Crackling sound right headphone speaker

I had updates available to KDE 5.22.5, using Kernel 5.10.68-1-MANJARO, Nvidia proprietary drivers. No idea what info is best to include here. Since the update my audio crackeles and pops, but only from the right speaker of my headphones. I was smart enough to try the headphones in other devices before posting here. I had no issues so it is not a blown speaker and I used the same cable as I do with the PC so it isn’t a frayed cable.
I have moderate experience with linux but I am coming from Sabayon (gentoo) and am unsure what would be useful to try with manjaro, or what sort of troubleshooting to try. I saw someone use inxi -Aazy to get some info so here is the output of that, if at all useful:

Device-1: NVIDIA GP102 HDMI Audio vendor: ASUSTeK driver: snd_hda_intel
v: kernel bus-ID: 0b:00.1 chip-ID: 10de:10ef class-ID: 0403
Device-2: AMD Starship/Matisse HD Audio vendor: ASUSTeK
driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel bus-ID: 0d:00.4 chip-ID: 1022:1487
class-ID: 0403
Device-3: Logitech HD Webcam C615 type: USB driver: snd-usb-audio,uvcvideo
bus-ID: 3-2.2:4 chip-ID: 046d:082c class-ID: 0e02 serial:
Device-4: C-Media USB Audio Device type: USB
driver: hid-generic,snd-usb-audio,usbhid bus-ID: 3-
chip-ID: 0d8c:0012 class-ID: 0300
Sound Server-1: ALSA v: k5.10.68-1-MANJARO running: yes
Sound Server-2: sndio v: N/A running: no
Sound Server-3: JACK v: 1.9.19 running: no
Sound Server-4: PulseAudio v: 15.0 running: yes
Sound Server-5: PipeWire v: 0.3.37 running: yes

Currently (and same as before updates) I am using the “Starship\Matisse HD audio driver”. I have Nvidia HDMI audio disabled in settings as I prefer my headphones.
I have tried changing mixer settings but they do not seem to make any difference. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions for this? Please let me know if there is more info that would be useful or should be included for this kind of issue. Thank you.

I think it would be odd for a software update to only affect one channel, so I think you did the right thing checking your headphones on another device to make sure they were ok. But that doesn’t fully rule out hardware as a potential cause. It still could be a loose wire (or connection) inside the computer going from the motherboard to the jack.

I would suggest making or finding a clean, constant tone with the same volume and pitch to play continuously while you gently fiddle with the jack and the wires going to it. Take care to use something wooden or plastic (non-conductive) while probing the wires going to the headphone jack inside the PC while it’s on.

To check if it’s a software issue, playing a constant tone isn’t a bad thing to try while you open, run and close the apps that you frequent, to see if you can find any kind of pattern that way. Some apps can have trouble while others don’t. My discord sometimes breaks up audio when my CPU is in powersaver mode, running at slow clock speeds. People sound a little like they’re sitting behind the blades of a fan. If I kick the CPU back up to schedutil or performance, it stops.

Maybe try running pw-top to see if latency jumps around significantly when you hear the noise.

I also see that it’s running both Pulse and Pipewire as sound servers. I don’t know enough myself to say that’s bad, but I have seen others say that running both at the same time can lead to problems.

1 Like

:+1: Welcome to Manjaro! :+1:

After what @rediske said, disable Pipewire if rediske’s suggestions didn’t help:

systemctl --user disable --now pipewire.socket && systemctl --user disable --now pipewire.service && systemctl --user mask pipewire.socket

If that still doesn’t help,

  1. Please read this:
    How to provide good information
    and post some more information so we can see what’s really going on.
    Now we know the symptom of the disease, but we need some more probing to know where the origin lies… :grin:
  2. An inxi --admin --verbosity=7 --filter --no-host --width would be the minimum required information for us to be able to help you. (Personally Identifiable Information like serial numbers and MAC addresses will be filtered out by the above command)
    Also, please copy-paste that output in-between 3 backticks ``` at the beginning and end of the code/text.