Virtual DJ Studio

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: vcationguy on July 15, 2013, 09:51:56 PM

Title: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin 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.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin 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.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin 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).
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin 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.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio 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!  ;) )




Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin 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...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy 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
















Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy 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
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 16, 2013, 11:39:33 PM
I don't have much experience with Win8, but what I gathered is that it is windows 7, slightly dumbed down, with the Windows RT interface tacked on top of it. Windows RT is the ARM processor-based OS for tablets that won't run most Windows programs. They are apparently going for a unified "experience" on any device, including Windows phone devices. Ugh.

Anyway, internally Windows 8 doesn't add much above 7, and in reality it is actually Windows NT 6.2, where Windows 7 is only version 6.1. Vista would be 6.0, though all the 6.x versions are, at the core, still Windows NT 5.0. All the 6.x stuff is just eye candy (aka bloat). And the primary goal of 8/RT/phone is to promote the touch screen stuff, which I think will go out of style on the PC platform. It's great for phones and tablets, but I don't believe it will survive the PC platform.

For one, a touch monitor (which I've been pricing) for a PC/laptop is VERY expensive. Also, the PC needs more intelligent interactions, like, oh, I don't know, a real physical keyboard and perhaps a pointing device. In other words, it's a fad, trying to take the tablet interface to the desktop...

Enough ranting about Microsoft (I do that a lot). The bottom line is, there simply MUST be some common thread on this buzzing problem. After a few years, one would think a root problem would have been discovered, which is why this intrigues me. I'd love to know the common thread - CPU/heat problems, virus, bad driver, or something else...

I just looked at the links you provided, and I kinda noticed a trend in the usernames of the official support techs, who keep parroting the same answers... but I'll digress before I get into that issue...

One question though - have you ever installed any third-party audio driver (specifically ASIO) promising lower latency etc? I know from experience that some ASIO drivers not only mess up the sound system, but they also don't uninstall easily. You remove the driver, but then you plug in another USB sound card and Windows uses that third-party driver all over again...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 16, 2013, 11:44:25 PM
By the way, if you ever were curious about the *actual* internal version numbers of the various Windows versions, see this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Microsoft_Windows

They used to use version numbers (3.0, 3.1, 3.11), then years (95, 98, 2000), then made-up names (NT, XP, ME), then version numbers again that aren't the actual version number... it's like they are trying to confuse consumers intentionally...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 17, 2013, 05:37:25 AM
Hi Justin,

I agree with you, I'm sure there must be some common thread causing this and I'm surprised it hasn't been figured out by now.  You're also right about the support techs saying the same thing.  There are many other pages that have people complaining about this and the response is usually something about checking the Troubleshooter (which doesn't help).

Anywy (before I start ranting too..  lol), thanks for the insight into Win8.  The Windows history link was interesting and very comprehensive!

I have never installed any third party audio drivers, only what was posted on Lenovo and that is RealTek. 

I'm glad you're intriqued by this, I bet if anybody could figure it out, it's you!  :)

I'm still thinking the fastest resolution to this for me is to just buy another computer.

Talk to you later,

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 17, 2013, 02:47:44 PM
Quote
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

And this is why I use wireless mics... :P

Quote
I got to thinking, I wonder if this issue is on Win 8 also?
If it's an issue with Window 8 after you do a clean install then this would point to a hardware issue.  In fact it's possible that your hard drive could be causing the issue...the built in motor can cause noise.  Also, it would also cause some hesitation on the playback if it's going out on you. BTW, are you pretty sure your CPU is getting the proper cooling?

Here's my suggestion if you have an extra hard drive.  Do a clean install of Windows 7 on it to eliminate the hard drive as an issue. If the sound issues are still there then it's probably not the hard drive.  Also I would take a can of compressed air and clean out the cooling ports just to make sure dust bunnies are not causing cooling problem.

Just thought of something, am I understanding this correctly? did say that this only happens at home when you're NOT plugged into an amp? You could still be dealing with a ground loop issue even if you're not connected to an amp. Are there other electronic devices near it that might be causing it?  if that's so try moving it to other areas and at least for the time being unplug it from the electrical source...just use the batteries and just use a headset.  If you don't hear the noise through the headset this would point to a ground loop.  if you still hear it then at least you have eliminated the ground loop as an issue.

-Fabio

Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 17, 2013, 05:10:56 PM
Thanks for the input Fabio.  :)  The noise is like a 60 Hz electrical buzz.  Could the hard drive still make that kind of noise?

I've had my computer in the same spot, same outlet for years (lots of different computers) and I've never had this problem before.  Could is still be a ground loop?  I'll try unplugging it when I get a chance and see if it still happens on batteries.

Thanks again!

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 17, 2013, 05:54:50 PM
If it's a 60 Hz buzz, that points more to ground loop. Definitely test it on batteries and see what happens. Also note that anything else connected to the computer (USB printer, monitor, etc) that is also grounded (eg, plugged in) will provide another path-to-ground, which is what causes ground loops. An external HDD (if it has a three-prong plug) as well.

If it's periodic and infrequent, it sounds to me like something on that circuit is drawing energy for brief moments, causing a voltage potential in the extra ground path, causing the noise (and making it hard to track).

My guess would be that this has nothing to do with Windows 7 or 8, and that all of those other people simply hadn't figured out that it's caused by a ground loop (and why Microsoft can't seem to provide a good answer). I know that Laser printers draw enormous amounts of energy for brief moments, I've seen the lights dim with mine...

Let us know if any of this helps.

Fabio: I use UHF wireless mics exclusively too, but mostly to avoid cord tangles and trip hazards with drunken singers :)
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 17, 2013, 05:59:00 PM
Just to clarify, you're talking about the internal Laptop speakers and not external powered speakers, right? Because that would point to something else entirely... eg a weak connection that periodically breaks loose.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 17, 2013, 08:00:09 PM
Hi Justin,

I tried it on batteries and it still did it.  Nothing else with an electrical plug is connected, it's a laptop and the printer is connected wirelessly, Lexmark inkjet.  My external hard drive is USB powered, but it also does it when the external hard drive isn't connected. 

Yes, I'm talking about the internal laptop speakers (but it does it with the external speakers too). 

I don't know what it is but this really sucks.

I use UHF wireless mics also for the same reasons, and also, people can't swing them by the cords.  lol

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 17, 2013, 09:02:42 PM
Quote
I use UHF wireless mics also for the same reasons, and also, people can't swing them by the cords.  lol

Heh, that's another reason I forgot about. Nothing peeve's me more than that!

So now I'm utterly stumped on the buzz issue. (BTW I have a wireless Brother Inkjet and I love it).

If it does it on battery, with nothing physically connected and grounded... that kinda only leaves a hardware issue. Except for the fact that it's 60Hz, which screams AC power and ground loop. But if nothing is connected to AC power and you still get this problem... well again, I'm stumped.

I would suggest going to Fabio's suggestion that the hard drive might have something to do with it. I know hard drives can make a lot of electrical noise when they are in the final stages of failure... so the first thing I'd recommend is backing up that drive (I've had many drives fail over the years, so backups are in my opinion essential). And like Fabio suggested, try a clean install on a new/different drive and see if the problem persists.

If it does, it's definitely a hardware issue. If not, try cloning your drive to a new drive and see what happens.

EASIS Drive Clone is a free program that I have found to be great for cloning a hard drive, even if they are different sizes. It is the only one that let me clone my drive, swap it out, then boot up as if nothing changed. It's best to shut down *everything* before cloning, and then immediately shut down and swap the drive.

A couple months ago my internal 320 GB Western Digital decided to start doing the "click of death" sound, a really loud clicking noise that indicates the drive is failing. I was lucky enough to catch it in time, and I cloned the disk to a smaller 160 GB Hitachi drive. After swapping it out, it booted right up and worked, still working just fine to this day... using the EASIS Drive Clone program, which again is free...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 17, 2013, 09:04:58 PM
Link: http://www.easis.com/easis-drive-cloning.html
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 17, 2013, 09:31:01 PM
Thanks Justin!

I should clarify, when I say 60 Hz buzz, I got that term from you, but it does sound like some kind of electrical buzz or something, so that's why I used that term.  After I thought about it, I thought I might be throwing you off by using that term and not being sure that it is a 60 Hz buzz.  Anyway, I hope that helps.  I just sent a note to Realtek asking them for help and see if they know anything about it.  I'll let you know what they say.

Later,

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 18, 2013, 12:40:23 PM
Quote
I use UHF wireless mics exclusively too, but mostly to avoid cord tangles and trip hazards with drunken singers :)

This is the REAL reason use them, actually and secondly the swinging of the mic...I think that's a pet peeve every karaoke host has...

However, the wireless mics have their own set of pet peeves...the one that's at the top of the list is the flipping of the mic in the air (that's the equivalent of swinging) because half the time they end up dropping it!

Ron: Have yo tried listing with a headset...I'm wondering if your laptop speakers are having a problem.  If the sound is still there then I'd still recommend doing a clean install.

-Fabio
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 01:13:22 PM
Quote
the one that's at the top of the list is the flipping of the mic in the air

I agree, and have had them dropped many times. I bought the VocoPro all metal rechargeable UHF mics about 6 years ago now, and after suffering a ton of abuse they still work like new, even holding a great charge still. The only damage so far is that *I* broke one of the antennas on the receiver (crammed in my tote with all the other equipment, it snapped off). Nothing a little soldering couldn't fix :)

I had one "customer" get pissed as his girlfriend in the middle of singing, I guess she was flirting with another guy, and he threw the mic on the ground hard. I had to straighten out the mesh, but no real damage. Needless to say that person will never sing at my gigs again...

I told a friend which ones to get, and he bought the less expensive, AA battery wasting plastic VocoPros. Needless to say he's borrowed mine a couple times when his were broken (luckily they share the same two channels)... never cheap out on mics!
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 01:15:25 PM
On a completely unrelated note, the frequency band my mics use (as with many UHF wireless products) is no longer legal to use. They are on a band that used to be "in between" TV channels, and now that TV is all digital they are selling those frequencies for police/fire and other licensed use... I dread the day my receiver starts picking up police in the middle of a gig lol.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 18, 2013, 02:11:08 PM
I actually use the IDOLPRO VHF-638 which is a 4 channel mic set...which they no longer make.  Luckily they are still legal.  They are well constructed except for the plastic battery holder.  I've had to replace those several times...that's the part that breaks all the time when they drop it.  I found the company that distributes them and I can buy those at $3 piece, so I always have 3 or 4 extras to replace the broken ones.  I would be nice if they were all metal. 

I've had other singers just drop the mic and walk off the stage because they think they're cool doing it because they've seen rappers or comedians do it....this one pisses me off and I usually have them pay for it and it doesn't cost them $3...I've heard people in the audience sometimes tell the singer "drop the mic!" as they're finishing their song and I usually will jump in with a "you drop the mic and you pay for it!" and that usually discourages them.  I've actually had to replace a couple of the mics over the years luckily they make a 2 channel model and they still use the same 4 frequencies.  The mics are almost identical so I've been able to replace them by buying just the mics...but they're about $80/piece.  Back when they still made them, you could buy the whole set including the metal case for about $350.

They work well, but I know eventually I'm going to have to replace them.  I actually want to buy another set for when I have a private gig (not the bar).  That way I can have my backup host the bar and I can host the private party at the same time. i already have an extra amp, extra laptop, extra speakers and stands, extra TV but no extra wireless mics.  I wouldn't mind trying the VHF version of the all metal Vocopro mics you're using.  What model are those? Maybe I can find the VHF version online.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 18, 2013, 02:30:32 PM
Hi Fabio,

I think eventually a clean install is in my future.  Then I'll add one program at a time and test it each time.  The sound comes through external speakers also using my sound card.

As far as the mics go, I think if I ever had a singer just drop the mic and walk off, I'd be obliged to kick his ass!  lol  I haven't had that experience and hope I never do.  The biggest problem I get is people pushing the on/off switch too hard and sometimes damaging it.  Now I just turn it on and put a small piece of tape over the switch so they can't to that.  I have 4 wireless mics I got from Acesonic.  They aren't rechargeable but I think my next ones will be!  lol

Later,

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 03:10:39 PM
Ron: This may sound like a stupid question (kinda like, "is it plugged in")... but could it be cell phone interference?

Fabio: Why would you prefer VHF? In my experience, VHF mics are far more prone to interference and static; FM UHF are very clean, no crackling, hiss, or other interference, and they have a further range with less power (longer battery life)...

Note that they still make good UHF mics, they just had to use a slightly different frequency band with the new FCC allocations.

As far as I know my model is discontinued, but I'm sure someone makes a good all-metal model. The VocoPros I have cost $250 for two mics, two-channel receiver, and a charger. I later bought a body-pack that I use with my guitar & amp at home :)

I work smaller bars on occasion, and mostly I end up doing graduation parties and such. These usually have one or two people who want to sing, but overall it's more of a DJ gig than a Karaoke gig. I live in a small town, but of the several DJs in town I'm quite well known (none of the others have the bragging rights that they wrote their own software lol, in fact three of them use VDJ :) )  I also tend to know everyone personally, usually it's the same basic group of guests. Everyone in Cedar Lake, Indiana knows everyone else...

Therefore I don't get too many a-holes abusing my equipment, and when I do, someone else ends up dealing with them before I have a chance to...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 18, 2013, 05:57:25 PM
Hi Justin,

I don't think it is cell phone.  It happens all day long when I'm in the office and have internet radio on.  I'm not on the cell when it does it.  It just happens randomly.  Someday we'll figure it out.  lol

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 18, 2013, 06:08:23 PM
Quote
Ron: This may sound like a stupid question (kinda like, "is it plugged in")... but could it be cell phone interference?

OMG!...I forgot about that....Ron does it sound like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFRa0OP18Y


Justin: It's not that I prefer them, it's just they are the first ones I used that didn't have any pops, hisses or any kind of interference.  I actually don't have much experience on that...I just remember buying a pair UHF microphones that did pop and did have all kinds of problems.  So when I tried these I sold to the VHF frequencies.  I swear, I've been using these for years and I've never had problem aside when the batteries run low, it may may some noise, but usually it just stops transmitting and the singers voice get cut off.  To be fair the first ones I bought were the Nady brand for $75 for a pair...live-and-learn cheap microphones usually end up sounding cheap.  I thought all UHF microphones were being discontinued...good to know that's not the case, that gives more choices.

-Fabio
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 06:12:04 PM
Quote
I'm not on the cell when it does it.  It just happens randomly.

You don't have to be on the cell to get interference - it just has to be powered on. Every so often, kinda randomly, all cell phones check in with the tower, and the signal they put out will be easily picked up on any "consumer" audio equipment as short "buzz" sounds... if it is on and nearby (within a few feet of the audio equipment or cables) you sometimes get a loud noise in the audio...

Most professional audio equipment is immune to this, with good heavily shielded cables and such. But consumer stuff, including any computer speakers, laptops, etc, will be more susceptible to the interference. It's a pretty dirty signal, powerful and in short bursts, that cell phones emit.

So, still something to consider. Try keeping all cell phones (or any 3G/4G device) out of the room for a while and see if things improve. It's a long shot but you never know...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 18, 2013, 06:25:07 PM
Ron: It looks like I posted at about the same time you did...

Justin is correct, you don't have to be on the cell phone.  Follow the youtube link and if it sounds like that, IT IS cell interference.  You can try turning off your cell phone to see if it still occurs but be warned, it may not even be your cell phone, it maybe your neighbor's or your co-workers', although it follows you wherever you go, it could be your cell phone.

-Fabio
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 06:33:43 PM
Quote
OMG!...I forgot about that....Ron does it sound like this?

Ha, I love the example! Absolutely perfect. Seems there's a YouTube video for everything these days...

In personal experience, I have a subwoofer on my entertainment center that for some reason picks up cell interference from as far as 30 feet. At least it used to... I modified it, adding a couple small capacitors in the audio path to short high-frequency interference, and problem solved (I'm an electronics geek as well as a computer geek). I was re-reading some of the posts and suddenly remembered that, and though I don't use PC speakers, I remember this being a problem with cheap powered speakers as well. The shielding on the thin little cables is weak on most, and they'll pick up a cell phone from your pocket when it "phones home".

Quote
So when I tried these I sold to the VHF frequencies.

All it takes is one bad experience to convince someone that a particular product is bad, even if there were other factors involved.

Quote
...live-and-learn cheap microphones usually end up sounding cheap.

I believe I cover this in the book, but I always say, "you get what you pay for". My first wireless mic was purchased at (ashamed to even admit) Radio Shack... VHF, using the same 49 MHz band as toy RC cars.

Worst. Investment. Ever.

It wasn't even all that cheap if I remember correctly... After that a friend had some Nady UHF ones that I really liked (must have been a model or two up from yours I guess), and I ended up with VocoPro because I spotted the words "all metal construction" in the description and was sold. I'd buy them again in a heartbeat.

I just looked and they have an updated model of my mics, with this mention in the specs:

Quote
Complies with New FCC Frequency Rules

However, looking at the enlarged picture of the mics I'm not sure if they are metal or plastic now... but this close to my model (Mine is UHF-3205, this is UHF-3200):

http://vocopro.com/products/product_info.php?ID=462

Mine look more like the (crappy) attached photo. You can tell there's some wear, but the shiny black body is obviously metal.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 06:40:47 PM
After a little more research, the FCC in conjunction with the manufacturers has a "trade in program" if your UHF mics operate in the now forbidden 700 MHz band (which mine do). The link for VocoPro trade-in gives a 404 error of course :(  But the FCC is telling me that I am not allowed to use them at all. I will wait for a cease-and-desist letter :P
 
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 18, 2013, 08:24:38 PM
Quote
Seems there's a YouTube video for everything these days...

Well, I didn't intend it to be a youtube link, but after googling for the sound that was one of the links.  After I played it I figured it was the best example.

Quote
I believe I cover this in the book but I always say, "you get what you pay for"

Yup, I remember reading that there too  ;)

Quote
I just looked and they have an updated model of my mics

I wish they had a 4 channel version.  the 4 channel version is actually perfect for me because of the hosting I do.

On an earlier post:
Quote
I don't get too many a-holes abusing my equipment, and when I do, someone else ends up dealing with them before I have a chance to...

The one bar where this is a problem is usually the most crowded (my Sunday gig) and one I get most celebrities showing up  (Some are regulars). The first time it happened because it was crowded I couldn't follow him and he got away.  I mentioned it to the main bartender who's a buddy of mine.  He told me next time give him a signal and he or the bouncer would get him....sure enough the next time it happened, the guy did not get away.  This is the craziest bar I've ever hosted -- this is the only one that has GONG behind the bar...if the bartenders don't like your singing they will gong you and I usually have to stop the karaoke and start the interim song.  I usually have an CDG file queued up on another line that plays on the screen "You are the Weakest Link...Goobye!"

I usually don't like to abuse singers this way but people keep coming to this place.  I guess they enjoy the abuse!

-Fabio


-

-Fabio







Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 08:46:03 PM
Quote
I wish they had a 4 channel version.

Yeah, that's actually the reason my friend bought the plastic AA-battery model. They didn't make a 4-channel version of mine. However, if you look, you can buy two sets of UHF-3200 mics, and request to get one set with channels M & N, and one O & P. Granted you end up with two separate receivers (so two wall-wart power adapters hogging up the power strip)...

Too bad you can't buy the 4-channel rack-mount receiver, then buy four individual metal-housing mics, all separately. They are only sold as kits with VocoPro... but as I mentioned, my N & O channel mics worked with two channels of my buddy's 4-channel receiver.

There are even higher quality units (not VocoPro) that I've researched (like what you would find celebrities using in concert) but these are encrypted, high-frequency, durable units, and VERY *VERY* expensive. A whole different animal from what we as DJs/KJs call "pro"... and not easily available. They don't want joe schmoe to be able to go to a concert and "key over" their wireless mic signal, so they pay quite a lot for the encryption and signal quality.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 18, 2013, 08:50:45 PM
I realize we got way off-topic here on the wireless mic thing, but look what I found:

http://vocopro.com/products/product_info.php?ID=466

This would be the new, UHF, rechargeable, metal VocoPro mics in a set of 4 with a 4-channel rack-mount receiver!

Snippet from the features:

Quote
Rugged 1RU metal receiver chassis
Complies with New FCC Frequency Rules
4 individual XLR Mic Outputs and 1 1/4" Mixed Output
Low power consumption design for longer battery life

And the mics themselves look exactly like mine (metal body).

If I ever replace my set, this will be what I replace it with...

For the record earlier I linked to the 3200's but they DO still make the 3205, just with the new frequency, that look identical to mine. I'm glad to see that, as again they are super rugged and have been good to me for years. I used to do 3 nights a week Karaoke up until about 2 years ago, so don't think they haven't had their share of abuse... I've had them about 6 years.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 19, 2013, 12:33:23 AM
Yup, I would say we're way off topic...the way I see it we're just keeping busy while we wait to hear if Ron's problem is cell phone interference... :P

regarding the UHF-5805:
That's awesome you found them...I just did a google search on the model and it looks like I can grab them from Amazon for a lot less than the $759...in fact, even ebay has a set for $319...hmmm...I might "have" to pick these up.

Question...what about the internal rechargeable battery how often do you have to replace them in the 6 years you've had them?

-Fabio

 
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 19, 2013, 06:22:31 AM
Quote
the way I see it we're just keeping busy while we wait to hear if Ron's problem is cell phone interference...

Yup :)

I got my set for $250 new-in-box from eBay back then. As for the rechargeable batteries, they are unfortunately not user-replaceable. However, mine still hold a great charge after all those years, and when I got them I was doing 3 nights a week Karaoke. I tended to leave them on the whole night, controlling them from the mixer, to avoid customers wondering why their mic wasn't on, etc. I just put tape over the switch so they'd not turn them off.

I found myself only charging them once each week at home. Never had one go dead except once when I left it on in the gig bag for a few days...

I believe the battery is Lithium-Ion, which can last many years and over many charge cycles.
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 19, 2013, 10:49:03 AM
Hi Guys,

It does kind of sound like that, especially the noise toward the end.  I'm going to try it with my cell phone off or in another room and see what happens.  My concern now is that a singer's cell phone could set it off.  :(

Talk to you later.

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 19, 2013, 11:32:58 AM
Quote
I'm going to try it with my cell phone off or in another room and see what happens

If it's your phone, you can usually trigger it by just dialing it from another phone just leave it next to the PC and call it and just before it rings you'll hear it.  Again, this may not be coming from your cell phone so if you can't trigger it, it may not be your cell phone. My understanding is that this is usually caused by phones using GSM (T-mobile, AT&T and others) CDMA apparently does not cause the problem (Verizon, Sprint and others). I don't know if newer phones using LTE would cause the issue.

If you're only noticing the problem when you're not plugged into your amp and your hosting speakers, you'll probably okay, a singers cell phone probably won't trigger it because of the shielding of the speaker wire. I figure you're using 1/4"  or Speakon with heavy gauge cables.  Those are usually well shielded and probably won't pickup the interference.

Quote
It does kind of sound like that, especially the noise toward the end

Do you get the beginning sound too/at all?  Because that is the more typical part of the sound you'd get.

-Fabio

Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 19, 2013, 11:43:56 AM
Ron:

Here's how you might be able to fix it on your home speakers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5ruAZ4Useg

I've never tried it so I don't know if this works.

-Fabio
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 19, 2013, 01:02:50 PM
Hi Fabio,

Thanks for the info.  Unfortunately, that wasn't it.  :(  I had both cell phones turned off and it still did it.

When I was talking about external speakers before, what I meant was speakers through an amp.  I use a Bose L1 Compact system and it makes the noise when it's hooked up to it too.  I don't know what to do.  I'll keep trying different things.  My old computer is a Dell Latitude D800.  It has 2 GB of RAM, 1.66 GHz processor and only 59 MB of available video memory.  It does ok with VDJ 5.3 but I find it gets bogged down and even hesitates sometimes with VDJ 6.X with all of the other things that it can do.  This Lenovo handles the program great but it makes this danged noise!!!

Ok, now I'm venting.  lol

Thanks again for all of the suggestions.  I keep searching.

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 19, 2013, 01:46:31 PM
Quote
I had both cell phones turned off and it still did it.

It may not be your phone...it maybe your neighbors...I've heard it can generate interference up to 40 feet away.  I've never confirmed this but I read it somewhere.

I know it's random but if you can, record it and post it for us...it might help.

-Fabio
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 19, 2013, 03:21:04 PM
Hi Fabio,

I don't think that's what it is.  The noise only happens when I'm playing audio or video, like when I'm playing music, watching You Tube or listening to internet radio.  When I'm not doing anything like that there is no noise.

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 19, 2013, 05:01:48 PM
I'm starting to agree with Ron - the amplifier is always on even when not playing audio, so it would be picked up with nothing playing...

So it seems we're back to a Windows and/or driver issue, and I'm running out of ideas... :(
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on July 19, 2013, 05:36:23 PM
Me too, aside from a clean install, I'm out of ideas...

-Fabio
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 20, 2013, 07:47:57 AM
I emailed RealTek but never heard back from them.  I did see on a site where somebody downloaded a different version of the audio driver for a different model/mfgr that had this issue and it seemed to work.  I found the version they used and downloaded it.  There was a message on the site that said you should download the driver from the computer manufacturer because things from the computer mfgr might not work.  I haven't installed it yet but am getting closer to it.  I thought I'd wait until I was about to do a clean install before doing it in case it messed something up.  Do you guys have any suggestions or thoughts about installing this driver that was from the audio mfgr but not the computer mfgr?

Thanks,

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 20, 2013, 09:10:19 AM
I've done it before, especially with audio/video drivers. They always warn you to use the driver from your manufacturer, but sometimes the manufacturers don't keep up-to-date on older models. Even if they "support" the model, they don't really put any work into updating a driver for new Windows releases, etc. Just look at the release date of the driver offered by Lenovo and it's probably  older than Windows 7...

It's possible it won't work correctly, but it's not that difficult to revert back (set a "restore point" first). Just make sure it's written for the particular audio chipset and you should be good to go.

Realtek chips aren't great quality but they're pretty simple, which is why they are so easily supported in Linux. Which means the driver software is simple too...
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on July 20, 2013, 11:59:11 AM
One other thing, on my laptop I chose to install the AMD/ATI video driver rather than HP's driver. It's not that the HP driver is bad, it just bundled too many "tools" that were just in the way of the normal Windows dialogs for configuring the displays. I like what ATI offers, without the HP stuff tacked on.

For everything else I really like HP's support and drivers, especially for the business models (I have an HP Compaq 6910p that I absolutely love. Even though it came with Vista originally, they fully support 7 and 8 with new drivers on this machine). My last 3 laptops have been different HP business models and I will never go back to "consumer" models, or any other brand for that matter... just my opinion though :)
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on July 21, 2013, 06:41:40 AM
Well, changing the driver didn't do the trick either.  It still made the noise.  Looks like I'm going to have to find some time to do a clean install.  :(

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: vcationguy on August 01, 2013, 02:19:07 PM
Hi Guys,

Ok, here's an update on my noise situation.  I ended up taking the computer back to fresh out of the factory status.  I've been installing a program at a time and playing the internet radio and watching videos afterwards.  I've put most of the programs that I really want on this computer back on and so far, no problems!  :)  (Hope I didn't just jinx myself!  lol).  Not sure what it was.  I'm wondering if possibly a program that was made for a 32 bit machine could have corrupted something on a 64 bit machine?  What do you think?  I don't know but I'm trying to figure this out.

Fabio, the Bose L1 Compact claims it's for crowds of up to 100 people.  It has a 6 speaker array and sounds pretty good, but like I said earlier, I like hooking the Fender floor speaker to it also because it really helps fill in the bass and overall sound.  It still sounds good without it.  If that wouldn't be big enough for you, check out the L1 S or L II.

Ok, I'm going back to playing with this computer and make sure it still works.  I still ordered a 32 bit back-up computer to have at gigs.....just in case!  :)

Ron
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on August 01, 2013, 02:28:08 PM
Well I'm glad that so far your system is working properly. Running 32-bit apps on a 64-bit system will NOT cause problems, however running 64-bit Windows is known to do so... only because 64-bit Windows itself is buggy. It has nothing to do with the hardware. I've been running 32-bit Windows on a Core2 Duo 64-bit laptop for a while now with no problems at all, except that Windows 32-bit only recognizes and uses 3 gigs of my 4 gigs of RAM (Linux does not have this problem...)

As for the L1 speakers, I'm curious and would love to hear them one day. A friend used to have the Bose 802 PA system and it was fantastic, both in quality and loudness... right now I just made an agreement to buy the speakers I "borrowed" from my buddy Rick :) Time to book some gigs...

A backup computer is always a good idea in any case. I always have my iPod Nano 5th Gen handy, and I usually have my step-son/roadie with me, and he has an identical computer to mine, with VDJ installed and ready, but thus far I haven't needed either. We got the same computers for Christmas last year (HP-Compaq 6910p). $200 each on eBay, and mine came with the docking station and a valid "refurbished" Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit) license :)
Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Fabio on August 01, 2013, 04:28:41 PM
Ron:

Glad you got it fixed!  A clean install will usually fix most problems.

Justin, is correct, the 64 bit system is probably not the guilty party on this...although the Windows OS 32bit limitation of only addressing 3GB does have do with drivers.  Apparently MS discovered a driver compatibility issue while testing and imposed the 3gb limit even though the CPU is capable of addressing more than that....so the memory issue at least is a workaround for a compatibility issue.

I do believe, as Justin, mentioned that the 64 bit versions of Windows need to do a bit more maturing.






Title: Re: Noise and hesitation when playing audio and video files
Post by: Justin on August 01, 2013, 04:36:13 PM
Quote
...although the Windows OS 32bit limitation of only addressing 3GB does have do with drivers.

Actually I researched the heck out of this the day I put two 2GB sticks in my computer... this has to do with Win32 still using 30+ year old legacy code, where it keeps the BIOS information at a specific address in RAM. Thus, anything beyond that point is inaccessible to any program or the OS.

There happens to be a hack available to change this, but it involves hex-editing the kernel, and since I don't feel like carrying around an 8 pound paperweight, I haven't tried it... plus any Windows update or service pack will render the hack unusable anyway...

But yes, it is a limitation within the OS itself, not the hardware. Linux (even 32-bit versions) will access the entire memory range up to (I think) 64 GB without any issue. Heck this GoDaddy web server that hosts my site has 24GB, and of course runs Linux :) It also has 8 processor cores...