If your audio is crackling and you have ruled out the usual audio solutions like:

  1. Unplugging and replugging in your cables, to clear any static that may have built up and to ensure a good connection
  2. Updating your drivers
  3. Making sure your speakers are not defective

then you very well may have an easily corrected problem with the power management on your Intel CPU.  Yes, I said the control of your Intel chip may be the problem.   Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology gigabyte-bios-cpu-eist-power-management-audio-crackleturns the voltage to your CPU up and down as needed; it is a great feature but does have some issues including (apparently) not having enough power to decode your audio stream.  Intel and Microsoft will likely have corrective drivers in for Speed Step in the future but if you are having problems, you can safely disable EIST without causing your PC any damage.

In my case, I had a old Gigabyte G31M motherboard and all was fine under Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 but after upgrading to Windows 10, the audio had many crackles and made me crazy.  Simply powering down, then up and pressing the Delete key repeatedly took me into the BIOS where I was easily able to set CPU EIST FUNCTION to DISABLED.  Then I rebooted and my audio problems were gone.



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