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Random audio crackling + Weird Realtek driver crashes: Serious USB or PCI issue ? (Z790 Hero)

Level 8

Crackling : There are random audio popping noises / crackling happening all the time, while simply listening to music, gaming etc. The crackling also occurs while the system is idle and just playing music. The speakers are brand new and not having any issues when paired with another audio source than the PC.

Audio driver crashes: While audio's active, it can happen that an external drive is plugged to a front USB 3 port, the audio driver will completely crash (speaker icon with a red cross). I suspect that it could be due to a (hardware) PCI problem:

  • All USB controllers are connected to the PCI Express Root Complex
  • I have freezing issues in all games that could be linked to IO (see my other post) "interrupting" the CPU and causing long frametime spikes
  • WHEA errors being logged that point to NVMe controller, and lately to SATA controller

For the audio issue, I have tried, to no avail:

  • Uninstalling, cleaning and re-installing audio drivers without the A-Volute/SS3 bloatware.
  • Turning off all USB power management in Device Manager and in Windows power plan.
  • Plugging the mouse / keyboard to other USB ports.
  • Using the optical out instead of RCA.
  • Adjusitng sound settings: Disabling all enhancements, turning off exclusive mode  etc.

Customer Service Agent

Hi @MiniSpip ,

based on your issue, you can try entering the Sonic Studio tab on the MB device page and turning off the switch in the top-left corner to see if it resolves the popping sound issue. 
If the problem persists, please remove the Bongiovi SDK to see if it helps. 

Here are the steps to remove Sonic Studio (Bongiovi SDK):
1. Confirm the existence of the folder C:\Program Files\BongioviMBApp.
2. Access the MB device page and set the switch in the top-left corner of the Sonic Studio tab to the OFF position (if you cannot access the MB device page, start from step 3).
3. Reboot your system.
4. Without opening AC, navigate to the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\ASUS\ArmouryDevice\dll\MBLedSDK, and run BongioviBinaryDeleter.exe in administrator mode.
5. Confirm that the folder C:\Program Files\BongioviMBApp has disappeared.
6. Reboot your system.

Also, the backend team released MB SDK v3.00.21 yesterday. 
Please go to Armoury Crate to update your SDK. 
After updating, please check to confirm whether the issues you encountered have been resolved. 
Thank you.

Hello @Aureliannn_ROG ,

Thank you for the reply and detailed instructions. I have since long completely uninstalled the Sonic Studio (unwanted) add-on in a deep cleaning mode: Registry entries, driver store, services, device manager etc. So I'm fairly certain that nothing related to SS3 remained.

Also: There were popping / crackling issues when SS3 was still there, but only with "sound activation"; that is: Only when launching an application that has audio. Now, I have random crackling during audio playback.

Could you please clarify what you mean by MB SDK ? I don't see it directly on the official download page. The only recent components that I see are related to WiFi, Bluetooth or PD v0.16.

Armory Crate is not installed and I have no intention of using it. Or should I say: If it was possible to install separate modules (like the updater or possibly FanXpert) and not the whole thing, then perhaps yes. As it stands now, there are far too many unnecessary / unwanted features that come with loads of services - which do not get properly uninstalled when AC is uninstalled.