Hardware is hell

by AJ "Tyron" Martinez @ worldsbe.st • November 19 2019

kfaraday - Op. 40 No. 7, Intermezzo (Kapusty Fried Chippin')

Problem: Random bursts of static from the speakers on my desk, followed by rhythmic “popping” for 10-30 seconds. No clear source or repro.

Resolution: Speaker wiring is probably fucked up. Turn off amp and reseat wire, make sure that nothing is touching where it shouldn’t be.

Problem: Random bursts of static from my headphones, followed by rhythmic “popping”, in the same fashion as my speakers.

Resolution: Happening to two listening devices, so definitely not an issue with speaker amp or speakers. Likely a software issue, mabe a Windows update along the line screwed my audio interface up. Upgrade drivers, disable and re-enable the device, poke at it a bit until the problem has apparently gone away.

Problem: Static + popping from any listening device.

Resolution: Audio interface probably experiencing some kind of minor hardware failure. Swap USB ports with no result, then live with it for a while (it’s really not that bad, is it?), getting more upset every time electrical entropy punches me in the eardrums—until my boyfriend has had enough of my yelling and buys me a replacement interface. (♥)

Problem: Static + popping from any listening device, even on the new interface. Uhhhhh.

Resolution: Okay, um, so the odds that Interface 2 arrived already broken in the exact same way are pretty low, right? Even if it’s the same model, that requires a pretty huge coincidence…maybe this was a software issue after all and I’m a dumbass, unsupported sample rate or something. Change sample rate, clean install drivers just in case.

Problem: Static + popping from any listening device.

Resolution: Right, if that’s not it, then…well, I see a lot of talk on the Internet about unstable power causing weird audio issues, and while this isn’t a ground loop maybe there’s something like that going on. Plus my power strip says this set of outlets isn’t properly grounded anyway. Move the power strip to a different outlet.

Problem: Static + popping from any listening device, mounting feelings of dread.

Resolution: Okay, we moved pretty recently and I don’t remember this happening before the move. I’ve got a room to myself in the basement, maybe all the wiring down here is a little screwy? It is mostly unfinished, after all, and we’ve had power surges more than once since moving in. There’s an extension cable around here somewhere, let’s run a cord from upstairs…

Problem: Static + popping from any listening device, increasing blood pressure.

Resolution: Okay, maybe the power strip itself. Long shot, but it’s simple to test, just gotta crawl under my desk…

Problem: Static + popping from any listening device, general feelings of unreality.

Resolution: There is no fucking way this is happening.

Problem: Static + popping from speakers…while the speaker amp doesn’t even have an audio cable connected.

Resolution: This eliminates any remaining chance that it’s an actual audio issue. Wall power → amp → speakers chain has same flaw as wall power → PC → interface → headphones chain. Common factor is wall power unless we allow for hilarious coincidences. Why isn’t anything else having issues if it’s wall power, what the fuck. What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck. How is this happening. This is a goddamn nightmare.

Search Amazon for power conditioners and UPSes. Look at prices. Search Amazon for other audio interfaces, maybe some of them will handle fluctuations in wall power better (since roommates aren’t having issues either). Wonder out loud how a just god could create a universe with such evil in it. This makes no sense. What the fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Realize that new equipment may not even solve the problem and would be tantamount to throwing money away, which you have already done by getting a replacement for an interface that was probably just fine. Realize that despite this, problem isn’t solved.

Problem: No actionable solutions despite months of fever dream troubleshooting

Resolution: alcohol