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Michael McBroom

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I've been thinking about picking up a MOTU as well -- don't recall the model number offhand, but it sells for around $200. One thing I don't like about my Behringer is it uses ASIO only. From what I understand, the MOTU can use different audio drivers besides just ASIO. As for Focusrite, I've tried to like my 2i4, but it's dead in the water ever since I replaced a worn out USB jack. Still don't understand how soldering in a new jack could cause the device to just play dead.

I like the idea of an SSD. Cheaper than buying all that other hardware, that's for sure. I'll try running LatencyMon, see if that does anything. I think I have a copy installed on this machine already.

John, as I mentioned earlier, I'm still getting the distortion when I'm using my Behringer audio interface. So I don't think it's the Delta 66.

 

Edited by Michael McBroom

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4 minutes ago, Michael McBroom said:

John, as I mentioned earlier, I'm still getting the distortion when I'm using my Behringer audio interface. So I don't think it's the Delta 66.

Sorry I missed that. Well that does narrow down the issue but seems strange to me. The audio interface is normally the heart of the audio, not the computer. 

So I guess next step is to figure out why the computer is causing havoc and swapping out the hard drive and a fresh install of W7 ( or 10) would be my first approach. A lot of garbage gets into a system and I myself find it much faster to just go clean and start over than monkey wrench the system to death.  As I said I just did this with 2 different computers and they both are 100% now. The old Silverstone is definitely way slower but still running fine. I'm just installing a bare bones CbB set up using only CbB and free plug ins. I'm curious as to how powerful a DAW I can build for absolutely free. 

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I'm running LatencyMon right now. It's definitely finding things, but it's still running so it hasn't told me yet what the major culprit is or are. Although it does appear that my 'puter's NVidia driver might be part of the problem. Dunno what I can do about that because I need the NVidia card for my monitor, and as I've already mentioned, I've disabled its audio, so I don't know what else I can do about it. This card is also going bad, I think. I have a 2nd monitor that I was running from the card using the DVI out, but it stopped working. I tried replacing the card with a similar bare-bones ATI one, but it wouldn't work at all. Had to send it back. So I'm kinda stuck I guess.

 

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9 minutes ago, John Vere said:

So I guess next step is to figure out why the computer is causing havoc and swapping out the hard drive and a fresh install of W7 ( or 10) would be my first approach. A lot of garbage gets into a system and I myself find it much faster to just go clean and start over than monkey wrench the system to death.

Michael, you have been living with this problem for a couple of years.

It's up to you to decide if you want to fix it once and for all. At this point, "Troubleshooting 101" says to strip the problem down to the bare essentials, and build up and test at each step of the way.  Sure you can take a wrench and try this, and try that, based on assumptions and hope to get lucky. But after a couple of years I would be weary of that.

If you limit yourself to a methodological process you can assure yourself of nailing down the cause. But you must follow the troubleshooting process exactly in order to succeed. It requires patience, and if you do not skip any steps, it's almost assured of success. And I say this humbly with over 40 years of professional IT experience.

 

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When I run Latency monitor with the internet on it goes over and always say's I need to disable speed step even though it is already disabled. So take what it reports with a grain of salt. It also always shows my NVidia card as using the most CPU?? I find this odd as I always thought the whole idea of a  video card was to take the the processing load off the CPU and the card does the work. But video cards seem to come with a lot of bloatware etc. 

The SIlverstone has an older card in it that W10 seems stuck on the drivers so I'll have to pull it out so I can read the label. But I bet it is not supported. I have friends with boxes full of parts so might go on the mooch. Right now the graphics are terrible.  

But I totally agree with Abacabs approach to troubleshooting It's a process of elimination. Step by step. Example the last thing on my mind was a power supply and USB system causing audio to crackle but it seems to have solve the issue.  

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I just took a screen shot of LatencyMon in action. Interesting results at 47 minutes and 45 seconds run time.

latencymon1.thumb.jpg.6eddbb0594ec1be5668a20a1348d5cae.jpg

Remember how I thought M$ might be to blame? It looks like dxgkrnl.sys is causing almost all the grief. Now, how do I get rid of a piece of Microsloth software and have my system survive?

Funny thing, though. My system doesan't have any trouble handling streaming audio and video. In fact, I'm watching a movie right now from another tab in this browser. I'll bet I could have CWbBL loaded and the video would still play fine.

Edited by Michael McBroom

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8 minutes ago, Michael McBroom said:

I just took a screen shot of LatencyMon in action. Interesting results at 47 minutes and 45 seconds run time.

latencymon1.thumb.jpg.6eddbb0594ec1be5668a20a1348d5cae.jpg

Remember how I thought M$ might be to blame? It looks like dxgkrnl.sys is causing almost all the grief. Now, how do I get rid of a piece of Microsloth software and have my system survive?

Funny thing, though. My system doesan't have any trouble handling streaming audio and video. In fact, I'm watching a movie right now from another tab in this browser. I'll bet I could have CWbBL loaded and the video would still play fine.

That piece of stuff is tied to the display stuff from DirectX. Which process is causing it though?

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Here's another long shot: Check your CPU temperature (or graphics card temp). I have to blast dust out of my CPU fan every several months or the fan bogs down. The CPU starts runing too hot in a demanding app like Cake, and audio starts to crackle. Audio is generally fine for less intense tasks like streaming video, etc. The crackling also gets gradually worse over time. So it may not be your problem, but it's worth looking into, because it took me a while to figure that one out. Some locations are dustier than others.

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11 hours ago, Michael McBroom said:

Funny thing, though. My system doesan't have any trouble handling streaming audio and video. In fact, I'm watching a movie right now from another tab in this browser.

Streaming audio or video is not a "real-time" process.

But keeping your audio buffers full while using a DAW in "real-time" is. If the CPU cannot keep the audio buffers full while you are performing or recording then you will experience audio breakup.

What DPC latency is reporting is the amount of time another driver (non-audio) has your CPU locked up with one call in the DPC queue. So your audio driver is not getting serviced by your CPU during that interruption, so it runs dry, and pops/crackles in audio are the symptoms. Your audio driver is forced to wait. Not good.

https://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/articles/solving-dpc-latency-issues/
 

Quote

DPC Latency Explained

Many audio problems on a computer can be caused by DPC latency.  DPC stands for Deferred Procedure Call.  In its simplest form, it is the part of your Windows system that handles driver efficiency.  If there is a driver that is taking longer than normal to process, it may prevent other drivers from being processed in time.  The worst case is that it can cause your audio interface driver from responding in time and can cause clicks, pops, distortion and dropouts. For more information, read through the article

 

Edited by abacab
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1 hour ago, abacab said:

Streaming audio or video is not a "real-time" process.

A sufficiently recent processor or graphics card (5-8 years ago) does hardware based video encoding/decoding anyways so it wouldn't matter much. One thing Windows 10 does that 7 doesn't is that it makes more use of your graphics card for more than just graphics.

Edited by Bruno de Souza Lino

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26 minutes ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

A sufficiently recent processor or graphics card (5-8 years ago) does hardware based video encoding/decoding anyways so it wouldn't matter much. One thing Windows 10 does that 7 doesn't is that it makes more use of your graphics card for more than just graphics.

My point was that a large buffering size allows streaming content to continue without noticeable interruption. Of course, newer hardware makes it even less perceptible.

But trying to play virtual instruments, or track audio while monitoring requires true real-time audio processing. You need to turn your buffer size as low as possible at these times. That is why you can mix audio tracks with your audio buffers turned up high. Everything still plays back in sync, but the audio paths are delayed by the buffer size so minor hiccups are not perceptible.

Also, in a related manner, linear phase plugins will cause issues with real-time audio when they require their "look-ahead" buffers to fill before audio playback is heard. Just try inserting a linear phase plugin on a virtual instrument and you will see what I mean. Lag city! But they are OK with mixing/mastering audio tracks.

Running virtual instruments and plug-ins is an intensive real-time activity because the signal paths must be computed by the CPU almost instantly. But playing back audio requires very little actual CPU processing, assuming no plugins in use.

Edited by abacab
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Wow, I've got to admit, I'm learning a lot from this conversation, folks. Much of it is going over my head, but at least I know where to look to find out more and more in-depth explanations.

I've decided that before I go out and buy new hardware, I should start with an SSD cuz I'll want to get one anyway, and besides, it's something that (I think) I can use with my old system. The "I think" in parens is because of all the gobbledygook associated with SSDs I'm finding. Like SATA III (what's "III" and will it work on a 12yo system?) and NAND (wtf is NAND?) and something called .2 or some such associated with PCIe SSDs and that apparently older mobos don't support these latest PCIe SSDs? My mobo has a couple of PCIe slots, but they're 12yo tech. In fact my current video card is occupying one of them. So I guess I'll try to find an SSD that's just SATA but one that'll run on this old mobo. I've got the manual around here somewhere. More homework.

Oh, I let LatencyMon run all night and there's nothing substantially different from what I posted earlier. I took screen shots of the other tabs, but I dunno of they're particularly revealing of anything. If you'd like to see the other tab's screenshots, let me know and I'll post them.,

Edited by Michael McBroom
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37 minutes ago, Michael McBroom said:

Wow, I've got to admit, I'm learning a lot from this conversation, folks. Much of it is going over my head, but at least I know where to look to find out more and more in-depth explanations.

I've decided that before I go out and buy new hardware, I should start with an SSD cuz I'll want to get one anyway, and besides, it's something that (I think) I can use with my old system. The "I think" in parens is because of all the gobbledygook associated with SSDs I'm finding. Like SATA III (what's "III" and will it work on a 12yo system?) and NAND (wtf is NAND?) and something called .2 or some such associated with PCIe SSDs and that apparently older mobos don't support these latest PCIe SSDs? My mobo has a couple of PCIe slots, but they're 12yo tech. In fact my current video card is occupying one of them. So I guess I'll try to find an SSD that's just SATA but one that'll run on this old mobo. I've got the manual around here somewhere. More homework.

Oh, I let LatencyMon run all night and there's nothing substantially different from what I posted earlier. I took screen shots of the other tabs, but I dunno of they're particularly revealing of anything. If you'd like to see the other tab's screenshots, let me know and I'll post them.,

SATA SSD should work as long as your PC is designed for SATA. Such as SATA ports on the mobo, and SATA power connectors on your power supply.

M.2 requires a special slot that uses internal PCIe on the mobo, and requires a special slot only available on recent boards. NAND is the most common type of flash memory for USB flash drives, memory cards, and SSDs. It uses non-volatile chip-based storage, and unlike DRAM does not require a persistent power source. .

I ran SATA III drives on my last mobo that only supported SATA II without any issues, as SATA is backwards compatible. https://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/8142/~/difference-between-sata-i%2C-sata-ii-and-sata-iii

Post your screenshot of the LatencyMon drivers tab if you get a chance. Maybe a clue in there somewhere. Not really necessary to run the monitor a long time, because the bad stuff generally shows up right away.

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1 hour ago, abacab said:

My point was that a large buffering size allows streaming content to continue without noticeable interruption. Of course, newer hardware makes it even less perceptible.

But trying to play virtual instruments, or track audio while monitoring requires true real-time audio processing. You need to turn your buffer size as low as possible at these times. That is why you can mix audio tracks with your audio buffers turned up high. Everything still plays back in sync, but the audio paths are delayed by the buffer size so minor hiccups are not perceptible.

Also, in a related manner, linear phase plugins will cause issues with real-time audio when they require their "look-ahead" buffers to fill before audio playback is heard. Just try inserting a linear phase plugin on a virtual instrument and you will see what I mean. Lag city! But they are OK with mixing/mastering audio tracks.

Running virtual instruments and plug-ins is an intensive real-time activity because the signal paths must be computed by the CPU almost instantly. But playing back audio requires very little actual CPU processing, assuming no plugins in use.

If only you could get kernel builds made for that like you can in the Linux world...

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 Thanks, abacab, for clearing up those mysteries for me. Okay I'm gonna go visit newegg and see what sort of deals they have on SSDs of the SATA variety. My MoBo and  PS are both SATA compatible. I'm probably gonna go with a 1 TB. That'll give me plenty of room for more stuff.

As requested, here are all the screen shots in one batch. I centered the third screen on where there was the most activity and I enlarged the fourth screen to show everything that had data associated with it.

latencymon1.jpg

latencymon2.jpg

latencymon3.jpg

latencymon4.jpg

latencymon5.jpg

Edited by Michael McBroom

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Seems to me your best first move is to install a AMD Radeon video card. Nothing exotic is required; it's just a way to get DPC latency-friendly behavior from the drivers, since the Nvidia card you have now is a major hindrance to *any* good audio experience.  

Don't get me wrong, I run an Nvidia card in my AMD-based rig right now, and everything runs great.  However, something older/cheaper might be easier to find, and the AMD Radeon world is a good place to start.

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I tried a new, but older model of ATI Radeon when I suspected this NVidia card of beginning to fail. Couldn't get the video to come up. I even had their tech support in on it. The conclusion was that my system just wasn't compatible. I don't recall the model number of the card, but it was new about a year ago, priced the same as the NVidea (about $40), and I subsequently found out that, even though new, it was old tech. So,  I dunno. Find maybe an 8 or 9 you Radeon with HDMI on eBay?

 

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Looking at the 3rd screen shot I see the #1 spot is ataport.sys. I googled this and there sure is a lot of issues with audio ( on board) and hi DPC due too this driver. Not sure what is actually does there's not much about that part. But when I run Latency monitor on 3 of my computers I don't have that. But I did get interesting results on each. my main DAW no surprise it stays in the low green even with the wireless internet on. 

629502993_2021-01-20HPDAW.png.78b02b24a8e3569f539f189096c2885d.png

I fired up the old Silverstone which I'm just in the process of adding software. It is only fresh out of the box and it's looking pretty bad.  This is vintage 2008? and all the hardware was top notch in it's day but W10 struggled with some of the drivers. This is a fresh install of W10. 

2021-01-20.png.5ad1c374eca26238ae3168d8377d3a60.png

I'm not even sure how far we should trust Latency monitor as far as it's report and what to do. It always say's the same thing about CPU throttling and when I check it's always disabled by default ( I certainly didn't do it) I also ran Latency Monitor on my Laptop I use for remote recording. Its W7 , i5 8GB RAM and works great. But It also showed a hi DPC count due to yet another system driver. Sorry no screen shot it's off line and doesn't have one drive or drop box. 

But the point I guess it makes is if it's showing nasty DPC count and your having drop outs then at least you sort of know why. 

This ones my Office computer I just re built with a new SSD drive and a fresh install of W10. Seems we share a common ground here with the NVIDA driver wining the DPC race to the front. 522775802_2021-01-20(3).thumb.png.ffe5865e7721c16156ef63ffbd7bded6.png

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