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WinDVD v6 - spdif output - sound stutter at times

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by Tempest, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Hoping someone can suggest things I can try to solve this annoying issue.

    I have an AMD64 system (3200+ 1GB Ram ATI X800 graphics, WinXP SP2)

    Sound card is a SBLive 1024 (has the yellow spdif output on the back)

    Running WinDVD 6 Platinum.

    Now my problem (seems like WinDVD Related)

    If I select spdif output in WinDVD's audio settings, things seem ok. But say, when a DVD is playing I press double speed playback, then normal play, then double speed playback then normal play, or even pause then normal play. now and again an audio stutter starts. there are pops and splutters that come from my speakers (being powered by the spdif) a split second of OK sound, then pop, splutter, bit of sound, pop splutter etc etc.
    I can cure this by pressing pause and play again once or twice on WinDVD's player front end.

    If it ONLY started to pop and splutter when I was messing with WinDVD's controls I could live with it, but tonight I watched a 2 hour DVD and about 4 times during the dvd (poss at chapter changes but not sure) the sound started popping and spluttering so I had to hit pause and play again to cure it.

    Anyone got any idea why it may be doing this ?
    I'd tried adjusting all the settings under WinDVD's audio tab on it's setup menu but nothing seems to fix this intermittant problem.

    My CPU Usage is running between 13% and 20% with or without the occasional audio splutter.

    Just to say, once the spluttering starts it will not stop unless you hit pause (or some other button) then play again (seems to re-kick the sound into line again)
     
  2. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Just as a follow up................

    Installed PowerDVD v5 and guess what........ I can create the same problem with this player also:

    Playing fine, I hit pause and then play and every now and again I start off an audio stutter/splutter. pops and clicks mixed in with the audio soundtrack about twice a second.

    So it's NOT as such the player........ Hmmmmm, it's like something that's feeding the spdif output does not like being stopped and started and it gets stuck in a kinda loop.

    Anyone....?

    Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. theritz

    theritz
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    If it's happening with both software players, I'd normally suspect some conflict with your soundcard in the first instance. The fact that it's playing dvds ok with sound and is only presenting problems when you Pause/FF/Play etc. and settles once you've Paused/Play again would make me suspicious of the dvd drive - it could need to be cleaned. The Pause/Play etc issue makes me suspicious that the drive itself is having issues passing the audio part of the signal. My drive is ancient, inherited from a mate two years ago, and it's shown about 800 movies since !! Last night I sat down to watch the first part of the Star Wars trilogy with my daughter and was horrified to find no/intermittant sound - I thought there was a problem with the disc. I eventually tracked it down to the drive by a process of elimination, and luckily I have a Pioneer slot-loader which is MR as a backup; quick swapover, normal service resumed.

    I've had issues with Creative soundcards in the past - if you've had trouble free SPDIF from that soundcard prior to this, then I'd try using a lens cleaner for the dvd drive and see if that gives you any joy.

    Sean.
     
  4. drummerjohn

    drummerjohn
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    Sounds like a latency issue. Because software players use 2 seperate clocks (GFX card clock & sound card clock) the synching can be quite horrendous on some systems.

    What you are seeing after sometime of playback is the software player struggling to keep the two outputs (GFX & sound) in synch as the time goes on and the synch gets worse.

    Hasnt your motherboard got a S\Pdif out?

    Changing components can help ie Sound card or Gfx card.

    You could use a program called powerstrip to change the latencies of the GFX card and sound card. That solved the majority of the stutter issues for me.
     
  5. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Ok..

    Thanks for the hints/tips so far..

    Some more reports back based on suggestions so far.

    I have two drives a DVD-reader and a DVD-writer.

    Following suggestions about knackered drive I have tested the DVD in the other drive (the DVD writer) and I get exactly the same stutter.

    No, my Mboard does not have spdif out.

    If I go into windows volume setting and choose advanced I can tick DIGITAL OUTPUT ONLY.

    This is sending all windows sounds/music (via the spdif output) to the same amp/speakers I am using for my movies.

    I get no pops/clicks etc when doing it this way.

    Now here's the confusing part (if it's not bad enough already!)

    In the DVD Playback software I can select normal sound out, or spdif out.

    As I have the DIGITAL OUTPUT ONLY selected in windows volume/advanced settings

    I can here the movie sound thru my movie speakers fine. (but it's not dolby digital) as it's just feeding (what you would call) normal sound via spdif to my sound system.

    I can't make it splutter/pop at all like this.

    I then change to spdif out on my dvd software and I get proper dolby digital to my sound system, but I can make the system pop/splutter again!

    Weird huh........

    The spdif is passing the sound to the music system fine for normal sound. But it's only when I select spdif out (and I get dolby digital) that the problem starts.

    ============ EDIT ============

    I do have powerstrip running and my soundcard is latency 32 but even though there are little up/down buttons I can't change it.

    Would you think it's latency now I have posted all the above ?
     
  6. drummerjohn

    drummerjohn
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    What you have described is partially due to latency. In Powerstrip you should see a readonly tick box - untick it then you should be able to change it.

    Your soundcard will be 32 - try 128
    Your GFX will likely to be 256 - try 128
     
  7. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Hi again (thanks for the tips)

    Yup, I missed the read-only tick box.. doh! :blush:

    But I have news (good news really)
    I've managed to pretty much fix it.

    I installed XP but never bothered to install any audio drivers for my "SBLive 1024" card as XP detected everything and everything works and sounded great. I didn't need any of the silly effects (3d surround sound kinda stuff)

    But I thought I wonder if it MIGHT be the drivers, so I went to Creatives web site. They had a driver update which said something about fixing a bug re sound and dvd playback. But it said was only a fix for drivers much earlier than mine (the ones what come with XP)

    Last year they released a new driver/util pack for my sound card, so thought I would download it. (23MB !!!)

    Downloaded, installed and rebooted.

    Now, although I can create a pop/click if I mess with the pause/fast forward/play buttons. It appears to instantly correct itself and does not happen during playback at any time.

    Watched the final Matrix film tonight all the way thru with no probs.

    So LOOKS like it's fixed.

    This was for WinDVD. Power DVD still decides to give the odd pop now and again, so not sure why. But I wanted to use WinDVD Anyway, so looks like installing the drivers has fixed it 99%

    Shame there's a pop/click as the Dolby (etc) sound kicks in down the spdif line. but that's just being picky I guess.

    Re your latency suggestions. I'm still willing to try.
    Is there a reason you have put the gfx and sound on the same figure ?

    Oh yes, last point.
    before I did the driver update. I found out that if I was playing a movie. If I loaded a program on the PC (like loading msoft word etc) during movie playback (in a window) this would make the sound pop/skip/stutter until the prog had finished loading.

    odd...............
     
  8. Tempest

    Tempest
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    As I'm new to this latency stuff.

    Could you explain in (plain english!) about latency, and the reason you have given those figures you mentioned above.

    I like to understand why I'm doing something.
    Thanks


    As far as my system goes: (latency values)

    My ATI Display Controller = 248
    ATI Display Controller (auxiliary) = 32
    Creative Labs Audio Device = 32
    Creative Labs Input Controller = 32
    Microstar Firewire Bus = 32
    Microstar Raid Controller = 32
    Microstar IDE Controller = 32
    Microstar Universal Serial Bus = 32
    Microstar Ethernet Controller = 32
    Brooktree Video Device = 32
    Brooktree Multimedia Device = 32


    Sure are a LOT of 32's there.
    I did a google search and someone brought there video card down and put their sound card up and said it improved performance.

    Dunno how true that is.

    What are your thoughts on the above values?

    Thanks
     
  9. drummerjohn

    drummerjohn
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    I guess an easy way too explain is to say that the PCI clock uses multiples of 32ms cycles for each device.

    So in effect the GFX card set at 256 uses more of the cycles than the sound card at 32 would. In a games machine these figures would be ideal I guess as the gfx card would need the extra cycles for the extra data (AGP 8x32=256). In HTPC its a different world where both video and sound are key to perfect playback of synched material.

    The figures Ive quoted of 128 for both gfx and sound is what my optimal settings are for my HTPC. Took a few hours to determine this. Im sure you would see the benefit in trying these figures and then fine tune them (in multiples of 32).

    S\Pdif also works in 32ms chunks by the way.
     
  10. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Cheers for that....

    I'm a bit confused why my graphics card (ATI X800 Pro) has a latency of 248 cos that's not a 32 chunk

    By the way. (just for curiosity) I tried upping the graphics card and 248 is the highest it will go.

    I will try your figures but will do some games benchmarks 1st to see if it has any affect on anything.
     

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