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Old 11-07-2013, 11:08 AM   #1
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Default Windows 8.1 - Somewhat Disappointing Audio Performance

EDIT: 2013-11-10 - Solution: install old NVIDIA drivers.

As the title says, after upgrading from XP to 8, I'm disappointed.
Can't play use latencies below 7ms with RME Babyface, getting occasional crackles, especially when resizing time selection for an example - the higher red periods in the graph.



With win xp, with the same computer I could use 4ms easily, with 128 buffer size.
And the latency checker was in the lower quarter of green.

Any advice from more experienced Win 8 users?
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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EDIT:
As was pointed out, dpclatency is no use for win8.
Latmon is.
I agree it seems likely the nvidia gfx are a good place to look but equally any internettery you do IS going to affect your performance.
Might be worth looking specifically for full use of all your cpu cores in the task manager, also any power conservation bs and "useful" utilities kindly provided by either your mobo mfr or the computer mfr if you bought it as a "working box with win8.1".
Amazing how easy it is to be accidentally using less than the full cpu complement.




Oh dear! I have just been through all sorts of issues with going from a core2 to an i5 on Win7 64bit, due to the way legacy and USB2 devices were being dealt with, or so I am reliably informed.

I had planned on buying a babyface since everyone seems to agree it is the best low latency option for a lappy.

As a matter of curiosity, what was it like under win 8,0?

Oh and PS you look to have a bunch of stuff running that is causing the yellow and red peaks.
I suspect a lot of your troubles will be sorted once you figure out which devices are causing the spikes.
You have turned off wirelesss, havent you?
Antivirus? etc etc????

Last edited by ivansc; 11-08-2013 at 10:05 AM. Reason: OOPS! Missed the obvious....
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
Oh dear! I have just been through all sorts of issues with going from a core2 to an i5 on Win7 64bit, due to the way legacy and USB2 devices were being dealt with, or so I am reliably informed.

I had planned on buying a babyface since everyone seems to agree it is the best low latency option for a lappy.

As a matter of curiosity, what was it like under win 8,0?

Oh and PS you look to have a bunch of stuff running that is causing the yellow and red peaks.
I suspect a lot of your troubles will be sorted once you figure out which devices are causing the spikes.
You have turned off wirelesss, havent you?
Antivirus? etc etc????
I don't know about win 8, since I upgraded to 8.1 right after installing it.
Babyface works OK in my Win7 laptop if I disable the NVIDIA drivers.
In XP it was excellent.

The red peaks appeared when I moved the time selection in Reaper.
I don't have much devices connected. I tried disabling stuff in the device manager, network adapters, even the display drivers - no effect.

I haven't messed with disabling the USB ports yet.

I have the windows antivirus enabled - defender or what it's called.
Could try unplugging the internet and disabling the defender...
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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Regarding DPC readout:
Code:
Windows 8 Compatibility: The DPC latency utility runs on Windows 8 but does not show correct values.
from: http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

Accidentaly, I also own RME babyface and everything runs fine on Win8 even at 48 spl latency (didn't do any real tests, but it's pretty much feels the same as Win7, in regards to performance)
Do you have the latest drivers and firmware for babyface?
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:55 PM   #5
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Yes, as Breeder showed you can't read exactly in the values provided by DPC latency checker under Windows 8 or 8.1 as incorrect values are reported. However, it is still useful to show DPC spikes. I used it extensively recently to track down an issue on Windows 8 where I was getting major audio dropouts (completely stops) every few minutes with DPC spikes around 96000us. I tracked the issue to a problem with the Intel Ethernet driver in my Lenovo laptop (Intel 82579LM) which Lenovo wont even acknowledge and Intel started to try to fix but it got all too hard without me providing them a laptop. The only way I have got it working ok under 8.1 (as 8.1 by default includes the problem driver from Intel) was to package up the base Windows 8 driver myself and install that under 8.1. This was a bit of mucking around.

That all being said I regularly notice little crackles in the audio in 8.1 which I didn't notice in 8.0 (when I had a working driver installed in 8.0). I think you are right, the audio has maybe taken a step backwards, but this could be a combination of many factors. I just have to find time to track them down.

BTW I found Windows 7 to be perfect... and in my eyes Win7 is leaps and bounds better than XP.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:04 PM   #6
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On Vista and higher (and I hope i works with 8.1), http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon could give you a better impression on what the actual cause for the DPCs is.

That creating a time selection has influence on it may point to the GFX drivers again.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breeder View Post
Regarding DPC readout:
Code:
Windows 8 Compatibility: The DPC latency utility runs on Windows 8 but does not show correct values.
from: http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
Good to know. I remember there was another DPC latency checker that was mentioned here in the forums, that also suggested some information what drivers could be the cause of bad performance.
Don't remember exactly what it was though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breeder View Post
Accidentaly, I also own RME babyface and everything runs fine on Win8 even at 48 spl latency (didn't do any real tests, but it's pretty much feels the same as Win7, in regards to performance)
Do you have the latest drivers and firmware for babyface?
Yes I have the latest.
I do envy you
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
On Vista and higher (and I hope i works with 8.1), http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon could give you a better impression on what the actual cause for the DPCs is.

That creating a time selection has influence on it may point to the GFX drivers again.
Thanks, that was the one I remembered!

Could be the graphics, but I also tried disabling the drivers.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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Following this thread with interest as I'm also thinking about upgrading from XP to 8 (at some point).
Thanks for the info provided so far.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:45 PM   #10
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This time with the Latency Monitor, disabling the reported biggest culprit NVIDIA and the next in line - network, showed a noticeable result indeed.
So no gaming nor internet during audio work
Next in line are USB and atapi.



But the hard pagefault seems to be through the roof!
Also getting frequent crackles with 128 buffer size.

What to do with the hard pagefaults - fiddle with the page file size, disable it?
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:51 PM   #11
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Task manager hints you have a WiFi Card because WiFi won't show up there without it. Is it disabled?
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Task manager hints you have a WiFi Card because WiFi won't show up there without it. Is it disabled?
It is now, but it made no improvement.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
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It is now, but it made no improvement.
Is it switched off or completely disabled? I have a broadcom that would cause problems in Windows 7 unless it was completely disabled...switched off wasn't good enough.

Either way I feel for you but my experience with Win 8 and 8.1 has been the exact opposite. I hope you find that silver bullet to make those crackles go away.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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There has to be a better way to diagnose these the first time around. XPerf is wonderful for this but is likely never going to work for the casual non-geek user.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:07 PM   #15
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Hmmm. I was dissappointed moving from XP to 7. Everyone said that 7 was great out of the box for audio. First I noticed higher latency and other issues with my interface driver. Next I noticed a serious aliasing issue in 7's audio. These days, my machine is doing ok for audio after some patches and updates (not as well as XP). I really wish that microsoft would give windows a high performance mode for special use cases such as audio, gaming, etc., in which services and drivers could be selectively marked for being disabled, and switching between the special use mode and normal mode is done via a simple switch. Any way, I took a look at 8, and I passed. It seems like 8 is another guinea pig version (every other version, right?).

Off topic: The surface looks like a cool machine, but it is way too damn small. I would like to see a fullsize laptop with the same sort of configuration and capabilities, but without some of the yuck of windows 8/8.1 such as the live tiles crap. And of course, it would be nice to KNOW that there isn't a backdoor.
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Old 11-07-2013, 04:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by plush2 View Post
Is it switched off or completely disabled? I have a broadcom that would cause problems in Windows 7 unless it was completely disabled...switched off wasn't good enough.
I disabled it in the device manager - right-click > disable > do you really...? > yes
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #17
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It seems like 8 is another guinea pig version (every other version, right?
Eye of the beholder. I didn't even have issues in Vista, nor 7 nor 8 with 8 being the best thus far. I'd likely proverbially shoot myself in the face if I had to spend more than 30 seconds on an XP machine in comparison. Again eye of.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I disabled it in the device manager - right-click > disable > do you really...? > yes
If it is on the MOBO, I'd disable it in BIOS because the interrupts causing the pops can be at the hardware level. Remember I have no proof that's it, only that WiFi cards win the prize for being the #1 culprit so it's worth the time to go that far even if it doesn't help.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
If it is on the MOBO, I'd disable it in BIOS because the interrupts causing the pops can be at the hardware level. Remember I have no proof that's it, only that WiFi cards win the prize for being the #1 culprit so it's worth the time to go that far even if it doesn't help.
What about the hard pagefaults that seem to dominate the graph at the moment?
Something not right with the SSD or the size of the page file, anything else to try?
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:28 AM   #20
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Disabled the Wireless from the BIOS - it doesn't seem to have a noticeable effect.
Which is good, because without WiFi I couldn't use Lemur.

What I did notice was that disabling graphics drivers made things actually worse (unlike on MacbookPro Win7) - I got frequent/constant crackling at 128 samples.

So now I'm back at occasional crackles, more when resizing the time selection.
Just for reference, a screenshot of the drivers ordered by execution time:

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Old 11-08-2013, 01:01 AM   #21
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This might help.

http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=113575
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:46 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snap View Post
I'll look into it. At first glance it seems a bit scary

In the mean time I ran a performance test on the OS SSD:



Results are not impressive from what I gather. They advise to turn the mode from IDE to ACHI.
Maybe this would help the performance with audio too?
My audio files are on a separate HD though. Also switching the mode from IDE to ACHI is a bit more involved process than just making the switch from the BIOS - registry tweaks and what not are also required.

EDIT - a bit better with Rapid mode on:

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Old 11-08-2013, 04:40 AM   #23
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Definitely forget about IDE, AHCI is the way to go.
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:57 AM   #24
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What computer is it? Is W8 supported ie. have they released actual W8 drivers, or are you using W7 or earlier drivers?
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:01 AM   #25
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Also, mainboard make/model? BIOS updates available and maybe needed for 8.1?
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:27 AM   #26
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What computer is it? Is W8 supported ie. have they released actual W8 drivers, or are you using W7 or earlier drivers?
Other than the Windows 8 compatibility check I ran prior to installing, I have no official support that I know of.
I made a clean install, so no drivers remained from the old Win XP install.

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Also, mainboard make/model? BIOS updates available and maybe needed for 8.1?
Asus P5E3 Deluxe WiFi, using the latest BIOS from 2010.08.10.
So no Win 8 updates.

As for the other drivers - would it be better to install the dated drivers for LAN, sata, utilities myself from:
https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5E3_Deluxe/#support

or keep the ones that came with the win 8 install?
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:32 AM   #27
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Also I noticed from my first post that the CPU speed is 2.23GHz, 2.39GHz max.
So the speed has been reduced automatically, could this present problems?
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:52 AM   #28
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Also I noticed from my first post that the CPU speed is 2.23GHz, 2.39GHz max.
So the speed has been reduced automatically, could this present problems?
Definitely, I'd check the bios for any CPU power savings options and turn them off. Things like C1E, SpeedStep.
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:19 PM   #29
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At the very least you'd want chipset drivers from the manufacturer. If they don't have dedicated W8 drivers, this may be an ongoing issue. Why not just use their latest fully supported OS?
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:25 AM   #30
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I am on Win7 as I could get no better performance out of Win 8 for latency after weeks of testing.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:47 AM   #31
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Quote:
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Why not just use their latest fully supported OS?
Certain programs don't work under XP anymore and Win 8 upgrade is what I have.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:56 AM   #32
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Disabled SpeedStep and went to AHCI mode.
Disk performance improved in most areas, but not with random write.
Still nowhere near 97000 or 66000 - perhaps because of SATA 3?

SSD Performance comparison: AHCI Rapid Mode, IDE Rapid Mode, IDE


These changes made no improvement to the audio issue.
As I get crackles when I move the time selection or make right-click drag selection, this seems to be a graphics related issue.

Next steps to take that I can think of:
1) Use older win7 NVIDIA drivers
2) Use some kind of a PowerMizer switch for the NVIDIA
3) Investigate DirectX options if there are any
4) Check if different chipset drivers have any effect
5) Investigate page file options - remove, change size, move to another disk.
EDIT:
6) Maybe old Reaper settings need to be revised?

Any other ideas?
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:02 PM   #33
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Running now the same project in Reaper with the lowest buffer size of 48 samples, 2.3/2.5ms!

Zooming in and out, selecting items, resizing time-selection like crazy, with no crackles whatsoever.

The key to my success, you ask

Installed older 2012.dec NVIDIA drivers - sometimes newer isn't better...

Case closed, I hope.
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:50 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carbon View Post
Running now the same project in Reaper with the lowest buffer size of 48 samples, 2.3/2.5ms!

Zooming in and out, selecting items, resizing time-selection like crazy, with no crackles whatsoever.

The key to my success, you ask

Installed older 2012.dec NVIDIA drivers - sometimes newer isn't better...

Case closed, I hope.
A lot of people end up finding video drivers being the cause of bad audio performance. I would love to understand more about how this works. If anyone here can shed some light on it, that would be great.
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:04 AM   #35
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A lot of people end up finding video drivers being the cause of bad audio performance. I would love to understand more about how this works. If anyone here can shed some light on it, that would be great.
Pulling some light out of my nose:

One of the problems is that fast (realtime) GFX and (realtime) audio processing may be competing for resources differently than your average game's audio and video anyway, meaning there may be problems never coming up if you don't run realtime audio. Different GFX driver version can have an effect on that for a couple of reasons.

Even if you're only playing games on that PC - that newer drivers can have detrimental effects on the performance of older card models and games is old news for long-time gaming video card buyers. For many older games and card versions, there's one or a few "golden" driver versions to run with it and you shouldn't change that.

One problem is that a driver package covers nn hardware versions of the card series, and features/optimizations for a newer/faster card model (making that new driver version necessary in first place) can be bad (or in best case not beneficial at all) for your particular older model.

The new card may introduce functionality not (hardware-) supported by your old card, so the driver tries to maintain compatibility to your model by emulating it in software, every once in a while a new driver is entirely optimized to win benchmarks and so on...

So there's a not so small chance that updating your drivers is messing up things for you, even if you don't run realtime audio applications, but if you do the likelihood may be even higher.
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:20 AM   #36
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I seem to recall a Microsoft Windows7 "update" of my gfx card drivers (ATI) absolutely trashed the performance of MY computer a while beck. Rolled back and re-installed the ATI/AMD official driver and.... no further problems, so it also pays to look very carefully at WHO is offering you updated drivers, it seems.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:38 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie View Post

One problem is that a driver package covers nn hardware versions of the card series, and features/optimizations for a newer/faster card model (making that new driver version necessary in first place) can be bad (or in best case not beneficial at all) for your particular older model.

The new card may introduce functionality not (hardware-) supported by your old card, so the driver tries to maintain compatibility to your model by emulating it in software, every once in a while a new driver is entirely optimized to win benchmarks and so on...
I think so too. One of my guesses is that DirectX 11 isn't necessarily compatible with my graphics card.
GeForce site doesn't list 9600 GT as compatible, but at the same time Microsoft site says it's compatible with Win 8.1.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:47 PM   #38
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Quote:
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Installed older 2012.dec NVIDIA drivers - sometimes newer isn't better...
Wow! After pulling my hair out for about a year fighting the exact same problem, this has (knock on wood) done the trick! I can't believe I just stumbled upon this thread last night. THANK YOU!!!
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:35 AM   #39
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Carbon, are you still using the 12/12 NVIDIA drivers? I'm getting great audio performance with them but occasionally find a plugin (e.g. Stillwell Bombardier) whose fancy GUI won't load. I'm going to have a driver taste-test to see if I can find a newer one that works.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:54 AM   #40
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Quote:
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Eye of the beholder. I didn't even have issues in Vista, nor 7 nor 8 with 8 being the best thus far. I'd likely proverbially shoot myself in the face if I had to spend more than 30 seconds on an XP machine in comparison. Again eye of.
same here
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