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Kernel Streaming, ASIO, WASAPI... and music players (Foobar, JRiver...)

JohnPM

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#41
Unless @JohnPM changed that part since I last checked, REW is limited to 16-bit when using the "Java" output. In contrast, ASIO can use a higher bit depth. I suspect that explains the elevated noise floor that you've observed. It's a limitation of the basic "Java" output in REW, not a limitation of the Windows mixer.
The 16-bit data path is a limitation of the JavaSound implementation on Windows, JavaSound supports 24-bit data on macOS and Linux. JavaSound on Windows is also limited to stereo pairs for devices, whereas JavaSound on macOS and Linux supports multichannel. Disappointing, but the full range of sample formats is supported on Windows using ASIO.
 
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daftcombo

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Thread Starter #42
Audible clicks (also known as "glitches", "discontinuities") are most likely buffer underruns, which are caused by issues with the software stack. For example, an audio stack is likely to glitch if the buffer size is too small - that's normal and just means the buffer size should be increased. (How that can be done is a different story.) Glitches are evidence of a fault (bug, bad driver, bad configuration, etc.) and are not representative of normal operation.
I have another weird problem which could be related to that one.

Whenever I try to play a video in Firefox, I have a terrible sound coming from the speakers (like an ultra-distorded sound, a kind of unintelligible vocoder when there are voices).
With Google Chrome, all is normal.

The soundcard I use on this computer is an Apogee Duet 2, commanded by ASIO4all (there are no proper drivers for it on Windows as it was made for Mac).
 

DDF

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#43
If you look at the link I posted I did mention that problems may be evident with certain dacs but it is very much down to the dac design and few and far between. Ground loops can be evident which I also mentioned.

I have never experienced drop outs on usb connections. Streaming is a seperate issue
That you havent doesnt mean they dont exist or that variance between set ups arent enough to cause legitimate audible issues.

The sort of tests done here or Stereophile wont catch any of the major debilitating issues I illustrated. I have no reason to think theres anything wrong with my DAC in particular. It uses an off the shelf xmos board and its measured snr and thd is mostly excellent (with some caveats independant of the issues shown)
 

Ron Texas

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#44
FWIW, I have found ASIO4All fixed a problem with an Audioengine D1 which would not play @ 88.2 on several computers I have. With Foobar, WASAPI event mode does not work with Windows 10 native USB 2 audio support. Hardware specific drivers must be installed. This happened with two different DAC's having XMOS USB input chips. If anyone knows what's happening here, let me know.
 
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daftcombo

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Thread Starter #45
FWIW, I have found ASIO4All fixed a problem with an Audioengine D1 which would not play @ 88.2 on several computers I have. With Foobar, WASAPI event mode does not work with Windows 10 native USB 2 audio support. Hardware specific drivers must be installed. This happened with two different DAC's having XMOS USB input chips. If anyone knows what's happening here, let me know.
I've had problems with WASAPI x Foobar2000 x Win10 x XMOS USB 2 too. I think it was solved when I chose 24 bits instead of 32bits float or something like that.
 

March Audio

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#46
That you havent doesnt mean they dont exist or that variance between set ups arent enough to cause legitimate audible issues.

The sort of tests done here or Stereophile wont catch any of the major debilitating issues I illustrated. I have no reason to think theres anything wrong with my DAC in particular. It uses an off the shelf xmos board and its measured snr and thd is mostly excellent (with some caveats independant of the issues shown)
I have enough experience in the computing world to know there is something amiss with your set-up if you are experiencing USB drop outs/glitches. Its not normal in any way. The tuning tips in that document shouldnt have any bearing on reliable usb audio transfer.
Bad drivers could.

I acknowledged that some dacs show issues with "computer noises", but that really is a dac design issue - ASR tests demonstrate this, plenty of DACs out there that dont suffer.
 
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DDF

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#48
I have enough experience in the computing world to know there is something amiss with your set-up if you are experiencing USB drop outs/glitches. Its not normal in any way. The tuning tips in that document shouldnt have any bearing on reliable usb audio transfer. Bad drivers could.

I acknowledged that some dacs show issues with "computer noises", but that really is a dac design issue - ASR tests demonstrate this, plenty of DACs out there that dont suffer.
I updated every driver and the bios. I also retried on a second laptop of the same model with the same outcome. I dont know at this time why streaming was an issue but in my reading (many hours) it wasnt uncommon for windows tasks to create unmanagable latencies.

I fall back again to the many pro audio and music production web sites that not only acknowledge the sorts of issues I mention but actively communicate ways to avoid them. These aren't irrational audiophile sites.

There are dac design methods to help circumvent the noise related problems but I think to call those "dac" issues is placing all the blame in one area when its really a system level compatability issue. Its expensive and difficult to design for this sort of robustness.

As I said, Asr tests wont catch these issues because these tests dont inject the sorts of pc impairments that some dacs can reject while others struggle more with. As I mentioned earlier, I measured this dac (using a different pc and test measurement interface similar to how amir would test) and the outcome was stellar.

The point is, even outside the windows issues, Pcs can be awfully noisy and hard for dacs to live with. ASR type tests do nothing to measure this as no immunity or susceptbility type tests are conducted, tests that are standard indicators of data path reliability and bit error rate in other industries (eg gr63, gr1089 etc).

It may be comforting to some to ignore these issues and hope them away as non existent, but other professional data com industries know better and spend real money on design and testing for this. Audio cant afford it. My experience is that its these sort of interaction issues that lead to differences in "dac" sound quality that are so readily and commonly waved off in asr as voodoo due to a lack of understanding which leads to over simplifying the way the science and engineering works.
 
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amirm

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#49
That's surprising. Can you enable logging, make FlexASIO hang, and then file an issue with the log attached ? Then I can look at it.
Cool. Did not know there was a log. Will do.

I have an issue where ASIO4ALL will not see my nvidia HDMI audio device. If FlexASIO works, it will save me a lot of work.
 

March Audio

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#50
I updated every driver and the bios. I also retried on a second laptop of the same model with the same outcome. I dont know at this time why streaming was an issue but in my reading (many hours) it wasnt uncommon for windows tasks to create unmanagable latencies.

I fall back again to the many pro audio and music production web sites that not only acknowledge the sorts of issues I mention but actively communicate ways to avoid them. These aren't irrational audiophile sites.

There are dac design methods to help circumvent the noise related problems but I think to call those "dac" issues is placing all the blame in one area when its really a system level compatability issue. Its expensive and difficult to design for this sort of robustness.

As I said, Asr tests wont catch these issues because these tests dont inject the sorts of pc impairments that some dacs can reject while others struggle more with. As I mentioned earlier, I measured this dac (using a different pc and test measurement interface similar to how amir would test) and the outcome was stellar.

The point is, even outside the windows issues, Pcs can be awfully noisy and hard for dacs to live with. ASR type tests do nothing to measure this as no immunity or susceptbility type tests are conducted, tests that are standard indicators of data path reliability and bit error rate in other industries (eg gr63, gr1089 etc).

It may be comforting to some to ignore these issues and hope them away as non existent, but other professional data com industries know better and spend real money on design and testing for this. Audio cant afford it. My experience is that its these sort of interaction issues that lead to differences in "dac" sound quality that are so readily and commonly waved off in asr as voodoo due to a lack of understanding which leads to over simplifying the way the science and engineering works.
and yet you see hardly anyone complaining of these issues around the various hifi forums. If Windows was a fundamental problem we would all be suffering. We are not. Its obviously impossible for me to diagnose whats up with your set-up, but it really is *not* normal. Streaming USB audio is utterly trivial for a PC. You have got some kind of fundamental problem somewhere if you are suffering USB glitches/drop outs.

I havent ignored the problem, I specifically acknowledged it above. You might like to try with your DAC a galvanic isolator such as the Intona. Possibly cheaper to change your DAC. Trust me there is not a lack of understanding on ASR, just a great wariness of subjectively reported problems.

https://pro.intona.eu/en/products/7054
 
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DDF

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#51
and yet you see hardly anyone complaining of these issues around the various hifi forums. If Windows was a fundamental problem we would all be suffering. We are not. Its obviously impossible for me to diagnose whats up with your set-up, but it really is *not* normal. Streaming USB audio is utterly trivial for a PC. You have got some kind of fundamental problem somewhere.

I havent ignored the problem, I specifically acknowledged it above. You might like to try with your DAC a galvanic isolator such as the Intona. Possibly cheaper to change your DAC. Trust me there is not a lack of understanding on ASR, just a great wariness of subjectively reported problems.

https://pro.intona.eu/en/products/7054
I considered the intona but a bit of engineering investigation solved the problem for $50 with the doubly insulated pc supply.

Your argument regarding no complaints on asr isnt really sound logic. No one claimed there was a universal Windows issue, that would be illogical given the successes. I am pointing out that Windows or pc hardware isnt so universally robust and that there are many many reports on pro sound forums of problems and that these issues are ignored and waived away here like youre doing now Theres nothing scientific about that, quite the opposite. You also neglected to touch upon my valid engineering comments regarding susceptibility. I live with these real design issues year after year professionally in telecom and we spend upwards of $100k a release to deal with them yet they arent even discussed here. Blaming them on the dacs alone when theyre engineering issues between pieces of equipment tells me youve never had to deal with this sort of engineering problem before. Should we expect all dacs to be able to deal without whatever garbage a pc throws at it? No, the pc has responsibility as well. In my investigations I found numerous people having usb audio problems with dell laptops of similar vintage to mine.

Im as much against audiphile foolishness as anyone but a bit too much religion around here masquerading as science and then conveniently ignoring the science and engineering when difficult cases are raised not aligning with the dogma. I guess its easier to argue the benefits of 100 db sinad vs 105 when driven from a perfect test platform
 
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March Audio

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#52
So you had a ground loop which I pointed out as a potential cause in previous posts, specifically providing measurement plots of what can happen. So no religion, entirely science/electrical engineering. So please dont try and make out I dont understand/have no experience of this sort of thing.

Windows is actually very robust in this application, you are a very small minority that has had an issue. You are quite wrong about the dacs. They should be expected to cope with a huge variety of operating conditions precisely because its impossible to know how they are going to be used. This is something even very cheap dacs can and do achieve. That isnt to say that some PC hardware isnt fit for purpose, but you described you had problems with several PCs.

AFAIK Amir also uses a PC / laptop to perform tests with DACs its not just always sourced from the AP, so a quite typical scenereo. He has also tested numerous power supplies and USB power cleaners which generally (possibly without exception) do bugger all beneficial to the output of various DACs.

So, just because you have experienced some problems, dont make out that this is a big issue or even a minor one.

Perhaps you would like to present some actual measurement evidence of the issue of degraded DAC performance with various PCs/DACs?
 
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rebbiputzmaker

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#53
That you havent doesnt mean they dont exist or that variance between set ups arent enough to cause legitimate audible issues.

The sort of tests done here or Stereophile wont catch any of the major debilitating issues I illustrated. I have no reason to think theres anything wrong with my DAC in particular. It uses an off the shelf xmos board and its measured snr and thd is mostly excellent (with some caveats independant of the issues shown)
You’re going to have very little luck convincing anyone here that the computer or software configuration can make a difference in an audio PC. Better to quit while you’re ahead. I’ve done a good deal of testing and allot of work under the hood as far as operating systems go and there can be differences, and it is worthwhile in my opinion to make a system which is as direct and streamlined as possible from player to output. To understand this better you really do have to be able to take apart the operating system, if you cannot this is something for example that audiophile optimizer does. To do this on your own takes a great deal of OS understanding, more than most users have. I also only use only KS in windows. Ymmv. Also if you actually are having dropouts something is very screwed up, that is not just a tuning issue.
 

FrantzM

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#56
I updated every driver and the bios. I also retried on a second laptop of the same model with the same outcome. I dont know at this time why streaming was an issue but in my reading (many hours) it wasnt uncommon for windows tasks to create unmanagable latencies.

I fall back again to the many pro audio and music production web sites that not only acknowledge the sorts of issues I mention but actively communicate ways to avoid them. These aren't irrational audiophile sites.

There are dac design methods to help circumvent the noise related problems but I think to call those "dac" issues is placing all the blame in one area when its really a system level compatability issue. Its expensive and difficult to design for this sort of robustness.

As I said, Asr tests wont catch these issues because these tests dont inject the sorts of pc impairments that some dacs can reject while others struggle more with. As I mentioned earlier, I measured this dac (using a different pc and test measurement interface similar to how amir would test) and the outcome was stellar.

The point is, even outside the windows issues, Pcs can be awfully noisy and hard for dacs to live with. ASR type tests do nothing to measure this as no immunity or susceptbility type tests are conducted, tests that are standard indicators of data path reliability and bit error rate in other industries (eg gr63, gr1089 etc).

It may be comforting to some to ignore these issues and hope them away as non existent, but other professional data com industries know better and spend real money on design and testing for this. Audio cant afford it. My experience is that its these sort of interaction issues that lead to differences in "dac" sound quality that are so readily and commonly waved off in asr as voodoo due to a lack of understanding which leads to over simplifying the way the science and engineering works.
Here ia a bit of background:

Many of us on this board , especially those with a bit of mileage under the hood ;) have been ardent subejctivist audiophiles at one point. Everything made a difference. We all heard it in our systems and others'. These comparisons provokes sometimes a close to unanimous response what I call the audiophile-knee jerk reactions: "This is a Night and Day difference" and one of my favorite, 'even my wife ho'snot an audiophile could hear it too" :) All these comparisons share the following: No level match, Full knowledge of component changes, there is always a (sometime faint but most often )clear notion or hearsay about of the DUT (Device under Test) reputation... The differences are always clear. You find a way to remove this knowledge, even to blunt it to a certain extent and those differences shall vanish. ... Remove what is known about components of competent and similar designs . These differences that were so clear will fade in uncertainty. This is something you can and perhaps should try at home> I've witness many audiophile friends with great (read expensive) systems and years in the hobby mistake mp3 256K for the original CD when knowledge is removed. play this trick yourself .. Convert a CD to 256 MP3 .. Convert the mp3 file to be burnt on Audio CD .. play this CD telling people it is the original CD see how people react to the mp3 vs the "CD"). to continue you will see, people for 14 AWG (amp!!) zip cords vs >$5000 pair of speakers cable and be completely unable to distinguish Monoprice (or thrown in) interconnects from those costing >$5000...
What is most interesting and could be the subject of a study in human behavior is the following: Many (most) of those audiophiles will get somewhat humiliated by the demo, peeved at those who conducted it .... and revert once they get back to more friendly territories to their previous beliefs. The rationalization will be numerous. The systems were unfamiliar, the test was not properly conducted, They were stressed, etc they will revert to the "everything makes a difference" mantra. And go on spending more and more (if they can) on cables... Build a built-for-the-purpose (if inclined ) Super Server with Windows or other OS tuned to audio with perfect Linear Power Supplies, buy a very expensive and shiny looking "Music Server" spend tens of thousand of dollars on one USB cables ( there are some above U$10,000) Change Ethernet cables, Change their routers and switches for audiophiles models, Change the power cords in those switches and routers to Power cords of the audiophiles persuasion (some, way above U$15,000) from the usual snake oil peddlers and instantly (!!??!!) hear Night an Day differences .. Again... OTOH some will be liberated and understand the entire BS and come to build much better systems at saner prices and enjoy music more , much more optimizing their systems will well-built and low distortion components that cost small fractions of the audiophile anointed systems.. and provide more of the message.. Music.
Peace.
 

DDF

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#57
Also if you actually are having dropouts something is very screwed up, that is not just a tuning issue.
I've done the OS tuning manually and used latency mon and watched the results progressively get better until the drop outs eventually disappeared. I tuned them out. I've read others go through the same process. This has absolutely nothing to do with audiophilia.

There was nothing "screwed up" with the pc as every every single other function works perfectly except streaming audio. Perhaps there were ISR comparability conflicts with the pc peripherals that led to to the issue, but the pc set up, drivers, HW all worked perfectly otherwise. I think there are combinations of legal, valid legitimate drivers and or HW that just cause problems. Nothing new here, you see it all the time for non audio stuff, why should audio be special?

Perhaps we're just looking at this from different perspectives but I don't call that a screwed up PC, instead there are legal, supported and vendor expected permutations and combinations of drivers and HW that can just suck for audio. I guess I was the lucky one on this draw, glad to take the hit for the team.
 

DDF

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#58
So, just because you have experienced some problems, dont make out that this is a big issue or even a minor one.
I appreciate you haven't noticed these issues or read of them, and so you think they're so incredibly fringe. As I already pointed out though, I've done hours of research and found many people with similar issues. That "Glitch Free" document was written by company to help their customers deal with exactly these sorts of Windows audio problems, it wasn't put together as some audiophile flight of fancy and they wouldn't have wasted their time if they didn't feel there was a commercial need from a large enough customer base.

Quite interestingly, following the OS tuning prescribed solved the issue. I would tend to agree with you that it may be driver related but I tried all and every combo of drivers possible. The drop outs also occurred with a different dac as well, an Arcam irdac.

As I mentioned to rebbiputzmaker, maybe we just have different expectations. I expect Windows to just work. I've obviously found some stock high volume manufacturer combination (Dell, a specific laptop model) that just doesn't for streaming audio without being tuned to the nines, even when everything else functions perfectly. You call that a screwed up PC, but its really not. The PC is working as designed (and that's the key here). Legit configurations of windows can and do cause audio problems. Before you just knee jerk write back, please spend some time google searching. I'm glad you haven't experienced this, nor has BillG from the peanut gallery, but its real.

As for the noise, maybe I should send Amir one of my lap tops as obviously the gear he's using at random doesn't expose these sorts of noise and ground issues. :) And that's not surprising. If the PC or test condition wasn't specifically chosen to inject the sort of noise that susceptibility and conducted emissions introduce into standardized corner case testing, he's probably not even close to testing boundary conditions. I researched my Dell after the fact and read numerous reports of crap noise USB and ground problems. Also have a look at Telcordia GR-1089, an international telecom test spec for radiated and conducted emissions and RF susceptibility. I've been professionally involved with in a a design capacity more than few products otherwise competently designed and carefully laid out/tested with multimillion dollar budgets that fail only when subjected to tough standardized noise injection test conditions. The sort of testing the vast majority of audio gear is not put through. I think my Dell lap top is on the edge of that sort of bad behaviour, by design. I do of course agree that its possible to make a dac design more robust against this (and technically know how, I'm an EE, have designed Ethernet, electro-optical and audio HW for commercial use, for years) but I also understand dac vendors have limited resources and some expectations that PCs hold up their end of the bargain.

Amir's tests are wonderful but no where near being complete enough to suss out real audible interaction and comparability issues between legit (working as designed) PCs and dacs, nor does it identify which dacs perform best in this regards.

All I'm asking for is that people be a bit more open minded and not just insultingly ascribe any unknown and unexperienced condition as some audiophile flight of fancy or broken HW. Thank goodness real science and engineering are much more interesting than that or all the design challenges would frankly be boring. :)
 

rebbiputzmaker

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#59
I've done the OS tuning manually and used latency mon and watched the results progressively get better until the drop outs eventually disappeared. I tuned them out. I've read others go through the same process. This has absolutely nothing to do with audiophilia.

There was nothing "screwed up" with the pc as every every single other function works perfectly except streaming audio. Perhaps there were ISR comparability conflicts with the pc peripherals that led to to the issue, but the pc set up, drivers, HW all worked perfectly otherwise. I think there are combinations of legal, valid legitimate drivers and or HW that just cause problems. Nothing new here, you see it all the time for non audio stuff, why should audio be special?

Perhaps we're just looking at this from different perspectives but I don't call that a screwed up PC, instead there are legal, supported and vendor expected permutations and combinations of drivers and HW that can just suck for audio. I guess I was the lucky one on this draw, glad to take the hit for the team.
When I said screwed up I was saying not just a simple slight adjustment but as you mentioned some conflicts etc.. Does not have to hardware either..
 

DDF

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#60
Here ia a bit of background:Many of us on this board , especially those with a bit of mileage under the hood ;)
You're preaching to the converted. :) As a teen in the 70s/80s I subscribed to Absolute sound, then got my EE degree, worked as a professional audio designer (large research budgets), helped professionally conduct double blind abx tests for setting international audio standards or product development, even wrote standards for IEEE for audio and long left any audiophile nonsense behind 35 years ago. I've been posting on internet forums since 1992, I know the behaviour you detest. I think Harry Pearson was the worse thing that ever happened to this hobby. I've also studied psychoacoustcics for 40 years, was reading JAES (and IRE) at 14. I love audio, and love the science of it. I'm not in the field any longer but I still constantly read research papers from the journals.

I get it. I get it.

But, (there's always a but isn't there? :) ) Please just consider the following (really). From my vantage point, I see the same religious close minded and derogatory zeal applied by audiophiles ("just because you don't hear it...") applied by so many people on this forum in reverse. Its like identity politics have infected this place and pissing on an audiophile generates massive mounds of likes where truly discussing the science so often doesn't or difficult scientific concepts get dismissed as (ironically as hell) audiophile nonsense just because the science wasn't understood.

I love that there's a place again to discuss audio rationally, let's not let closed and truly bigoted minds block that. And heaven forbid, not in the name of science!!
 
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