Clicking noise with M-Audio Audiophile USB

I just got an M-Audio Audiophile USB, and the quality of the music from my pc is definitely better than the internal card. However, no i have a worse problem than before. When i play music on my computer through my home stereo there is a significant clicking noise that comes out of my speakers about every five seconds. It's hard to decribe the exact sound in words, sort of a noisy distorted click about every five seconds. I know the problem lies with the M-Audio card cause my speakers sound perfect when i'm not playing music through the computer. Is this problem due to the fact that the card is externally connected to the computer with a usb cable. Before I got this product i was wondering whether a usb hookup is a good thing. I wonder if my suspicions were correct. The cable length is about 10-12 feet, so it's not extremely long. I also noticed, that when my CPU is working really hard, the music I'm playing on my computer sounds horrible, full of distortion and completely unlistenable. But even when all i'm doing is playing music through winamp, i get that terrible click every 5 seconds or so. What's my problem here?
I think it may be the USB bus on your computer. Is the M-Audio powered by the USB cable, or does it have an independent power supply? I had a similar problem using an external USB card with older VIA chipset/AMD computer, but the problem went away when I changed the motherboard and uppgraded to AMD XP processor.
Did you mean the USB cable is 10-12 feet? If so, I believe that may be approaching the limitations of the USB connection which is about 16 feet as I recall. You can use a repeater after that, but the first thing I'd try is a shorter cable. As Arni suggests, make sure if the M-Audio is getting power from the USB port, and that you are plugging directly into your computer and not into a hub or into your keyboard. I assume you are using the M-Audio as the DAC rather than to just stream the digital to an external DAC. Did the M-Audio come with software? If so have you checked all the settings? If the sampling rate were off you would not have clicking but a bunch of static. I use a Waveterminal USB device to stream audio from my computers to my DAC. I'm on a Mac and don't have any problems at all using my computer at the same time as I am streaming music. Only under the most memory-intensive applications on my laptop do I ever get a glitch now and then. On the desktop not a peep, but that is running about 1.5 gigs of RAM. I think the USB should be entirely adequate for streaming music. as there are many devices that do rely upon that interface.

Good luck! Keep us posted on what you figure out.

Arni, the Audiophile USB has it s own power supply. My computer is a Dell 4550 (about 3 years old), so i would be extremely surprised if my computer can't support this setup.

Jax2, The 10-12 foot USB cable came with the Audiophile usb, so I doubt they would provide a cable that is too long. Also, i am plugged in directly to the computer via the usb cable.

I also want to add, it sounds as if it's "skipping" on the music. There's a sort of brief pause during the noisy click.

I forgot to mention another weird thing. When my mini-fridge turns off the sound coming off my computer through my Audiophile USB and out my speakers actually stops until i turn the Audiophile USB's power button off then on again and replay the song. The fridge motor turning back on however does not stop the sound. I don't understand this.
I would recommend that you check out the PC audio forum on I seem to recall some discussion of buffering settings you can make. It may be worthwhile to post your question there as well.
Regarding the noisy clicking/skipping problem:
I just found out something really weird. I think this problem may have to do with my new hard drive configuration. Right before i got this m-audio audiophile usb, i got a nother hard drive. My stock drive is a Western digital 80 gig (EIDE) and i added a 200 gig seagate (EIDE)to store my media files. When i have the noisy clicking/skipping problem, it is when i play an mp3 from my new dirve. Oddly enough, if i copy the file and paste it onto my old drive (the boot drive) the music now sounds perfect. I don't even even have to play it from the old drive. The song sounds perfect as long as the song is pasted onto the old drive. I don't get it.

The fridge issue however appears to be a different matter at this point
Change the buffer size to the largest possible - that's usually the problem. I'm running one of these in my system with a little Apple iBook G4 1GHz and getting NO dropouts whatsoever. I had it hooked up to a Power Mac G4-400 before, and there weren't any problems there either. Definitely not a CPU problem, but a bad hard drive may have issues passing data over when the buffer is set to the minimum and it's spinning in error correction mode.
If you are playing MP3's try converting them to wav format, then play them. Also check if any other programs on your computer are working in the backround. ie: looking for new updates; auto checking email, pop-up blocker, media players look'n to sell ya music....

Kill all other applications, including virus scan and screen saver. Then defrag the disk and try again. This problem has to do with CPU resources and latency of the I/O transactions.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Would the new Firewire version of the Audiophile not have this problem?
Buffers are buffers, regardless of the interface (Firewire, USB, PCI). It's all a matter of optimizing the buffer for your given CPU capacity. FW may make it easier (as it's a higher speed interface than USB 1.0) but it probably won't change the fact that you'll have to adjust your buffer.