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Sound Distortion and Super High Latency Spikes ... Help!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I noticed that sound quality from my PC (XP, Auzentech Prelude soundcard, 5.1 analog out to full-sized Denon receiver, Denon D2000 headphones connected to receiver) had suddenly degraded ... some popping, crackling, etc. At the same time, all my games started to stutter. Disabling my internet connection helped a little but the sound still seemed degraded ... I read about something called latency spikes and a program to test for them so I downloaded a program called DPC Latency Checker ... I started it and played an mp3 and the Latency Checker went crazy--the latency readings were off the charts! A solid wall of red.

 

I disabled my soundcard in the system menu and the latency readings returned to normal. I noticed that opening a new webpage will also cause very high latency spikes ...

 

Can anyone tell me what high latency spikes mean and how I might go about fixing this issue?


Edited by blinkstar - 4/26/12 at 12:30am
post #2 of 18

Download the latest drivers for your sound card.  Also, if your card has optical out and your reciever has optical in, ditch the analog! 

 

A scan with http://www.malwarebytes.org/ never hurts...


Edited by peck1234 - 4/26/12 at 12:46am
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for responding, peck1234!

 

I will try installing the latest drivers for my card. Unfortunately my receiver does not have optical in but I've been thinking about getting one that does.

 

If this is an issue with my soundcard, why would just opening a webpage cause bad latency spikes as well?

post #4 of 18

Really cant say, hopfully installing the new drivers should fix you up.   

Do a system restart once there installed and report back.  

Also having to much programs in memory can bum your machine up.   

Manage your start up items by typing "msconfig" into run.   (You can disable everything without worry)


Edited by peck1234 - 4/26/12 at 1:02am
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well, with my old soundcard drivers completely uninstalled, I'm still hitting a near constant mark of latency spikes at 16000 us when I'm online ... I will install new soundcard drivers but I think the issue goes beyond that .... What's strange is that I hadn't made any changes before this started happening ...

post #6 of 18

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstar View Post

I noticed that sound quality from my PC (XP, Auzentech Prelude soundcard, 5.1 analog out to full-sized Denon receiver, Denon D2000 headphones connected to receiver) had suddenly degraded ... some popping, crackling, etc. At the same time, all my games started to stutter. 

 

Can anyone tell me what high latency spikes mean and how I might go about fixing this issue?

 

What did you change between the time when sound quality was normal and when your started hearing problems?

 

The soundcard driver might be the cause of your problem but the driver for some other hardware might be causing the high latency readings.

 

For a start, you might watch the display from Latency checker program as you play music.  If you see spikes at the same time as you hear sound glitches, then a driver level latency problem is more likely to be the problem.

 

You can use the latency checker to see what happens when you disable other hardware.  Some driver suspects:

 

wifi driver

battery driver (laptop)

wired network adapter driver

graphics card in general and its HDMI audio driver

 

Your music player and game application software might be delayed in producing sound by other applications.  An anti-virus program is a likely suspect. Task Manager is a good tool for observing what application software is doing.  Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and choose task manager.  Click on the performance tab to see overall system performance.  Then click on the processes tab to see memory, CPU and I/O use for individual processes.  Watch the Task Manager display as you play music to find a correlation between application activity  and sound glitches.

 

Bill

 

post #7 of 18

I had the stuttering audio problem with my Vista Dell laptop. I had spikes with the Latency Checker but not as high as you mentioned in your case.This is what I tried: I found System Restore to help if I had a restore point before the sound problem developed. Also updating the SATA driver for my hard drive helped.Killing unnecessary processes may help.If you have a program like Process Lasso running this can create havoc as well.The only program I could run without the distortion was Foobar2000 with Wasapi, Youtube videos and audio was a mess.Everything I tried helped for short time but the problem always returned. After a while my hard drive coincidently failed so I reinstalled from an image backup onto a new hard drive now the problem is gone. It can be a very frustrating problem. Good Luck.

post #8 of 18

Network adapters, especially wireless ones, are a very common cause of latency issues, which is why you get latency spikes when using your browser. Are you using a wireless or wired network adapter?

 

Also, is upgrading your OS an option?

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FasterThanEver View Post

 

 

What did you change between the time when sound quality was normal and when your started hearing problems?

 

The soundcard driver might be the cause of your problem but the driver for some other hardware might be causing the high latency readings.

 

For a start, you might watch the display from Latency checker program as you play music.  If you see spikes at the same time as you hear sound glitches, then a driver level latency problem is more likely to be the problem.

 

You can use the latency checker to see what happens when you disable other hardware.  Some driver suspects:

 

wifi driver

battery driver (laptop)

wired network adapter driver

graphics card in general and its HDMI audio driver

 

Your music player and game application software might be delayed in producing sound by other applications.  An anti-virus program is a likely suspect. Task Manager is a good tool for observing what application software is doing.  Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and choose task manager.  Click on the performance tab to see overall system performance.  Then click on the processes tab to see memory, CPU and I/O use for individual processes.  Watch the Task Manager display as you play music to find a correlation between application activity  and sound glitches.

 

Bill

 

The ONLY thing I "changed" was I decided to try my soundcard's optical out to my home theater receiver. In other words, I lugged my HT receiver into my office and plugged in an optical cord from my soundcard to it. I enabled two Creative Labs Dolby Digital services that I had disabled, to let the card process DD 5.1. I have since disconnected the optical cable and disabled the two services, so it should be exactly as it was ... Those are the only changes that I can think of that I made.

 

I did try Ctrl-Alt-Delete but didn't find anything that appeared to be eating up cycles or memory ... I'll try again while listening for sound glitches, as you suggest. Thanks for responding!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Network adapters, especially wireless ones, are a very common cause of latency issues, which is why you get latency spikes when using your browser. Are you using a wireless or wired network adapter?

 

Also, is upgrading your OS an option?

 

I have an external wireless router that is plugged into my PC, so I'm guessing that would mean my PC is using a wired network adapter, which would be using a "realtek rtl8169/8111 PCI-E driver." I haven't done anything to that adapter, haven't changed the driver, etc .... But every time I load up a webpage, I see the readings spike and turn red ...

 

I've actually been pretty happy with XP Pro. I know I'll have to switch eventually but I also know that there are Win 7 users out there with latency issues as well ... Why do you think I should switch?


Edited by blinkstar - 4/26/12 at 3:33pm
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digiti View Post

I had the stuttering audio problem with my Vista Dell laptop. I had spikes with the Latency Checker but not as high as you mentioned in your case.This is what I tried: I found System Restore to help if I had a restore point before the sound problem developed. Also updating the SATA driver for my hard drive helped.Killing unnecessary processes may help.If you have a program like Process Lasso running this can create havoc as well.The only program I could run without the distortion was Foobar2000 with Wasapi, Youtube videos and audio was a mess.Everything I tried helped for short time but the problem always returned. After a while my hard drive coincidently failed so I reinstalled from an image backup onto a new hard drive now the problem is gone. It can be a very frustrating problem. Good Luck.

 


Sorry I overlooked your post, Digiti. Thanks for responding! This is definitely a very frustrating problem.I do have a System Restore point that I was using before the problem developed and I will try to revert back to it. Are you sure your hard drive failing was a coincidence? Could hd failure cause latency spikes?

 

EDIT: "System Restore has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience"

 

Awesome. Guess that isn't going to work.


Edited by blinkstar - 4/26/12 at 3:52pm
post #11 of 18

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstar View Post

 

I have an external wireless router that is plugged into my PC, so I'm guessing that would mean my PC is using a wired network adapter, which would be using a "realtek rtl8169/8111 PCI-E driver." I haven't done anything to that adapter, haven't changed the driver, etc .... But every time I load up a webpage, I see the readings spike and turn red ...

 

I've actually been pretty happy with XP Pro. I know I'll have to switch eventually but I also know that there are Win 7 users out there with latency issues as well ... Why do you think I should switch?

 

 

For latency purposes alone, the only relevant section of your home network is what's between your computer and the next device in line, so a gigabit ethernet adapter. While recommending an updated driver is the logical option, do try drivers other than the latest currently available for your device, as you're bound to find one that will give better performance in terms of latency.

 

Any Windows version can suffer from latency, it's all about how poorly or not a system is configured.

 

Ok, reasons to upgrade from legacy XP? Well, considering we are in an audio related forum, bypassing the awful KMixer that forces a very poor resampling algorithm on all audio would be a good starting point. Then you have proper memory management, an improved hardware scheduler, more reliable drivers that can lead to a stable, high performing and low latency environment far more easily than the outdated XP can do, just to name a few.

 

Now, it should be said that Windows 8 is due in around half a year, so it might be worth considering it, especially since it is expected to have a return of the proper audio HAL, as well as several under the hood improvements that benefit users with machines from all tiers. Not that Windows 7 is bad in any way, it is still the recommended Windows version to use above all other Windows versions (talking strictly about consumers). Even Vista is an adequate upgrade from XP, despite all the misconceptions around it, Vista is far from the OS it was at launch, due to both massive fixes made available individually and starting from SP1, as well as 3rd party manufacturers getting their act together and actually releasing stable drivers. In case some people don't know, stability issues that plagued Vista in its first months was mainly due to 3rd party drivers that were still being made on the outdated and BSOD-prone XPDM.

 

EDIT: Ah, and System Restore is much more reliable on Windows 7.

post #12 of 18

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkstar View Post

 

 


Sorry I overlooked your post, Digiti. Thanks for responding! This is definitely a very frustrating problem.I do have a System Restore point that I was using before the problem developed and I will try to revert back to it. Are you sure your hard drive failing was a coincidence? Could hd failure cause latency spikes?

 

EDIT: "System Restore has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience"

 

Awesome. Guess that isn't going to work.

 

 You might try System Restore in Safe Mode by hitting F8 while booting. It might work for you better. The hard drive failing and latency spikes having a cause and effect relationship is conjecture, I do know the new drive does not exhibit the stuttering at all.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

System Restore crashes even in safe mode.

 

I disabled all audio hardware and drivers, disabled my ethernet adaptor, and tried running a video file on my hard drive. Solid red spikes everywhere.

 

Even the simple act of just opening a FOLDER gives me a high latency spike.

 

What the hell is going on here? How do I figure this out?

 

EDIT: I disabled my ATI videocard and reverted to onboard video. Made no difference.


Edited by blinkstar - 4/26/12 at 10:32pm
post #14 of 18

It's time to either upgrade to a modern OS or do a clean XP install.

 

It should be noted that latency is only relevant when issues occur, like the crackling you've had, or when minimal latency is a necessity. For everyone else, it's of no consequence.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

New OS or clean install are my only options? I thought reinstalling would have been something of a last resort?

 

Somewhat off topic, but do you or anyone else know if latency spiking can actually damage headphones, the way clipping can?

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