Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Configure and optimize you computer for Audio.
dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Post Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:17 pm

A while back the PSU on my audio PC blew due to a lightening storm and I ordered a Be-Quiet Dark Power 550w PSU (which is 100w more than the old 80% bronze PSU I had). However this PSU was much bigger in size than the old one and I was able to get the local computer shop to rebuild my computer in a bigger case for a very reasonable price.
Ever since, I've been getting audio clicks roughly every 40secs-1min. This happens when I use Cubase or stream audio from the internet. I don't get the audio clicks when playing an mp3 direct from the desktop.

I've run LatencyMon and this tells me :-

"Your system appears to be having trouble handling real-time audio and other tasks. You are likely to experience buffer underruns appearing as drop outs, clicks or pops. One problem may be related to power management, disable CPU throttling settings in the Control Panel and BIOS setup. Check for BIOS updates"

I've checked both the power management in the Control Panel and the C States in the BIOS and this are all set correctly and haven't changed since the computer was working fine? I've also tried :-

1/ Testing my computer with an identical Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP and different firewire cable from another studio
2/ Disconnected as many pieces of equipment from the computer itself (mouse, keyboard, USB midi instruments).
3/ Checked to see if all drivers in Device Manager are all up to date.
4/ Tried a second Texas Instruments Firewire card and another different firewire lead
5/ Disabled the Asus wifi card (which wasn't causing any issue before)
6/ Connected the firewire card direct to the PSU
7/ Contacted Focusrite and sent various LatencyMon reports and gone through all troubleshooting

Is there anything else I should check or try? What would you suggest?

elassi
KVRAF
2143 posts since 8 Sep, 2009

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:07 pm

Have cancer like McAfee or Norton Anti-Virus on your system?

SomeTrees
KVRer
9 posts since 31 May, 2013

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:12 pm

I know you mentioned your wifi card but it might be worth testing it again to see if it's the thing causing pops and clicks. I had the same exact issue and went through a ton of different things; settings, components, updating everything, etc until I narrowed it down to my wifi card. When I disabled my adapter (not just disabling/turning off the wifi) then the pops and clicks went away completely. Although I suppose a lightning storm can probably cause a whole host of weird issues, but hopefully it's something simple you can fix yourself.

lfm
KVRAF
4952 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:20 pm

CPU throtteling from %5-100% etc can create bumps in dpc latency. So using a high performance power scheme - or set the cpu lowest to 100% as well as highest too - fix that. Nicely below 200us all the way. Before that it could bump up to 2000us or so, with a couple of minutes in between.

I thought this was for laptops only, but my desktop computer had that too - but missed a setting in bios that turn that off completely. Then these performance settings does not even exist in windows.

dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:55 pm

Thanks for the replies!
elassi wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:07 pm
Have cancer like McAfee or Norton Anti-Virus on your system?
My Antivirus is turned off and hasn’t caused any issues in the past.
SomeTrees wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:12 pm
I know you mentioned your wifi card but it might be worth testing it again to see if it's the thing causing pops and clicks. I had the same exact issue and went through a ton of different things; settings, components, updating everything, etc until I narrowed it down to my wifi card. When I disabled my adapter (not just disabling/turning off the wifi) then the pops and clicks went away completely. Although I suppose a lightning storm can probably cause a whole host of weird issues, but hopefully it's something simple you can fix yourself.
The Asus WiFi card that I have was recommended to me by a couple of audio pc specialists and has never caused any issues in the past so not sure why it would now? I e tried disabling the adapter and this didn’t solve the issue.
lfm wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:20 pm
CPU throtteling from %5-100% etc can create bumps in dpc latency. So using a high performance power scheme - or set the cpu lowest to 100% as well as highest too - fix that. Nicely below 200us all the way. Before that it could bump up to 2000us or so, with a couple of minutes in between.

I thought this was for laptops only, but my desktop computer had that too - but missed a setting in bios that turn that off completely. Then these performance settings does not even exist in windows.
All my power settings are already set up like this.

As you can see the problem is pretty strange and I’m now starting to wonder if there is more damage somewhere else? The computer appears to be working perfectly in every way apart from the audio clicks!?

lfm
KVRAF
4952 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:46 am

Look at what software you use and turn off everything with automatic updates. Some software are crazy in how they do this - even when not running, like a service.

Further ideas....

I have this strange hourly thing, that 2s from system uptime, I got dropouts in Cubase Pro while recording. This meant abandoning Cubase alltogether which was sad. Since I didn't get problem in Cubase Elements, nor any other daw - this was a Cubase Pro problem.

Anyway what I tried to do tracking this done might give you an idea.

Use resources on task manager to look at cpu spikes when clicks come.
Since so often, you can do on a couple of processes at a time to get a good look. Those graphical presentations to see history you can easily check short after click if something popped.

Also look for possible processes starting at the click. If hard to see - you can learn about auditing and getting a event log entry every time a process start or exit. I had task manager up, and sorting on cpu usage - and using film camera I record task manager until a pop/click appear - so I can look at what was changing in order of appearance, kind of. I eliminated some stuff that did check for updates this way.

And finally look at administrative tools and task scheduler. There are loads of stuff controlled through that for various events for maintenance, some from third party. This can turned off if you suspect it being involved.

I disabled everything with Nvidia stuff - it is not needed, unless you need control panel for it, you can keep that. Nvidia moved a simple setting for auto updates to this task schedular thingy - and loads of entries there.

From start - run - you can run msconfig - and go to startup tab and look through if anything you can uncheck. Some nvidia stuff there too.

Hope you get some new idea...

dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:38 am

Thanks I’ll have a look a thoseoptions.

One thing I’ve noticed is the new computer case has a built in 1394 port as well as the Texas Instruments PCI-e card I have installed. Could this cause any issues even though it’s not being used?

dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:31 pm

Before the old PSU blew the computer was working brilliantly and I didn’t get any audio clicks or issues showing up in LatencyMon even when having using both Cubase and the internet at the same time! The only thing that has changed with my computer is the PSU and case so I’ve just had the local computer company swap out the PSU for a couple of other test PSU’s and I’m STILL getting the same issue!!???
None of the other software, hardware or leads has been changed and none of th settings have been changed! This is extremely odd that I should now be getting audio clicks!?? I’m beginning to wondering if anything else has been damaged with the lightning but everything about the computer is working beautifully (possibly even better than before with the new PSU) apart from these random clicks approximately every 40-60 seconds.

Here is an updated list of all the things that I’ve tried :-

1/ Testing my computer with an identical Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP and different firewire cable from another studio
2/ Disconnected as many pieces of equipment from the computer itself (mouse, keyboard, USB midi instruments etc).
3/ Checked to see if all drivers in Device Manager are all up to date.
4/ Tried a second Texas Instruments Firewire card and another different firewire lead
5/ Disabled the Asus wifi card (which wasn't causing any issue before)
6/ Connected the firewire card direct to the PSU
7/ Contacted Focusrite and sent various LatencyMon reports and gone through all troubleshooting
8/ Checked all power management settings in Control Panel and BIOS
9/ Tried another Texas Instruments FireWire card
10/ Tried other PSU’s
11/ Tried using my computer in a different room on a different mains ring with completely different leads

Not sure where to go with this any more! I’m losing studio time and have even considered buying a new computer (which is not something I want to be doing right now)!!

lfm
KVRAF
4952 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:13 pm

As said - I would look for if some kind of cpu spike in sync with the click.
Since latencymon indicate

I use this one
https://www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml

which gives you historical graph as well. When click comes you can see if monitor also indicate spike.

So you can see, not even running other apps like streaming - when spike comes.
Easier to identify when not so much other activity.
If latency spike only when running streaming - that also tells a story.

a) first on task manager main page with historical graph
b) then on each process either in process listing tab, but better with same historical graph via resources button.

elassi
KVRAF
2143 posts since 8 Sep, 2009

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:25 pm

Like lfm suspects there must be a certain process that tackles your CPU frequently ("roughly every 40secs-1min").

Maybe ask the guy at the local computer shop who re-built your system what's going on? PSU and case should not have influence on the system at all. However, if the case came with fans there might be another source to investigate. Maybe some sort of fan control taking place?

Btw, reading the list of attempts you already made it must be the horror. Feel sorry for you. I'd freak out, for sure.

dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:37 pm

Yes it is frustrating for sure! The new case doesn’t have any fans so that’s another one I can rule out.
The only other thing that’s just come to mind is I have added a few new VST’s from Wave’s, Softube and LiquidSonics. Waves uses Waves Central, Softube needed Gobbler to be installed and LiquidSonics required iLok license manager. I’m new to these products and am wondering if these programs are constantly active and possibly causing issues even if the WiFi card is disabled!?
Unfortunately the computer is back at the shop for more testing and they are now shut for the weekend :cry: .
lfm wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:13 pm
As said - I would look for if some kind of cpu spike in sync with the click.
Since latencymon indicate

I use this one
https://www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml

which gives you historical graph as well. When click comes you can see if monitor also indicate spike.

So you can see, not even running other apps like streaming - when spike comes.
Easier to identify when not so much other activity.
If latency spike only when running streaming - that also tells a story.

a) first on task manager main page with historical graph
b) then on each process either in process listing tab, but better with same historical graph via resources button.
I’ll definitely try these suggestions!

stratum
KVRAF
2267 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:18 pm

One problem source I have recently seen that can cause this is failing thermal paste (the heat conducting material between the cpu and the heat sink above it). You can check the cpu temperature with this : https://openhardwaremonitor.org/ If it's above 99 degrees celcius the built-in thermal protection circuit will slow down the cpu to protect it from burning. Normal/acceptable values are around 65-75 degrees at prolonged high cpu load.
~stratum~

dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:28 pm

I’ve got a program that checks the CPU temperature and it averages at 39-45 degrees.

dickiefunk
KVRAF
2530 posts since 22 Mar, 2006 from cornwall

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:52 am

I've been trying out a few other options this week and still am having these audio clicks! I'm not really getting any CPU spikes so can't pin it down with this!
I've uninstalled BitDefender Antivirus and tried using a dedicated graphics card from another studio PC. I've also tried removing individual RAM sticks to see if any of those are causing the issue but unfortunately none of these things have worked!?

Could Waves Central, ILok License Manager, NI Access, Toontrack Product Manager, iTunes or Google Chrome cause this issue?

I'm not sure what else to try!?

stratum
KVRAF
2267 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Audio clicking even after thorough troubleshooting?

Post Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:48 am

I dont know if it's mentioned in the thread but if you use ASIO4ALL and combine more than one audio interface into one (i.e. record from one and playback on another), then you may hear clicks because sample rates may not exactly match (i..e one may be 44.1khz and the other may be 44.10000001 khz, etc).
~stratum~

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