garglish, underwaterish sound coming from my usb dac, is it broken? how can I tell?
May 7, 2010 at 12:33 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13


100+ Head-Fier
Mar 16, 2008
Well, the title says it all. My dac started making these sounds whether I use Wasapi or direct output in foobar. The same is true for video playback through VLC. I am on a W7 64-bit machine. Can I resolve this? How? What is it? How can I tell if my dac is broken? I have no dac to compare it to.
thx for any answer.
May 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM Post #2 of 13
And it's fine if you use something else?  Like ASIO or plain old DirectSound?  Just as a troubleshooting method, if you don't have a DAC to compare it to, start at the other end of the chain.  Before worrying about your DAC, I'd investigate the output plug-ins and compatibility with Windows 7.  Unfortunately, I don't use Windows 7 or Foobar, so I can't help you out more than basic logic advice.  :p
May 7, 2010 at 2:48 PM Post #3 of 13
I tried the same dac with and without wasapi (meaning with direct sound) through both foobar and vlc. It didn't work.
However, the same combo, laptop-dac-amp, worked before the last W7 installation.
I meant to specify my descrition of the problem: there is sound coming from the speakers - or headphones - hooked up to the dac. I just cannot get it to sound right. It sounds like the music's comes out of someone's throat who's gargling.
May 7, 2010 at 2:55 PM Post #4 of 13
Is it a USB DAC or somehow transportable?  Could you take it to a friend's place and see if you can get it to work?  Even with streaming videos from youtube or something.
I'm kinda jumping to a conclusion by suggesting the plug-ins, but that's because I had horrible experiences with ASIO doing all sorts of weird garbling to sounds on my work laptop.  There was sound, sure, but it would be either completely distorted (on extreme settings) or have occasional issues (on less demanding settings).
May 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM Post #6 of 13
dang, already did that. I unplugged all usb devices except for the dac. still the problem persisted. As to a possible interference of plugins: wasapi output is currently the only plugin I have installed for foobar. (new W7 installation) And the problem exists in vlc, too.
edit: I just checked my usb connection for any conflicts as described in the tutorial (or whatever you wish to call it), but still - nada.
May 7, 2010 at 4:53 PM Post #7 of 13
Was the previous installation where the DAC worked also Windows 7?  I'm assuming so.  If so, is everything as far as drivers updated?  Obviously, something has changed, though sometimes it could really be hardware just happening to fail at the same time.  That's what happened with my DAC/amp a little while back.  I still think if you have a chance, you should try to take the DAC to hook up to another computer.  After my DAC/amp failed on my laptop, I took it home to try out on my desktop and SB3 to confirm it was dead to the world.
May 7, 2010 at 5:00 PM Post #8 of 13
Sounds like your plugs have some bad contacts. Happens to me if the wire to the jack on my A700s isn't in the correct position.
May 7, 2010 at 5:04 PM Post #9 of 13
yeah, I'll try and do that tomorrow. Guess I had already thought about a dac upgrade anyway. (I must say I am rather sceptical about the sq differences between dac, probably I am still to hear them.)
edit: just read the bit about bad contacts. idk I tried it on my home stereo and two sets of headphones. I'd have to be quite unlucky to always get the contacts wrong, especially after the dac had worked fine for more than two years.
May 7, 2010 at 5:45 PM Post #10 of 13
Maybe there's a psychosomatic response happening where you THINK you're hearing bad stuff come out of your DAC because you wanted to buy a new one.  Just kidding.  ^_^
The DAC can make a difference, but it depends on the gear and expectations, I think.  Feeding my D10 with my D2+ definitely does not sound as good to me as feeding it FLAC over a USB and using the D10's DAC.  Then again, there is a point at which it probably will stop mattering that much to the listener or the differences are so minute that you'd have to be very critical to hear them.
I'll wait to hear how the experiment with another comp goes, since it is a little suspicious that it happened after a new install, and with all the changes I've done to my comps the last year or so I know little dumb things in software and/or settings can really hose things in the chain.  It's how I ended up using wave out now for the most part.
May 8, 2010 at 3:05 PM Post #11 of 13
This actually happened to me when the opamp in my Zero blew.  I'd recommend finding a replacement and checking that, if you can.
May 8, 2010 at 6:13 PM Post #12 of 13
my dac is super cheap. I don't think the opamps can be changed. However, the problem seems to lie with my laptop. The problem does not exist on any other pc. I read around on the internet and it appears that cpu power saving functions interfere with the usb power. anyway, I couldn't get it to work on my machine. for now I'm stuck with direct output through my laptop.
May 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM Post #13 of 13
That is true, if you disable Cool'n'Quiet / SpeedStep it might solve your problems.

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