In my case it was fault of Nvidia HD audio driver, uninstalling it removed the crackling.
I uninstalled the default motherboard sound drivers, changed Windows power settings to USB suspend disabled and minimum processor to 100%. One of these things worked.
I did not have this problem until today… after installing the latest driver. I wish I didn’t install it. How can we undo this? I need to produce music and cannot work with this ear-piercing distortion! Please help!
This is not an individual case. This is an entire thread of people who all have the same issue and we’re all asking for support.