Finally solved a noise problem - Its not the UR22 which, unless the unit is defective, really is very quiet (same probably applied to the UR44 and even non-Steinberg USB audio & aubio/MIDI interfaces - though non-Steinberg units might themselves have noise and this included even consumer USB audio interfaces).
Unfortunately USB audio in general has the probability of being noisy. The +5v to ground difference in the power line of USB is probably the most common generation of noise into USB audio devices. The +5v to ground difference variation over microsecond or shorter time can be so incredibly small its not an issue with USB in general until sensitive audio equipment enters the picture. Power supply filtering may be an issue with poor or over taxed power supplies but this doesn’t address the effects the rest of the system can still have on the +5v to ground difference at the USB port of the computer.
With this in mind, the +5v to ground difference is the most likely suspect/baseline of addressing noise.
Of course general professional audio always needs to be aware of equipment grounding issues,
Running a ground wire from the UR22 to the computer might help, like using common AC power outlets and using ground wire between audio equipment of the past 40 years. But typically when equipment may need this ground wire connect its manufactured with a intentional ground screw, of which the UR22 does not have, suggesting it doesn’t need it.
There are USB isolaters on the market that isolate the +5v to ground difference but given the circuitry used they may not do what you want them to, least not without some audio signal filtering. It is possible this is the only or best possible option you have outside of using a different computer.
Here is what I did to solve my UR22 noise issue (or greatly reduce it to “if I didn’t know it was there, I wouldn’t think to even listen for it”).
replaced the UR22 (as it was one of the condenser mic issue units) — no change. Before doing this I stripped my system down, removing all cards and devices i.e. SB Audigy, Wireless network, KVM switch and using wired mouse and routing USB line to UR22 away from monitors and other equipment (even stuff off) best I could. No change.
added a PCI USB 2.0 card in effort to isolate or contribute to +5v isolation - helped a small amount
replaced the cheap Allied 500w power supply that came with the Microcenter Powerspec G400 with an Inland 500w PSU, and then with a Corsair RM650. If there was a change I didn’t notice.
tried relocating USB card and SB Audigy 2zs card to other PCI slots with varying results (Note: Creative no longer supports the card and front panel interface on Windows 7 or above - so used the unofficial software installer. As I want to use the MIDI/game port…Microsoft no longer supports the game port from Windows 7 onward and so the gameport driver in the SB unofficial software doesn’t work… I found a hack somewhere online (don’t recall, wish I did so I could change which PCI slot) that allowed a user chosen PCI slot to use/activate the MIDI/gameport. So moving the SB Audigy card to another slot did help reduce the noise some but losing MIDI was not acceptable.
4a) moving the SB Audigy card around and back to its original PCI slot eventually lead to a racket of additional noise and I thought I was losing headway until I uninstalled and re-installed the unofficial software. Suggesting this to others to remove and re-install drivers if you are getting a racket of noise when doing nothing at all.
- As the initial noise seemed to be related to mouse movement of such things as moving a Windows explorer window around (trying USB wireless and wired mouse - no difference) … I began to suspect maybe its not the USB mouse and paying close attention I decided to try something. I played a video (Blade Runner) but sent the audio out to the SB card audio instead of the UR22, while turning the volume completely down in VLC, the Windows mixer, the Audigy . There was noise from the UR22, not so loud but noise non-the-less. (note: onboard Audio was turned off in the bios of the ASRock motherboard as I’m using the SB Audigy audio out)… So this leaves video???
The Intel i7 4770k cpu has built-in Intel 4600 GPU that can handle three monitors and its video performance isn’t so bad either (2D [applications] nice but not so well with 3D graphics [games]). So of course my next step was to get a video card and turn off the Intel 4600 GPU as best I can from the motherboard bios.
I got an Nvidia quadro K600 (2D applications biased [quadro 600 - autodesk certified]- though considered 3D games biased cards [I don’t play game but maybe I might do some animation] )
SOB, @&*% , grrrr *@^@&*%# ARRRRRGHHHH ----- I’m damn glad I’m not using a laptop where I wouldn’t have the option of shutting off Intel CPU built-in GPU. And it is here where the only choice might be to use a USB isolater and hope that it works.
So the question now is: Was it the general +5v to ground difference causing problems thru USB or noise being leaked from the Intel i7 4770k built-in GPU into the data/audio USB line? And if it is the data/audio clearly its not enough of a signal to mess with anything more than audio sensitive equipment. I suspect its the +5v to ground difference, otherwise Intel would have either not released the CPU or heard about it shortly after (maybe they do know). It could also be a motherboard issues of not isolating or buffering the +5v/ground well enough from the CPU. So if anyone is using the built-in GPU on the i7 4770 line without UR22 noise problems… Please do say as this might narrow it down to motherboard issues.
I’m good for now. Noise for all practical purposes is gone. And I can honestly say I fully understand the frustrations and mistaken claims the UR22 is noisy. It is NOT Noisy but very quiet!
One final note: in the process of all the above I came to notice my Dell Optiplex GX620 with an inexpensive MSI AMD Radeon HD 5450 graphics card and an ASUS Xonar DG audio card and no USB audio connected has very similar [if not the same] noise being generated with Windows explorer window movement as I was dealing with on the PowerSpec G400. The Dell GX620 being much older has a different CPU in it, Pentium D dual processor with no built in GPU. This brings us back around to the +5v to ground fluctuation issue, even where there is not USB audio, solidifying the +5v to ground fluctuation issue where ever it may be in the computer system.