Fixing playback dropouts on a Windows 7 notebook

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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:31 am

Fixing playback dropouts on a Windows 7 notebook

#1 Post by coel » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:05 am

Hello everybody,

I'm brand new to this forum (although I have spent some time reading before registering) and DJing in general, but I hope some of you guys can help me out with a problem that is driving me nuts.

I have a notebook running Windows 7 Professional on a fresh install. All drivers are up to date, there's not much installed besides MediaMonkey, foobar2000, Winamp and Chrome. I want to run MediaMonkey for prelistening (internal notebook sound) while using foobar or Winamp for the actual playback via a Numark DJiO 2 USB interface.

First thing I noticed is that I would get playback dropouts/crackle whenever the computer was not plugged in and was running on battery. Plugging it in made things much better, so I figured the problem was some kind of energy saving settings. So I followed this procedure to make same adjustments to the power savings features: ... -Windows-8

While things have improved a little, playback is only running smoothly for a few minutes. After that, any user activity will introduce crackle / dropouts to the audio playback. This can be anything from opening a browser window to resizing a window or just scrolling through my list of songs in MediaMonkey. Needless to say, this is just not acceptable for a live situation.

A few observations I have made:
  • although this can affect also the computer's internal sound, USB devices are affected much more by these dropouts. (Tested with the cheap Numark interface as well as a more pricey M-Audio USB interface.)
  • DCP Latency Checker shows no problems during playback, never reaching the red latency values
  • The CPU usage is constantly above 50% even when no programs are running, the most active process being Windows' svchost.exe. CPU usage peaks can easily reach 100% during said user activity.
  • foobar's buffer length is set to 2010ms, increasing the buffer has had no noticeable effect.
I would greatly appreciate any help with this, maybe some of you have had to deal with similar problems and know a thing or two. Please let me know if there is additional information that I can provide to help fix the problem.


Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:31 am

Re: Fixing playback dropouts on a Windows 7 notebook

#2 Post by coel » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:27 am

Okay, so I have been tinkering with this problem for a few more hours. While DPC Latency Checker keeps telling me everything is working fine, LatencyMon lists all kinds of problems (BIOS, WLAN, numerous drivers) and basically suggests shooting my computer in the face and just getting a new one. And after updating the BIOS, disabling one component after the other in the device manager, removing unnecessary manufacturer software and countless other experiments without success, I was very much inclined to do so.

Then I discovered that I had reached a stage where the onboard sound (headphone jack) seemed to work fine, whereas both USB devices I used for testing kept stuttering. So I decided that for the time being, I would bite the bullet and use the onboard sound for playout. I would return the Numark interface and just get a cheap external soundcard for prelistening, accepting the stuttering as fate.

So I got this really cheap USB soundcard in the mail today, plugged it in without installing any drivers, and suddenly all sound outputs (internal and USB) work fine. I'm stumped as to why, but I'll take it.

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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Re: Fixing playback dropouts on a Windows 7 notebook

#3 Post by Surreal » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:47 pm

I've been getting similar problems on my Win7 laptop. It's been like this for months now, and I wonder if there was something in an update somewhere that mucked things up.

It doesn't matter if I'm using onboard sound or going through a usb audio device. The worst culprit is having a browser window open, though even opening up documents will cause a stuttering of the sound like a record-skip.

I too get nothing with dpclatency checker, but I haven't tried Latencymon yet.