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Re: Skipping sound [Re: c0d3h4x0r] #61181 04/16/10 02:58 AM
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OnmyojiOmn Offline OP
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Thanks for replying, and for 1.41. I'd like to stress that I really have tested every combination of settings I could think of, including every option in Nestopia, every Windows compatibility setting, and every applicable BIOS option.

- I don't know what you mean by whether my PC is PAL or NTSC. I know what they mean, but not how they'd apply to a modern PC.

- Win7 Ultimate x64. I'm running the release version now and it's made no difference.

- All roms, PAL or NTSC, have the skipping sound. I usually run Legacy of the Wizard (U) to test settings because the music makes the problem very apparent.

- I've run games at a variety of refresh rates and resolutions. Sometimes I've run at desktop resolution just to avoid changing resolutions, and sometimes I go as low as 800x600 so I can have the refresh rate at 120hz. 60hz on my CRT causes immediate eyestrain.

- I play games in fullscreen (yes, actual alt+enter fullscreen), but switching to windowed mode makes no difference.

- Nestopia 1.40 and 1.41, switched for the hell of it but it didn't do anything for my sound problem.

- I actually don't have a BIOS option for HPET, and I know all of my BIOS options are shown/unlocked. The BIOS is actually like six years old.

- CPU usage is around 21%, never above 25%. This is with the NTSC filter. I should have mentioned that I have my processor overclocked to 2.16ghz. Yes, it's stable, and yes, I've tried switching back to stock speed.

I have to say this idea of a 3000+ being too slow for Win7 is pretty silly. Obviously my hardware is pretty terrible, but I haven't had a single performance problem that I didn't have with XP. If you've upgraded your computer at any time since XP was released, you can run Windows 7.

Last edited by OnmyojiOmn; 04/16/10 03:02 AM.
Re: Skipping sound [Re: OnmyojiOmn] #61195 04/17/10 09:59 PM
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c0d3h4x0r Offline
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My personal experience is that any single-core CPU is going to deliver underwhelming performance for near-real-time applications (such as games or emulators) on Vista and Win7. Both OSes run a lot of background services and programs that are best offloaded to a second core/CPU.

Regardless, I am unable to repro the issue at all on 7 different Win7 x64 PCs with a variety of different hardware, so investigating this is nearly impossible on my end. I've been working with another forum user (gummybear) who has been having the same issue as you on a couple different machines. On one of their machines, installing the latest RealTek HD Audio driver made the issue go away. On their other machine (which is much beefier than yours) the problem still happens, despite all the drivers being up-to-date. I improved on the timer code post-1.41 and added some more detailed logging regarding frame rates and screen refresh rates and what-not, and gave a private drop to gummybear to try, but it didn't affect the problem and the additional logging didn't reveal anything helpful.

I am highly suspicious of bad audio drivers or hardware, given that Nestopia does not exhibit this problem on most PCs. But I have no real proof of this, just a suspicion based on listening to MP3 recordings of the problem and based on ruling out a bunch of other factors one at a time. So the most helpful thing at this point would be for everyone who is having this problem to post detailed information about their audio device and drivers:

- what OS?
- what audio device (if integrated onto motherboard, then what motherboard as well)?
- what drivers for the audio device?
- how is the audio device configured in windows? (sample rate, speaker configuration, any of the "audio enhancements" enabled, etc)

Also, note that there is a tool called "dxdiag.exe" built into Windows that you can run to automatically diagnose your audio/video hardware and generate a report. Anyone who is having this audio stuttering issue should run that tool and look at the "sound" tabs it generates, to see if any problems are found.


My PC
GA-X58A-UDR3
i7-920 @ 3.2GHz
8GB DDR3
ATI Radeon HD 4890
Win7 RTM x64
Re: Skipping sound [Re: c0d3h4x0r] #61208 04/19/10 09:46 AM
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FirebrandX Offline
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Like the OP, I've been plagued with the skipping sound. The difference is my system has a quadcore cpu and is on Vista 64-bit ultimate (aero disabled). Anyway I've made several posts about this skipping problem in the past. One thing I have noticed while playing through the Mega Man series is I can avoid the skipping sound if I turn off vsync. Only problem is the video has what I call an "update line" constantly scrolling up the screen as the video tries to catch back up to the audio.

Edit:

I think I may have gotten to the bottom of my sound skip problem and it actually stems from my ATI 5770 HD video card. These cards are set at a very low clock rate when idling at desktop or surfing the web. It turns out they still remain at idle clock speeds when playing emulators like Nestopia. I created a profile that increases the idle clock rate and this seems to have eliminated the sound skipping issues I was having in Nestopia. I've been playing several games now with vsync turned on and have yet to notice any skips.



Last edited by FirebrandX; 04/19/10 11:58 AM.
Re: Skipping sound [Re: FirebrandX] #61213 04/19/10 11:53 AM
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gummybear Offline
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That's interesting, FirebrandX. I have Win7 x64, an i7-920, a GTX 295, and an SB X-Fi PCIe Titanium Fatal1ty Pro. Turning off VSync does nothing for me to fix the skipping sound, it only creates that "update line" you're talking about. Anyway, me and c0d3h4x0r are still trying to home in on the exact problem.
Perhaps you and OnmyojiOmn could e-mail him, too, to help track this down. I'm sure he'd appreciate another one or two machines capable of reproducing this and people willing to provide recordings, logs etc.

Last edited by gummybear; 04/19/10 11:54 AM.
Re: Skipping sound [Re: gummybear] #61214 04/19/10 11:59 AM
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FirebrandX Offline
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I just edited my post above. It might be something to consider as it has worked for me. Problem is I don't know if this would really be helpful to those on non-ATI cards.

Re: Skipping sound [Re: FirebrandX] #61215 04/19/10 01:21 PM
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That's a known problem with the ATI drivers. I first noticed that trying to watch 1080p movies via DXVA on a friend's PC. It does not fix my Nestopia sound issue here with my NVIDIA card.

Edit: Alright, guys, I think me and c0d3h4x0r have finally gotten to the bottom of this. It turned out to be driver issue. The newest Creative drivers for my soundcard and the newest SoundMAX drivers for my onboard chip both exhibited this issue. As soon as I uninstalled either one I had installed for testing and used the standard Windows HDAD drivers, this issue disappeared completely on two of my desktop machines here.
Yes, it appears only Realtek and Microsoft have gotten it right so far--Of course, I'd also like to hear that from CMedia, IDT, and Sigmatel chip users. Funny thing is, I immediately also noticed more FPS (beyond the usual margin of error) in both recent games and demanding emulators such as Dolphin and PCSX2. So the solution for now is to use Windows' standard HDAD drivers and go bug SoundMAX and especially Creative to fix their buggy mess. It's sad to not be able to use your manufacturer's drivers, but hey, if there are alternatives available...

Last edited by gummybear; 04/19/10 06:22 PM.
Re: Skipping sound [Re: gummybear] #61229 04/19/10 11:26 PM
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OnmyojiOmn Offline OP
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None of these solutions worked for me, unfortunately. Vsync makes no difference, my Nvidia card seems to run at a constant clock speed, and switching sound card drivers didn't help.

To double-check, I switched from the unofficial driver I use to the broken official driver from Windows Update. Both drivers are from Creative (or based on a Creative driver), and it doesn't look like there's any kind of standard Microsoft driver for me to try. I use a modified driver because the latest official driver has an annoying bug that resets the speaker config to 7.1 surround every time the system sleeps or restarts.

Re: Skipping sound [Re: OnmyojiOmn] #61230 04/19/10 11:37 PM
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c0d3h4x0r Offline
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Nestopia 1.40 and 1.41 both contain a bug that could theoretically cause audio stuttering on a system with perfectly fine drivers. I have an unreleased 1.42 work-in-progress build that fixes that bug and adds additional logging around the usage of DirectSound. You might want to try it out; e-mail me privately to get it.

If that build doesn't solve your problem, then you definitely have a driver issue and your only solution (unfortunately) would be to ditch the Creative Labs card/driver and use something else.


My PC
GA-X58A-UDR3
i7-920 @ 3.2GHz
8GB DDR3
ATI Radeon HD 4890
Win7 RTM x64
Re: Skipping sound [Re: c0d3h4x0r] #61250 04/21/10 01:07 AM
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FirebrandX Offline
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I did some more testing (including with 1.42) and have found I do still have sound skipping issues. However, I know what mechanic is causing them. When I load a game, there is some initial crackling of sound as it syncs up. Then the sound is smooth and skip-free for about 2 minutes before it starts skipping and crackling. It does that for about a minute and then goes back to smooth again.

What's going on here is there's no resample buffer to allow the sound output to keep pace with the frame sync. So eventually as the frame rate slips ever so slightly behind the sound timing, the sound will start skipping to compensate. Once the two are in sync again, the skipping goes away.

A snes emulator "bsnes" had this exact same problem and the author "byuu" spent many hours working on it until he solved the problem in a unique way. Most emulator authors solve the problem by simply adding in a timed frame-skip to keep in sync with the audio. This results in smooth audio and once in a while a frame-jump on the video to keep up with it. Bsnes on the other hand, uses a sound resample scale slider that users can adjust until it removes skipping (effectively the user is slightly lowering the sample rate just enough to match the timing of the frame rate). At least that's the general idea I got from his discussions on it. Of course it's better to get the more detailed method from asking him about it on his forums.

If you want the easier fix, then the other method I mentioned of adding in a timed frame-skip is the way to go. The current frame-skip slider in Nestopia does not work for this, and so this method would need to be coded in properly.

Last edited by FirebrandX; 04/21/10 01:07 AM.
Re: Skipping sound [Re: FirebrandX] #61275 04/24/10 11:30 AM
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gummybear Offline
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I've notified c0d3h4x0r of your suggestion, FirebrandX. He hasn't written back yet, but let's see what he thinks of it. IMHO, you might be on to something there smile

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