Laptop noise problem

i am currently using a Compaq laptop for my recording, until I am able to afford an new desktop. I am having an issue with what seems to be processor noise, or maybe even something to do with my soundcard. If I am not constantly doing something with the computer, it will start making this weird mid freq noise, and it is pretty loud. It only has a headphone out, so I loop that to the mixer, but it also does it with headphones, what the output was designed for. The only thing that has helped cut down the noise is to un-ground the power supply. I would really prefer not to do this with my computer, but for now it will have to do.

what I am wondering is if I would get a usb interface, something as simple as the behringer usb interface with RCA in/out, would it actually take another path to where ever it needs to go, and skip this problem noise? or is there something else I need to do?

info about the system:
Compaq presarioe r3000
OS: windows xp service pack 2
RAM: 648mb
HD space: 68 gigs
processor: intel pentium 4, 2.80ghz
programs:Sony acid music studio, Cool Edit Pro 2, audacity 1.2.6 and beta unstable version, Fl studio XXL

how its connected to all my equipment:

I use the tape out RCA’s with a Stereo RCA to stereo mini into the mic input of the computer, and loop the other sound back with a stereo mini to dual 1/4" for playback. I use Eurorack ub2442fx, with a xynyx 1002 and 1202 for sub mixers. all channels on the eurorack are sent to the main and sub groups, but the computer-out is sent to the subs only for playback.

any more info needed just ask

<<<I use the tape out RCA’s with a Stereo RCA to stereo mini into the mic input of the computer>>>

Does the laptop instructions say with specific words that it can convert the very low level Mic-In connector to high level Line-In when you need it? Some computers do, some don’t. PC Laptops in particular are not sought out for their high quality sound. That connector was designed to plug a headset in for Vonage phone calls, not recording quality musical performances.

Does your Cool Edit also record the noisy sound?

There’s a trick where you connect everything like you always do but leave everything turned off but your computer. Press Record (or tap once inside the red record meters.) That hopefully low bouncing reading is the noise contributed by the sound card. No musical process will ever get quieter than that. When many of us do that, our noise floor is -65 or lower.

It’s also suspicious that moving the wall power affects your sound. Is all your sound equipment plugged into the same wall outlet or electrical circuit? If all of your equipment has HiFi quality cables (unbalanced), you may need to do that. That style of cable (RCA or 1/8") does not travel long distances well.

Get an extension cord and plug the laptop into the same socket that the sound mixer uses.

If you just can’t get rid of enough of the trash, then yes, maybe USB is the pathway for you.


yeah, I have everything hooked up on the same power strip. I don’t juse HiFi cables, but through my monitors I don’t have any problem with sound except for out of this laptop. When I record, I do get some noise, but it is very little. It is the same noise though. if I don’t have the laptop out in the loop, it cuts it down to where its almost impossible to hear. my recordings have all came out well though, because most of the time I don’t use studio white noise, I just fade out. As for quality, I know what you mean. I am glad I got this laptop for free, because I wouldn’t have paid for this thing. it over heats if I set it on my lap, the fans get extremely loud for no reason, and they fill up with dust too quick. I can’t wait to get a desktop, with a nice 22" screen or even dual screens, a couple gigs of ram and hopefully almost a TB of hard drive space. then I can use this for what its worth, taking notes in college and thats it.

well, since I got off topic, if there is anything I didn’t answer, sorry.

Do you get the same problems if you run the laptop on battery power only? This cures noise problems for some folks.


it sounds about the same really, either way the card seems to make noise. it doesn’t make as much as it did with the power supply grounded, but its still there.

Just once in that whole thread did you mention “the mixer.” What mixer? If the computer starts making noise and you unplug the 1/8" audio cable, does it continue? You don’t have to go into record for this. Start Audacity and click once inside the red record meters. They will wake up in monitor mode and will stay that way until you stop them.

The noise isn’t a gentle rain in the trees hiss or shshshsh, right? It’s more a sound like you’re strangling a lizard. Any way to post a little bit of that somewhere? (you can’t put it here)