machine like software or hardware updates?

Try system restore

I had a similiar experience after I upgraded directx on my machine. There's no way to rell back to a previous version of directx. so i had to reformat and reinstall.

varun21 @ gmail .com

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Direct X and another option not covered!
by wjaycox / June 23, 2006 1:02 PM PDT

What was stated earlier about not being able to roll back Direct X is NOT entirely true! You can first use the DirectX diagnostic tool to list what DX drivers are installed. Then you can go in and manually erase these files under SAFEMODE. Then you can reinstall your earlier version DX files!!

Now, onto another possibility for snap/crackle/pop. Aside from problems with the "Frugal" motherboards with onboard soundcards, this similar problem with audio in GAMES came up, and their recommendation was to turn back the sound card Hardware Acceleration amount. It's usually set to MAX/FULL, but this can possibly induce digital errors.


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CDs, software, CD drive
by therealCSMR / June 24, 2006 7:14 AM PDT

CD players usually have interpolation so when errors are detected you don't get pops.

For a PC you need at least 2 of:
clean discs
good software
a good CD drive

I generally rip my CDs to hard drive rather than play them directly. But I will assume that CD drives that are good for extracting audio are good for playing CDs in real time; so look here to find what drives are good:

As for software, experiment to see what works best.

I personally use a Plextor Premium and Pextools which works well for less money.

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by therealCSMR / June 24, 2006 7:16 AM PDT

I don't seem to be able to edit my message.
My last sentence should read:
I personally use a Plextor Premium and Pextools but you may find something which works well for less money.

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