USB Audio crash with LOUD NOISE randomly

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by Zequez, Sep 17, 2010.

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  1. Zequez

    Zequez New Member

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    Well, I have this USB Genius headset that worked perfectly a coulple of months ago, then I used Ubuntu for a while, and when I went back to Windows, after using the computer for a random amount of time the my USB headphones suddenly make the loudest noise that you could ever imagine, like the movie The Ring sound haha.

    Well, as you can imagine this is really, really annoying and disturbing during work, you know, you are hearing to your favorite music and suddenly... PHSSHSSHHSHSHSHSHSS!!!

    I think is a driver problem, because this happens in both my desktop and my netbook, both of them using Windows 7.

    This happens on random long intervals, like 3 hours or more... And unpluging and pluging the USB headset back it works again perfectly...

    There is any way to downgrade the Windows drivers to use a previous version?

    Thanks for taking the time for reading this ^^
    And sorry for my bad english =/

    EDIT: Thanks for the replies! I replied you but this forum don't send my replies, I already replied three times and nothing happens...
    So I guess I'll have to wait until Microsoft fix the audio problem right?
     
    #1 Zequez, Sep 17, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  2. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Could you post the exact make/model for us?
    Drivers should be available on the manufacturers website, I'd love to take a look for you :)

    Have you tried it on a different USB port? What about a different PC?
     
  3. Zequez

    Zequez New Member

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    The headset model is Genius HS-03U, but the drivers are not in the Genius website headset driver section, so I tried to install the most similar (HS-04U), but when installing it didn't detected my USB headset...

    As I said in the first post, this happens in both, my desktop computer and my netbook, while using Windows 7 =( (I don't know if this happens in Windows XP since I don't use it anymore)
     
  4. Zequez

    Zequez New Member

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    The model is Genius HS-03U, but there are not drivers to download in the Genius headset drivers download page.
    I downloaded the most similar model drivers, the HS-04U, but while installing them it didn't detected my headset.
    And this problem, as I said in the first post, happens in both my netbook and my desktop, both of them with Windows 7. I don't know if this happens in XP too, because I don't use it anymore :p.
     
  5. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Actually this is a Win7 thing... There have been lots of problems with USB audio devices and buffer underruns (system not supplying data rapidly enough). You will find mention of it on the various audiophile websites. About the only thing to do is find a driver version that works and make darned sure you stay with it. It's a problem with DPC Latency and some background tasks that don't release time slices quickly enough... The sound chip's buffer empties and BRAAAAAP until the system catches up.
     
  6. Zequez

    Zequez New Member

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    I answered 2 times but this thing don't post anything, WTH?

    EDIT: OH NOW YOU POST IT?? ¬¬

    I won't copy the whole thing again...
    So I'll wait until Microsoft fix it, I guess.
     
    #6 Zequez, Sep 17, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  7. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Actually in this case it's likely a driver issue... Many companies did "patching" on their drivers to get them to work under Win7 and, well, they didn't always do a very good job of it. The latency problems are micorsoft's ... Win7 typically runs 100 to 150 microseconds while XP and 2000 were often in single digits.
     
  8. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    I'm not sure this noise problem is exclusive to Windows 7 nor am I convinced it is due to the Windows 7 latency issues. On my old XP system, I would occasionally have the cr*p scared out of me while listening to music when suddenly a very loud burst of distortion would come blasting through. It is very disturbing. I would back up the music and play it again and no sound - so it was not in the music file. Since migrating all my music files to a new Windows 7 machine, I have not had to change my pants.

    I would also note that if this were a Windows or driver issue, you would hear this noise through the netbook's and the desktop's regular speakers and not just the headset. Do you?

    A buffer should not just dump all it's contents in an accelerated fashion. Buffer and DPC latency problems typically manifest as dropouts (moments of no sound) or "stutters" in the streaming sound or video signals. But this can also be an indication of low network bandwidth, insufficient amounts of RAM, or poor disk performance perhaps due to low disk space or a severely fragmented drive.

    Latency is the delay between the action and the sound. For example, when you have a music keyboard or a guitar connected to your sound device and you press a key or strum a string, latency is the delay before hearing the sound. That is a commonly reported problem with Windows 7 (though it may have begun with Vista - which uses the same driver database) and if current drivers don't fix it, a new device may be in order. Here is a fairly good video demonstrating a fix that works for many who connect external devices and experience a latency problem. But note this is for devices that use the sound device's "line in" port.

    The fact your problem is happening on both your netbook and your PC, which certainly have totally different motherboards, sound devices, and drivers, suggests to me a problem with the headset. I would try another headset - and definitely a newer one where the maker has developed and posted Windows 7 drivers.
     
    #8 Digerati, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
    TorrentG and (deleted member) like this.
  9. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    Agreed with Digerati.

    To have low latency on any audio device, ASIO drivers are needed. That's the professional audio standard. Can't have professional audio results from something that doesn't even have ASIO drivers at all.

    And especially, can't have good results when not even installing the correct driver for the hardware, as above.

    Check my specs. Windows 7 is completely amazing as my home studio with MOTU Traveler interface.
     
  10. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    We can make comparisons of pro audio setups all you like... this guy has a USB headset, the comparisons are non-analogous.

    That is, it's a USB audio device which will have it's own buffers and drivers (although the driver typically just creates an audio device that redirects PCM audio to the usb port). Yes the audio data is delivered at USB speed in bursts. The idea is to run the chip's buffer down to about 1/3 then request a refill of the remaining 2/3... Data........ Data......Data..... Now the thing is this burst of data has to get there before the chip's buffer is completely empty or our friend gets what he gets... Thus accurate timing of bursts is crucial to proper playback.

    Two things can kill this real fast:
    1) USB Bandwidth. All devices on a given USB controller share bandwidth. With 2 devices connected the data rate (bandwidth) for each device is cut in half. In some cases 2 very high bandwith devices such as a disk drive and a printer can saturate a USB controller causing slowdowns in both. Depending on what else is connected to the USB on our friend's machine this may or may not be his problem.

    2) DPC queue latency. Buried in Windows operating systems is a kernel level gueue of "deferred procedure calls" which is used primarily to create the illusion of simultaneous events.

    To send a block of data a driver has to register a call in the DPC queue and wait for it to be executed. It isn't like user code where function calls are executed immediately... depending on how much IO is going on the DPC queue can have hundreds of procedures waiting to run.

    Now most of the time this isn't much of a problem but with video and audio we really need those packets of data to get there --i.e. the DPCs to be executed-- in a very time constrained manner. If it doesn't... BRAAAAAP!

    This queue is used far more heavily in windows 7 than in any previous version of windows because of the large number of background tasks win7 launches on startup resulting in much higher latency (which you defined correctly) than any previous version of windows.

    It is this latency that lets the buffer in our friend's USB audio device run dry... and it's the same thing that causes problems for audiophiles using high quality external DACS.

    The Deferred Procedure Call latency in windows 2000 and XP would typically run at less than 20 microseconds on a reasonable processor. In Windows 7 it's up to 200 and often over 500. Windows 7 also does not multitask as smoothly as XP did and often there are spikes of 1000 to 2000 microseconds as various tasks hold on to timeslices too long.

    This of course is why XP remains the OS of choice for audiophile use... No BRAAAAPs.

    Now if you were getting problems like that on XP it's almost certainly the result of trash software like Norton anti-virus or some other background AV scanners that quite simply do not need to be running in the first place.

    Many people make the mistake of loading computers up with a ton of background tasks and launch a dozen programs and then wondering why their video and music skips every so often...

    It may not be obvious to the casual user but audio/video playback is one of the most time critical and demanding tasks you can ask Windows to perform. Even with relatively low CPU usage, they are still totally subject to delays at the DPC level... and Win7 just doesn't get the job done in this regard.

    From experience with some very high end Home Theatre setups I can tell you that I can use a simple little ASRock ION/ATOM mini-box with XP and do things that even quad core AMD systems can't do with Win7.

    Sometimes, as I mentioned, the problem is that XP drivers were simply hacked up to work on Win7 without compensating for the differences in latency. That is they let their internal buffers run too low before requesting more data... Not an issue on XP, but a serious problem on Win7.

    So, yes, this is a Win7 problem.
     
    #10 CommonTater, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  11. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    Stop making stuff up. I have a very low end spec machine by today's standards. Add to that I also have a P4 1.5 GHz non-hyperthreading machine from 2001 with only 768 MB RDRAM.

    Both run Win 7 x86. Both work amazing with onboard Realtek AC '97. Both work amazing with my MOTU Traveler firewire interface. Both work amazing with USB port audio.

    XP is not the professional audio standard by any means. Win7 was designed for professional audio use in mind as one of its major points and features, unlike any previous version of Windows ever!
     
  12. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    And note that USB audio device and its buffers are hardware devices, and the drivers must support that device for the OS in use.

    And while I don't disagree there are some issues with Win7, Win7 is designed to support current hardware not legacy hardware as the 10 year old XP does - which I might add, was designed to support DOS era hardware. Win7 users should be running current hardware that has current drivers.

    And note that audiophile electronics was and remains my first love and my ASUS ITX-220 ITX box running Win7 Home works just fine in my HT system. And while my Onkyo based HT system may not be considered "high-end", it is not entry-level either.
    I totally disagree. A simple check of Task Manager shows that is not the case and this is why streaming audio and video throughout a house is not that difficult. Now conversion and editing is another story but simply "playing" audio or video can be done in the background. I will also note that MUCH of the graphics processing is done by the GPU, not CPU and it takes very little CPU horsepower or Windows resources to hand off graphics tasks - this is exactly why your ATOM and my ASUS HT, or TorrentG's P4 systems are able to work fine in HT setups.
     
  13. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Have you been told today?

    Look, Win7 is far from a godsend. It is a second generation on a code base that failed miserably on first generation.
    OF COURSE THERE ARE PROBLEMS and only a fool would deny that.

    I see this all the time... For reasons I simply don't understand, a lot of people have magically decided windows 7 is perfect and some even get rather carried away (like accusing people of lying) at the mere suggestion of a weakness or flaw. Christ man this is code... just ordinary software written by human beings (lots of them) and it is just idiotic to pretend there won't be issues and errors (lots of them). A crucial part of offering valid support to end users is recognizing the problems and knowing how to advise people who run into them. You help nobody by denying the issues.
     
  14. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    My point exactly... some of the drivers on the el-cheapo stuff out there don't.

    I agree. But if you take a look at the lists of products certified by Win7 you're going to discover rather quickly that "certification" hinges more on money than performance... Some of the worst crap on the market has the Win7 logo on it.

    Excellent... My primary line of work before getting mixed up in HTPC systems was audio systems. I used to design them, fix them, build them and install them...

    I should remind you however that with audio and video, mere CPU usage from Task Manager does not tell the whole story. The latency issue (DPC latency) is real and it can occur at very low CPU usages... It's an OS multitasking issue not a CPU usage problem.

    DPC Latency Checker
     
  15. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    There is no latency problem lol.

    I run Cubase 5, Sonar, Sound Forge Pro and many other professional apps with multiple vst plugins such as Guitar Rig 4, EZDrummer, Antares Auto-Tune...

    all on a P4 2004 machine with perfect results. Perfect and nothing less. Multiple inputs, multiple tracks, midi going...the works.

    Are you trying to say that I have a special magical machine or something?

    I can only imagine how good it would be with a modern processor. Now that really would be something great.

    Win7 for the win.
     
  16. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    Oh yeah, forget to mention it's perfect at 192 kHz and 24 bit recording, 32 bit editing too. Not only 44.1 kHz/16 bit like a cd. Not only 48 kHz/16 bit like a DVD. But 192 kHz/24/32.

    Yes, I must have a magical machine.
     
  17. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Are you running a set of USB headphones or a USB DAC?

    Something like this... USBDAC

    Really... these are very high bitrate devices, not your el-cheapo motherboard sound chips. Many of them had to be redesigned to work on Win7 because of the increased DPC latency, some models just disappeared altogether...

    You can run cubase and vst all you like... You won't see this problem until you hook up a $150 Firestone DAC to $25,000 worth of McIntosh audio and $12,000 worth of Klipsh or Boston Acoustics speakers... THEN you will understand.

    The USB headphones in question use the same technology... an external digital to audio converter (DAC), no soundcard, and can operate at bitrates your AC-97 chip would puke on.
     
  18. CommonTater

    CommonTater New Member

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    Rule #1 for happiness in life.... Never argue with a zealot.

    Thanks for inviting me back TorrentG... but I see now that I've made a terrible mistake accepting.

    Bye!
     
  19. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    I already told you that my ancient AC' 97 works perfectly on a 2001 machine. (That machine must be magical too, heh?)

    You're talking so much nonsense it is unbelievable to me. I run one of the best pairs of headphones money can buy in my studio setup - AKG K701 (used by the highest end professional studios on earth.)

    You can have a look at my gear here:

    http://windows7forums.com/hardware/46037-torrentgs-rig-home-studio-pics-tour.html
     

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  20. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    "Making stuff up" was perhaps too harsh, but at the same time, some of your comments are "out there" too. "XP remains the OS of choice for audiophile use". Says who? Got a link to a reputable audio/videophile site that says that? The audiophiles I know building or buying new HTPCs are NOT choosing XP. They are going with Win7, or Linux.

    So you blame Windows 7? The "hooks" for Windows 7 driver support was published long before Windows 7 was released to manufacturers. It is not Win7's fault if "el-cheapo" hardware makers are negligent or unwilling to bring their hardware or drivers up to current standards. Nor is it Win7's or Microsoft's fault if users are unwilling to upgrade their "legacy" hardware or software to current standards. It's just simple Windows or Microsoft "bashing" to blame Windows for not supporting every bit of hardware out there.

    Windows 7 certification is based on money - makers have to pay MS to test and certify. But certification does mean there are compatible drivers out there - so your point to this discussion is immaterial.

    Microsoft tried to cater to users demanding legacy support with XP and look what happened. Badguys took advantage of the outdated security situation and MS bashers slammed MS for next 10 years. Now with Win7, MS is looking forward (as the forward thinking hardware makers have) and MS has put legacy support on the back burner, and rightfully so. But of course, now the MS bashers are bashing MS for not supporting legacy HW and SW again.

    I will also note that the vast majority of the 100s of millions of Windows 7 users have no problems with latency issues. If this were an inherent problem with Windows 7 itself, it would be more widespread.

    Finally, I note that Windows 7 supports hardware acceleration which is not supported by much of the legacy stuff out there - again calling for users to upgrade their hardware if they want to take advantage of what Win7 has to offer. I note it is because of hardware acceleration that Internet Explorer 9 will not, and never will run on XP system.

    ***
    Back on topic, if this is not a problem with the headphones (or wires) then I would suspect a USB problem which are very widespread and which hopefully, USB3.0 will [finally - since 2.0 failed to] resolve.
     
    #20 Digerati, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
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