Soft noise when playing audio (using PipeWire)

Whenever I'm playing audio I can hear a soft white noise like sound. After I quit playing audio the noise quickly disappears, but reappears when I start playing audio again. I assume the suspending of the audio is because of some power-saving feature.
I'm using KZ ES4 earphones, if that was relevant.

I've tried reducing the gain on Headphones and PCM using alsamixer, but this did not seem to help.

inxi -Faz
System:
  Kernel: 5.15.11-zen1-1-zen x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 11.1.0
    parameters: BOOT_IMAGE=/@/boot/vmlinuz-linux-zen
    root=UUID=57e0882a-9290-426d-9bf9-747ae5b39325 rw [email protected]
    quiet splash rd.udev.log_priority=3 vt.global_cursor_default=0
    systemd.unified_cgroup_hierarchy=1 loglevel=3
  Desktop: GNOME 41.2 tk: GTK 3.24.31 wm: gnome-shell dm: GDM 41.0
    Distro: Garuda Linux base: Arch Linux
Machine:
  Type: Laptop System: Micro-Star product: GF65 Thin 10SER v: REV:1.0
    serial: <superuser required> Chassis: type: 10 serial: <superuser required>
  Mobo: Micro-Star model: MS-16W1 v: REV:1.0 serial: <superuser required>
    UEFI: American Megatrends v: E16W1IMS.50B date: 05/19/2020
Battery:
  ID-1: BAT1 charge: 33.7 Wh (80.6%) condition: 41.8/51.3 Wh (81.6%)
    volts: 12.1 min: 11.4 model: MSI Corp. MS-16W1 type: Li-ion serial: N/A
    status: N/A
  Device-1: hidpp_battery_0 model: Logitech Wireless Mouse MX Master 3
    serial: <filter> charge: 55% (should be ignored) rechargeable: yes
    status: Discharging
CPU:
  Info: model: Intel Core i7-10750H bits: 64 type: MT MCP arch: Comet Lake
    family: 6 model-id: 0xA5 (165) stepping: 2 microcode: 0xEA
  Topology: cpus: 1x cores: 6 tpc: 2 threads: 12 smt: enabled cache:
    L1: 384 KiB desc: d-6x32 KiB; i-6x32 KiB L2: 1.5 MiB desc: 6x256 KiB
    L3: 12 MiB desc: 1x12 MiB
  Speed (MHz): avg: 800 min/max: 800/5000 scaling: driver: intel_pstate
    governor: powersave cores: 1: 800 2: 800 3: 800 4: 800 5: 800 6: 800 7: 800
    8: 800 9: 800 10: 800 11: 800 12: 800 bogomips: 62399
  Flags: avx avx2 ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx
  Vulnerabilities:
  Type: itlb_multihit status: KVM: VMX disabled
  Type: l1tf status: Not affected
  Type: mds status: Not affected
  Type: meltdown status: Not affected
  Type: spec_store_bypass
    mitigation: Speculative Store Bypass disabled via prctl
  Type: spectre_v1
    mitigation: usercopy/swapgs barriers and __user pointer sanitization
  Type: spectre_v2
    mitigation: Enhanced IBRS, IBPB: conditional, RSB filling
  Type: srbds status: Not affected
  Type: tsx_async_abort status: Not affected
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel CometLake-H GT2 [UHD Graphics] vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: i915 v: kernel bus-ID: 00:02.0 chip-ID: 8086:9bc4 class-ID: 0300
  Device-2: NVIDIA TU106M [GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile] vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: nvidia v: 495.46 alternate: nouveau,nvidia_drm bus-ID: 01:00.0
    chip-ID: 10de:1f15 class-ID: 0300
  Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.21.1.2 compositor: gnome-shell driver:
    loaded: modesetting,nvidia display-ID: :1 screens: 1
  Screen-1: 0 s-res: 3840x1080 s-dpi: 96 s-size: 1016x286mm (40.0x11.3")
    s-diag: 1055mm (41.6")
  Monitor-1: eDP-1 res: 1920x1080 hz: 120 dpi: 142
    size: 344x193mm (13.5x7.6") diag: 394mm (15.5")
  Monitor-2: HDMI-1-0 res: 1920x1080 hz: 60 dpi: 93
    size: 527x296mm (20.7x11.7") diag: 604mm (23.8")
  OpenGL: renderer: Mesa Intel UHD Graphics (CML GT2) v: 4.6 Mesa 21.3.2
    direct render: Yes
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel Comet Lake PCH cAVS vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel
    alternate: snd_soc_skl,snd_sof_pci_intel_cnl bus-ID: 00:1f.3
    chip-ID: 8086:06c8 class-ID: 0403
  Device-2: NVIDIA TU106 High Definition Audio vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus-ID: 01:00.1 chip-ID: 10de:10f9
    class-ID: 0403
  Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.15.11-zen1-1-zen running: yes
  Sound Server-2: JACK v: 1.9.19 running: no
  Sound Server-3: PulseAudio v: 15.0 running: no
  Sound Server-4: PipeWire v: 0.3.42 running: yes
Network:
  Device-1: Intel Comet Lake PCH CNVi WiFi driver: iwlwifi v: kernel
    bus-ID: 00:14.3 chip-ID: 8086:06f0 class-ID: 0280
  IF: wlo1 state: up mac: <filter>
  Device-2: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
    vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: r8169 v: kernel port: 3000 bus-ID: 03:00.0
    chip-ID: 10ec:8168 class-ID: 0200
  IF: enp3s0 state: down mac: <filter>
Bluetooth:
  Device-1: Intel AX201 Bluetooth type: USB driver: btusb v: 0.8
    bus-ID: 1-14:3 chip-ID: 8087:0026 class-ID: e001
  Report: bt-adapter ID: hci0 rfk-id: 0 state: up address: <filter>
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 476.94 GiB used: 29.83 GiB (6.3%)
  SMART Message: Required tool smartctl not installed. Check --recommends
  ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 maj-min: 259:0 vendor: Western Digital
    model: PC SN530 SDBPNPZ-512G-1032 size: 476.94 GiB block-size:
    physical: 512 B logical: 512 B speed: 31.6 Gb/s lanes: 4 type: SSD
    serial: <filter> rev: 21111000 temp: 28.9 C scheme: GPT
Partition:
  ID-1: / raw-size: 476.64 GiB size: 476.64 GiB (100.00%)
    used: 29.82 GiB (6.3%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
  ID-2: /boot/efi raw-size: 300 MiB size: 299.4 MiB (99.80%)
    used: 576 KiB (0.2%) fs: vfat dev: /dev/nvme0n1p1 maj-min: 259:1
  ID-3: /home raw-size: 476.64 GiB size: 476.64 GiB (100.00%)
    used: 29.82 GiB (6.3%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
  ID-4: /var/log raw-size: 476.64 GiB size: 476.64 GiB (100.00%)
    used: 29.82 GiB (6.3%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
  ID-5: /var/tmp raw-size: 476.64 GiB size: 476.64 GiB (100.00%)
    used: 29.82 GiB (6.3%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/nvme0n1p2 maj-min: 259:2
Swap:
  Kernel: swappiness: 133 (default 60) cache-pressure: 100 (default)
  ID-1: swap-1 type: zram size: 15.45 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) priority: 100
    dev: /dev/zram0
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 57.0 C pch: 46.0 C mobo: N/A
  Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A
Info:
  Processes: 322 Uptime: 42m wakeups: 3 Memory: 15.45 GiB
  used: 3.37 GiB (21.8%) Init: systemd v: 250 tool: systemctl Compilers:
  gcc: 11.1.0 clang: 13.0.0 Packages: pacman: 1681 lib: 487 Shell: fish
  v: 3.3.1 default: Bash v: 5.1.12 running-in: gnome-terminal inxi: 3.3.11

Depending on the hardware this can be an electronics issue, e.g. electrical noise is picked up and amplified by the audio circuitry.

If it is a hardware issue then there's no easy fix. Sometimes a BIOS update can help. A workaround would be to use an external sound card or DAC.

It will be worth establishing whether other people with the same laptop model are finding they have the same issue...

5 Likes

Thank you kindly for your reply. It's unfortunate to hear that it might be a hardware issue, I'll try a BIOS update just to be sure. The noise is hardly audible when playing music so it isn't a crucial matter, but hearing it switch on and off is quite annoying.

1 Like

Updating BIOS did not help.

Could it be a DSP versus A2D2 (or whatever the heck they're called) issue?

1 Like

I have sometimes experienced this issue in the past on some older hardware. I could sometimes eliminate the noise by modifying pulse audio's configuration. In the end the issue resolved itself through updates on its own.

1 Like

What do you mean by issue? A2DP is used for Bluetooth connections isn't it?

Could you expand on which modifications exactly?

It's been quite some time since I've used the hardware that sometimes gave me this issue, so my memory fails me on the exact changes I made. I would expect it was a modification of the pulse audio configuration file in the users home directory that was needed. However, I cannot remember the settings changes I would have used as it's been a very long time.

I'm sure some searching will turn up leads as to what you might want to try. Garuda having migrated to pipewire for audio recently, I have no idea what changes would be recommended for this issue since pipewire's implementation.

Wish I could be more helpful. Good luck on finding a solution.

1 Like

Thank you anyways

1 Like

What about trying with some tools?
Here I see pulseffects, but I think now there is easyeffects specifically for pipewire.

Hmm since the "white noise" is only when playing music, it makes me think there might be a connection issue rather than an audio shielding issue. The KZ ES4 earphones have 2 sets of prongs that go into each side, and I have heard reviews that they can come loose somewhat easily. Have you tried unplugging the prongs and checking they are clean and re-plugging them in?

2 Likes

Isn't that for microphone noise reduction?

Yes, the noise is still there.

Have tried your headphones on a different device to see if the "white noise" is still there?

3 Likes

I don't think it's for microphone only. I never used it. Just saw it in the Arch repo:
"Audio Effects for Pipewire applications".
Maybe give a look here

1 Like

I don't know why it didn't occur to me to try that in the first place. I can still hear noise using the earphones on my phone. I guess the issue lies with the KZ earphones then. Thank you all for taking the time to reply, I apologize for my stupidity.

Darn. Sorry to hear that your product seems to be defective. Best of luck to you.

1 Like

So it was a hardware issue, just in a different place. :grin:

3 Likes

Yes :slight_smile:

(accidentally marked your reply as a solution, sorry for that)

1 Like

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