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Maximus VIII Ranger front panel audio noise after mobo switch

Level 7
Dear ROG community,

Since I switched motherboards from an Asus Z170 Pro Gaming to the Maximus VIII Ranger two days ago, I have been having similar issues as the person in

The frontpanel headphone connector gives audible white noise, pops and high-pitched squealing through the headphones. While this wasn't the case with the previous Asus motherboard. If I plug the headphones into the headphone port, as soon as it has detected impedance, it starts giving off the noise. This noise comes exclusively from the headphone port. It's there regardless of what I'm doing with the PC.

I have tried plugging the headphones into the mic port and selecting 'headphones' in the Realtek HD Audio Manager, this lets the headphones function without any issue. The impedance detection on the headphone port results in 33 ohm and then squeals. Whereas the microphone port detects the same headphones as 926 ohm and remains dead silent.

Even though I'm 98% sure this issue wasn't there when I was using the Asus z170 Pro Gaming, I tried rerouting the HD audio front panel cable, clearing it. But to no avail. I've also attempted to reinstall the audio drivers from the Asus website. The solution provided in the thread I linked to above did not work for me, as I have never installed AI Suite. Using the Windows High Definition Audio drivers results in the same squealing noise coming from the headphone port.

Any indications on how to solve this issue are much appreciated.

Short recap:

  • Squealing through front panel headphone port (33 ohm impedance detection)
  • Quiet and functional if plugged in front panel microphone port (926 ohm impedance detection - same headphones)
  • Rerouting/isolating the HD Audio cable has no effect
  • Using the Windows Audio drivers has no effect
  • Problem not present or unnoticeable when using previous Asus Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard (no longer in my posession, currently waiting for a friend to bring over his PC so we can double-test his mobo+case front panel with mine)

- Fractal Design Define R5
- Corsair Rm650x
- Kingston HyperX Fury black 16GB
- Intel i5 6600k
- MSI GTX 970 4gb Gaming
- Sennheiser HD 438 Headphones
- Windows 7 64bit
- Latest drivers from Asus website

Tested the motherboard with another case's HD Audio cable, completely clear of any other cables or components, the squealing persists.

Level 15
Looks like you and the other 2 users are using Fractal Design cases. Have you tried contacting them like Atheus did?

Level 7
Hey Chino, thanks for your response. By plugging in the front panel audio header from a different case (NZXT), which resulted in the same noise, I felt I could safely rule out the case as the culprit. Especially since the previous motherboard I had installed in the case, an Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, had no problems with the front panel.

Admittedly the fact that all three of us use Fractal Design cases seems a bit suspicious. But in the thread I linked in the first post there is a user with the same case as me who is not experiencing any problems and all three of us are using Maximus VIII boards as well. I've spent today trying to isolate the problem and I'm leaning towards the board.

All that's left for me to try is to connect the header to the mobo of another working computer and see if the sound persists. Would you agree a silent result rules out the case/cable as the culprit? I'll leave any updates here in any case. More suggestions are always welcome!


I've just now quickly run another test, by plugging the HD Audio header into my roommate's MSI motherboard. It works fine with his board, no squealing. Should I conclude that I was simply unlucky with my board? Or could the case (rather the way the board sits in the case) still be the culprit? Looking forward to your opinions.

Level 7
This happens to me on Cooler Master CM690 II advanced case as well as my brand new Corsair Obsidian 450D. Tried running the the front jack connector away from all power cables too nothing helps. Really annoying. If I switch to the mic port and make it a headhpone port the white noise high pitched sound is gone.

Level 8
I have no problems with front panel. My case is Cooler Master CM 690 III.
Could be a problem with cable, connectors and/or drivers in your OS.

yamatosan wrote:
I have no problems with front panel. My case is Cooler Master CM 690 III.
Could be a problem with cable, connectors and/or drivers in your OS.

I have a CM 690 II not III. Its 100% not drivers I know that. Its either the motherboard, case or connectors.

I also have the M8R motherboard with the exact same issue, however mine seems to behave a little differently from yours.

What happens for me is once I plug the headphones in the front panel jack, it detects the impedance rating and all is good, no hissing, crackling or anything.

The problem is that if I restart my PC with the headphones still plugged into the FP jack, once I boot into Windows there is all sorts of weird hissing, squealing, static noise.

The only way to fix the problem for me is to unplug, and re-plug in the headphones.


Level 7
Hey MrDartay — I'm the OP of the thread you linked. I was able to solve the problem by reinstalling the drivers, but unfortunately it only worked temporarily. For the past few months I've gotten by with a barely audible white noise on my headphones, but now it's back. Just the other day I booted up to find my speakers making a loud hissing noise. They were not set as the default device, so I set the speakers as default, which made a loud pop before the speakers started working normally. Then I set the headphones as the default device again, and now my headphones are making that same annoying high-pitched whistling sound. I'll try reinstalling the drivers again tonight and see how it goes.

Just finished reinstalling the audio drivers again. The hissing stopped when the computer rebooted the first time after uninstalling the drivers. Before it installed the drivers again, the headphones were quiet, but when a notification sound played there was some noticeable noise behind the system sound. After rebooting the second time with the new drivers installed and getting the front and rear audio devices separated again, everything is fine, and system sounds are nice and clean.

I have no idea what triggers the audio to start screwing up. At first I was just noticing that while watching YouTube videos it always sounded like my headphones were blown, as there was always a sort of distortion behind certain peoples' voices. Then in World of Warcraft I started hearing a crazy amount of reverb behind all the NPC dialog. Then suddenly the whistle was back... I didn't make any significant system changes recently other than installing some games and the curse client. For a while I know I was running an overclock that wasn't quite stable enough, but that should not be the case now, as I dialed it down to 4.5 Ghz without cutting back on the voltage I was using for 4.6 a few months ago when I had the system crash in the middle of doing a render in Maya.