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computer as source issues ??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

i'm using my laptop sony vaio with 750GB hard  drive as my source, runs thru a Schiit Modi DAC, and a Valhalla amp, According to the hardrive properties i have about 120 gb of free space.

 

seems everytime i play music at some point on various songs i get a skip its completely random, I've read that if your drive has alot of info on it it could cause a skip / stutter, 

 

I can surf the web with good speed, the computer doesn't seem to bog down, I tried uninstalling the server and allowing windows to re-install that (didn't help)

 

Anyone have advice on how to correct this ?

post #2 of 20

Things to try:

 

Turning of Power Management for your USB HUB Devices ( you can look up on the interwebs on how to do that )

 

Try a couple of different players as there are a few that are quite memory intensive.  Foobar200 does not skip with my PC rig and I listen to it almost 4 hours a day.

 

There is another thread regarding this that will serve you after you have tried the above fixes:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/325531/hr-desktop-usb-dac-skips

 

Good luck friend.

post #3 of 20

One question...

 

when was the last time you did a defrag? fragmentation causes the file (single) to be placed in pieces all over the drive. So to go from one section of music to another it has to seek different parts of the drive. It also causes your laptop to run slower.

 

You should defrag once per week and if its been a while, empty your trash and clean your internet cache so that useless stuff is not moved around.

 

And just in case you (or anyone) thinks streaming is different, its not. Your system still accesses the drive and the music is cached on the drive before it plays. That CACHE gets fragmented also.

 

Just follow this if you are no sure how

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/how-to-run-defrag-with-windows-7/c174afa0-3217-4937-9e7b-a487c8c89443


Edited by arcorob - 1/24/14 at 10:41pm
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post
 

Things to try:

 

Turning of Power Management for your USB HUB Devices ( you can look up on the interwebs on how to do that )

 

Try a couple of different players as there are a few that are quite memory intensive.  Foobar200 does not skip with my PC rig and I listen to it almost 4 hours a day.

 

There is another thread regarding this that will serve you after you have tried the above fixes:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/325531/hr-desktop-usb-dac-skips

 

Good luck friend.

downloaded J-River and playing that now, also went into power management and disabled power saving mode on the usb, guess I will see if this works.  I sure hope so it's dam annoying to be getting into the music and then it starts skipping

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcorob View Post
 

One question...

 

when was the last time you did a defrag? fragmentation causes the file (single) to be placed in pieces all over the drive. So to go from one section of music to another it has to seek different parts of the drive. It also causes your laptop to run slower.

 

You should defrag once per week and if its been a while, empty your trash and clean your internet cache so that useless stuff is not moved around.

 

And just in case you (or anyone) thinks streaming is different, its not. Your system still accesses the drive and the music is cached on the drive before it plays. That CACHE gets fragmented also.

 

Just follow this if you are no sure how

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/how-to-run-defrag-with-windows-7/c174afa0-3217-4937-9e7b-a487c8c89443

performed defrag last week (took forever)  i suppose if i defrag regularly it will go alot quicker?  I will look up the site though thanks

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by joespride View Post
 

performed defrag last week (took forever)  i suppose if i defrag regularly it will go alot quicker?  I will look up the site though thanks


Ahh..yes..if you go a long time in between defrags it takes MUCH longer. I uses diskeeper

http://www.condusiv.com/products/diskeeper/

 

I set it and forget it so my computer never gets fragmented and I don't have to remember..

 

Another thing that slows down PC's is services that build up over time. Add software, many times it adds a service that constantly checks for updates (like flashplayer, java, adobe pdf). Every one of those runs in the background CONSTANTLY so your brand new pc started with say 45 services that run and next think you know, its 82. All of that takes resources ...better used for music...LOL

post #7 of 20

If you are using JRiver or Foobar you can set it to play from memory. That loads the entire track or disc into memory which should avoid any real time disc skips/seeks. 

post #8 of 20

I found that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware causes my Foobar to skip while playing.  If you have this app installed and running, disable it and see if it helps.

 

Worked for me, ymmv.

post #9 of 20

I doubt fragmentation will actually cause audio files to skip.  Modern hard drives, even when fragmented, are still more than quick enough to playback an audio file without too much issue.  

 

When dealing with these technical issues, its easy to find the problem by tackling these issues methodically and isolating components:

- Does it still stutter & skip if you play your music off a portable hard disk/USB stick? 

- Does the device still stutter & skip with integrated audio?  If it stops stuttering, then it may be a good idea to reinstall the Modi's driver software (uninstall the Modi's drivers via Device Manager). 

- If you tried the above and the problem still persists, then the problem is definitely the laptop.  If you're using Foobar, I'd check the buffer size (File -> Preferences -> Playback -> Output) and increase the value.  


Edited by jeffreyw311 - 1/28/14 at 1:38am
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyw311 View Post
 

I doubt fragmentation will actually cause audio files to skip.  Modern hard drives, even when fragmented, are still more than quick enough to playback an audio file without too much issue.  

 

When dealing with these technical issues, its easy to find the problem by tackling these issues methodically and isolating components:

- Does it still stutter & skip if you play your music off a portable hard disk/USB stick? 

- Does the device still stutter & skip with integrated audio?  If it stops stuttering, then it may be a good idea to reinstall the Modi's driver software (uninstall the Modi's drivers via Device Manager). 

- If you tried the above and the problem still persists, then the problem is definitely the laptop.  If you're using Foobar, I'd check the buffer size (File -> Preferences -> Playback -> Output) and increase the value.  


Jeff...don't doubt :beerchug: 

 

The ideas you posted are great, good debugging tools. But please don't discount fragmentation and services that I pointed out. Hard drives have NOT changed except in size and their space allocation algorithms are exactly the same. To this day, with the near exception of SSID drives, SATA and PATA hard drives are still the week link in the chain for computer speed (now you have entered my wheelhouse)

 

Hard Drive fragmentation

Hard drives all work the same. You store files in varying sizes and those file placements are stored in a directory. The place it stores them is called "free space" and when stored, the address of that file is stored and it is now used, no longer part of free space.

 

SO you happily create files of 15mb, 10mb, 300k, 200k, etc etc. and the drive starts to fill up. All of this contiguous (next to each other).The free space gets smaller and the used space allocated

 

Now you delete the 10mb file. Yay. I have 10mb that gets added to free space. But that space sits between the 15mb and 300k file. Now if the system just kept writing to the old free space, it would be a waste and eventually you could have files writing to all that extra free space while there was free space in the middle...and this is where fragmentation comes in

 

To be more space thrifty the system looks at those "in the middle" free space areas. So now you have a 12meg file that gets copied in. It sees that 10mb you freed up and stores 10mb there, then takes the other 2mb and puts it in another available spot. THAT my friends is the start of fragmentation. Multiply that hundreds, thousands of times.

 

A file might actually be in 5 parts. So to retrieve the file, the head on the hard drive has to move (very fast) to 5 locations instead of 1. How fast is very fast ? Fast, milliseconds which is increased by both fragmentation and rotational speed latency. But that's milliseconds you say ? Yes...but remember it does not PUSH the data at that speed. Drive I/O is measured in gigabits per second (on paper)

 

When you get to actual speeds it is MUCH MUCH lower ...perhaps 120mb per second in a system  Lots of moving parts...

 

 

I could go on and on but this is overly long already ...Bottom line, fragmentation HURTS

 

Services

I'll keep this short. The more services you have running, the more resources are used, The more resources used, the slower your machine. WAY too many unnecessary services run in the background that are like taking your car and constantly adding weight. Add 4 people. Then bags of top soil. A roof rack. Luggage...it will go slower and slower.

 

If you think none of this helps or is true, great. Don't do it. But another benefit of defrag is you will actually reclaim space. Take a 200gb hard drive with 70gb used but heavily fragmented. You show 130gb free space but after defrag, you show 134...MAGIC  ...LOL

post #11 of 20
If it is so severe to seriously impact the majority of audio playback, then it will likely impact the entire system. I'm not really sure its impacting audio playback.

I know the purpose of defragmentation, you don't need to tell me that. Unless the hard drive has been constantly used for four years straight without a single defrag at any point, I doubt even a moderate amount of fragmentation will cripple a modern hard disk when it comes to audio playback. Unlike the days of Windows XP where defragmentation was the defacto solution to any performance issue, hard drives now have ample RAM caches, far greater platter densities, far faster rotation speeds, the ability to send multiple read/write requests at simultaneously and so forth.

Furthermore, anything past Windows XP (I assume he has something better than XP since he has more than 40GB of hard drive space!) basically automatically defrags the hard drive at either scheduled times or whenever the laptop is deemed idle.

If fragmentation was such a serious problem in his case, his whole laptop would have severe performance issues yet it seems isolated to audio. Anyway, you can isolate that issue by trying to play back some stuff from an external hard drive.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyw311 View Post

If it is so severe to seriously impact the majority of audio playback, then it will likely impact the entire system. I'm not really sure its impacting audio playback.

I know the purpose of defragmentation, you don't need to tell me that. Unless the hard drive has been constantly used for four years straight without a single defrag at any point, I doubt even a moderate amount of fragmentation will cripple a modern hard disk when it comes to audio playback. Unlike the days of Windows XP where defragmentation was the defacto solution to any performance issue, hard drives now have ample RAM caches, far greater platter densities, far faster rotation speeds, the ability to send multiple read/write requests at simultaneously and so forth.

Furthermore, anything past Windows XP (I assume he has something better than XP since he has more than 40GB of hard drive space!) basically automatically defrags the hard drive at either scheduled times or whenever the laptop is deemed idle.

If fragmentation was such a serious problem in his case, his whole laptop would have severe performance issues yet it seems isolated to audio. Anyway, you can isolate that issue by trying to play back some stuff from an external hard drive.


Jeff, you are wrong (emphasis added)

 

He would perhaps notice slowdowns on his laptop but would he? Would he notice if it took 3 seconds to open a word doc instead of 2 ? 2 instead of 1? Yet, it is slower. But it would be noticeable on something like video or audio that needs to be fed a contiguous stream.

 

I do this for a living..have for 34 years on everything from mainframes to Windows 8. Down to the bits, bytes, registers, program status words, control blocks, directory blocks level. Hex, binary and assembler. You arguing your "opinion' with me only serves to propagate myths and steer people away from common computer maintenance.

 

Cache has to be fed..by the slowest link in the chain. Hard drives.

 

Bottom line. Defrag. Disable unnecessary services (like Adobe update, java updater, Dell updater, anything that is always running just for the purpose of spitting out reminders). You system will run better. Period.

 

BTW..WIth the advent of Windows 8, we still have defrag but it is part of what we call OPTIMIZE

 

You still get to it the same way but the button looks like this


Edited by arcorob - 1/28/14 at 8:09am
post #13 of 20
OP: check your DPC latency with this: www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml

Run the program and play music, whenever there is a skip check to see if there is a spike in DPC latency
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by joespride View Post
 

performed defrag last week (took forever)  i suppose if i defrag regularly it will go alot quicker?  I will look up the site though thanks

 

 

I would not defrag often.  Once you have done a defrag, your music files should stay put.  Defragging introduces a risk of small data corruptions and is pretty tough on your HDD's mechanical parts. On a fairly full disc doing a defrag that takes several hours you are basically putting a few months worth of wear and tear on the mechanical parts. So defragging should only be done when it's really needed.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jd007 View Post

OP: check your DPC latency with this: www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml

Run the program and play music, whenever there is a skip check to see if there is a spike in DPC latency


JD...good call...and in short terms, this would go back to too many services running OR USB IRQ conflicts.

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