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As the title suggests, I've recently bought a Scarlett Solo Gen 3 as an interface for a podmic and decided to use the built-in dac to drive a pair of 8-ohm final audio heaphones I use.

The issue is that when I plug the headphones into the headphone out, I get a very annoying noise floor/ faint buzzing sound. Gets worse as I turn the volume knob up, but even at the low setting I use for these headphones (about 10%) I still get headaches from this sound.

I've tried ferrite chokes, and they don't help alleviate the problem. The only thing that seems promising is the back quarter-inch outputs (R&L) that are line-out and meant for speakers. When I plug the heaphones into that I don't get the buzzing sound; however I'm only hearing mono audio and I've got a feeling that there's something wrong about using that output to listen to headphones even with a double male to female adapter. I've read up online and it seems like they're also unbalanced outputs? I don't really know what that means in my case, but might as well add it in.

Would anyone here know what I'm doing wrong, or how I could fix this?

  • Is the computer powered or running battery? Did you try a ground lift on the computer power? – b3ko Mar 11 at 22:15
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It is possible that you have a bad unit, but you should do some testing before you exchange it.

I have pair of USB powered speakers that get a buzzing sound when they are plugged into the computer's USB ports. I fixed the problem by using a phone charger for the power, so it was something in the computer's USB that was causing the problem.

Things to test:

Different headphones.

Try different USB ports or going indirectly through a USB hub.

Fans, liquid cooling pumps or other motors can cause electrical noise, so make sure your cable isn't running next to or over anything like that and that the Scarlett isn't sitting on top of something with a fan or motor.

Test with a different USB cable.

Test with nothing connected to the unit (no mic) and all the gains down and phantom power (48v) and "air" off. The can help determine if it is a problem with the headphone amp or something else internal.

The unbalanced line outs in the back are tip/sleeve outputs (balanced outputs use two signals so tip/ring/sleeve). You could send out of the line outs into a headphone amp/splitter and bypass the internal headphone amp as a temporary fix.

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  • Thanks, I tried with laptop/pc and usb hubs, different ports and cables to no avail. I just settled for a double male TS to TRS splitter without an amp because the headphones are just that easy to drive. – Kiriiya Mar 23 at 16:05

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