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  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Hello
USB port provides poor sound quality

It’s a Windows XP or Hardware not a  DJ-Soft Problem.
Only I do not know, where I could ask such a question otherwise.

Problem occurs when sound output via USB (via Jack OK).
- Via ext USB Sound Card
- Via USB Headphone / Mic earphones (which have a well-integrated sound card)

No Problem when:
+ powered USB hub between PC and sound card "sound OK" ( "bad sound" without power )
+ The REALLY WEIRD: if I increase CPU usage, e.g. if I move a window in Windows continuously the output is OK

Attachment: 2 WAV sound files:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39224041/USB-out-WAV%27s.zip
I'm alternating every 10 seconds during playback,
- move a window in a circle permanently CPU Usage 60..64% >> Sound  ok
- Then without window moving CPU Usage 2...7% >> sound bad
Each WAV starting with window moving(so: 10s good, 10s bad, and so on (etc))

Could it be due to the USB power? (Not yet measured)
I've read that some USB devices could damage PC. 
"This could, in extreme cases damage the USB port on the host or upset the energy management of the computer, which can lead to unstable behavior."
Possible? While yes: enough to measure only via Soft-PC-Diagn.Tool e.g. SpeedFan? Or do I have to measure with a MultiMeter?

Could it be speed of USB?
My PC has USB2.0, however I have not found out about whether "Hi-Speed" or "Full Speed"

What ever could it be???

Am glad to rest every tip, even to the other proposals in which forum should be posted!
Thank you
Reselty

  • Roseval
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #1
As this looks to be CPU load related, sometimes power saving schemes can hav a very negative impact.
Try disabling the power saving
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #2
Hi Roseval
ThanX for the fast answer!
Tried it -didn't changed anything.
If I understood you the right way: Power management settings:
Configurated like :
http://www.ehow.com/how_5097708_turn-off-power-saving.html
(In all cases "never")

  • slks
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #3
If you could tell us how the audio sounded "bad" we could give a better answer.

My gut reaction to this is that it should not be possible - USB only transfers digital data, which means that the data either gets to the external sound card, or it doesn't. There should be no degradation in quality, at least until the signal reaches the end of its digital path in the external sound card, and gets converted to analog. But I'm willing to consider that errors interrupting the digital data transfer could cause audible problems. It could be something like power saving schemes trying to shut off the USB ports, like the previous poster suggested. IIRC, data flow control over USB is also done through the CPU, so putting the CPU under heavy load could cause interruptions to the data flow. (However, data interruptions while the CPU is under less loads, I could not understand.) I imagine such interruptions would sound like skips in the audio, possibly only milliseconds in duration, which would make them sound more like small pops, similar to dust in the grooves of a vinyl record.

Perhaps someone with more computer engineering background, or knowledge on how these external sound cards work (do they have their own buffer to fight data flow interruptions? how large is this buffer? etc.) could fill in the gaps of my knowledge. A more detailed description from you as to what exactly happens to the sound when it gets "bad" would also help in diagnosis.

edit: Wow, I glazed over your .wav samples somehow. The clips sound distorted to me from the beginning to end, and opening them up in an audio editor confirms that they peak at 0 dB throughout. That is to say, they've been recorded way too loud. Try recording them again with the volume turned way down, so that we can hear what it going on, not just clipping distortion 
  • Last Edit: 20 January, 2012, 08:55:45 AM by slks

  • hlloyge
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #4
Reinstall chipset drivers, check DMA settings if you have ATA drives.
And btw, you are sending signal waaay into overload and clipping, judging by the recording.

  • Ouroboros
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #5
It seems illogical that it should work better at high CPU loads, but try checking the DPC latency.

http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

  • JimH
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #6
No Problem when:
+ powered USB hub between PC and sound card "sound OK" ( "bad sound" without power )
+ The REALLY WEIRD: if I increase CPU usage, e.g. if I move a window in Windows continuously the output is OK

Could it be due to the USB power? (Not yet measured)

Yes.  That's why the powered hub works.
Quote
Could it be speed of USB?

I don't think so.

Here's a similar problem that was also solved by using a powered hub:
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/...#comment-120780

  • Maggi
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #7
you could also have a look into your system's BIOS settings and see if "spread spectrum" is enabled or not

as a test you could change that setting, retry playing back without CPU load and see if the problem persists

Cheers,
Maggi
  • Last Edit: 20 January, 2012, 11:10:58 AM by Maggi

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #8
hlloyge Thanks
I tried - No Changings
(Chipset-Driver / DMA-Modus)
I try to load up a bether Example tomorrow..

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #9
Thanks 4 the moment to all of you !!!
try it out later or tomorrow

Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #10
What is the model number of your motherboard?

Some motherboards have enhanced power saving options in the BIOS that you might need to turn off.
Who are you and how did you get in here ?
I'm a locksmith, I'm a locksmith.

  • Nessuno
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #11
Try to boot in a different OS install, a live Linux CD for example, and see what happens.
... I live by long distance.

  • zima
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #12
reselty, the description in your first post would seem to suggest a power issue, yes, like few already suggested. Possibly the USB devices getting a bit "dirty" power when the CPU constantly falls in & out of sleep modes (which happens virtually only when its idling). And it's unlikely you'd be able to measure fluctuations of such kind with software tools or with a standard issue multimeter (OTOH they should nicely show on an oscilloscope...)


As this looks to be CPU load related, sometimes power saving schemes can hav a very negative impact.
Try disabling the power saving

Hi Roseval
ThanX for the fast answer!
Tried it -didn't changed anything.
If I understood you the right way: Power management settings:
Configurated like :
http://www.ehow.com/how_5097708_turn-off-power-saving.html
(In all cases "never")

That link would NOT be about the issue which I suspect to be responsible; the article, this kind of power management, is a "global" or "macro-scale" operating system behaviour - a computer hibernating when not in usage.

But your symptoms look more like due to something which nowadays happens constantly on a "micro" level (together with...; or even more aggressive, the CPU essentially going into short micro-sleep periods, imperceptible to us).
I guess it's conceivable that, with your particular motherboard or laptop, the impact of those constant & extremely frequent changes isn't filtered adequately enough (for your USB audio devices at least) from the power supplied to the USB ports...

...while the audio from line-out (from integrated sound, I guess) is OK since that part of your motherboard is adequately shielded from those effects; because somebody did think about that.


CPU-Z can show if your CPU dynamically adjusts its speed & voltages.


It's all probably kinda related to how, a decade+ ago, moving the mouse pointer seemed to generate some line-out buzz on many PCs... (then: possibly activity from mouse interrupts, and/or simply just different kind of electrical impulses from the mouse, manifesting themselves on power levels). Heck, on one old motherboard of mine, when you turn on such aggressive CPU power saving (then typically not enabled, not used on desktop machines, hence the motherboards universally - not just rarely - neglected to implement it properly, its effects), some component on the motherboard itself starts to... "sing", in response to those fluctuations.


If that's the culprit, you can always turn it off of course (maybe in some control panel of your motherboard drivers / tool from the manufacturer installed together with them, maybe in the BIOS like A_Man_Eating_Duck suggests - I think those settings can be found there on every of my machines). But remember, probably at the cost of higher overall power consumption.

Can't you just continue using the powered hub?


Quote
Could it be speed of USB?
My PC has USB2.0, however I have not found out about whether "Hi-Speed" or "Full Speed"

BTW, USB 2 always has Hi-Speed capability, that's what it is. Full Speed is one of the USB 1 modes.
  • Last Edit: 21 January, 2012, 02:09:16 AM by zima

  • reselty
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #13
Thanks to all of you
So much answers and I could'nt reply this week.

Now I recorded new files with no23 on second PC.
I uploaded them on the same link in my first post.

answers to each post following
Reselty

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #14
Answer 4 slks

Thanks a lot about your thoughts.
USB only transfers digital data - as I thought..
errors interrupting the digital data transfer - didn't thought about that, but why not! perhaps like zima explained
someone with more computer engineering background - would be nice..
about the uploaded sound - hope you'll listen to the new uploaded files, for me it is not easy to explain in words the craziness. But today I first tried with the USB-Headset and it sounded not anymore like sound (would had the possibility to record it), than I tried the ext.soundcard WITHOUT power (forgotten) and there was no problem.



  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #15
Reinstall chipset drivers, check DMA settings if you have ATA drives.
And btw, you are sending signal waaay into overload and clipping, judging by the recording.

New chipset drivers loaded - no changes
If you write reinstall: does that mean first delete the old one or what would you suggest?
I normaly start the driver exe file to overwrite the old one. Is that not shure enough.

DMA settings - checked - was OK

new example files uploaded use the link in my first post

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #16
It seems illogical that it should work better at high CPU loads, but try checking the DPC latency.
http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml


Thanks 4 tip Ouroboros
Checked it :normal around 75us(max180us) -> all @ good green level

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #17
Thanks JimH
That's why the powered hub works
but sometimes as today (for a several time) it did the job without power...

But the best will be : using in the future a poered hub - bad that the soundcard do not have a power plug.

  • saratoga
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #18
Overloaded USB voltage regulator seems most likely.  Either due to bad design, too many USB peripherals or failing hardware.

BTW, you should use quote tags.  It makes your posts much easier to understand.

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #19
you could also have a look into your system's BIOS settings and see if "spread spectrum" is enabled or not
as a test you could change that setting, retry playing back without CPU load and see if the problem persists
Cheers,
Maggi

Hi Maggi (do you speak German?)
In my BIOS I can't change such a setting!

Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #20
what motherboard\PC do you have?
Who are you and how did you get in here ?
I'm a locksmith, I'm a locksmith.

  • reselty
  • [*]
Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #21
Hi - Found the problem
Thanks a lot to all of you

Especially to Maggi, A_Man_Eating_Duck, zima, saratoga whitch pointed on power saving settings
I've Found the cause:
In the BIOS Advanced> CPU Configuration>
    Intel ® C-STATE tech (I / O) -> disabled when no sound problem
    Max-C-STATE (C1, C2, C3, C4) -> (original: C4) others are still not tested
    Enhanced C-STATE (I / O) -> (original: I) if it is disabled no sound problem

What I would be interested in:
1:What do this settings? : Not easy to find any information.
    Links ... welcome!
2: What changes the "Performance for Background Services" checkbox,
    I’ve read in forums, this should be enabled for sound systems. My question: What causes this?

Thanks to all of your tips, instructions, hints, and the taken time to hit the keys too!
Reeeselty

  • reselty
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #22
Infos you asked me in between my absence and for others in future tags

Viliv S5
YKMF_Yukyung YKMD_S5 PRE-H
Intel® Atom™ CPU Z520
Motherboard ID  64-0100-009999-00101111-062509-Poulsbo$2YU5I106

  • zima
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #23
C-states: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Conf...rocessor_states (overall, really, Wiki is your friend)

Yeah, lit would appear like (also) my hypothesis was at least close; and turning off routine CPU power saving modes did the trick.

But, just to be clear: you do remember this results in higher power consumption, (also higher temperature, possibly somewhat shorter life of components on average) and how using powered hub could possibly result in lower overall power usage (while also dealing with the problem), right?...

...well, at least with a "standard" CPU - seeing how it's about Atom, there shouldn't be much of a difference, they have very low power consumption either way.

  • reselty
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Crazy problem: USB port provides bad sound, but only at low CPU usage
Reply #24
Thnx again
I'll only use it, when necessary...