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Heavy Audio Distortion


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#1 Overkill99

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 12:12 AM

Since the construction of my most recent 2014 PC build, I've been having an issue where any headsets used for VOIP over extended periods of time have a strange breakdown of the audio quality.

 

While I have no exact way of simulating the issue, my closest explanation would be that all audio into the headsets sound as if they've had their gain throttled and the bit rate drastically decreased (as I've attempted in comedic format here). The issue cannot be heard by other people listening directly to the "What U Hear" virtual recording device which outputs directly from the system sound to voice chat, and any screen recording software I've ever used cannot seem to pick up the issue either — it is localised to the device I was using and its connection.

 

This issue has occurred on two headsets: the Plantronic .Audio 355 and Turtle Beach Ear Force X13 (both have in-line volume control and integrated microphones). The issue is not present when using standalone headphones such as an ATH-AD700 or MDR-V150 (in this case, even one with a broken jack) which I use in conjunction with third party microphones such as a Logitech C270 web cam mic.

 

I use on-board Game Blaster 7.1 Audio built into an ASRock x79 Extreme 11 mobo with the Sound Blaster control panel drivers and software.

 

 

EDIT: Sorry for the weird, incomplete post. I was trying to alt+tab and somehow submitted this.

EDIT2: Fixed.


Edited by Overkill99, 01 September 2015 - 12:27 AM.


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#2 jhayz

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 11:12 PM

Try here http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-troubleshoot-your-voip-phone-setup/


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#3 Overkill99

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 01:34 AM

Thanks for the suggestion jhayz, but I think you've misinterpreted my issue. My system was built to be a gaming PC, and my issue relates to integrated microphone headsets; not IP phones.

 

If any rewording helps: when I'm using open voice chat (that is, it does not have to be keyed in) for extended periods of time, there is a high chance that integrated microphone headsets (such as the Plantronics .Audio 355 or, to correct a typo I made earlier, Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 (not X13)) will suddenly begin outputting heavily distorted audio that can only really be described as sounding like low bit rate audio with immensely high gain. As a side-effect, any voices coming through to me seem to sound as if they've undergone a process of audio feedback. From my observations, the issue is not present with standalone headphones that work in conjunction with third party recording devices (such as, in my case, an ATH-AD700 or broken MDR-V150 paired with a web-cam microphone) and this experience is extremely painful and sudden.

 

This issue can be resolved by rapidly modifying the sample rate and bit depth through the playback device properties, but the resulting audio is very quiet and seems to have a stereo lean to one ear or the other – requiring a reboot to fix. Switching ports does not change the issue, however plugging a different headset into a different port can sometimes result in that temporary 'fixed' audio I described in the last sentence.

 

Anyone or anything listening directly to the system sound or sound card's virtual recording device cannot hear or pick up the distortion I am complaining about.



#4 jhayz

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 08:05 PM

Sorry for not getting clearly what was the issue at hand. So mainly, the problem comes from certain headphone communication device and that, by tweaking thru playback (properties) - default communication - Advanced tab was able to fix it temporarily(?).  From my point of view, we're looking at interrupts or DPC as most likely the problem your experiencing which could be hardware and or software.

  1. What software medium do you use via these headphones?

  2. Is your audio driver up to date or obtained originally from the manufacturing site?

  3. The article below may help you find and monitor what is affecting your system resources.

  4. How to Diagnose and Fix High DPC Latency Issues with WPA (Windows Vista/7/8)


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#5 Overkill99

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 12:29 AM

Your description of the issue is correct. My friends and I have been trying to diagnose this issue for approximately a year to no ends (even with the help of 3 technicians). The issue is isolated to my system only, and any communication headsets (headphones with an integrated microphone) connected to it on an open voice connection for extended periods of time experience this sudden distortion. It has not been resolved through OS or driver re-installations.

 

What software medium do you use via these headphones? Is your audio driver up to date or obtained originally from the manufacturing site?
  • I use the drivers and control panel software that was given to me with the motherboard and its on-board audio installation. For each headset, I use drivers provided by the manufacturers' websites.
  • I have attempted to both update and re-install both my operating system and my drivers several times, as well as check for BIOS updates.

In regards to the drivers: the driver relating to my audio hardware (Game Blaster onboard 7.1 Audio) is "SB Recon3Di." A discrepancy I noticed is that, while my driver version is v6.0.102.1010 (installed from a disk), the latest version provided by ASRock's website (my motherboard manufacturer) is v6.0.102.1007 – both drivers relate to the SB Recon3Di driver.

 

I am currently following the instructions in the article you provided and I'll let you know what turns up, either in an edit or a second response.

 

EDIT: I was able to follow the instructions up until the end of Step 2 where, in absence of file xperfview.exe, I used the wpa command to view my trace and was greeted with an empty interface (no graphs; especially none labelled "DPC CPU Usage").

 

As for the results of the Latency Checker: my graph maintained within the green until, for seemingly no reason, it began spiking at intervals of 60–75 seconds (almost always spiking at 64 seconds).

These spikes would continually decrease with every interval until eventually disappearing, randomly appearing again later.

 

b4127f06501efb022940b431bdd88e4b.png

 

When recreating a scenario in which my issue occurred, there was seemingly no significant latency:
 

412a8f851e6fefefbc3c1dc738032235.png


Edited by Overkill99, 04 September 2015 - 02:12 AM.


#6 jhayz

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 10:49 PM

Try updating your network drivers, there is nothing much we can do if there is no visible culprits from the outputs provided. The interference plays a big role in this issue, as for one, an internet connection, lag/throttling is a possibility.


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#7 Overkill99

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 06:50 AM

So far my issue seems to have been resolved by several rotations of my peripherals and connections. If I ever manage to record the issue, I'll make sure I have that available in any future run-ins with my problem.

 

 

(Sorry for the short and late response; illness and work have been distracting lately ...)

 

EDIT: So the issue happened again; only this time I have some new observations to provide.

 

I have two friends who I'll refer to as A and B. Person A and I are in voice chats quite frequently with each other.

  • If the chat consists of A and I: the issue occurs
  • If the chat consists of B and I: the issue is not present
  • If the chat consists of A + B and I: the issue is not present

While most of our voice communications are done through the "Steam" interface, this same pattern occurs using any in-game communications.

 

My network drivers are up-to-date, and I discovered that when the issue occurs, Windows' volume mixer will cease to control the audio levels - causing me to rely on the in-line audio controller to adjust the volume. Using recording software such as Fraps or OBS returned no benefit as the issue was apparently not present in the system sound. Unchecking any of the Exclusive Mode options during the issue disabled the audio output altogether, effectively muting the device. When using my temporary fix of stepping up the Default Format options, the issue is (as stated) temporarily fixed. Should I unplug the current device and plug in a new one in a separate port after using this temporary fix, the issue returns and is irreversible until a full system restart.

 

Person A is diagnosing possible driver issues on their end, though I highly doubt that might be the case as we don't connect directly but through the Valve 'Steam Friends Network' when communicating and the issue seems tied to my hardware.


Edited by Overkill99, 14 September 2015 - 12:28 AM.





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