Old 05-02-2019, 04:27 PM   #1
jesus4c
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Default 'Stuttering' on playback

Hi there,

Recently I've been experiencing a bad 'stuttering'effect when playing back my podcast projects. Playback will just lock up on a particular frame and rapidly repeat it for about a second before resuming play again - from a point about a second later (as if playback hadn't stalled).

Going back and replaying that bit doesn't replicate the problem. Also, I frequently experience little audio glitches on playback, but when going back and replaying, they're not there. If I render out to an MP3 file, that plays perfectly.

I haven't had the problem up until recently and I haven't changed my computer setup at all. I'm running a PC with Intel Core i5 @ 3.00GHz and 16.0GB Dual-Channel RAM. And using a PreSonus AudioBox USB 96.

Any ideas as to what the problem might be?
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:00 PM   #2
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Did you increase your buffer? prefs/audio/device/asio config

Realtime audio is not comparable to rendering. Realtime audio needs more computing resources and if there are not enough...bad sounds.

Certain hungry plugins can also cause this, especially on the master track.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxAsteria View Post
Did you increase your buffer? prefs/audio/device/asio config

Realtime audio is not comparable to rendering. Realtime audio needs more computing resources and if there are not enough...bad sounds.

Certain hungry plugins can also cause this, especially on the master track.
I reckon you've hit the nail on the head, fox. Now that you mention it, this has only been happening since I've added compression and EQ and other things to quite a lot of tracks - along with TriLeveller and YouLean meter to the Master track.

Buffers have always confused me, but the moment I get home from work I'll try increasing it, as suggested. Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2019, 06:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Buffers have always confused me
This should clear things up. Did for me, anyway.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:40 AM   #5
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Really good video on emphasizing the importance of looking at the big picture rather than focusing on some specs. Would have liked to see him make the distinction between the embedded motherboard controllers versus external controller cards, but overall very good.

The most overlooked aspect he mentioned is keeping the firmware and drivers of all your devices updated. Can't count the number of times back in my old IT support days where I was able to resolve performance related issues with updated firmware and drivers.
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Old 05-03-2019, 02:20 PM   #6
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Great video! Explained so much! And has certainly set me on an investigative journey with a bit more understanding to sort this out. Something I've done in recent weeks has caused this issue.

First thing was that the firmware on my AudioBox was out of date. Not anymore. I then had a look at the buffer size. Mine was set at 512 samples/44.1kHz and that 512 already seems high compared to the video where he was running about 19,234 virtual instruments and everything else! So, I've left my settings as they are to see whether the firmware upgrade makes any difference. (I'm expecting it won't. I'm more suspicious of the plugins I'm using).

I'm also running a Behringer X-Touch One control surface and the stuttering often occurs (but not always) when I'm using that to write to a track in Reaper.

So - I'll move around everything I can think of to check firmware and drivers. That's my next hurdle - knowing which devices and drivers need to be checked. Like Reaper, why can't everything just notify me when there's an update available??

And then a close look at my plugins. Good to know, that while inconvenient, this isn't messing up my project.

PS. I like his shirt, too.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:34 PM   #7
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Nice rig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jesus4c View Post
I haven't had the problem up until recently and I haven't changed my computer setup at all.
By any chance did any Windows Updates install recently? I've seen other posts here where after updating Windows people had issues. Don't recall the specifics, but hopefully someone will see this and have more info on that.

As far as firmware and driver updates go, you can check the ASRock website to see if there are BIOS, firmware, and driver updates for your motherboard, but you might want to hold off on that for now since things were working OK up until recently. Get this current issue resolved and then start looking into firmware.

Wish I could be of more help.

Good luck.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:10 PM   #8
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Did you run LatencyMon? If any system drivers are causing interference, it will let you know.

With most common audio devices, the drivers are never very good. In my previous setups (at least 4 different devices), I could never get my buffer lower than 256, and generally had to raise it to 1024 by the end of the project. I upgraded to an RME card and now I can run at 128 from start to finish. I bet the guy in the vid has a pro device from RME or similar.
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:30 AM   #9
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First of all, thank you SO much for your suggestions so far! No answer yet, I'm sad to say, but the whole experience has certainly been very educational. I've just had an afternoon of working on a new podcast episode (#1 in Australia, at the moment, I'm proud to say. ) and at the same time, trying to figure out a solution.

Alas, the buffer has not made a difference. Each time the stuttering has happened (about once every 10-15 minutes) I've changed the buffer settings but whatever I put in there, it hasn't helped.

At this stage I had only 1 track with audio on it. I tried replacing my TriLeveller JS plugin with a VST version of the same. And then disabling all plugins on that track as well as the Master. Didn't help.

I ran LatencyMon and 'Your system appears to be suitable for handling real-time audio and other tasks without dropouts'.

There were the usual scheduled Windows updates about 4 weeks ago. And at a very rough guess, the might've been when the issue started, but I'm not sure. Hopefully, if this is the problem, the next updates will fix it.

And while the RME equipment looks wonderful, it's a bit out of my budget. I'm hoping not to have to spend any more on my system.

Luckily, the problem is just bit annoying and not stopping me doing what I want to do. Next time I'm in front of said computer, I'm going to try selecting different ASIO drivers.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesus4c View Post
I'm going to try selecting different ASIO drivers.
If you're on Win10, where the audio situation has finally been improved, you might try WASAPI instead. But you should only use the ASIO drivers made for your device though. Reinstalling them with the latest version won't hurt either.

Also, try the "ignore asio reset messages" option in prefs/audio/device.
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Old 05-04-2019, 10:58 AM   #11
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By any chance, have you recently connected any new USB device(s) to your system?
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxAsteria View Post
If you're on Win10, where the audio situation has finally been improved, you might try WASAPI instead. But you should only use the ASIO drivers made for your device though. Reinstalling them with the latest version won't hurt either.
Just checked the other ASIO drivers available and the others on the list all belong to other PreSonus devices (that I don't have) so I'll steer clear. And yes - the most recent drivers were installed when I updated the firmeware a couple of days ago. So I might try WASAPI after I test THIS possibility:

Quote:
Originally Posted by toleolu
By any chance, have you recently connected any new USB device(s) to your system?
YES! I recently plugged in a small, USB powered LED desk lamp. Now unplugged, so I'll see if that makes a difference today.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:19 PM   #13
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Quick update. No good news, I'm afraid.

I unplugged the newly-added USB desk lamp, but that didn't make any difference.

I had a long day of work yesterday and everything's all the same - the stutter seems to happen about once every 30 minutes or so, while the crackly and glitchy playback is quite regular - and seems to happen (although I could be wrong) on audio tracks that are from wave files that have been imported into Reaper and converted from 48kHz to the project setting of 44.1kHz.

I haven't had a chance to try WASAPI yet and am hoping the next Windows updates might change things. Otherwise I'm at a loss.

All a bit frustrating this, as I purchased my computer and equipment specifically to start a small podcast production business and wanted to make sure at the outset that the system would be more than enough to handle everything thrown at it.
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