June 23, 2006
Dear CNET members,
This week our topic is Robert's issue of hearing Rice Krispies (OK, not really the cereal, but rather snaps, crackles, and pops) when playing CDs on his PC. And I don't blame Robert one bit for wanting to get this fixed since as it sounds like one heck of an annoying issue. With this type of symptom, the bad news is that there can be many culprits, ranging from hardware to software issues. However, the good news is we have a wonderful community of members who are always more than willing to spend their personal time to give us some helpful suggestions to conquer these troubles. So this week, I have not just one winning answer, but two--by Miguel and Paul (who, by the way, are no strangers to this newsletter)--to hopefully kick off Robert's quest for a solution. But don't stop at the two answers, as we have many additional great recommendations in our honorable mentions and other advice from our members. If you've experienced Robert's issue in the past and were successfully able to resolve it, please swing by the discussion thread to tell us your solution. Thank you for your participation and dedication to making this community great!
Member Question of the Week
Whenever I play any music CDs (store bought) on my computer
drive, it sounds like an old phonograph record, full of pops,
snaps, and crackles. Not terrible, but enough to be quite
annoying. I know it's not the CDs themselves, as they play
fine on other CD players. Is this a hardware or software
problem? If you have any ideas as to what could be causing
this, could you please list the possible causes, so I can
troubleshoot these areas? Thanks.
Answer by Miguel:
Robert, The "pops, snaps, and crackles" you experience during the playback of compact discs suggest a memory or system resources issue. Multimedia applications use an awful lot of resources, and when several programs don't play nice and try to take more than is allotted to them, bad things happen. The particular media player that you are using may be playing a role, too.
Let me illustrate the last point with a personal example: Years ago, I would routinely play music files or CDs while I browsed the Web, read e-mail, scanned my PC with Norton AntiVirus, or performed other resource-intensive tasks. Regardless of how many programs were running at the time...
Miguel K. of Columbus, Ohio
Answer by Paul:
Hi, Robert, let's see if we can take the Rice Krispies out of your CD. First, let me say, since I don't have any idea what your computer may be or consist of, I will assume XP and all other standard options.
Let's start by tackling what may be a simpler issue, software. Depending on what you use to play your music, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc...each may play music differently and cause distortion. Some will put out bass better than others, which if the speakers are standard PC speakers, will often cause distortion and noise. Try different software and see if it makes a difference, turn down the bass a bit if...
Paul K. of Gladstone, Michigan
Miguel's and Paul's
efforts, we're sending them a choice of any
Help.com Learning CD.
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Check out next week's question:
We have a family reunion coming up, and we will be taping the main get-together. I have been volunteered to get the video duplicated and distributed to the attendees. Rather than sending out tapes of the event, I want to send out DVDs so that people can play them on their TVs. Being new to this whole thing, I am looking for some advice on the type of software and media I should be using to get the task completed quickly and that will allow the family to drop a disc into their DVD player and watch it on their TV rather than their computer. The DVD burner I bought will handle DVD+R and DVD-R (as well as the RW version of both). It comes with a Nero bundle that is supposed to allow copying, editing, burning, and so on. My questions are:
1. Which media should I get that is most compatible with a home-theater DVD player?
2. What authoring/copying/editing software has worked best for you to produce professional DVDs?
3. Is there a major quality or time difference between using the camcorder A/V output to my PC or the FireWire output? (If the latter is preferred, will I need to get a FireWire port and cable for the PC?)
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