Okay, so, I've been out of the studio for a few days. Got back in this afternoon, boot up the PC (laptop)... and I can hear this strange whiny noise in my headphones. Thought it was a ground loop.
When I do anything, though... browse through folders, access the Internet, anything requring processor and/or (especially) hard drive activity... I can hear that activity through both the headphones and my monitors.
It's really very loud through the monitors... there's no way this has been going on the whole time, I've worked on too many projects, I totally would have noticed. The fact that I instantly picked it up today makes me think that it just started happening.
I have an M-Audio Firewire 1814 hooked up to my laptop's motherboard 1394 port. Tht was the most obvious link, so I swapped out the FW cable but to no avail. Tried different headphones and monitors; no go.
I haven't added any gear or done any major rewirings of late... I did make some changes to my external LCD settings, but I reverted those all back just to be sure.
I've heard of people having this problem, I forget what causes it or if there's a way to fix it, but I think it has something to do with shielding? I have no idea if my FW cables are shielded. Probably not. They're just the cheapo cables that came with my hardware.
I tried googling this, but I wasn't sure exactly what to search for and couldn't find the myriad threads on this subject that I know I've seen before in the past. Not sure what to do. That damn buzzy/crackly CPU and HD noise is freakin' annoying, though...