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.