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Problems With Audio Over The Internet


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#1 Groffeaston

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 01:38 AM

Hello everone,

I keep having problems with the audio when I try to listen to songs on the Internet. No matter what website it is on. The sound will start out fine for a few seconds then stop or stop and go for a few seconds. Sometimes it is a little scratchy.

My question is: Could this be related to having Dial-up internet acces? or Could this be related to a problem with a sound card? or Is this just a problem dealing with the size of the file coming through the internet into the computer?

The only thing listed on my computer,under audio, is: Sigma Tel High Definition Audio CODEC

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#2 jase07

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 06:40 AM

dial up users will really have problems listening or watching streaming media over the net.

#3 Groffeaston

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 02:28 AM

Hello Everyone again,

I thought I would check in again to see if anyone posted a response.

Well I did forget to mention one thing. That it did work fine for a while, right after I got the computer. But then It stopped working good and then became spotty at best. Why would that be? The only thing that changed was that I added programs. Or added more information to the computer. Could it be that during downloads and other computer proccesses, that this might interfer with the quality of the sound, while on a dial up connection?

I am pretty sure that doqnloads could interfer with the quality of the sound during a download. But could other proccesses that a computer does, could that interfer with streaming audio on a dial-up connection?

#4 Orange Blossom

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 03:23 PM

I'm a dial-up user, and I find that the only way that I can get a clear unbroken audio play over the internet is to make sure that that is the only thing coming in OR going out.

Think of it this way: Dial-up is like a drinking straw, and the audio streaming is like a piece of yarn just narrow enough to pass through the straw without binding. What happens if you add more threads or yarn to pass through the straw at the same time? Things will bind or even freeze. You can "compress" the yarn or the data to a certain extent to make it fit and pass through, but it will still be slower and might still bind or get stuck. This is what happens when you add additional internet traffic when you are listening to streaming audio.

Another thing that can affect it is the quality of the connection. If the wires are bad - inside or outside, connections are loose, or if the server is extremely busy this will slow down the internet traffic. Sometimes it can get so bad that the internet connection will break entirely.

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#5 Groffeaston

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 02:17 AM

Hi "Orange Blossom"

Yes, I did figured that the phone lines would also have some affect on the quality of the audio. But did not think that they could have that much of an affect. Now that I think about it, the phone lines have been a pain in the rear for us. There has been some loose conections in the past,down at the end of our driveway, at the road. That caused severe static in the phone line and a crackling sound to be heard in or phone. So Now that you mention it, I can see how the phone lines can have an affect on the quality of the audio over the Internet. And also with downloads too.

That is why I cannot wait until we get High speed or even fiberoptic lines put in by the Phone company! Every time we ask the phone company when they say: "we are working our way to you and will get that service available to you in the future." Yeah, But when? we have been living here for 20 years now. And the surrounding areas have highspeed internet and fiber optic phone lines. But the Township that we live in,it seems like, is the last one on the list or is at the bottom of the list, for the new or updated services. I was thinking about satellite internet access. But we had Satellite TV, and when it rained or got bad weather, it would cut out depending on how thick the clouds or the precipitation was. But when the precipitation lightened up then we would get the signal back again. So I am afraid that with satellite internet service, if I am online and it starts to rain and the precipitation gets heavy then the signal will get cut off.

So, I guess I am stuck with dial-up for now. :thumbsup:

#6 Orange Blossom

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 12:04 PM

Another option for you might be broadband using cable. I've chosen not to do it because of the expense of getting it installed, we've got lots of trees and bedrock here. At least our phone company has finally (7 and 1/2 years) gotten around to replacing the bad sections of wire, and my dial-up is up to its maximum speed again.

If you are still experiencing bad connections or lines, keep yammering at the phone company to get them fixed or replaced. See if you can get the neighbors to yammer at them too.

If you haven't done this already, it would be a good idea to connect the modem to a surge protector also your phones and answering machines. I'm talking about the phone line part. I lost 4 phones and 8 answering machines in 4 months when I first moved here caused by line static and electric storms. Since I went to using surge protectors, the surge protectors have saved my equipment, but I've had to replace about 10 surge protectors because the phone line part in it fried. My modem has always been on a surge protector. I'll never forget the crack and the blue spark at the surge protector one day when I was on-line and lost my connection immediately after the spark. My modem would have been history. Now, when I see there's a thunderstorm, I unplug the phone line leading into the surge protector and leave it unplugged until the storm is over. Of course, this means no phone calls and no internet, but I don't lose my surge protectors or equipment this way.

Also, check your inside wiring and the jacks to make sure it's not wearing out or loose. I've replaced all our inside wiring with heavier wire.

Orange Blossom :thumbsup:

edited to correct punctuation

Edited by Orange Blossom, 03 February 2008 - 12:06 PM.

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#7 Groffeaston

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 11:45 PM

Hi "Orange Blossom"

Yeah, we had problems one time with the phone lines and they came out and checked the lines inside the house with a special signal that they send out over the line. That showed that the problem was not the wires in our house but the lines outside of our house. So they came and checked the lines and found a loose connection down on the pole at the road, where it turns up our driveway to our house and to our two neighbors houses. Everyonce and a while they come by and check it to make sure it is not coming loose again. But outside of that there is not much I have seen them do in my immediate area. Except when there is a storm and the power goes out, or there is an accident and there is a pole down or wires down. To me, it seems like they are more concerned with the new housing developments,than they are with the current customers with the older lines. Untill they have to rplace them due to breakage or weather related problems. Like ice storms causing the wires to fail. THem thet might replace them with the newer fiber optic lines.

Thanks for reminding me about the surge protector for the phone line. I forgot about that. I have one for the power, but not one for the phone line yet. What about those power line surge protector/ line conditioners? Have you ever heard of those? I know they have something similar for music equipment. But do they make something like that include a phone jack, and is good for computers? I think I saw something like that onetime but it was an UPS. Uninteruptable Power Supply. I do not have that kind of money for one of those UPS. Do you think I should post a seperate topic about that, Meaning the line conditioners?

#8 Orange Blossom

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 12:12 AM

To me, it seems like they are more concerned with the new housing developments,than they are with the current customers with the older lines.

Don't I know it. I've been wanting DSL for years. In 2003 they told me we might have it in three years. We still don't.

What about those power line surge protector/ line conditioners? Have you ever heard of those?


I haven't heard of them before, but I just did a search for them. Good grief they are expensive. I don't really think you need to shell out that kind of money. They've got a lot of stuff in them that I don't think you need, and the one I saw had only 1 phone jack. I got my surge protectors at a number of places: Radio Shack, Walmart, Circuit City, Sears to name a few for a lot less money. Basically what you want to look for are jacks in the unit. They may be labeled phone line, modem, fax. There will be both in and out connection points. The out point is for the modem wire from the computer or the phone line from the answering machine etc. The folks at Circuit City and Radio Shack have always been very helpful in guiding me to the right product.

Uninteruptable Power Supply.

The purpose of this is that in the event of a power outage, it will supply juice to your machine long enough to power it down. This helps prevent damage to the OS and other software programs by preventing sudden shutdowns. It has nothing to do with protecting the phone lines.

If you want to discuss surge protectors, UPS and line conditioners more, post a new topic in the hardware forum.

Back to the original topic. My suggestion is to make sure that nothing else, including e-mail and autoupdates for various programs, is using the internet when you are listening to audio streaming.

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#9 Groffeaston

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 08:38 PM

Hello Orange Blossom!

Thanks for the information. I was online today and noticed something which I did not not notice before. I was able to listen to streaming audio from one website, but not from another. It was at different times. What could cause this? Could a flash player or lack of the proper one, cause the audio problems that I am experiencing? Or at least aggrevate the problem somewhat?

Sincerely,
Matthew

#10 Orange Blossom

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 12:04 AM

Hello Groffeaston,

It's possible that the one site uses files for one kind of audio player but not another. I haven't heard about flash being used for streaming audio, though I suppose it's possible. There are several free audio programs listed here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...st&p=345675

As for the time issue, perhaps there is more internet traffic at one time than at another, or maybe there was some other slowdown. Have you tried the website that didn't work at other times to see if it consistently won't play? If it is consistent, then I would suspect a software issue. The website should indicate what program is needed to play the audio.

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#11 Groffeaston

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 08:28 PM

Hello again Orange Blossom!

I tried the one site at different times of the day, and I still get the broken audio. It plays a couple of seconds of audio and then stops then it will play a couple of seconds of audio. It will keep doing that. The other site I was on required a certain flash player,that was why I was asking about that. That site took awhile to load up,but the audio played flawlessly. I even think, I had the same experience while using other computers. So I know it is not just with dial-up. But that does limit audio quality to a certain extent. Could it be interference from some of the other programs on my computer that operate at the same time,but do not require audio? but they need memory or processor speed to operate. The thing is I have a duo core, 2.1 GHz processor computer with 2GB of RAM. It should handle the load no problem. Right? Except for being on dial-up Internet access. Could it also be that too many programs are running at the same time? If it is Then I will have to make another Topic post for that. To figure out what I need to have running and what I need to have that it comes on when I click on it.

Matt

#12 Orange Blossom

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 11:59 PM

Hello Groffeaston,

What I think might be happening is that the audio files using flash are downloaded completely to your computer, probably to a temp. file, before they begin playing. This is unlike Streaming Audio which doesn't do that. My guess is that the sites that are stopping and choppy are using streaming audio, not flash.

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#13 Groffeaston

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:33 AM

Hello Orange Blossom!

Ok. Now I understand. Brain Freeze! It has been cold here, plus we had a little snow too. So my brain has not been working to well lately! :flowers: I have been facinated by the snow! I almost forgot what it look like! :thumbsup: Because we have not had very much snow this winter. We finnally had a snow storm give us about 5" of snow instead of just an inch or two or a coating.

Now back to my problem with the audio. I know streaming audio worked before when I first got my computer. But now It does not work. So, what besides the phone lines, could cause this type of problem with the streaming audio?

#14 Orange Blossom

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 01:56 AM

Hello Groffeaston,

Let's go back to what we've done and what we know thus far:

You wanted to know if something was messed up with the sound card. The fact that you can hear audio from flash files rules that out. Your sound card is fine, as is all the other related hardware.

That leaves internet connection quality controlled by a few factors:

The type of connection you have - dial-up, the quality of the lines (have you checked that? Is there any static or buzzing on the phone lines? Have you tried totally disconnecting from the internet for 10 minutes at least including unplugging the modem/phone line then reconnecting?)

The amount of traffic on the connection.

Have you checked for programs automatically updating? Personally, I have chosen to manually update practically everything because I am on dial-up. The only exceptions to this are my stand-alone AV (and this wasn't always the case - I used to do that manually too), and BOClean.

Is your e-mail client open and checking or downloading e-mail? When I do audio streaming, I make sure there is NOTHING else communicating with the internet.

Are there things communicating with the internet that don't need to? Many programs unnecessarily "call home". You can block this behaviour with your firewall.

Another thing that may affect the sound is a security scan (I'm not talking about resident protection) running in the background. I do all my scans manually so this won't happen.

Orange Blossom :thumbsup:
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#15 Groffeaston

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Posted 25 February 2008 - 12:23 PM

Hello Orange Blossom!

I know I am probably a pain in the rear with all my stupid questions! :thumbsup: But I think I am starting to get the hang of this computer stuff.

I do believe there are programs that do automatic updates and automatic scans. Also, I am not sure about the email client thing. I do have four email addresses, plus a myspace page. So I do not know if they would interfere when not actually open. I recently got the myspace page so I can rule that out for now. What should I do about the programs that do automatic scans and automatic updates? Should I turn them off of automatic and put then to manual? Or what?

Now the question about the staic or buzz in the phone line. Yes there is usually some static in the phone line. Some days it is worse then others. But I do not know if it is inside the house or with the outside lines. I presume it is the outside lines, because we have tried changing phones and getting new phones and that does not help. I do know that the line at the end of our driveway where it connects at the mainline, usually comes loose once in a while and then they come by and fix it. So it could be that. We had a problem with that the one time, a loose connection at the pole down at the road. I know they come by every once in a while and work on it. So, who knows if that is the reason or if there is a different reason. But now that I think about it, that might be it. Plus the phone company is always working someplace putting in new lines because of new developments. And then there is bad weather to deal with also.

I guess I will have to call them to check it out. To see if that connection is loose again. Or with the age of the wires, it could be deteriating wires also.

Matthew "Groffeaston"




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