Crackling audio from left ear with headphones in. Super annoying!

Hi guys,

I've been using ZorinOS for about a month and it took me quite some time to get everything how I like it.

One MASSIVE problem though is that there is this extremely annoying crackling noise coming from the left ear with headphones plugged into my HP Omen laptop. It happens every time a sound is played and is very intrusive.

I have Windows 10 dual boot and no issues there. Also no issues when using Bluetooth (same headphones).

I've disabled power saving as I believe that can cause such issues but it made no difference. I've searched high and low but I cannot find the answer.

This is 100% an OS/driver problem and not hardware. I have ruled this out already via process of elimination.

Could anyone offer assistance here? This is an absolute show stopper so I hope it can be solved.

Below is some info on my laptop & audio devices:

Laptop:  OMEN by HP 15-ax202na Laptop PC
sudo lspci

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v6/7th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 05)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor PCIe Controller (x16) (rev 05)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 630 (rev 04)
00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v5/E3-1500 v5/6th Gen Core Processor Thermal Subsystem (rev 05)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family USB 3.0 xHCI Controller (rev 31)
00:14.2 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family Thermal Subsystem (rev 31)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 31)
00:17.0 SATA controller: Intel Corporation HM170/QM170 Chipset SATA Controller [AHCI Mode] (rev 31)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #1 (rev f1)
00:1c.4 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev f1)
00:1c.5 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #6 (rev f1)
00:1c.6 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family PCI Express Root Port #7 (rev f1)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation HM175 Chipset LPC/eSPI Controller (rev 31)
00:1f.2 Memory controller: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family Power Management Controller (rev 31)
00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation CM238 HD Audio Controller (rev 31)
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SMBus (rev 31)
01:00.0 3D controller: NVIDIA Corporation GP107M [GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile] (rev a1)
01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GP107GL High Definition Audio Controller (rev a1)
03:00.0 Unassigned class [ff00]: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTS522A PCI Express Card Reader (rev 01)
04:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wireless 7265 (rev 61)
05:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 15)

inxi -SMA
System:    Host: k-laptop Kernel: 5.13.0-27-generic x86_64 bits: 64 Desktop: Gnome 3.38.4 Distro: Zorin OS 16 
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: HP product: OMEN by HP Laptop v: Type1ProductConfigId serial: 5CD70123XH 
           Mobo: HP model: 8259 v: 83.72 serial: PGHKA028J5911F UEFI: Insyde v: F.55 date: 07/01/2020 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel CM238 HD Audio driver: snd_hda_intel 
           Device-2: NVIDIA GP107GL High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.13.0-27-generic

Please let me know if there is anything else that might help solve this mystery!

Thank you!

I am wondering if it is a kernel bug?:

https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=210995

No issue in Windows when using the same setup? I guess it does rule out that it is artefacts from a damaged hardware component.

Usually I get static and crackling from those connections because of inherent signal noise from the internals, where USB and Bluetooth would be good.

then I'd assume it's just Sound Card drivers, or this is just PulseAudio being petty again -_-