Community
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Highlighted
Beginner
188 Views

Nasty ground loop between my NUC8i7BEH and audio interface

I purchased a NUC8i7BEH for audio recording and music production purposes, pairing it with a USB-c FocusRite audio interface. Unfortunately, this setup is currently not usable due to hiss, pops and noise traveling through the USB cable to the audio interface. There is a constant noise floor that is quite high, but whenever the CPU does some work, louder crackle and pops will occur. 😥 If I replace the NUC with another PC these issues vanish. Is this a manufacturing error, a grounding issue, or can I remedy the problem in some way? I was told to try another power adapter but want to check here before I make extra purchases. I hope someone can help me!

0 Kudos
14 Replies
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

Thank you for posting on the Intel® communities.  

 

Please run the following tool and attach the report generated. 

 

1. Intel® System Support Utility (Intel® SSU) 

  • Intel® SSU Download link 
  • Open the application and click on "Scan" to see the system and device information. By default, Intel® SSU will take you to the "Summary View". 
  • Click on the menu where it says "Summary" to change to "Detailed View". 
  • To save your scan, click on "Next", then "Save".

 

Questions:

  • How is it connected? are you using adapters? for my understanding, this device is connected through USB type C from the NUC to the Focusrite audio interface? '
  • Is this your device? Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

 

Regards,

 

Adrian M.

Intel Customer Support Technician

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

Hello Adrian M,

 

Thank you for your answer and for looking into my issue. I have attached the scan to my answer.

 

My audio interface is a Focusrite Clarett 8Pre USB (https://focusrite.com/en/usb-c-audio-interface/clarett-usb/clarett-8pre-usb) This diagram below should give a rough overview of the setup (altough it seems to be scaled down a lot...). I have marked two USB connections that both introduce the noise I mentioned: the audio interface and a MIDI hub from iConnectivity (https://www.iconnectivity.com/mioxm). The USB-c connection to the audio interface is the most noisy, but it is the exact same type of noise. Apparently voltages from the CPU are dumped in those cables, for some reason.

 

I am using balanced cables where I can in my studio and all power comes from one strip connected to one single power outlet. Normally this should be sufficiently protected from ground loops, and it actually is, when I take the NUC out of the mix. If I replace it with my regular laptop the noise is gone.

 

studio-setup.jpg

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

Upon checking the report I can see that there are some pending updates that we can try to test the behavior.

 

Please install the BIOS version 0078 

 

Steps:

BIOS Update and Recovery Instructions for Intel® NUC

  • Download the Recovery BIOS (.bio) file. 0078
  • Copy the .bio file to a USB device.
  • Plug the USB device into a USB port of the target computer.
  • Shut down the target computer.
  • During start, when the F7 prompt is displayed, press F7 to enter the BIOS Flash Update tool.
  • Select the USB device and press Enter.
  • Select the .bio file and press Enter
  • Confirm you want to update the BIOS by pressing Enter.
  • Wait 2-5 minutes for the update to complete
  • Remove the USB device.
  • Restart the computer.

 

Install the latest Realtek* High Definition Audio Driver for Windows® 10 6.0.8716.1 there should a .exe file that you can run to update the BIOS.

 

Update the graphics drivers to the latest version 26.20.100.7985:

  • Download the driver
  • Disconnect the computer from internet access to avoid automatic updates by the operating system.
  • Go to apps and features.  
  • Find the Intel Graphics Driver.  
  • Click on Intel Graphics Driver then Uninstall it. 
  • The system must go through a restart to complete the uninstall process.  
  • If no older drivers are stored in the system, the graphics controller in device manager should now be listed as 'Microsoft Basic Display Adapter', 'Standard VGA Graphics Adapter' or similar. 
  • Run the graphics driver you downloaded from our website.  
  • Follow the wizard installation. 
  • Then you can connect it back to internet.

 

Best regards,

 

Adrian M.

Intel Customer Support Technician

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

Hi Adrian, I went through the updating processes you suggested for the BIOS and the sound driver. They are up to date now but didn't improve my noise problem. The graphics drivers update did not work for some reason and even after going through all the steps of the troubleshooting wizard I wasn't able to install it, but honestly it would be very surprising to me if this would solve the issue I have with the grounding of the hardware.

 

Nonetheless I have included a screenshot of the error I'm getting when trying to update this driver, but again, I don't think this is my issue...

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

Thank you for your response.

 

Thank you for updating your system, we wanted to make sure your system is up to date in some cases it can help to solve certain behaviors, please allow me some time to update the thread and further investigate this behavior.

 

Could you please generate another Intel® System Support Utility (Intel® SSU) with the new updates?

 

Regards,

 

Adrian M.

A Contingent Worker at Intel

 

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

This is the scan report. Like I said the graphics update did not work out for mysterious reasons.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

We will take a look into this, please allow me some time to update the thread.

 

Regards,

 

Adrian M.

A Contingent Worker at Intel

 

 

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

Hello Adrian,

 

Any updates on this issue? I need to put this NUC to work and I would like to know if I can to send it back for repair if it turns out to be faulty, or find a fix myself if it is a design flaw.

 

Many thanks, bparticle

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

I work with Adrian and we have been looking into this issue, unfortunately, we cannot replicate this issue due to the multiple devices you have connected to the NUC.

 

The only recommendation we have is to remove/disconnect devices one by one to try to isolate the issue, if you get this "audio interference" with basic devices such as regular speakers/microphone connected to the NUC then I would say it may be a defective NUC but if the issue is exhibited when everything is connected then it may be a combination of factors.

 

If you believe that the unit is defective please reach out to our contact center via phone or chat, here is our contact information: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/contact-support.html#@7 and make reference to case 04619423

 

One more thing that just came to my mind, have you tried disabling the embedded microphone?

 

Regards,

Ronny G

 

 

 

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

Hi Ronny,

 

I understand your position, and logically you cannot replicate my exact setup to reproduce my problem. I still hoped to get some ideas, because I already tried all the things you suggested, disconnecting appliances to see where the problem was originating from. Results were very unpredictive, until I replaced the NUC with another PC. Then I didn't have any noise problems anymore, so to me it was clear what needed to be fixed. My last hope is to use one of these Akasa fanless housings and try to improve the connections to the chassis in order to obtain better grounding and avoid the CPU voltages in the USB cables. But I rather had an out-of-the box solution of course. Anyway, thanks for looking into it.

 

Kind regards, Bruno

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

Thank you for your response.

 

I was wondering if you think that your unit needs to be replaced since we could not replicate this behavior.

 

Best regards,

 

Adrian M.

Intel Customer Support Technician

 

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

Hi Adrian,

 

Since it the problem cannot be accurately reproduced with a basic sound setup, I don't think I will go through the hassle of a replacement or technical intervention. I may be able to fix the problem by replacing a bunch of cables with balanced ones, but it means extra investment and headache that I could have avoided with a different PC, apparently. I'm afraid I will conclude that the NUC is not the best choice for a semi-professional sound setup. Too bad though and thanks anyway for the help.

 

Kind regards,

 

bparticle

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Beginner
64 Views

Just a follow-up to this issue: in a last effort to fix the problem I have invested in balanced TRS and XLR cables for every single connection in my setup and while it has to some extend helped managing the problem, it has not fixed it. The noise moves around, depending on which device is switched on and different factors, and the NUC seems to always find a way of dumping dirty USB noise in the signal chain, while switching the audio interface to my regular laptop fixes the problem instantly. This is the absolute best I can do in terms of connecting the devices in my studio so I have to confirm my previous conclusion: the NUC is not a great pick for audio.

0 Kudos
Highlighted
Moderator
64 Views

Hello bparticle,

 

I am really sorry to hear that you haven't been able to figure out this issue. I honestly dont know how to help you with this since we are not able to replicate.

I understand your frustration and I would like to give you more options but the only thing I can think of is that if you are very unhappy with our product, please give us a call and we will take this case up to our supervisor for options. Here is our contact information: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/contact-support.html#@8 and as I had mentioned before, make reference to case 4619423.

 

Regards,

Ronny G

 

 

0 Kudos