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Solved: Choppy/laggy sound


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jigsterpose2's Avatar
jigsterpose2 jigsterpose2 is offline
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26-May-2008, 06:34 AM #1
Solved: Choppy/laggy sound
Hi there,
I just got a new computer at work which works terrific, apart from one thing. The sound is laggy and choppy, as if there is a memory problem. The sound is scramled and sort of compressed and the tempo shifts. I've tried to Google for obvious fixes but with no luck at all. That's usually when I lose all sense of hope, and then totally redeem them when I come to think of techguy!

A few conclusions of my own:
1. The problem occurs randomly (i.e. not at the same places in a song) so it's not a problem with the files.
2. It occurs in different applications, such as in Winamp, in Realteks own sound manager where you can play a loop sound to try stereo/3D-sound and even on YouTube, so it's not a problem with applications.

Computer Specification:
  • Motherboard: MSI P35 NEO-F, Socket-775, DDR2, 1333FSB, ATX
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4Ghz Socket 775, 2Mb
  • RAM: Crucial DDR2 PC5300 2048MB CL5
  • Operative system: Windows XP pro

Those felt the important ones, let me know if you want more of anything. Any help will as always save me tons of grief and agony. Cheers
hsyed26's Avatar
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26-May-2008, 01:27 PM #2
Best option right now is to update your sound card drivers.

Go to Control Panel, System, Hardware, click on the Device Manager tab and then look for your sound card.

Left-click and click "Update drivers". XP will look automatically for new drivers.

If this method doesn't help, download K-lite Codec Pack and install. See if new codecs will make a difference.

Could you also update as to whether you have WMP 9 or the new WMP 11? That will help significantly.
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29-May-2008, 07:42 AM #3
Thanks for your reply hsyed26! To answer yuor questions:

- Drivers are already up to date and the update manager can't find anything newer.

- The K-lite Codec pack didn't help at all, the problem is still the same.

- I'm not using Windows Media Player but the version installed is Window Media Player 10 (to be more exact 10.00.00.4058). When trying WMP the problem occurs the same there as everywhere else.

What to do?
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29-May-2008, 08:09 AM #4
Do you have an external sound card or an internal sound card? You mention Realtek which is normally indicative of an internal sound card.

If you have an internal sound card that is linked to your motherboard then I would recommend updating your motherboard drivers to the newest version. If not then, then download the most recent updated drivers, uninstall your original files and then reinstall the new ones.

The WMP you have is fine, however, I would recommend downloading WMP 11 just to be on the safe side. Does the choppy sound occur with specific files or any audio file regardless of format?
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30-May-2008, 02:32 AM #5
Yes, the sound card is integrated on the mainboard. I've updated the mainboard drivers and the realtek audio drivers directly frpm MSI's home page. There's no difference what so ever, I'm afraid.

The problem occurs with all sound regardless of format. Even videos on Youtube and Realtek's own sound test (there is a loop sound in their sound manager which also lags/chops).

The only thing I've done to the computer since I got it is to install software (nothing unusual) and a wireless network card in a PCI-slot.

I am pretty sure the problem can be fixed if I try a PCI sound card (and disable the integrated), which I happen to have a spare one at home. Not too fun to have your private sound card at work though but whatever, I just don't want to spend another day without music at work

I'll try the PCI sound card next, but any suggestions you may have is greatly appreciated nonetheless!
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09-Jun-2008, 08:01 AM #6
Ok, I've installed a PCI sound card (Terratec Aureon 5.1 PCI) and the drivers. At first it seemed better but the problem is still there, with one big difference:

Before: The sound went into "phases of lag" where the lag was pretty much constant within that phase. When that phase ended the sound was back to normal for a while and then a lag phase started again. This happened with pretty regular intervals, such as 10 seconds lag and then 20 seconds lag-free.

Now: The lag "spikes" here and there and it sometimes gets worse than before. I now understand why the lag sounds like it does. It seems the suond repeats very small fragments a couple of times. This becmoes obvious now, since i sometimes can hear a fragment get repeated 20 times making a strange "my CPU just froze for 3 seconds"-sound.

I'm thinking it might be a memory issue or something. I've also noticed that when I type mails, I frequently get scrambled text, such as "this is lame" becoming "thiis lame" as if the CPU froze for a second and it didn't register my input (in this case it missed the "s" in "thiS" and the space between "this" and "is"). This happens way to often to be clumbsy writing on my part (I'm quite careful when I type).

Any expert out there familiar with the problem? Please?
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10-Jun-2008, 10:05 AM #7
Some further testing:

Memory
I tried to use only one of the two 1gb dual channel memories in every slot (out of 4). Lag is still there. Tried the other memory in all slots, but the lag i still there. Tried the memory pair in different slots, but the lag is still there.
Conclusion: it's not memory related.

Processor
I downloaded SpeedFan to monitor the temperature of the processor. Temp is constantly between 30-32 degrees.
Conclusion: it's not an overworked processor causing the lag.

Video
I tried to play a DVD-movie. Strangely enough the lag disappeared for most of the time, but I could still hear small lags here and there. Video did not seem to be affected by the lag, even when the sound lagged. When I played music after closing the movie it seemed fine for a long time (at least 10 minutes, then I had to go home from work). Until I came back today and started winamp, the lag is still there
Conclusion: The lag seems mostly related to sound. I don't rule out that it affects video though, I have a feeling things just "decided" to work smoothly for a while.

Well, I still have a feeling someone has a miracle advice here, I'm just waiting for it
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10-Jun-2008, 10:08 AM #8
CORRECTION: It DOES seem to have something to do with the memory, because whenever I start or close applications (such as starting Windows Media Player or even closing a browser window!) the lag is there in bursts. Does the memory handle priorities for sound badly or what is happening? Hm...this is where I have no real experience.
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10-Jun-2008, 03:01 PM #9
Sorry for the delay in responding. Final examinations are no fun.

Since you've managed to pinpoint it to a memory problem, try running the following program, Memtest. Download and install. This will run basic memory checks for your installed memory.

Generally speaking there are no memory problems for Windows when handling audio requests. However, a faulty installation of Windows can cause memory problems.
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12-Jun-2008, 06:47 AM #10
Hm, couldn't "install" it, I suspect it's only a bootable application. Burn on CD, choose CD as first boot device on bios and then go, I guess? I'll have to get some free CD-burn software, since the computer is clean from installations almost and WMP can't seem to burn non-media files ^^
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13-Jun-2008, 10:32 AM #11
I've got a similar problem, every now and then for just 2 seconds, the sound and video in WMP or any online streaming video skips a little. I found out it is actually caused by my network adapter (Netgear WN121T) because the skipping generally occurs when the little blue light flashes for a 2 second interval and if i disconnect from the network media player works fine. While online the sound also seems to have a bit of an echo sort of like the sound in any offscreen video of something on a tv screen.

Anyway, i have no idea how to fix it but perhaps with this info somebody else will
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17-Jun-2008, 04:16 AM #12
I'll be damned! My D-Link DWA 547 wireless network card is causing the problem!

I've deactivated it and winamp ran smoothly. As soon as I activated the wireless card to login here, the lag immediately started again.

Big thanks for the tip Sammcl! You pinpointed the problem. The question remains the same for me as for you though: how to fix the issue. I'll browse around for a fix when I get the time and get back here with more info if I can find it.
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17-Jun-2008, 06:35 AM #13
Update: I found a week-old driver (june 10) for my network card (which OF COURSE wasn't available a week earlier when I installed the card and searched for new drivers^^). The new driver seem to fix the problem!

Not only is the lag fixed, but my computer seems faster in every aspect, something which I actually was bewildered about at first, since it felt kinda slow for a brand new computer. What the f**k were D-Link doing with the first driver, I wonder? Anyway, issue resolved (for now)!
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