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USB Audio Stuttering

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by gordec, Aug 21, 2018.
  1. gordec
    Anyone experiences stuttering whenever playing USB audio? I have an Alienware Aurora R7 with i5, 16GB ram, but whenever I listen to any DAC connected to USB, there will be intermittent stutter and hanging. This happens no matter what software I use, Jriver, Roon, Audivarna or playing Youtube in the browser. Funny thing is that on my Surface Pro 3, audio never stutters.

    I have literally tried everything imaginable:
    1. Disable all other audio device drivers, Nvidia audio driver, etc.
    2. Remove USB power conservation
    3. Placing music on SSD instead of HDD
    4. Updating motherboard bios

    Running out of ideas.
  2. bfreedma
    Have you tried using ASIO or WASAPI to take the windows media stack out of the equation?

    Or a different USB cable in case there is a physical issue with the cable or connector? Not an “audiophile” cable, just a different one. It’s also worth trying a different USB port on your computer if you haven’t done that yet.
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    not easy to diagnose such troubles for me. some ideas on the top of my head:
    - first, does the same thing happen if you use the integrated soundcard? try and see if the issue is with USB and external DACs or with audio in general.
    - do those lags happen more when playing higher resolution files? what happens if you change the output resolution for the DAC? how often are we talking about for the lags? every 30seconds, once or twice per hour? less?
    - try something like VLC, that stuff is a survivor and can usually play anything even on a computer full of viruses and weird settings.
    - as suggested by @bfreedma trying other audio paths than the default Win mixer to see if it changes anything in an obvious way. if the DAC has an ASIO driver, once installed it should show up on some audio player options as a choice of output. otherwise try Wasapi without and without exclusive mode.
    - what is going on with your CPU when you play music and when you get those audio lags?
    - of course if it seems to be USB related, try different ports(front and back), some of my gears seem to be allergic to USB3.1 somehow. maybe try to update/re-install the various USB drivers for the motherboard or other USB card in the PC.
    - do you find similar feedback on the web about the specific DAC you're using? for example Win10 has been annoying for a handful of devices.
    - is the computer coming with some fancy gaming options changing everything to gain half a FPS?
    gordec likes this.
  4. halcyon
    1. Download & Run USB Device Tree Viewer for Windows

    2. Find a USB controller HUB that is of the speed you want (USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, so on) and see what devices are connected to it. In the following example my Creative Sound Blaster X7 is connected to USB 3.0 USB Root Hub @ Port 1 as device "USB Composite Device - HID" with a Vendor ID OF "VID_041E" (i.e. Creative)


    I can also see that two oterh USB devices are attached to the same USB device hub (sharing bandwidth, IRQ and memory I/O resources), namely : "USB Composite Device Mouse, 2 x HID, Keyboard" (= VID_046D&PID_C07D = Logitech G502) and "USB Composite Device - HD Pro WebCam C920" (= VID_046D&PID_082D = Logitech C920 Webcam).

    3. Now remove all other USB device connected to that same USB root hub, to which your sound card is connected (leaving only your sound card connected). This way it won't share same limited resources/bandwidth with other devices. See my example:


    ... to be continued (later more information on latency monitoring and tuning).
    castleofargh likes this.
  5. Roseval
    castleofargh likes this.
  6. halcyon
    Yes, LatencyMon helps with checking driver specific latency spikes. The instructions for checking the latency using Latency Monitor are here:

    The other tool is DPC Latency Checker:

    For fixing and adjusting, MSI has a Latency Tuner, but it only works with MSI motherboards:


    I'm trying to find the source how to fix the latency on other brand motherboards....

    Often disabling other devices and their drivers helps. And as stated, turning of all sleep options in power plan (power settings) and selecting the High Performance Plan. Also, making sure that the USB Hub you have has it's drivers updated (Microsoft drivers usually work best, if not, try manufacturer specific).

    Here are some basic instructions:


    For more in-depth DPC Latency and USB lag fixing, try these instructions:


    Disabling the HPET timer might help, but it is a drastic measure and may cause other issues:

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  7. gordec
    USB Tree.JPG

    Looks like the Paul Pang Card is not sharing resource with anything else.


    The Latency Monitor does report dxgkrnl.sys is giving high spikes, but I understand this is a generic error. I tried turning disabling wifi. The latency is still high. I'll keep playing around with this. Thx!
  8. Whazzzup
    Jeepers glad I have a server, but if running roon that’s all I know, you have latency issues and slow file speed, reduce your upconversion. Say try 44.1 16 bit and incrementally move up resolution to find your drop out point

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