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Crackling/Popping audio on HERO VIII

Level 7
Lately, I have been getting stuttering audio and a pops coming from my headphones while plugged into the onboard audio also same when I plug them into a DAC but plugging in the headphones into a phone works perfectly fine. Also there was a post on reddit with the exact same issue and he was using the same motherboard (HERO VIII) and I'm unsure what is causing it as using diffrent headphones,DAC, formatting PC,Reinstalling drivers did nothing and still i get the issue.

I'm happy to provide any other info and happy to hear suggestions on resolving this issue.

Thank you in advance.

Level 9
Glad to hear it sort of helped.

Another thing to consider - your windows version (type "winver" in the start/search in Windows 10) and what version of realtek you have. Maybe BIOS version matters too. I'm on 3504. Many others don't have audio issues and I'm curious if they are on the 2202 (most stable from what I hear).

So that Intel Ethernet driver fixed my issue back before I had the Creators update. Once I updated to the Windows 10 Creators update (1703), I noticed if I had used the same version of realtek that I was using for the previous Win10 Version (1607), that I'd have audio cracks/sync issues across all programs.

I then tried finding a newer version of realtek that was made more for the 1703 version and still didn't help. I then updated to the 1709 Fall Creator update, and still nothing worked. There was a release of realtek version that for the Fall Creators update, and my audio became better. Less cracks/pops, and audio is in sync across most programs except a few.

I usually follow this:

And see what the newest audio is from Realtek. Then I search it in the Microsoft official catalog of drivers to verify it and check the column/field "Products" and verify it matches my windows 10 version, which I have the Fall creators update, so I always pick the driver that matches that.

The other drivers should really work, and I never had an issue before, but somethings been weird lately and seems like not many are experiencing this issue. I wonder what other versions people have and which realtek.

Looking at the ten-forums, there's a newer version than 8302, so now I'll go search that in the catalog, or just click the link in the forum post that links directly to the catalog.

Since I have the Fall Creators update, I'd want to verify that's there and download that specific one (maybe doesn't make a difference which you download, but just to be safe).

"Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Later Servicing Drivers" is there, so I'll actually download that right now, extract it to a single new folder, then Device Manager > Sound, video and game controllers > Realtek High Definition Audio > right click, update driver, browse, and select that new folder and keep the "include subfolders" checked. Click next.

You'll hear the motherboard itself make the "tick" noise as it updates. Now I have 8318 updated. I'll see if my audio issues persist.

All my previous boards were Asus and never had a single issue. With these ones, I have nothing but audio issues. It's a shame for a great performing board.

I highly suggest trying a few more fixes, and if it doesn't work, go to another brand. Asus customer support is horrible beyond my belief too.

If I ever upgrade I will compare benchmarks and if Asus has the best performance, I may try it but if there's a single audio issue I will return it ASAP and get another brand in a heartbeat. It's not worth the audio issues years down the road.
Z790 Asus Hero Maximus on 0816 BIOS (0914 and 1202 crashes for me on XMP I), Intel 13900k stock clock, Asus 4090 Strix OC edition, FF3D532G720 Teamgroup Ram running XMP I, 16gb x 2, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB x 2, Seasonic VERTEX GX 1200W, Win 11 Pro 64, Deepcool LS720 AIO, NZXT H7 Flow. Comfortably using Armoury Crate for updates/fan xpert.

Level 10
I've had a bit of unexplained audio pops/crackles as well on my system recently. Just occasional ticks/pops like dust on an LP record surface, usually just after a sharp audio "transient" pulse, like a heavy drumbeat or strong attack on a particular note, or a sudden increase in volume in spoken dialogue. Always just out of time with the strong audio pulse; It very much sounds like a latency problem. Also, it began just after the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10.

I poked around and checked various settings, made sure all the drivers were up-to-date. Finally, I went into Sonic Studio and tried one thing. I only use a small bit of "Smart EQ" (It's effect kind of like BBE's classic Sonic Maximizer from the early 90's that's still in use today; a little goes a long way...) and all the other effects are turned off. I turned off the "Smart EQ" and then turned OFF the "All Effects" master toggle. Played some music -- no issues where I'd heard them before. Then I turned the "All Effects" toggle ON again, and then turned "Smart EQ" back on. Played the same music -- no clicks/crackles/artifacts anymore.

So, this is one more thing to try -- toggle all Sonic Studio effects off and turn the master toggle off, then back on and turn on your chosen effects again.

My guess is that it toggles some Registry setting that the Fall Creators Update or some Windows patch is handling differently. Toggling the function re-asserts the setting correctly.

Seems to be working for me, at least... 🙂
Motherboard: Maximus VIII Hero
Processor: I7 6700K - 4.9GHz OC
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i v2
Memory: G.Skill DDR4-3000 16GB
Graphics: EVGA GTX 1080 FTW2 1721/1860MHz
Storage #1: 1TB Western Digital Black
Storage #2: 2TB Western Digital Black
Case: Antec Nine Hundred
Power Supply: Antec Edge 650 80+ Gold
OS: Windows 10 Pro

Level 8
ive been having exct same problems downloaded new intel drivers off of the asus maximus hero x download page theres a new version of network driver there this solved the audio poping issues ive been having for months hope this helps

Level 9
Great feedback guys. I'm glad to hear it's not only me having these audio issues (not glad, but reassured I'm not crazy lol).

Anyway, for anyone who doesn't have any audio issues, cracks/sync issues, etc, what BIOS and Windows version/build are you on? I think that may be a factor here...

Looking at many topics and comments on here:

You can see plenty of people having audio issues with Win10, 1709. Just look through the threads.

So either Win10 or Asus should provide a fix. I assume Win10 should review their new buggy Win10 versions before others develop a fix on their end.

Even on Win10 default audio drivers, without Realtek, I had some audio issues.

I may downgrade back to Win10 1607 when the audio worked. Hopefully it still works.. otherwise I'd conclude it's the Asus drivers. I know I had similar audio issues that I have now in Win10 version 1703 as well. Dang Creators Update
Z790 Asus Hero Maximus on 0816 BIOS (0914 and 1202 crashes for me on XMP I), Intel 13900k stock clock, Asus 4090 Strix OC edition, FF3D532G720 Teamgroup Ram running XMP I, 16gb x 2, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB x 2, Seasonic VERTEX GX 1200W, Win 11 Pro 64, Deepcool LS720 AIO, NZXT H7 Flow. Comfortably using Armoury Crate for updates/fan xpert.

Level 10
No audio issues here. WIN10 Enterprise 64bit version 16299. Latest Bios.

Level 10
I changed out the SPDIF cable and it fixed my popping issue...