(Topic ID: 242133)

Audio popping on 'power on' in JJP games - solutions


By harryhoudini

1 year ago



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#1 1 year ago

We discussed this a bit in the POTC fans thread (or troubleshooting, I forget). Basically when you turn the game on (and this is way more prominent on my POTC than WOZ for some reason) there are a series of pops and clicks that come out of the speakers and are not only really annoying but, personally, it makes me feel like the quality of the game is less than it should be. Hearing it every time the game turns on makes me cringe a bit. Some folks said "oh this is normal" and others complained about it. I'm not one to just let things go so I started looking into it. My thoughts really boiled down to "why?". It just seems like this shouldn't be a thing... a product that costs this much should, as it seems to me, have the kind of polish that doesn't have this kind of annoyance.

So I thought about an initial solution, what if we just cut out the audio signal for a set amount of time when the game is turned on? Seems simple enough, so I investigated what it would take to do that. Luckily there are a lot of prebuilt little modules that do things like this. There are time delay circuits modules that are really cheap and pretty customizable. The concept is that the board works on 12v power (hey, we have that!) and the configuration I would run is "by default keep this circuit open for X seconds at power on" and the connected circuit would be the left and right audio signals from the PC to the audio amplifier. Talking with some people smarter than me they suggest that even this situation might introduce some pop when the relay closes and the audio circuit is completed. One complication with this is that both the left and right audio signals would need to be cut and most of these boards only have a single passthrough which wouldn't work. I think I found a board that has two circuits that pass through, so that might be an option.

Then, looking over the game schematics, I thought why not just cut the power to the audio amplifier board instead? I don't know what component is causing the popping... a common "annoyance" by audio engineers, it seems, is designing an audio cut out circuit that doesn't include a pull down resistor which it seems would prevent "popping" ... again I don't know if this is the issue here or if a pull down resistor in the audio circuit would solve this. What does make more sense is that if either the audio is cut (before the amp or before the speakers) then we shouldn't experience the pop.

Another suggestion was to use a 555 timer chip. This could require a bit more electrical experience, a breadboard, potentiometer and some further components and would be less something that most people could build themselves versus the above solution which would be pretty easy to implement. This, however, removes the relay from the equation and uses a capacitor and resistors to delay the circuit which should prevent the "pop".

I have some parts on order to try and test this when I get home from travelling this week. It seems like a really minor thing that probably most people don't care about, but people also spend time on the most tedious and minor things on their pins so who knows. Updates to come.

#2 1 year ago

Btw, I found some prior discussion here about B/W games that have similar issues, however the solutions (while similar) can't be directly applied for a few reasons (in my amatuer opinion). We need to interrupt two signals (left and right audio) and we don't have the same sort of "tie in" options that older games have where signals and components are easily accessible on the CPU and sound boards.

#3 1 year ago

It's something that comes from the amp during boot up. I installed my pinwoofer kit to replace the stock sub and amp, and I no longer get the massively loud POP that my JJPOTC used to make. Just a tiny one in the backbox speakers that is very quiet. Also sounds better than the stock sub.

IMG_4164 (resized).jpg
#4 1 year ago
Quoted from f3honda4me:

It's something that comes from the amp during boot up. I installed my pinwoofer kit to replace the stock sub and amp, and I no longer get the massively loud POP that my JJPOTC used to make. Just a tiny one in the backbox speakers that is very quiet. Also sounds better than the stock sub.[quoted image]

I'd put a cover/shield over the top of that. If anything falls off the underside of the PF (it DOES happen), that board would be toast.

#5 1 year ago

As I posted in the other thread (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/jjpirates-of-the-caribbean-troubleshooting-tips-issues/page/14#post-4975187) I don't see why that install would prevent the issues I have. I'm talking about more than the normal "pop" but about 5-10 seconds of popping, squeaking, etc. If I understand their kit correctly they aren't interrupting the signal to the speakers, just tapping it, stepping it down to line level and then amplifying it. Maybe added "load" prevents so much "talkback" on the speakers... I have no formal training here.

I've gotten varied feedback on the proper way to handle this. I've considered cutting the amp power until the system is more booted (seemed to be frowned upon), some folks talked about various power interrupting others talked about audio interrupting. I am much more amenable to one pop versus the 10 seconds of annoyance I get now.

#6 1 year ago

My solution was to turn the machine on then go mix a drink while it's powering on....

#7 1 year ago
Quoted from NightTrain:

My solution was to turn the machine on then go mix a drink while it's powering on....

HA! I can still hear it across the house! I'll take a video when I get home to see if anyone can commiserate that their game does the same. I'm surprised everyone is pretty much ok with it, sounds like a fucking filing cabinet being dragged across a concrete floor.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

As I posted in the other thread (https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/jjpirates-of-the-caribbean-troubleshooting-tips-issues/page/14#post-4975187) I don't see why that install would prevent the issues I have. I'm talking about more than the normal "pop" but about 5-10 seconds of popping, squeaking, etc. If I understand their kit correctly they aren't interrupting the signal to the speakers, just tapping it, stepping it down to line level and then amplifying it. Maybe added "load" prevents so much "talkback" on the speakers... I have no formal training here.
I've gotten varied feedback on the proper way to handle this. I've considered cutting the amp power until the system is more booted (seemed to be frowned upon), some folks talked about various power interrupting others talked about audio interrupting. I am much more amenable to one pop versus the 10 seconds of annoyance I get now.

I don't get a popping and squeaking for 5-10 seconds. That is not normal. It's the first I've heard of that to be honest. None of my JJPs have ever done that.

All I get is one loud BOOM/POP from the sub, which happens on every JJPOTC, about 8 seconds after you power it on. (my WOZ and Hobbit don't do this) But since this kit removes the stock sub, and instead taps into that line, as you indicated, the aftermarket amp seems to "elminate" or prevent that sub pop from making it to the aftermarket sub.

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

HA! I can still hear it across the house! I'll take a video when I get home to see if anyone can commiserate that their game does the same. I'm surprised everyone is pretty much ok with it, sounds like a fucking filing cabinet being dragged across a concrete floor.

I think people are assuming you're talking about the single pop from the sub about 8 seconds after power up. Constant popping, screeching, etc is not normal.

#10 1 year ago

I’m on my 4th JJP and they all get the pop a few seconds after power up - I think it’s part of their charm! But if you can figure out how to super cheaply make it disappear then best of luck! Personally the fan noise is more annoying but Im just too lazy to replace those.

#11 1 year ago

Following!

#12 1 year ago

Almost all pins seem to have this pop in some way, there are several threads about W/B machines and others who have created solutions, some had products to fix this, etc. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/psu5-and-the-crack-and-pop-on-wpc-speakers.

I believe there is some correlation between powering up an amp with DC power while not having some sort of resistor or something (can't find the reference I had to this). There are several technical discussions I have been reading about generically preventing pops from amps when turning the on. Audiophiles deal with this and they use these "speaker protection circuits" which basically introduce a delay when they get power so speakers are disconnected from the amp for a short amount of time at power up.

Maybe this is related to the audio cable routing, I need to investigate that. Others have posted solutions about moving the cables and noise isolator which I want to try. But even then, like you said, the pop exists which I suppose I could still use my solution for.

I suppose I can also email tech support a video and see if they have any comment.

#13 1 year ago
Quoted from mountaingamer:

I’m on my 4th JJP and they all get the pop a few seconds after power up - I think it’s part of their charm! But if you can figure out how to super cheaply make it disappear then best of luck! Personally the fan noise is more annoying but Im just too lazy to replace those.

It's really not that hard. Less than an hour to do them all once you have the parts on hand.

#14 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

It's really not that hard. Less than an hour to do them all once you have the parts on hand.

Ah yah, once i got the POTC I noticed how loud my WOZ fans are.

#15 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Ah yah, once i got the POTC I noticed how loud my WOZ fans are.

WoZ has 5 fans, and they're all pretty loud. But just replacing the LCD and metal box fan reduces the fan noise a LOT.

#16 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

WoZ has 5 fans, and they're all pretty loud. But just replacing the LCD and metal box fan reduces the fan noise a LOT.

Cool, will do that. I sort of liked the sound originally, it reminded me how "advanced" the game was that it had a freaking PC in it.

#17 1 year ago

Ok, folks, the moment you've all been waiting for.

POTC powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/28fSx9mUEW3kqFWM7
WOZ powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8xN1dyyWe2b5hBEG8

Aside from the WOZ pop (and fans, lol) it has NO feedback on start. I am guessing you can all hear the POTC startup "fanfare".

#18 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Ok, folks, the moment you've all been waiting for.
POTC powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/28fSx9mUEW3kqFWM7
WOZ powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8xN1dyyWe2b5hBEG8
Aside from the WOZ pop (and fans, lol) it has NO feedback on start. I am guessing you can all hear the POTC startup "fanfare".

WTF...WOW!

Yea...that's pretty crazy...

#19 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Ok, folks, the moment you've all been waiting for.
POTC powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/28fSx9mUEW3kqFWM7
WOZ powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8xN1dyyWe2b5hBEG8
Aside from the WOZ pop (and fans, lol) it has NO feedback on start. I am guessing you can all hear the POTC startup "fanfare".

Sounds like you have a defective or missing ground loop isolator. All the chatter before the pop should not be there. The pop is normal and reminds me of B/W games. I wouldn't even worry about that one. But definitely check for the ground loop isolator, and if it's not there or missing, JJP will send you one on request.

Looks like this:
amazon.com link »

#20 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

Sounds like you have a defective or missing ground loop isolator. All the chatter before the pop should not be there. The pop is normal and reminds me of B/W games. I wouldn't even worry about that one. But definitely check for the ground loop isolator, and if it's not there or missing, JJP will send you one on request.
Looks like this:
amazon.com link »

Thanks, going to check on that and the audio cable routing. I'd be surprised if it was missing (seems odd for a production line to miss a connector like that) but who knows. In the middle of taking everything off my TOM playfield so got parts strewn everywhere.

#21 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Thanks, going to check on that and the audio cable routing. I'd be surprised if it was missing (seems odd for a production line to miss a connector like that) but who knows. In the middle of taking everything off my TOM playfield so got parts strewn everywhere.

Doesn’t come with the pin by default. But JJP offers them in case you have issues.

#22 1 year ago
Quoted from f3honda4me:

Doesn’t come with the pin by default. But JJP offers them in case you have issues.

I thought they do now...?

#23 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Thanks, going to check on that and the audio cable routing. I'd be surprised if it was missing (seems odd for a production line to miss a connector like that) but who knows. In the middle of taking everything off my TOM playfield so got parts strewn everywhere.

JJP sent me a ground loop isolator for my Dialed In,and it worked like a charm. Two months later,my machine started making static noise again. I checked the ground loop isolator,and the connector came loose. I plugged it back in,and it worked fine.
After that,I lowered the shaker motor on my Dialed In,and it hasn't come undone since.I'm not sure if the shaker motor cause the problem,but I prefer less shaking when I play. Plus, I think it's kinder to my machine,because every once in awhile, I'd find a screw in my lower cabinet. I'm guessing that all that shaking could have worked a screw loose.

#24 1 year ago

Weird, I'm 100% sure my WOZ has it, I just took a pic of the PC for someone else and I saw it again in the metal PC box, although I thought I remember there being another against the back of the cabinet near the aux plug. I'm going to check this stuff out.. POTC is my only working pin at the moment so I can't take it apart to much or the wife gets mad

#25 1 year ago

Does it look like I'm missing anything? I traced audio, line filter is there. If I unplug the two top speakers you can hear it a bit from the sub, but not as much. If I unplug the 1/8" connector going into the amp then there is no "wheezing" on startup (so it's not between the amp and the speakers, meaning the amp isn't introducing it alone). Green connector is used on the mobo, as I am assuming is correct.

I totally forgot that POTC had everything in the backbox, that was fun to figure out. Are the wood "stops" that prevent the screen releases from being used for shipping only? That took a sec to figure out. Nice how they fit everything in there.

Does anyone else have intermittent clicking while the game is sitting idle? I am wondering if this is normal or a symptom of the same issue. It's most prominent right in the beginning of the video. It's almost like a ticking. Pay attention to 00:06 and 00:10, those aren't aberrations, that is what I hear in person.

Video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mw4Xa9ENkhdaNUveA

0505191651 (resized).jpg
#26 1 year ago

Well, I got the first of the devices I purchased. This one is basically a delay timer, unrelated to speakers/sound/audio. I have it set to 15 seconds and it's powered from the PC power supply that seems to power most things in the backbox (maybe all). I tried it in two configurations.

First, I interrupted the audio signal to the amp. This is a rough test because the device only has a single channel so you can't handle stereo so I just had one channel hooked up. Obviously on startup there is no sound coming out, so not only do I not get the "hissing" but I don't get the pop. At 15 seconds you can hear a bit of a pop, part of that is the relay on the board closing and part is the audio cutting in.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/k7K1jZhZkLaZbBWn9

The second video is interrupting the power to the amp. Similar end result, no audio at all for 15 seconds and then a pop when the amp gets power.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/J9uvysk931FhfEYg6

So neither of these solutions really matter to anyone else because it seems like mine is the only one making the strange noises. Either way the delay of an audio connection eliminates the hissing so it's definitely a timing thing (the first 15-20 seconds of boot causes the hiss). The pop of cutting in the speakers is less than the pop of cutting in the amp, so interesting there. I have the speaker protection circuit coming shortly which is supposed to be something that will not have a pop at all because it doesn't use a relay. I also have information on using a 555 timer ic as another option. One issue is the speaker protection boards are all only 2-3 second built in delays, but that seems to be modifiable if you can get the schematic and figure out which resistors to replace. Or, I could just use both boards in tandem. I'd love to eliminate the pop, for sure, but not sure if this will do it.

Anyhow, an interesting exercise. More to come with an email I sent to JJP support about this issue (referencing this thread) and the speaker protection circuit coming.

#27 1 year ago

OOooooh boy... I did another test, this time interrupting the audio coming out of the amp to the speakers. I could only test one speaker since this device is a single channel but it was FLAWLESS. No pop, no hissing, etc. When the audio cuts in (when the timer is done) it just is on... no noticeable noise. I mean, you can hear the "whining" my game does so that shows you when it cut in, but no pop. The first click in the video is me flipping the switch.

So, interesting... more to come.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Cshr1dDg5WEhzT3U7

#28 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

OOooooh boy... I did another test, this time interrupting the audio coming out of the amp to the speakers. I could only test one speaker since this device is a single channel but it was FLAWLESS. No pop, no hissing, etc. When the audio cuts in (when the timer is done) it just is on... no noticeable noise. I mean, you can hear the "whining" my game does so that shows you when it cut in, but no pop. The first click in the video is me flipping the switch.
So, interesting... more to come.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Cshr1dDg5WEhzT3U7

Applaud the innovation! Well done!

#29 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

OOooooh boy... I did another test, this time interrupting the audio coming out of the amp to the speakers. I could only test one speaker since this device is a single channel but it was FLAWLESS. No pop, no hissing, etc. When the audio cuts in (when the timer is done) it just is on... no noticeable noise. I mean, you can hear the "whining" my game does so that shows you when it cut in, but no pop. The first click in the video is me flipping the switch.
So, interesting... more to come.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Cshr1dDg5WEhzT3U7

Popping seems to be reduced by like 90% in 0.99. There's still the switch on and switch off one, but all the others are gone or barely there.

#30 1 year ago

I was hoping the audio would be better in general in 0.99, but I guess we’ll see soon enough.

#31 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

Popping seems to be reduced by like 90% in 0.99. There's still the switch on and switch off one, but all the others are gone or barely there.

Interesting... wonder how they would do that. Do they have control/mute of the audio board through software? I don't think so, there is no data control over the amp and the PC isn't even booted yet when the pop happens. It would have to be a hardware solution (something that cuts the audio out to the speakers for a set amount of time), afaik as this is a DC circuit audio issue across all devices that use dc powered amps which don't have protection circuits built in.

Basically the speakers need to be out of circuit when the amp gets power.

#32 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Interesting... wonder how they would do that. Do they have control/mute of the audio board through software? I don't think so, there is no data control over the amp and the PC isn't even booted yet when the pop happens. It would have to be a hardware solution (something that cuts the audio out to the speakers for a set amount of time), afaik as this is a DC circuit audio issue across all devices that use dc powered amps which don't have protection circuits built in.
Basically the speakers need to be out of circuit when the amp gets power.

Firmware update on boards could do something. The issue seems unique to JJPOTC. My other JJP pins didn’t do this.

#33 1 year ago

I suppose that's possible, I am assuming they have a mute circuit built in (at least it looks like WOZ does from the schematic) so maybe they can do the same thing I am doing but within the board itself. I didn't see a microprocessor, IC or any sort of data control in to the audio board so I don't know if it even runs a "firmware" or how that would be updated. I'm pretty sure it's just a dumb amp, but again I'm no expert.

If they had designed in a simple timer circuit that kicked in at power on with the mute enabled and delayed the unmuting by a few seconds it would have been solved from the factory. Heck, they could have just had it wait until the PC booted.

#34 1 year ago

Thank you for looking into this! My WoZ ECLE does this and it drives me insane. Hiss and pop during boot. Every time.

I'll try the ground loop isolator I think I might actually have one somewhere. Looking forward to your solution though.

#35 1 year ago
Quoted from lurch:

Thank you for looking into this! My WoZ ECLE does this and it drives me insane. Hiss and pop during boot. Every time.
I'll try the ground loop isolator I think I might actually have one somewhere. Looking forward to your solution though.

Cool, let us know what happens on that. I haven't heard back from JJP yet. Ironically my WOZ doesn't do it and both games have the isolators on them. I really can't find any info as to why this kind of thing would happen other than some sort of 'short' in the audio circuit that is bleeding through. But... if the solutions work then it won't really matter (as long as the sound is only during boot) because we can just silence the audio for any amount of time.

#36 1 year ago

Got the word back from JJP support, they are regarding the startup whining/hissing as normal and nothing they are going to address.

I'll be providing my solution shortly, waiting on some parts.

#37 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Got the word back from JJP support, they are regarding the startup whining/hissing as normal and nothing they are going to address.
I'll be providing my solution shortly, waiting on some parts.

Must say that unusual if they heard it. Never heard a game sound like that unless it was trying to communicate with martians... Hope you find a fix and appreciate the sharing. Curious, did you try a new audio cable already? A few as I recall did that to fix noise.

#38 1 year ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Must say that unusual if they heard it. Never heard a game sound like that unless it was trying to communicate with martians... Hope you find a fix and appreciate the sharing. Curious, did you try a new audio cable already? A few as I recall did that to fix noise.

JJP tech says his DI does the same and one of their engineers regards the sounds as normal (I'm quoting). My WOZ doesn't do it. If my computer did that, I'd return it. But, who am I to say it's wrong?

Anyhow, surely I'll share it and if it's worth it and possible I'll work with someone to make a kit to install it. I have a semi-working solution already, sort of a proof of concept that works well, but need to expand upon it a bit to fully handle what we would need as a plug and play solution. Already talking with a known mod manufacturer on how we can make this happen. Hopefully it should work for any game with the right connectors, JJP being one of the hardest due to the more advanced audio system.

I have a bunch of cables downstairs that I was testing with, good suggestion, I'll swap and see if that resolves.

#39 1 year ago

So, after updating to .99, the loud pop on the sub is back during power up, even though the install of the aftermarket sub had made it go away.

Immediately in my mind I’m thinking, she falls down a well, eyes go cross, gets kicked by a mule, they go back to normal.

#40 1 year ago

Fugg... I was going to try that too. I wasn't really convinced that the woofer kit would have solved the issue after looking at it. But I'm pretty sure there is a solution.

#41 1 year ago

My Hobbit Black arrow has a ground loop isolator installed by the factory and it also has hiss and pop on startup. I think what's needed is a simple stereo relay like what's typically used on car stereo setups with power on thump. Like one of these two?
amazon.com link »
amazon.com link »

#42 1 year ago
Quoted from CLEllison:

My Hobbit Black arrow has a ground loop isolator installed by the factory and it also has hiss and pop on startup. I think what's needed is a simple stereo relay like what's typically used on car stereo setups with power on thump. Like one of these two?
amazon.com link »
amazon.com link »

Yup, you're down the right path. It's a bit more complex, at least for the noises that are persistent for longer than just the initial pop. I've been testing a few combinations of different devices trying to figure out the best solution.

#43 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Ok, folks, the moment you've all been waiting for.
POTC powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/28fSx9mUEW3kqFWM7
WOZ powering on: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8xN1dyyWe2b5hBEG8
Aside from the WOZ pop (and fans, lol) it has NO feedback on start. I am guessing you can all hear the POTC startup "fanfare".

Even more important, did you re-center your POTC topper or did it come from the factory centered?

#44 1 year ago
Quoted from arzoo:

Even more important, did you re-center your POTC topper or did it come from the factory centered?

Eh? It came from the factory uninstalled.... ?

#45 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

Eh? It came from the factory uninstalled.... ?

Right, but the bracket on top is not centered, at least not on mine or others I've seen. I asked Steve at JJP about this and he said it was normal (to be off centered).

#46 1 year ago

Weird... I hadn't heard about that. I can measure mine to see if it is in fact centered.

On another note, just as another datapoint, I scavenged the audio line noise isolator from my WOZ to see if that made any difference, it did not. I also tried another brand new 3.5mm cable from the mobo to the amp, that did not make a difference. Both of these were outside of any wiring looms, so not near the PC power supply, in case that was an issue.

#47 1 year ago

To be clear, we don't really "care" about the initial pop, correct?

#48 1 year ago

The pop is common on many games. It has to do with how the amp/sound board gets power. It is possible to eliminate and the solution I have in mind would do that. Not sure my solution will eliminate the pop when turning off the game, might need to build a custom PCB for that.

#49 1 year ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

The pop is common on many games. It has to do with how the amp/sound board gets power. It is possible to eliminate and the solution I have in mind would do that. Not sure my solution will eliminate the pop when turning off the game, might need to build a custom PCB for that.

I know...but you're trying to more solve all the other crazy noises that you have right?

#50 1 year ago
Quoted from joseph5185:

I know...but you're trying to more solve all the other crazy noises that you have right?

Yeah, that's the main goal. I was hoping JJP was going to take some responsibility for it, but they seem to suggest it's normal. I find it weird that a high end game like this should have that kind of "noise", it makes it feel cheap. Sure, operators don't care and the public doesn't either but I turn my game on and off daily and I have to hear it. Plus this should cure the pop for anyone else so might be a nice solution.

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