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Audio degrades over time, recovers after Windows restart

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I've been noticing this problem ever since I got a headphone. When Windows stays on too long, the audio in games and YouTube etc. starts to have light but audible artifacts like noise/popping/crackling, it's not random, the audio artifacts will still be there if I play the same audio again. They happen on very low/high frequency, and in normal speech as well. To me it seems they get worse over time, with more and louder noise throughout an audio.

This issue is gone once I restart Windows, until it gradually comes back half an hour later.

My guess is that the issue comes from Windows audio mixer that shared mode audio goes through. MPC-BE that's set to use WASAPI exclusive mode doesn't have this issue.

At first I set my shared mode format to 192kHz 32bit (when I was misinformed), which gave me lots of popping everywhere (even the Windows notification sound) despite that my CPU is not weak and up-sampling supposedly doesn't produce severe artifact. Later I changed it to 48kHZ 32bit, some of the crackling I used to encounter is gone, but the issue is still there.

My setup: HD-650 plugged directly into Asus Z370-E, Asus Nahimic audio driver 6.0.8899.1 from github.com/alanfox2000/realtek-hda-release before it was taken down because the latest driver from Asus is HDA instead of UAD and it also has crackling. The Realtek audio console was installed by Windows automatically so I think I chose the right one...?

Is there a way to find & solve the issue? (Not a lot of people have posted such problem online so I guess it's not a Windows bug?)

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Try to turn off all auto enhancements. Also try to set audio to 44100 @16 bit. I think some effect or other automatic adjustments may produce these artifacts.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Right, the audio enhancements are not enabled, and all sound effects are disabled.

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Posted · Original PosterOP


Recently I played Hollow Knight and found the main menu music is especially scratchy. Playing the same song in OST with WASAPI exclusive/bit-perfect mode turned out to be scratchy as well, again a restart fixed the issue.

The OST is 44.1kHz/16bit so I guess it's not Windows after all. Also I played the song on YouTube with my old PC connected to TV connected to a pair of speakers, with the shared mode set to 48kHz/24bit (YT is probably 44.1/16), the sound is kinda ok, at least no crackling.

Nvm... I guess I shouldn't use the motherboard for HD-650, thought I could get away with it until later, but it seems to have bigger problem than I expected.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Changing to 48kHz 24bit seems to have fixed it. (even tho Asus website says support up to 192kHz 32bit)

Games' music sounds normal, haven't tried YouTube, hopefully no problem as well.


Edit: Nope, came back again. Happens randomly, played games for hours no problem, doing nothing got me those crackling again...


Edit2: Boot after shutdown will have crackling, restart fixes it / doesn't have crackling.

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