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Author Topic: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files  (Read 64539 times)

Offline vcationguy

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Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« on: July 15, 2013, 09:51:56 PM »
I figured you guys would be good to ask this question.  :)  I'm periodically getting a noise and hesitation periodically when playing audio, video or listening to internet radio.  The computer I'm using is relatively new, Lenovo Ideapad Z585, using Windows 7, 64 bit.  I sent it back to Lenovo, they reinstalled the OS and it was working well for a bit.  The noise is coming back and as you can figure, is not good for KJing!  I've done some searching and I think it may be a Windows 7 issue.  There are lots of people with the same problem.  I saw some things to do at Microsoft and some other sites while searching but I'm concerned the repairs may be beyond my expertise.

http://www.sevenforums.com/sound-audio/9281-buzzing-hesitation-playing-media-files.html

Has anyone heard of any of these issues and if so, how can I fix it?  It seems like it's happening a lot with Windows 7, 64 bit.   I hope Justin and Fabio and can figure this out.  :)

Thanks!

Ron

Offline Justin

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2013, 11:13:29 PM »
The first thing I would look at is the audio driver. Find out what audio chip is in your system, and make sure you have the most recent driver for that audio chip - not from Lenovo or from Windows, but from the audio device manufacturer itself... it might help to try using an external audio device first, and if that works without the problems, that can help narrow the problem down to the internal audio.

If that doesn't help, and you say it worked after a reinstall *for a while*, then I suspect that some Windows update may have broken something... and it gets a little tricky to figure out what specific update caused things to go awry... but of course I would look at the update history and look at anything audio related first. As with all things Windows, it's possible that a seemingly unrelated update may have broken an audio driver...

The only other thing I will say is that in my personal experience, the 64-bit version of Windows is not as reliable as the 32-bit version. The only advantage to using 64-bit Windows, at least for now, is that you can address more memory (I have 4 gigs but Win32 only uses 3). Other than that, the 64-bit version caused more problems than it was worth. Just because your CPU uses 64-bit addressing does *not* mean that a 64-bit operating system has to be installed... it's hard to explain why this is, but for my own use, I'd rather use the tried-and-true 32-bit Windows for the time being, over the 64-bit hacked-together Windows operating system... there's a good reason many 64-bit computers are sold to this day brand-new, with a 32-bit Windows pre-installed...

But I digress... I hope it's just the audio driver. I'm not all that versed in Lenovo, but I believe they are made by IBM but using lower quality parts (hence hiding behind another name)... I just prefer HP for my own systems, and I opt for the ugly Business models over the sleek, but lower quality home/multi-media models.

Sorry for the ranting, it's almost my bedtime :)

I didn't click your link yet (will in the morning) but if it turns out to be a Win7 issue, I wouldn't be surprised, especially if it's 64-bit related. I just know that I use Win7 32 bit and I haven't had this issue at all, even with updates... after I check out your sevenforums link I'll post any insight I may have.
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline vcationguy

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 05:39:04 AM »
Thanks Justin, I appreciate the insight.  Just from what I've been reading, I think it is a Win7 issue too.  Many other people have been having the same issue.  The audio system is Realtek.  I have the latest driver posted on Lenovo.  I went to Realtek and they had a disclaimer saying that if you don't download drivers from the computer manufacturer it might not use everything the manufacturer wanted it to use (or something like that).

Anyway, making it a 32 bit machine intrigues me!  I have 4 GB of memory like you do, but even using 3 it sounds like that is plenty to run VDJ or any other program.  If I wanted to do that, how would I go about it?

Thanks again for your help.  I'll be curious to hear what you have to say after you've checked out a couple links.

Ron

Offline vcationguy

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 06:05:11 AM »
Hi Justin,

Update...I've still been doing some research and found that you can't change to Win 32 without a complete start over.  What do you think about Win 8?  Would I be better off upgrading to that?

Also, could the problem be some kind of codec issue?  Actually, I'm still trying to learn about codecs and what they are, but it seems that they can be an issue with different things.

Thanks!

Ron

Offline Justin

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 09:42:11 AM »
That's correct, you would have to do a fresh install of a 32-bit Windows, which of course would have to be purchased. Too bad you can "trade in" :)  But I'm not sure that would necessarily fix your problem - I was just throwing stuff out there complaining about Windows in general (I had a couple last night lol).

As for codecs - VDJ does not use a codec. I wrote my own MP3 decoder, for a variety of reasons, with the codec mess being the main one. Prior to doing so, some users would have problems depending on whether they had the LAME or Fraunhoffer codec installed, which version, etc. Other apps would install and mess with my codecs, and so on - so I said screw it, I'll handle mp3 data internally. This also gave me a lot more control over the handling of mp3 files, so it was a win-win all around (sometimes a decoder will even crash if given bad data - my code has been refined over 10 years by myself and is rock-solid).

However... Windows 7 (and 8 ) throws in a mess of other things between the app and the actual sound card. Look deep into all sound card settings, and make sure there are no so-called "audio enhancements" turned on, especially "virtual surround sound" or anything like that. Windows "enhancements" are horribly written, as though they don't have a real audio programmer on staff. Their resampling code is really bad too, so make sure it isn't set to "always resample to 48kHz" or anything like that. I can't give you exact setting names because they differ from device to device.
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 01:02:41 PM »
Ron:

I would say use Justin's suggestions on the drivers.  Also, if you don't use a good external sound card you may get that buzzing sound...I would not recommend using the built in sound on a laptop, they're rarely good. 

Also from personal experience I was once having similar issues with my old Dell (Precision M4300) and I was using an external sound card...I couldn't figure what the problem was...but I was having those issues you describe.  It turned out to be an overheating CPU...the fan was working but just barely.  I replaced the fan and everything went back to normal.  I'm not sure if this is your issue but I would definitely check that out.

-Fabio
Fabio Q.
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Offline Justin

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 05:19:50 PM »
Fabio is right - I forgot to mention that I never use the built-in audio at a gig. I currently have an old USB SoundBlaster MP3+ that works great. Has RCA in/out, and more importantly (as with any external sound card) it's isolated from all the electrical noise inside the computer. Old as it is, they still provide drivers and it works in Windows 7/8, Mac, even Linux without any hassle. Now days you can get a good external sound card relatively cheap. I just keep my MP3+ because, well, if it ain't broke... ;)

The built-in audio is good for previewing over headphones, but I never use it over a PA system (though they have made a lot of improvements in recent years).
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline vcationguy

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 05:32:06 PM »
Hi, I had written a reply to Fabio but for some reason it didn't get saved so I'll try to remember what I said.  lol

Anyway, thanks for your input Fabio.  :)  I had checked the drivers, they were all current and working properly.  The fan thing is interesting, but I still have a feeling it is a Win7 64 bit thing.  I did a lot of searching and there are many people having the same issue with Win7 64 bit.  Nobody seems to have an answer though, Microsoft says to use some tools for checking things in Windows, but everything there comes back negative.  I've been doing a ton of things trying to get this to work.

I use an Amigo II USB sound card but I get this noise on both external and internal cards.  The noise is kind of like a buzzing that lasts less than a second usually with a slight hesitation in the video.

I believe you are using Win8.  How do you like it?  Any problems with compatibility or stability?  Maybe upgrading would solve my issues.  Still trying to figure out what to do.

Again, thanks to both of you guys!  I really appreciate the help.

Ron

Offline Justin

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 06:25:09 PM »
I checked out the link, and it does seem to be a common issue with (so far) no real solution... I did note that those posts were from 2010 and the original poster is using Windows 7 RC1 (Release Candidate 1 - fancy way of saying "BETA"). But, it seems that many others are having the same issue.

Now that you mentioned that it happens on a second audio device, my focus goes away from it being a driver issue.

What kind of "buzz" are you hearing? I mean, is it like a 60 Hz buzz/hum, or is it a distinct tone, or a short beep? And is it the same every time? Finally, have you timed the interval, and is it consistently periodic or is it seemingly random?

[EDIT] Forgot to mention, I run a windows 7 "sidebar gadget" called CoreTemp that monitors CPU temp, speed, usage, and more. I had a CPU issue where for some reason, even at low usage, the temp was going up causing the CPU to slow down in self-preservation. The problem turned out to be that the thermo-grease was dried up and, seemingly suddenly, stopped conducting. Cleaning the CPU and heat sink and re-applying fresh silicone grease solved the problem and my CPU never exceeds 60 degrees Celsius, even at my outdoor gig the other day... it's always nice to have a constant visual monitor on the CPU.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 06:30:09 PM by Justin »
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2013, 06:27:25 PM »
Regarding Windows 8, aside from the new interface you have to get used to... so far it's been pretty stable. I'm using the 64bit version of Windows 8 Pro....

Let me ask you a question, do you only hear the buzzing when your pc is plugged into your amp/mixer?  This can be caused by a ground loop..for this sort of of thing I usually break off the grounding prong on my power bar.  but beware..I copied and pasted the following from another site:

"DO NOT DO THIS BECAUSE IT IS DANGEROUS AND GOES AGAINST EVERY ELECTRICAL CODE IN THE WORLD AND IF THERE IS A SHORT CIRCUIT WILL TURN YOU COMPUTER INTO A LIVE WIRE THAT CAN KILL YOU - That disclaimer being said, almost every DJ I've know who's had this problem has solved it with a "3 Prong" to "2 Prong" Adapter for the actual part of the power supply that plugs into the receptacle. No Ground, No Voltage Difference."

---------------------------------------------

By the way, aside from the fan problem I once put a generic PCMCI sound card on my Dell that did cause the humming and buzzing.  Once I got the Sound Blaster USB back in (I think I have the same one Justin has) it all went away.

Also I still have the Dell laptop as my backup and it uses Windows 7 (32bit) with no problems since Justin tweaked VDJ 6.x on the later versions.  The early versions would run poorly on it and that gave me the excuse to buy a new laptop (Thanks Justin!  ;) )




« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 06:29:58 PM by fabioq »
Fabio Q.
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Offline Justin

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2013, 06:33:08 PM »
Quote
That disclaimer being said, almost every DJ I've know who's had this problem has solved it with a "3 Prong" to "2 Prong" Adapter for the actual part of the power supply that plugs into the receptacle. No Ground, No Voltage Difference."

I even put that in my book, disclaimer and all ;)  In reality, I ground it the Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor way... I get the pliers, break off the third prong, and throw it on the ground - now it's grounded! DON'T TRY THIS, KIDS AT HOME! Seriously every laptop cord I own is a "converted" 2-prong plug :P
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2013, 07:00:32 PM »
Quote
I get the pliers, break off the third prong, and throw it on the ground - now it's grounded!

Lol!  That's pretty much the way I did it...except I just used my fingers...I didn't have a pair of pliers when I had a new power strip and I was already at the gig.  If you wiggle that sucker long enough it will come off.  In fact, this bar I've been hosting for about 4 years when I first began I had a new one too and I broke it off with my fingers and then it flew away on the last wiggle I was not able to find it.  A couple of months I dropped a pen and the pen rolled to an area where the tile was broken on a corner and I found the prong still there after all these years...I guess because it's been neatly wedged in when they sweep in the dark they don't see it and it never comes out.  I actually left it there to see how long it will last before someone else finds it.  Occasionally I check on it to see if it's still there and so far it's still there...I suspect that unless they replace that floor it will be there forever... ;D
Fabio Q.
Shooting Star Karaoke

Offline Justin

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2013, 07:18:44 PM »
LOL! Gotta love bars!

There is a more serious reason I use "ungrounded" extension cords and power strips. We were doing sound re-enforcement for a benefit with several bands, and three of us got all our DJ equipment together for as much wattage as we could put together. It was at an Amvets hall, and this building has really old wiring (I'm talking 10-amp fuses - yes, fuses).

Naturally we put each set of amps on different circuits (well, different outlets, guessing that they were actually different circuits).

So we have the main DJ mixer that needs to run to the main audio board, for in-between music while changing bands. As soon as we connected the audio cable from the DJ mixer to the 32-channel main mixer, everyone in the room plugged their ears and ran outside. It was the most horrible 60-hertz buzz at several thousand watts you ever heard, for about 5 seconds before the magic smoke came out of John's mixer.

What happens sometimes in older buildings is that an outlet is wired backwards, and since these older buildings don't have a separate "earth" ground, the ground prong is tied to the "common" lead. Except that if it's backwards, the ground lead is actually hot, 110 volts. Patching that audio cable essentially sent 110 volts through the audio.

Luckily it was John's $150 Karaoke mixer that fried, and not the very expensive 32-channel console! We had a backup mixer, so the gig went well aside from scaring the bejezus out of everyone during setup/sound check... he even got reimbursed by the hosts, as this was a volunteer benefit.

Ever since then, I simply refuse to connect to someone's Earth that I didn't wire :) Even connecting your video cable to a TV on a different, improperly wired circuit could cause damage. And in reality, those 2-3 prong adapters aren't perfect, as the little ground tab can still touch the plate screw...

But again - none of us here are recommending this practice!!! If you are holding a mic and touch anything that is grounded, and your system is not grounded at the same potential, you can get a hell of a zap... so take this simply as anecdotal and not as advice... proper grounding ensures that there is no voltage difference between any two devices and is in fact a safety feature if done right.

But again, remember what kind of people often pass as electricians in some of these bars... and bar owners love to save money...
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline vcationguy

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2013, 09:36:57 PM »
Hi Guys,

After reading your responses, I think that if I'm ever around either of you, I'm going to make sure I have rubber soled shoes on!  lol  Interesting stories about wiring!

The noise is like a 60 Hz buzz.  Usually lasts less than a second and is random.  The buzz comes just when I'm using the laptop at home on my desk, not plugged into an amp.  It's a real pain in the butt.

I'm debating whether to get another used laptop with Win7 32 bit or just upgrade to Win8 and take the plunge.  Do you guys have any advice either way?  I think I'm leaning toward upgrading and see what happens unless you guys can give me a good reason not to.

Talk to you later,

Ron

















Offline vcationguy

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Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2013, 10:00:10 PM »
UPDATE:  Ok, I've changed my mind.  lol  I got to thinking, I wonder if this issue is on Win 8 also?  So, I did some checking, and... you guessed it!  Since I'm already having this problem on Win7, I don't think I want to upgrade yet until I'm sure this has been worked out.  Check out these links.  Some of these posts are from 2013.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-pictures/windows-7-or-8-makes-buzzing-sounds-when-audio-is/4daf9dff-652c-4852-b9c8-8e70fa2bbaa9

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF9Pvdsz0UM

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/326845-28-buzzing-playing-video-audio

Damn, this is frustrating!

Ron