Weird speaker problem (possible virus?)

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
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Flushing, New York
I've had an intermittent problem for months, possibly longer, which has been driving me crazy. At random times I get chatter on my speakers (cheap, generic external speakers I've had for years). It sounds like the kind of chatter you might hear on emergency frequencies like police, fire department, EMS, etc. It still comes through, but at a lower volume, even when I turn the power for the speakers off.

I've looked high and low for processes in task manager which might be a virus. Other than a virus, what on Earth can possibly cause this? It's very annoying, to the point I unplug my speakers when I'm sleeping so I don't get woken up with chatter.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Jan 17, 2002
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I am omnipresent
My family used to have a hi-fi system that did that. Wound up that part of the electrical wiring in the house wasn't done properly and so the wiring was acting as an antenna that would sometimes become an inducted antenna for high power frequencies. We got air traffic bound for Midway and fire department chatter that I can recall.

Cheap test would be to see if the same stuff happens on USB rather than analog speakers. I believe the inducted antenna thing is the source of the "radio broadcasts from someone's fillings/braces" urban myth, too.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
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Jan 25, 2002
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Flushing, New York
Well, I'll try swapping the old transformer-based AC adapter with a more modern switch mode wall wart. If the house wiring is acting as an antenna of sorts, hopefully the more modern power supply has enough filtering to keep any stray RF signals out. Now I'll just see if I get the chatter again within the next few days. Honestly, I didn't even consider that the source of the chatter was external to my PC.

It's probably time for new speakers anyway. These are easily 15 years old, if not older.
 

sdbardwick

Storage is cool
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Mar 12, 2004
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North San Diego County
My family used to have a hi-fi system that did that. Wound up that part of the electrical wiring in the house wasn't done properly and so the wiring was acting as an antenna that would sometimes become an inducted antenna for high power frequencies. We got air traffic bound for Midway and fire department chatter that I can recall.
I had (well, still have, just not using now) a mid-1990's M&K powered subwoofer that would wake up out of standby and play the California Highway Patrol's radio messages if there was a CHP patrol car close enough. Sounded like the teacher in Peanuts cartoons, but then again it was through a subwoofer. Still have the thing in the hope I get the gumption to see what components (probably capacitors) blew on the amplifier board and solder in new ones. Been saying that for almost 20 years now...
 

sedrosken

Florida Man
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Nov 20, 2013
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That's fairly common actually, the speakers in my grandparents' TV did that back in the day. I think it was because it wasn't properly grounded.
 
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