Crackling audio output


Recently I’ve been experiencing crackling sounds during playback in Dorico Pro 3.1 on Windows 10. This happens both during MIDI input through a USB keyboard and during playback of a composition. It started when I began using a DAC headphone amp for my headphones a couple days ago. Searching this problem has led me to a thread on this forum which had been answered, and we tried as much of the advice that was given as possible, but the crackling remains. I’d like to provide a long-ish explanation of what we’ve done and what we know to see if anybody has any suggestions.

First off, we’ve verified that the DAC amplifier is on its own USB controller. Someone suggested we try changing the sampling frequency, however we couldn’t find anything labelled sampling frequency, only “sample rate”, and there was only one value for that (we’re using the Generic Low Latency ASIO Driver because it’s the only one that shows the DAC as an output).

Someone else suggested changing the buffer size, so we opened the device control panel and tried increasing the “audio buffer size”. This seemed to fix the crackling, however, it introduced significant latency between a keypress and the generation of sound.

We then started playing with processed priorities, setting both Dorico and VST Audio Engine to “Realtime”. For the better part of a minute it disappeared, but then came back.

There seems to be some different types of USB controllers available on the PC, so we could try moving the DAC to being the only device on a controller to see if it gets better. In general, the PC is only about 30% CPU capacity, so it seems as if it has plenty of power to handle the signal streams.

So that’s pretty much everything we’ve tried, and we’re still running into this problem. Hopefully someone might have some suggestions as to what we can do to eliminate the crackling.

Thanks for reading.

Buffer size and latency are related: increasing one increases the other; but that may be the only solution to the crackling with your existing audio-out setup.

Hi mytho,

have you watched the tutorial video Troubleshooting Playback Issues in Dorico | Support - YouTube , especially the section starting at 7m 10s? How about the MultiCore option in HALion Sonic SE, is that set with you?
Furthermore, you could also try with different ASIO drivers. Have a look on the web for ASIO4All or FlexASIO. They are both for free.
Btw, sample rate and sampling frequency are used interchangeably and mean the same.

Alright, thanks for responding, what do you think I need to change about my setup so that it won’t crackle?

I think you already found it. Whether you can enlarge the buffer to stop the crackling and have acceptable latency may depend whether Ulf’s suggestion work for you.

Hi Ulf,

Unfortunately the performance tweaks I made in HAlion Sonic SE did not make much of a difference if at all,. However, FlexASIO seems to do the trick, so thanks for the advice.

Thank you Ulf and Derrek for helping with this.

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