Excessive clicking from soundcard (Xonar) on Audacity start


I have recently upgraded my PC, and ever since then my sound card wildly and loudly clicks several times in short succession each time I open Audacity. I am using Audacity 2.0.1 (installed from EXE) on Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

My upgrade included a complete re-install of my system. Nothing changed about my audio interfaces. I have an on-board Realtek HD chip that is deactivated through the Windows device manager, as well as an active Asus Xonar D2X card with the same (latest) driver version I used on the old system. I also use the same versions of Windows, Audacity and DirectX (11) as before. The upgrade included a change of PSU, mainboard, CPU, RAM, videocard, optical drive, and the addition of an SSD for the OS, although I doubt that any of the hardware changes are the issue.

I am absolutely positive that the clicking problem did not happen on my previous installation. It is a new phenomenon. It is normal for the Xonar to click audibly when it is activated or deactivated, for example when booting and shutting down the computer, or activating and deactivating the card in the device manager. The reason why I’m concerned is that it’s not just a regular click, but sounds more like a violent “rattle”, like the card is turning off and on again several times within a fraction of a second. It sounds rather unhealthy, making me a bit wary every time I want to use Audacity.

I tried changing between MME and DirectSound with no effect. I activated my Realtek card and chose it for input and output before closing Audacity, so that it would be active instead of the Xonar when starting Audacity again, but it didn’t change anything either, so it seems to be due to some sort of enumeration happening at startup. Audacity 2.0.0 gives the same problem, and Audacity 1.2.6 gives one single click when starting–that might have been the case on the previous installation as well.

Any pointers on where I could look for the cause of this problem would be greatly appreciated!


Are you complaining about a tiny click coming from the sound card, or a very loud click/pop coming from the sound system?

This card has mechanical replays whose purpose it is to prevent start up and shut down sounds from reaching the speakers.


I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Audacity was in contention with other sound services for use of the card leading to multiple start and stop commands. Do you use Skype? Other sound programs?


I have the PCI version of that card and get the same sort of thing, typically a double click.

Do you have any VST plugins installed? I have a hunch that the clicks may somehow be related to audio host programs scanning and securing the services of VST effects and instruments.

In any case I don’t worry too much about the noise.

This is about a mechanical click coming from the relay. As you said, it is common for the Xonar to do this when it is turned on and off, although usually not during the course of a Windows session. What has me worried is that it’s not really a “tiny click” as the one I have during system boot and shutdown anymore, but more of an erratic rattle as the relay seems to switch multiple times in very close succession.

Thank you for the contention and VST suggestions. After unsuccessfully trying to isolate some other process or service that might be causing it, I went back to my initial idea of some sort of enumeration happening on Audacity’s startup (since it didn’t seem to make a difference whether I chose MME or DirectSound), and I have now in fact found the culprit: deactivating the Microphone input as a recording source in Windows volume control stops the relay rattle. It is very likely that on my old system I did this automatically when I installed the card, so I never encountered the problem before.

This might be related to the fact that no microphone is actually connected to my Xonar card. But anyone else who encounters and is bothered by the same problem should just try deactivating any recording sources they don’t use.

Thanks again!

There was a very early update to Mac OS where they made the assumption that they were going to reset all the devices in the system every time the system changed states. Every time you came out from Sleep, all the drives would go crazy. They quickly offered a patch that didn’t do that.