audio dropouts with usb dac windows 7
Computer OS: Windows 7
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Good evening. I'm XXXXX XXXXX, a/k/a "DrKlahn."
I'll be glad to troubleshoot this problem with you, but it's only fair to say beforehand that this is a common problem with USB audio devices.
Whenever there is traffic on any of the computer's USB buses, the audio DAC will be temporarily pre-empted so that every device gets a "fair share" of the USB resources. This means that keyboards, mice, flash drives and any other USB device attached to the computer will periodically cause problems with audio as the audio packets are delayed or dropped in favor of other devices.
Given that this is the situation, do you want to proceed with troubleshooting the problem? The first step is to disconnect every USB device from the computer except the audio unit, and this may not be possible on a computer with only USB keyboard and mouse.
i have tried that but have to leave the mouse in.
I see. Is there any possibility of installing an add-in USB card so that the audio unit has a USB controller dedicated for its exclusive use?
there is that possibility. i have tried so many things. spent two weeks pulling my hair out. haven't tried that. i'm afraid to spend more money if it wont work. i actually spent 200 on a monster brand ethernet converter because i thought maybe my wireless lan was causing the problem. brand and cosy suggestions?
USB add-in cards are fortunately very cheap. Choosing one is a matter of two things -
1. Does the host computer have PCI add-in slots, or PCI Express add-in slots?
2. Is the audio unit compatible with USB 2.0? (i.e., if put on a USB 2.0 hub, will it run at USB 2.0 speed, or will it run at USB 1.0/1.1 compatibility speed?) The box or the user manual should have a USB logo on it stating the USB compatibility - see the image below. USB 1.x is on the left, USB 2.0 is on the right.
it is usb 2.0 compatible. i have open slots
Good. Does the system have PCI slots, or PCI Express slots, or possibly both?
Top to bottom: PCI Express 2-lane, PCI Express 4-lane, PCI express 1-lane, PCI Express 4-lane, standard PCI 32-bit.
Given that the system has both PCI and PCI Express slots available, I think that a PCI Express card is the better choice. These cards are readily available for $10 and up -- see the ebay search below:
Any card that is USB 2.0 certified will run at USB 2.0 speeds.
I also suggest seeing what's running automatically in the system at startup, with a view toward turning off anything that doesn't have to be running. Microsoft has a tool for this called Autoruns, and it can be obtained at their web site at the link below:
Download the ZIP file, unzip it, and put the unzipped folder somewhere on the system drive. I generally put it under Program Files. Then run the autoruns.exe, agree to the terms, and it will bring up a display of what runs in the system at startup time. Click the Logon tab, and you'll see something like the display below:
In a healthy system, there should be no more than ten things in the Logon tab. However, as time has gone on, every software vendor and every hardware manufacturer has felt free to throw their "stuff" into the automatic run list, so now it must be periodically examined to see what has sneaked in recently.
If you can take a screenshot of the Logon tab, I'll be glad to make recommendations about anything that could be disabled. Instructions for taking and posting screenshots are at the bottom of this comment.
If the system is not using Microsoft Networking features, and is not sharing or using printers or files over a local network, those features can be disabled in the network connection to regain a small amount of horsepower and system resources. See the example below:
Investigate the automatic startup items, reduce the network services if it's possible, and see if the situation is improved at all. If not, a USB 2.0 card dedicated to the audio unit is the next step.
How to take a screenshot under Windows:
Bring up the display to be captured. Press the PrintScreen (on some keyboards, "PrtScr") key. This captures the screen to the Clipboard. Note that there is no obvious effect when the PrintScreen key is pressed.
Go to Accessories and start Paint. On the Paint menu, click Edit and select Paste. This copies the screen image into Paint. On the Paint menu, click File and select Save As. Save the image to any hard drive on the system, but not to the Desktop.
Use the PaperClip tool at the top of the JustAnswer session window to upload the file.
If you have problems using the JustAnswer PaperClip image loader, I recommend the image storage service at www.tinypic.com.
Go to www.tinypic.com. Click the Browse button to find the image file you want to upload. Then click the "Upload Now" button. You must solve a simple text puzzle on the next page. After this, a new window appears with four links to the image. Use the one labeled "Direct link for layouts." Click in that box, type control-A, and then control-C to copy the link.
Return to this session and click the PaperClip tool at the top of the session menu. In the drop-down menu, click in the box that says "link to web graphic" and type control-V. Then click the Insert button. This drops the image into the session.
where do i find network connection?
The only thing I see in the Autoruns list is McAfee. Of the major antivirus suites, Norton is the worst, followed closely by McAfee. Those are "intrusive" programs, in that they hook into all sorts of things in the system that are unnecessary to provide antivirus service. My own opinion is that an antivirus should do antivirus, and leave everything else alone.
If you are able to do so, temporarily disable McAfee and see if the problem is alleviated. Normally I would recommend removing it completely, but that requires special tools (it doesn't uninstall cleanly) and the system should be backed up completely before trying this.
To immediately open the network connection list, you can just type ncpa.cpl into the Start menu search box and press Enter.
you don't see the other 12 items in auto runs or you aren't worried about them?
already did the mcafee disable and it made it a bit better but still cut out.
maybe a different antivirus?
I did look at the other entries, but the only one worth disabling is the Logitech registration, and I don't think it will make a significant difference.
As a side note, if you are using a Logitech USB wireless mouse, this is reported to cause significant system loading and activity in Windows 7, enough to keep the system from going into screen saver and hibernation. That would be worth investigating if the mouse is wireless.
Regarding replacing McAfee, I think it is worthwhile investigating, but it is an undertaking to do it safely and may be too much to do on speculation.
First, the system must be backed up completely to an external drive. This is necessary because if McAfee corrupts the system during removal, it is necessary to be able to go back to the previous working state.
Next, McAfee should be removed with the freeware Revo Uninstaller. Revo cleans up some of the junk that McAfee leaves behind.
After a restart, the McAfee Removal Tool must be run to remove more of the McAfee remnants. The result is not entirely clean, but is as close as can be got without reinstalling Windows.
At that point the system will run as fast as possible, without antivirus protection. If the audio problem persists, it's not likely to be a software issue unless there is something running that was started after the system came up - Windows Messenger or a web browser, for example.
If the problem disappears, then an alternate antivirus such as AVG free version should be installed. There will still be system loading, but it will be less; the result may be acceptable.
i'm gonna try the pci express to usb just for the heck of it...man...
thanks for your help
My pleasure. I wish you the best of luck with this. Don't hesitate to follow up if there are further questions.
BSci: Electrical Engr., Industrial Engr, and Computer Sci.