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USB Clicks and Pops

Ron Texas

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#1
My NUC computer seems prone to clicks and pops during USB playback.

1. Try the usual stuff. Delete the USB controllers from device manager and reboot. Make sure "allow computer to save power" is unchecked. Use a larger buffer for playback.

2. Check how your music stored. I have 2 4T drives. One is portable, the other 3.5" with it's own power supply. Using the later eliminates clicks and pops except when intentionally trying to cause them by doing other things on the computer. I suspect a NAS would eliminate the problem as well. On my notebook, which is a lot faster than the Pentium NUC a different 2T portable drive causes no such problem. The NUC has an early SATA SSD, while the notebook has a much faster PCIE SSD.

3. Use Toslink. Opening browsers or REW, there are no pops or clicks. Not every computer has this available. On MY NUC the Realtek chip is limited to 96K. I doubt anyone can really hear the difference between 96k and higher bit rates. My DAC connects to a Crown XLS 1502 which likely runs internally at 48k anyway. Most powered speakers and DSP boxes run at 96k or less.

Perhaps some of the forum technical wizards can comment on what's happening here
 

somebodyelse

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#2
Full details (model number, version etc.) of hardware, OS and any software you're using will be helpful in troubleshooting. Also any relevant configuration choices, or other things happening when the pops happen. Do you get more clicks when playing high bitrate material, or when there's a lot of network traffic for example? Since you mentioned 'device manager' I guess you're using some Windows version, in which case I probably can't be much help.

The usual reason for clicks and pops on USB is that the computer has failed to deliver data in a timely manner. Tracking down the exact cause of the timing issue can be tricky, as the long-running raspberry Pi issue shows.
 

Matias

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#3
What drivers are you using? Try increasing the buffer/latency in ASIO and/or software player, prebuffering, etc.
 

Ron Texas

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#7

Ron Texas

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Full details (model number, version etc.) of hardware, OS and any software you're using will be helpful in troubleshooting. Also any relevant configuration choices, or other things happening when the pops happen. Do you get more clicks when playing high bitrate material, or when there's a lot of network traffic for example?
Clicks and pops are more likely at 96/24 than 44.1/16. I am starting to think that one of the other helpful hardware differences in my notebook is USB 3.1.
 

bravomail

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#11
1. Something is really-really wrong with your PC, because playing audio is very low cost operation for modern OS and PC.
2. There was another topic with link GlitchFree.pdf - you can check that out.
3. Is there anything preventing you to use Linux? U can boot from USB drive or CD just to try
4. I would think it is a disk and memory issue, memory being too low, causing constant disk activity for swap file. Windows is notorious for stopping everything while it accesses the disk. There is no multitasking in that case. Hence hiccups etc. So - if possible and not too expensive - try adding more memory.
5. There are ways to turn off unneeded Windows services and reduce memory usage - ggl the guides. Here's my quick list - Server, Computer Browser, Firewall, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender or any other Antivirus (be careful), Bitlocker services, System Restore, Indexing, many third-party services like Nvidia or AMD or vendor specific.
 

DDF

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#12
I had the most cantankerous laptop with similar symptoms. The worst culprits were:
- power savings modes. Don't forget to disable LAN power management, this significantly reduced my pops (but not completely)
- dpc latency
- OS scheduler: move all background tasks (especially chrome & auto driver updaters) to off hours.
- CPU throttling (and disabling speed step in bios)

Here are a couple overviews I wrote earlier, with potential solutions and references to look into:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...players-foobar-jriver.7412/page-5#post-172898
The "long version" Hail Mary if you get desperate: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/316825-clicks-pops.html

It took me a long journey to make mine cry momma and behave, I hope this helps shorten yours.
 

Ron Texas

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#13
1. Downloaded and ran the DPC utility on the Thyscon site.
2. Disabled various hardware items one by one. An improvement was noted when disabling the Realtek LAN interface.
3. Uninstalled the Realtek LAN interface, checked the box to remove the drivers.
4. Rebooted, this set up the LAN interface with the default Win 10 driver.
5. Noticed pressing keyboard keys had a delayed effect in increasing latency.
6. uninstalled keyboard, rebooted.
7 Tested USB, problem appears to be gone. Open and closed windows, started REW and browser, no clicks

Thank you @Vincent Kars and @mitchco.
 

daftcombo

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#14
If it comes again, try ASIO4All and put all the buffers to the max in the ASIO4All control panel.

I couldn't have my Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen to work with JRiver MC v24 with its ASIO driver, nor WASAPI, nor Kernel Streaming.
ASIO4All in full glory with max buffers (there are too: one maxing at 2048, the other at 1024) and no more clicks, no more pops.

I wonder if it's not because ASIO4All drops some info!!
 
Last edited:

Ron Texas

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#15
If it comes again, try ASIO4All and put all the buffers to the max in the ASIO4All control panel.

I couldn't have my Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen to work with JRiver MC v24 with its ASIO driver, nor WASAPI, nor Kernel Streaming.
ASIO4All in full glory with max buffers (there are too: one maxing at 2048, the other at 1024) and no more clicks, no more pops.

I wonder if it's not because ASIO4All drops some info!!
I already tried ASIO4All and it did not help with this problem. I have used it in the past to solve other sorts of problems.
 

daftcombo

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#16
I just ran the Latency Check software.
I have only yellow bars with absolute maximum at 2000 microseconds while doing nothing.
Red ones appear when I do so and so.
What about you?
 

restorer-john

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#17
5. Noticed pressing keyboard keys had a delayed effect in increasing latency.
6. uninstalled keyboard, rebooted.
Is it a wired or wireless keyboard? Often wireless keyboards can cause latency issues as they 'go to sleep' and buffer the keystrokes/mouse movements. Do you have the power settings for the keyboard port set properly?

1559597370731.png


Uncheck the power savings-that can cause glitches, when devices reconnect on movement/keystrokes etc.
 

Ron Texas

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#18
Is it a wired or wireless keyboard? Often wireless keyboards can cause latency issues as they 'go to sleep' and buffer the keystrokes/mouse movements. Do you have the power settings for the keyboard port set properly?

View attachment 27196

Uncheck the power savings-that can cause glitches, when devices reconnect on movement/keystrokes etc.
It's a wireless keyboard, the box in the image is unchecked and uninstalling with a reboot fixed it. It was doing some strange things before.
 

Ron Texas

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#19
I just ran the Latency Check software.
I have only yellow bars with absolute maximum at 2000 microseconds while doing nothing.
Red ones appear when I do so and so.
What about you?
Yellow bars, usually at 1000, occasionally more, but they stay yellow even while doing most mundane things or playing music while transferring large files to the USB library drive. If I shake the mouse wildly I can get a red bar. Before rolling back the LAN driver I was getting red bars every few seconds while doing nothing. The LAN driver was the culprit.
 

Guermantes

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#20
High DPC latencies are a PITA! Especially if the offending driver is for a hardware device you can't easily change such as a LAN port in a laptop, NUC or similar.

I've had some problems with NVIDIA video cards in the desktop I configured for music creation. Clicks and pops over Firewire with ASIO even at higher sample buffers which was really frustrating. After using DPC Latency Checker to troubleshoot, I finally switched to an AMD Radeon card and now I can run a lower buffer (equals better responsiveness) without issue.
 
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