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Author Topic: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers  (Read 5021 times)

Mike48

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Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« on: February 07, 2019, 07:10:15 pm »

I'm using MC 24.0.72 (64 bit) under Windows 7. It works beautifully in ordinary operation (driving a DAC with the correct ASIO driver).

Now, I have a Qobuz subscription and am trying to use MC's ASIO or WASAPI (WDM?) drivers to route sound from the Qobuz Windows application through MC. The idea is to use MC for DSP, including volume control.

Qobuz works fine straight to the DAC, but when using MC, there are issues:

Using MC ASIO:  Qobuz crashes, MC freezes (and needs to be closed with Task Manager).
Using MC WASPI: Sometimes no sound, but usually seems to work OK, except everything is resampled to 44.1 kHz.
Using MC WASAPI: Everything resampled as above. Also, sometimes, there is a regular stutter at about 8x/second.

Does anyone have suggestions for getting these to work correctly? And I don't mean to be snarky, but do the drivers work correctly for anyone other than MC's developers?  Over the years (and MC versions), I have tried and abandoned using these drivers several times because of similar problems.
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Manfred

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 03:14:44 am »

You must use the WDM driver and configure it under Windows as the Windows Standard driver. That works for me.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 02:24:47 am »

You must use the WDM driver and configure it under Windows as the Windows Standard driver. That works for me.

Unfortunately, Qobuz doesn't offer as a choice "default driver" or "Windows Standard driver" for output. As entries under JRiver Media Center 24, it offers Wasapi, Wasapi (Exclusive mode), and Direct Sound. (I have turned off the ASIO driver, which I've never been able to get working.)

Of the options, Wasapi resamples everything to a default rate (with the resampling, I believe, done by Windows -- ugh!); Wasapi (Exclusive mode) stutters, and Direct Sound I have always been told is an inferior way to move audio around.

Does JRiver have any plans to get these drivers working more reliably? Based on my experiences with them, I would categorize them as broken since introduction.
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JimH

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 02:56:54 am »

There's no problem with JRiver WDM.  It is not "broken" in any way.

The wiki topic on WDM is probably worth reading again.

Set up MC audio and chose a device to play to first.  Make sure it plays reliably from MC itself.

Make sure WDM is active in MC and reboot.

In Windows control Panel set audio to JRiver WDM.

Buffers may need to be set.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 12:56:02 pm »

Hi Jim & thanks for the information.

You and I disagree on what "broken" means. When I can't get something to work (for years), and when I ask, no single user outside JRiver itself volunteers that they have got it to work completely satisfactorily, I call it "broken." I have been programming computers since 1966 and have programmed scientific software in several languages; I am the guy that others in our audio club call for advice on getting software to run for USB and network audio. Does that make me smarter than you or the other developers? Absolutely not! However, it does make me a well-experienced and informed consumer, and probably one with more patience than most. You are selling a consumer product, and I think if a well-informed consumer can't get a feature to work without an immense struggle, it is broken.

What would be not broken?  MC's detecting a problem with buffers and trying some combinations automatically to find out what works -- if indeed buffers are the source of the problems. Your instructions say to try all combinations of input and output buffers. That is 35 combinations, which is the sort of idea I thought went out of favor along with vendors' routinely telling users to reinstall Windows.

I've tried six or seven combinations without success. When I have an afternoon off, I'll try all 35 and let you know whether any of them works. Maybe in the meantime, someone at your end might think about how this feature could be improved -- for the sake of your users. It is in theory a super-useful feature, which is what makes it so aggravating when one can't get it to work.
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swiv3d

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 03:28:21 pm »

Funnily enough I have been programming computers since 1970, and my WDM driver works fine and the amazing thing is that no computer programming was required to get it working. Just install the wdm driver, set it as the default audio device in windows sound settings and Bob's your uncle.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 04:28:18 pm »

@swiv3d: I'm glad to hear it works for you. That's a data point I didn't have before.

Let me ask, is that with a variety of bit depths and sampling rates? Or just, say, for DVDs? And are you sure the material is not being resampled by Windows? I ask because I remember someone in this thread's saying that it only worked for them with single-rate files (i.e., 44 or 48). However, either that comment was edited away or I read it somewhere else.

The computer in question works perfectly with hundreds of other programs and drivers, including with 5 or more DACs and their ASIO drivers, scanners, printers, WaveLab and other audio programs, compilers, graphics programs, and so on. It has never failed any system tests I've run on it.

As to adjusting buffers, I took 45 minutes and tried all 35 combinations and found no combination that would work (on a file at 88.2 kHz) without stuttering. In the original thread on these drivers are reports from other users with similar problems.

As of now, the solutions I can think of are (1) get a new computer and hope the feature works there, or (2) buy a DAC-preamp with its own DSP and abandon using the excellent DSP in MC. Anyone?
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DJLegba

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 05:07:44 pm »

I may have missed it, but did you uncheck the WDM option, restart MC, check the WDM option, and restart again to make sure you have the latest WDM driver? I seldom use it, but I was experimenting the other day and it wasn't stuttering. It used to, when everyone else was complaining about stuttering.
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swiv3d

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2019, 05:34:40 pm »

The WDM driver correctly installed is completely isolated from the windows audio system. Audio info is collected directly by the WDM driver and piped through to JRiver MC in which you select your desired ouput device (but not the JRiver audio device as this would create something of an infinite loop!) and you can apply whatever DSP settings you like to it. However Qobuz isn't supported by JRiver as far as I know.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 06:07:55 pm »

I may have missed it, but did you uncheck the WDM option, restart MC, check the WDM option, and restart again to make sure you have the latest WDM driver? I seldom use it, but I was experimenting the other day and it wasn't stuttering. It used to, when everyone else was complaining about stuttering.

Thanks for this suggestion. I had not done it; I did it; it didn't make a difference, at least with the recommended buffer values.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 06:09:58 pm »

... Qobuz isn't supported by JRiver as far as I know.

Thanks for the comment. Though Qobuz isn't supported, wouldn't sending Qobuz output to the JRiver driver be presumed to work?
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2019, 06:17:20 pm »

I've been testing with double-rate (88.2 kHz, 96 kHz) or quad-rate (192 kHz) audio, as that's a lot of what Qobuz supplies. I just tried with Redbook-quality audio, and the WDM driver seemed to work pretty well. So the issue I am having seem related to playing higher-sampling-rates files only.

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swiv3d

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2019, 06:18:55 pm »

In theory, if a straight converted stream of data is being output from the qobuz app to the dac, then I would expect the wdm driver to pick this up and transfer it without a problem. Personally qobuz isn't one of my apps, I can only say that any high def straight stream I have used works fine. We probably need some qobuz enthusiasts to join the conversation!
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Awesome Donkey

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2019, 06:25:22 pm »

Hmmm. Doesn't MC use a 'different' WDM driver for Windows 7/8? Looking in the Drivers folder where MC is installed, I see drivers for Windows 8 (and presuming 7 too) and Windows 10. Not sure if the fixes the WDM driver got apply to both the Windows 8 and 10 drivers or not (though I would assume they do). Also not sure what the difference between the two drivers is besides I believe how they're signed - I do know the Windows 10 driver (haven't looked at the 8 driver) is signed with an extended validation certificate so it works with secure boot being enabled with Windows 10.
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RoderickGI

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2019, 09:41:35 pm »

I am able to produce a little bit of stuttering at the beginning of a track when playing from Groove to MC via the WDM.

That is because Groove does not support Exclusive Mode, and so is playing in Shared Mode. That means that the Windows (audio) kernel mixer is remixing the audio track from whatever the source is to the format set on the Advanced tab in the Properties dialogue of the "JRiver Media Center 25" (the WDM) device. Because Groove outputs in Shared Mode, the Exclusive Mode settings on that Advanced tab have no effect, and Windows remixes to the format specified in the "Default Format" box.

The stuttering comes from the Windows (audio) kernel mixer. I was playing stereo tracks with WDM Speaker Setup set to stereo. I was able to produce various degrees of stuttering by changing the target format in the "Default Format" box. I checked what MC was receiving using the "Audio Path" dialogue in MC, and it showed the format changes I made in the "Default Format" box.


Mike48, you say in your first post that "everything is resampled to 44.1 kHz", which means that you are outputting from Qobuz in Shared Mode, and that you have the WDM Properties "Default Format" set to 44.1KHz. Change the output format from Qobuz to WASAPI Exclusive Mode, as it seems to be capable of that, according to Qobuz: https://www.qobuz.com/nl-nl/info/qobuz-vous/the-playback-modes-of-desktop179419

Also, note that even Qobuz had problems outputting in WASAPI Exclusive Mode to "Devialet Air". Quote: "We have thus tried (but wed already checked this functionality without having any problem) and the fact is that Wasapi Exclusive on the Qobuz application also caused problems for us" and offered no solution in this page https://www.qobuz.com/ie-en/info/qobuz-vous/wasapi-exclusive-mode-and-devialet179588  Now that was in 2017, so it may have been fixed by now, but it seems at the time that Qobuz was having problems with outputting Exclusive Mode. However, it should work better with the JRiver WDM, as the audio will be untouched by the Windows (audio) kernel mixer.

I didn't research further on Qobuz, because I can't get it here in Australia, and while I might have via a VPN, and might have tried their trial if I did, I think you need to change your output setting and test again before I would even consider that, and perhaps you should also research a bit if Qobuz fixed their issues with Exclusive Mode.

Good luck!  8)
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What specific version of MC you are running:MC27.0.27 @ Oct 27, 2020 and updating regularly Jim!                        MC Release Notes: https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Release_Notes
What OS(s) and Version you are running:     Windows 10 Pro 64bit Version 2004 (OS Build 19041.572).
The JRMark score of the PC with an issue:    JRMark (version 26.0.52 64 bit): 3419
Important relevant info about your environment:     
  Using the HTPC as a MC Server & a Workstation as a MC Client plus some DLNA clients.
  Running JRiver for Android, JRemote2, Gizmo, & MO 4Media on a Sony Xperia XZ Premium Android 9.
  Playing video out to a Sony 65" TV connected via HDMI, playing digital audio out via motherboard sound card, PCIe TV tuner

RoderickGI

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2019, 10:03:54 pm »

By the way, I assume you are using the Qobuz desktop App?

It had troubles with WASAPI Exclusive Mode as late as January 6th 2019. Just a month ago. https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/qobuz-music-streaming-discussion-and-news.762960/page-5 Search the page for "Exclusive".

I see you are in America. Are you trialling the Qobuz beta, or has it gone mainstream?


"But they do have significant problems with the Windows 64 bit app." https://forum.psaudio.com/t/wsapi-vs-asio-driver/8952/5
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What specific version of MC you are running:MC27.0.27 @ Oct 27, 2020 and updating regularly Jim!                        MC Release Notes: https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Release_Notes
What OS(s) and Version you are running:     Windows 10 Pro 64bit Version 2004 (OS Build 19041.572).
The JRMark score of the PC with an issue:    JRMark (version 26.0.52 64 bit): 3419
Important relevant info about your environment:     
  Using the HTPC as a MC Server & a Workstation as a MC Client plus some DLNA clients.
  Running JRiver for Android, JRemote2, Gizmo, & MO 4Media on a Sony Xperia XZ Premium Android 9.
  Playing video out to a Sony 65" TV connected via HDMI, playing digital audio out via motherboard sound card, PCIe TV tuner

Hendrik

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2019, 02:55:35 am »

WDM exclusive mode at least works decently with Tidal, with changing bit depth and sample rates as well. Haven't personally tested Qobuz.
The only known "issue" is a possible minimal stuttering at the start of playback, which can be defeated by playing with the WDM buffering settings - although those are not fully exposed to users yet.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2019, 01:26:04 pm »

Thanks to RoderickGI and Hendrik for useful answers. Much appreciated.

My report of resampling in Exclusive Mode was in error. A release labeled 96 kHz by Qobuz was actually streaming at 44.1 kHz, which led me to think it was being resampled. So the the problem I'm experiencing in Exclusive Mode is only the persistent stuttering. Apologies for misunderstandings caused by my not clearing that up sooner.

I am on the Qobuz beta in the US, using the desktop application. They have not yet gone to general release.

I am familiar with the stuttering Hendrik mentioned in connection with Tidal.

I'll contact Qobuz to get their take on compatibility with JRiver drivers.
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RoderickGI

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2019, 04:02:51 pm »

I'll contact Qobuz to get their take on compatibility with JRiver drivers.

Excellent. Please report back how that goes. These sorts of questions come up again and again, so it is good to know and share the answers.

BTW, if you investigated those threads I posted, or searched for answers yourself, you would have seen that there was another application capable of streaming from Qobuz that wasn't having stuttering problems. If you were to trial that application and test with the MC WDM the results would be interesting.

Also, I did test the WDM receiving WASAPI Exclusive Mode from foobar, at 24/96, just to confirm my understanding. It also suffered stuttering at the beginning of playback. I didn't try to tune that out with buffers though, as I was just interested to see what the WDM did.
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What specific version of MC you are running:MC27.0.27 @ Oct 27, 2020 and updating regularly Jim!                        MC Release Notes: https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Release_Notes
What OS(s) and Version you are running:     Windows 10 Pro 64bit Version 2004 (OS Build 19041.572).
The JRMark score of the PC with an issue:    JRMark (version 26.0.52 64 bit): 3419
Important relevant info about your environment:     
  Using the HTPC as a MC Server & a Workstation as a MC Client plus some DLNA clients.
  Running JRiver for Android, JRemote2, Gizmo, & MO 4Media on a Sony Xperia XZ Premium Android 9.
  Playing video out to a Sony 65" TV connected via HDMI, playing digital audio out via motherboard sound card, PCIe TV tuner

RoderickGI

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2019, 04:15:04 pm »

Quick separate but related question for you Hendrik if you would.

The WDM reports that it supports Bit Depths of 16bit, but in my testing also supported 24bit sent to it in Exclusive mode from a 24/96 file, but foobar wouldn't play the same file in 32bit sent to the WDM. Foobar could play the same file directly to speakers in 32bit.

So the question: What Bit Depths will the WDM actually accept in Exclusive Mode?

This is relevant for any player that can set the output format to 32bit, if it is used as a source playing to the WDM.
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What specific version of MC you are running:MC27.0.27 @ Oct 27, 2020 and updating regularly Jim!                        MC Release Notes: https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Release_Notes
What OS(s) and Version you are running:     Windows 10 Pro 64bit Version 2004 (OS Build 19041.572).
The JRMark score of the PC with an issue:    JRMark (version 26.0.52 64 bit): 3419
Important relevant info about your environment:     
  Using the HTPC as a MC Server & a Workstation as a MC Client plus some DLNA clients.
  Running JRiver for Android, JRemote2, Gizmo, & MO 4Media on a Sony Xperia XZ Premium Android 9.
  Playing video out to a Sony 65" TV connected via HDMI, playing digital audio out via motherboard sound card, PCIe TV tuner

Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2019, 06:07:38 pm »


BTW, if you investigated those threads I posted or searched for answers yourself, you would have seen that there was another application capable of streaming from Qobuz that wasn't having stuttering problems. If you were to trial that application and test with the MC WDM the results would be interesting.

I did investigate them, but I'm not sure what you mean. I went back and browsed the threads again, and I still am missing that specific point. Can you be more specific? 

Also, I did test the WDM receiving WASAPI Exclusive Mode from foobar, at 24/96, just to confirm my understanding. It also suffered stuttering at the beginning of playback. I didn't try to tune that out with buffers though, as I was just interested to see what the WDM did.

Not a surprise to me. Thanks for confirming that they stutter.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2019, 12:56:08 am »

Updates (sort of):

A question was raised earlier (by RoderickGI) about bit depths. The DAC I have on loan displays bit depth. When Qobuz streams directly to the DAC, it shows 32 bit. I would assume, then, that Qobuz sends 32-bit via the WDM driver, too. (I suppose this is increased from the source 24 bits to give better volume control.)

A tech from Qobuz told me he would try their desktop app with JRiver Media Center. I haven't heard back yet.

If someone at JRiver is willing to running Qobuz through the WDM drivers, that would be helpful -- especially if it could be tried under Windows 7. If there is a way to make this work, I would like to know that. I am done troubleshooting it (e.g., by loading other programs to compare) for now. I just don't have time for that now. Maybe another time.
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Mike48

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Re: Troubles trying Media Center's ASIO and WASAPI drivers
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2019, 12:45:59 pm »

I thought I'd tie this thread up by saying how it all came out. The main points:

  • I never was able to get the JRiver drivers to work with Qobuz output as expected.
  • Neither JRiver nor Qobuz provided suggestions that worked, nor did either company show interest in testing the two products together.
  • I thank other users for their suggestions. I tried many, but not those needing additional software for testing. Forgive me!
  • When I made an upgrade in my main system, a preamp with PEQ was freed up, and now I'm using it in the system with Qobuz and JRiver.
  • Since I am using hardware PEQ, I can achieve my objective without any more attempts to get the JRiver drivers working in my application.

Again, thanks to all who tried to help with this decidedly non-trivial issue.
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