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Author Topic: Stuttering with WDM and MQA  (Read 14002 times)

dtc

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Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« on: July 09, 2018, 08:12:08 am »

Not an error, but many people using Tidal use MQA which produces 24/96 audio streams which stutter badly with WDM. Any chance you with revisit this and see if there is any remedy?  As is, Tidal and WDM is not a viable option for many people.

EDIT: Stuttering has also been reported using high res audio with WDM from Qobuz, so I do not think it is just a Tidal issue.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with MQA
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 09:45:29 am »

Those problems could be bandwidth or CPU related.  Everything has limits.
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dtc

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Re: Stuttering with MQA
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 10:23:28 am »

Multiple people have reported the problems with different sources on different systems.  It really seems like it might be more than a general bandwidth or CPU issue. High res does work with some sources but not others. The evidence is that there is a  possibility that the problem could be WDM related.

Since you are advertising WDM as a enhancement to Qobuz and Tidal, it seems like it would be a good idea to understand this issue more fully.  Once Qobuz is available generally in the US, the issue may become more important, since Qobuz is actively pushing high res streaming.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Stuttering with MQA
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 10:32:24 am »

Does anyone have the exact steps to 100% reproduce the issue with both Qobuz and Tidal? I might try to reproduce it when I get some time. I'd also be interested to know if somebody checked and/or logged the DPC latency while these stutter issues occur to see if there's any spikes.
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DJLegba

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Re: Stuttering with MQA
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 10:38:45 am »

I experimented with the WDM driver but I don't use it because I don't need it. I found there could sometimes be crackles or stutters unless I configured the WDM parameters in the Windows control panel to match the source material.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 10:39:40 am »

Since you are advertising WDM as a enhancement to Qobuz and Tidal, it seems like it would be a good idea to understand this issue more fully.  Once Qobuz is available generally in the US, the issue may become more important, since Qobuz is actively pushing high res streaming.
I don't think we're saying it's an enhancement.  WDM makes browser based audio work through MC.  That means Tidal and Qobuz will work.  It doesn't mean that WDM will overcome other problems related to high bandwidth or MQA.

If you're going to complain about it, please do some testing and report results.

We can't guarantee your computer will work.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 11:19:16 am »

Just tried the current release of Qobuz (4.0.27-b017) with the latest stable release of JRiver (24.0.41) WDM enabled, selected ďJ River Media Center, Wasapi Exlusive ModeĒ in Qobuz Audio Output window. Played a cd quality cd in Qobuz. Cracks, clicks and static noises every second or two. Unusable. Have a modest Windows 10 laptop. Qobuz on its own plays fine at up to 24/192, as does JRiver.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 11:23:15 am »

Just tried the current release of Qobuz (4.0.27-b017) with the latest stable release of J River (24.0.41) WDM enabled, selected ďJ River Media Center, Wasapi Exlusive ModeĒ in Qobuz Audio Output window. Played a cd quality cd in Qobuz. Cracks, clicks and static noises every second or two. Unusable. Have a modest Windows 10 laptop. Qobuz on its own plays fine at up to 24/192, as does J River.

I'm having similar issues with Spotify on Windows 10, but I think it may have to do with other software that is scanning my hard drive (virus, etc).  Will adjust some settings and see if I can change it.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 11:29:37 am »

Just tried the current release of Qobuz (4.0.27-b017) with the latest stable release of J River (24.0.41) WDM enabled, selected ďJ River Media Center, Wasapi Exlusive ModeĒ in Qobuz Audio Output window. Played a cd quality cd in Qobuz. Cracks, clicks and static noises every second or two. Unusable. Have a modest Windows 10 laptop. Qobuz on its own plays fine at up to 24/192, as does J River.
You might need to increase the buffer sizes.
https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/WDM_Driver
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Matt

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 11:41:31 am »

Please try a bigger buffer in Options > Audio > Live playback latency and then report back.  Thanks.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 11:47:45 am »

I just reduced the default format in "JRiver Media Center 24 Properties" (this is the playback device under control panel > sound > right click on jriver media center 24 playback device > properties > advanced) to 16 bit, 44100 Hz and all the crackling/pops stopped.  Going to 16 bit, 192000 Hz and the crackling/pops are still missing.

At 24 bit 44100 Hz The crackling/pops are still missing.
At 24 bit, 96000 Hz the crackling/pops come back.
At 24 bit, 192000 Hz... I'm not hearing crackling/pops again?

I don't know if incrementally increasing it fixed it or if some background software stopped scanning my system.

Just went back to 24 bit, 96000 and the crackling/pops came back. 
Then went to 24 bit, 192000 and the crackling/pops are back.

It appears that if I start at 24 bit/44.1 and then I go to 24/96, followed by 24/192, it sounds good.

Went to 24/44.1 now I hear pops and crackles.
Go to 24/96 - now there are none!
Go to 24/192 - and now it sounds good.

It appears this has more to do with how the system or software handles switching between output formats than a specific system limitation.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 11:51:20 am »

It appears this has more to do with how the system or software handles switching between output formats than a specific system limitation.
What is the sound device that MC is playing to?  Can you try another? 

We've seen DAC's that didn't switch formats happily.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2018, 12:41:47 pm »

Please try a bigger buffer in Options > Audio > Live playback latency and then report back.  Thanks.

Tried all buffer sizes up to and including 500msec. (With the output buffer at the recommended). Also tried a fair few different output and input buffer sizes. No significant change. Cracklings sounds, rice crispie noises, like muted scratches or loose connections. I should add that this occurs also when playing back from Qobuz locally cached files, so internet issues can probably be discounted.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 12:54:46 pm »

Try the output buffer as well.

What format are the Qobuz files exactly?

What are you playing them to?
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 12:58:37 pm »

Try the output buffer as well.

As I said in my previous post, I have ďtried a fair few output and input buffer sizes.Ē I havenít tried all possible combinations, probably about a half, but didnít get the sense that I was altering anything significantly. No pair of settings made the issue worse or better.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2018, 01:02:47 pm »

The format?

This is worth reading carefully (from above):

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,116637.msg806236.html#msg806236
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2018, 01:16:39 pm »

Tried all buffer sizes up to and including 500msec. (With the output buffer at the recommended). Also tried a fair few different output and input buffer sizes. No significant change. Cracklings sounds, rice crispie noises, like muted scratches or loose connections. I should add that this occurs also when playing back from Qobuz locally cached files, so internet issues can probably be discounted.

It's a Schitt Fulla 2, I don't have anything else to test at the moment.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2018, 01:22:03 pm »

File format?

Try any other audio output from the PC.
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DJLegba

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2018, 01:25:33 pm »

It's a Schitt Fulla 2, I don't have anything else to test at the moment.

You could test with a playlist including different sampling rates within MC (not going through the WDM). My exaSound e22 handles sample rate changes perfectly, but I can make the WDM produce the crackles when the WDM setup doesn't match the source file.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2018, 02:10:55 pm »

Try the output buffer as well.

What format are the Qobuz files exactly?

What are you playing them to?

Donít know what format Qobuz files are, I am attempting to play them to a Chord DAC. No problems whatsoever playing them straight to my DAC from the Qobuz app, or indeed from the Qobuz plugin and my Squeezebox Touch.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2018, 02:49:40 pm »

You said you could play them from your local machine.
I should add that this occurs also when playing back from Qobuz locally cached files, so internet issues can probably be discounted.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2018, 02:57:15 pm »

Donít know what format Qobuz files are, I am attempting to play them to a Chord DAC. No problems whatsoever playing them straight to my DAC from the Qobuz app, or indeed from the Qobuz plugin and my Squeezebox Touch.

Testing with FLAC files playing within MC I can't get the pops and clicks to happen no matter how often I change the rates or what I change them to.  These files vary from 885 to 1017 for bitrate.

Now trying the same with 2116 wave files, no cracks or pops at any setting.  MP3 at 192 and 320 sounds fine too.  The odd thing is when I change it for Spotify, it has to pause the music, and then stagger back.  Songs from within MC just keep playing like I didn't change anything.

Just went to spotify and the pops/crackles are back.  At 24/192 again.  I would venture this problem only impacts audio coming from external audio sources streaming through the WDM driver, versus sound files played through MC.  I just tested some music from youtube and I'm seeing the same thing, so it doesn't appear isolated to spotify (I'd imagine the same is happening to Tidal and other services).
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Hendrik

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2018, 03:19:19 pm »

So is the problem only with 24-bit? Not with 16-bit? Even with high sample rates?
I wonder if we shouldn't be using 24-in-32 like most other WASAPI devices, while it does increase the data bandwidth again, using 32-bit/4-bytes is much more efficient on the CPU then 24-bit/3-bytes.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2018, 03:40:39 pm »

So is the problem only with 24-bit? Not with 16-bit? Even with high sample rates?
I wonder if we shouldn't be using 24-in-32 like most other WASAPI devices, while it does increase the data bandwidth again, using 32-bit/4-bytes is much more efficient on the CPU then 24-bit/3-bytes.

I will try to force the issue with 16 bit and let you know how it goes.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2018, 03:48:57 pm »

I will try to force the issue with 16 bit and let you know how it goes.

At 16/44.1, there were almost no pops from youtube or spotify.  At 16/196, there were pops.  I'm back to 24/196 and there are still some pops.  I'm guessing this is caused by the upsampling of whatever youtube and spotify are putting out, as I hear no problems at all with local media flac/wav files.  I will turn off "play from memory" and see if that changes anything.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2018, 03:52:54 pm »

Memory playback (turned off) didn't change anything.  So to sum up the problem:

external sound sources stutter and pop unless the WDM driver is set to 16/44.1.

Please let me know if you want me to test anything else, software, settings, etc.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2018, 03:57:27 pm »

Thanks for your help pinning down the details.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2018, 04:34:21 pm »

You said you could play them from your local machine.

I donít understand the point you are making. I get stuttering from Qobuz through WDM whether or not I stream directly from Qobuz using the internet, or play a Qobuz file offline from the Qobuz local cache. All I was trying to point out is that the issue I experience is independent of Qobuz being connected to the internet, in case you thought that that could be the problem. MC is fine playing my own rips. The  Qobuz app is fine playing either from the cloud or itís local cache direct to my DAC. LMS has no problems doing the same through my Squeezebox Touch. Putting WDM in between Qobuz and my DAC doesnít work, at a wide range of buffer settings in MC.

The advantage of WDM for me would be that I wouldnít have to kill the Qobuz process when I wanted to use J River and vice versa, as each take exclusive control of the driver. But I should also say that it is increasingly the case that I just stay in Qobuz; chances are itíll have a copy of one of my own rips anyway, often in higher resolution than the cd from which I made my rip.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2018, 04:53:19 pm »

I donít understand the point you are making. I get stuttering from Qobuz through WDM whether or not I stream directly from Qobuz using the internet, or play a Qobuz file offline from the Qobuz local cache. All I was trying to point out is that the issue I experience is independent of Qobuz being connected to the internet, in case you thought that that could be the problem. MC is fine playing my own rips. The  Qobuz app is fine playing either from the cloud or itís local cache direct to my DAC. LMS has no problems doing the same through my Squeezebox Touch. Putting WDM in between Qobuz and my DAC doesnít work, at a wide range of buffer settings in MC.

The advantage of WDM for me would be that I wouldnít have to kill the Qobuz process when I wanted to use J River and vice versa, as each take exclusive control of the driver. But I should also say that it is increasingly the case that I just stay in Qobuz; chances are itíll have a copy of one of my own rips anyway, often in higher resolution than the cd from which I made my rip.

Try setting the WDM driver to 16/44.1.  That fixed the stutter/pops on external sources for me.  All sound internal to JRiver (including Radio Paradise and Radio JRiver) are working fine at 24/192 on my system.  External stuff like Spotify and youtube does not.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2018, 07:53:16 am »

Try setting the WDM driver to 16/44.1.  That fixed the stutter/pops on external sources for me.  All sound internal to JRiver (including Radio Paradise and Radio JRiver) are working fine at 24/192 on my system.  External stuff like Spotify and youtube does not.

Thanks for the suggestion, just tried it but still get scratches and clicks playing from Qobuz to J River.

I very much hope that as Qobuz is launching in the US in the fall JRiver will take more interest in it and look at integrating it properly with MC and, dare I hope, JRemote. It is a brilliant, high-quality service. As game-changing as ripping your cds was all those years ago.  I am sure if JRiver reached out, Qobuz would give them a subscription to play with so that they could be prepared for the launch. If Audirvana can manage Qobuz integration, I am sure the Saturday boy at JRiver could do it better in a spare afternoon.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2018, 08:19:24 am »

I am sure if J River reached out, Qobuz would give them a subscription to play with so that they could be prepared for the launch. If Audirvana can manage Qobuz integration, I am sure the Saturday boy at J River could do it better in a spare afternoon...

It's never that simple. Do a search of the forums about Tidal and the situation that happened there. History could very well repeat itself if JRiver added Qobuz integration.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2018, 08:29:13 am »

You might read this:

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,115480.msg806463.html#msg806463

We've done more than 10 such integrations. Few still exist.  They don't make money.

We can't afford to bet on struggling businesses

Spotify, for example, loses about 15 cents on every dollar of sales.  JRiver could do better by selling $100 bills for $90.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2018, 08:37:33 am »

It's never that simple. Do a search of the forums about Tidal and the situation that happened there. History could very well repeat itself if JRiver added Qobuz integration.

Iím familiar with the history of JRiver and Tidal. Qobuz is a different company than Tidal, with different values and different people. Surely investigating integration is worth a few emails and a bit of messing around?  Qobuz is well thought of in Europe, and has survived some tricky times financially. I am sure it will take off in the States. I am sure JRiver could make a fantastic job of the interface.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2018, 08:41:26 am »

I've talked with Qobuz a couple of times and been to see them. I like them. I just can't justify spending $50,000 in order to help them lose more money.
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AndyU

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2018, 08:45:54 am »

I've talked with Qobuz a couple of times and been to see them. I like them. I just can't justify spending $50,000 in order to help them lose more money.

Fair enough, Canít ask for more, (but I probably will).
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2018, 01:22:46 pm »

Fair enough, Canít ask for more, (but I probably will).

I may have fixed everything on my end.  Here is what I had to do:

My DAC only supports up to 24/96.  I have it set for that.

I changed the JRiver WDM settings in Windows Control Panel/Sound to 24/96 and haven't heard any clicks/pops since.  If your DAC supports 24/192, and you set your WDM driver for 24/192, I think the clicks and pops will go away for you.

Short version:  Make sure WDM and your DAC/output are set to the same setting.
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dtc

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #36 on: July 13, 2018, 04:26:06 pm »

I think that only works if you turn off Exclusive Mode which means that the Windows Mixer converts everything to 24/96. With Tidal turning off exclusive mode means you only get 16/44 output, which Windows Mixer then converts to 24/96. That is not the high res you want from Tidal. If you want 16/44 you can just turn off MQA in Tidal and WDM works fine.

WDM seems to work with some 24/96 and not with other, like Tidal and, I believe Qobuz, high res.
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macallan18

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2018, 04:33:57 pm »

I think that only works if you turn off Exclusive Mode which means that the Windows Mixer converts everything to 24/96. With Tidal turning off exclusive mode means you only get 16/44 output, which Windows Mixer then converts to 24/96. That is not the high res you want from Tidal. If you want 16/44 you can just turn off MQA in Tidal and WDM works fine.

WDM seems to work with some 24/96 and not with other, like Tidal and, I believe Qobuz, high res.

Is Tidal putting out 24/192, or 24/96 when set for MQA?
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dtc

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2018, 04:39:49 pm »

Is Tidal putting out 24/192, or 24/96 when set for MQA?l

Decoded MQA comes out of the Tidal app as 24/88 or 24/96, usually 24/96, but only if exclusive mode is used. If exclusive mode is not enabled, then the output is 16/44.
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kimschips81

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #39 on: July 20, 2018, 01:47:40 pm »

Why should you only get 16/44 when turning off exclusive mode, is that only when wdm driver is selected and set for 16/44 in windows right?
Else it gets no meaning to stream master recordings in Tidal?
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dtc

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2018, 02:31:20 pm »

That is the way Tidal works. Without Exclusive Mode, Tidal only outputs 16/44. There is no reason for it to output 24/96 if the Windows mixer is going to take over and modify the signal. With exclusive mode set, Tidal is assured that the 24/96 signal gets to the DAC (or WDM in this case) unmodified.  In addition, if Tidal is sending undecoded MQA directly to a DAC it needs to be sure that the signal is not modified by the mixer. That requires exclusive mode.

You can try it for yourself with WDM. Audio Path will tell you what the input sample rate is. Try Tidal with and without exclusive mode set. Or, if your DAC tells you the sample rate it is receiving, go direct from Tidal to the DAC with and without exclusive mode and see what the DAC is receiving.


EDIT: Let me correct this. Since the Windows Mixer takes over, you can not tell exactly what Tidal is putting out in non-exclusive mode. However, by most accounts, when in non-exclusive mode, Tidal does not output decoded MQA. But, I would need to find a definitive reference on that.

Remember, the main goal of MQA is to get the MQA signal to the MQA DAC, something that will not happen if the mixer modifies the signal.
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kimschips81

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #41 on: July 27, 2018, 12:42:44 pm »

Is it possible for the team behind JRiver to test with streaming master files 24/96 or 24/192khz in exclusive mode to jriver wdm and then measure/ performe analysis so we can see where stuttering problems comming from?? Please

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Manfred

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2018, 06:12:10 am »

I played different Tidal "Master" and "MQA" tracks today . I had no issues. Anna Netrebko sounds wonderfull.

My Test Environment:

Desktop PC in my Home Office: i7-4770T, 8GB DDR 1600 CL9 memory; Audio Output via USB to Logitech Active Stereo Speakers, CPU Utilization ~8%, Total Memory Utilization~4GB (8 GB installed), latest MC Version.


In the Tidal Streaming Properties: Use MQA Software Decoding: Enabled; Audio Output: MC WDM Driver

I also followed "Awesome Donkey" Antivirus guidelines for running MC on a Windows 10 PC.
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2018, 06:40:53 am »

And this was with Tidal masters at 24/96 and/or 24/192? Interesting.
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Manfred

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2018, 07:09:26 am »

Media Center shows: input 192 kHz 24 bit

I have also tested it using Devialet AIR as Output instead of local Logitech Speakers. This means
PC->Router->Lan Bridge->Ö->WLAN Bridge->Switch->Devialet D220 Pro.

No issues. CPU utilization increases to 10-11%.
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JimH

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2018, 07:30:05 am »

Hendrik is looking at this right now. Here's what he's found so far.

"- WASAPI Event-driven mode does not work properly with the WDM driver, resulting in audible issues. I assume this is what TIDAL etc are using.

"- Increasing the buffer size in the driver has no impact on the glitches

"- Using the driver in DirectSound shared mode, no matter the configured rate, seems to be pretty stable for me."
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dtc

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2018, 07:52:06 am »

Media Center shows: input 192 kHz 24 bit

I have also tested it using Devialet AIR as Output instead of local Logitech Speakers. This means
PC->Router->Lan Bridge->Ö->WLAN Bridge->Switch->Devialet D220 Pro.

No issues. CPU utilization increases to 10-11%.

If MC shows 192 KHz input, you may not be using exclusive mode and Windows may be upsampling to 192 KHz.  Software decoding of MQA usually produces 88KHz or 96 KHz. Check to see if  Exclusive Mode is set in the Tidal settings.  If not, turn on Exclusive Mode and see what you get.
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Manfred

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2018, 07:57:58 am »

As a comparison:

I personally must not use the WDM Driver - I can directly use Devialet AIR (WASAPI) as Audio output in Tidal. That works for me also perfect. But that's a special feature of my Devialet.
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Manfred

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2018, 07:59:18 am »

Exclusive Mode in Tidal is enabled.
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dtc

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Re: Stuttering with WDM and MQA
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2018, 08:01:35 am »

What album?

EDIT: The only Masters album I found was the Puccini one.  For me it plays back at 96 KHz and stutters badly. If you are getting 192 KHz, I think something is upsampling between Tidal and WDM.
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