Audio distortion while streaming. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-18-2019, 02:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Audio distortion while streaming.

Hello, I am new to the forum so I may have this in the wrong area please forgive and move to right area. OK, here is my problem I am trying to reenter the (2) channel audio hobby after 20 years of not having any good equipment or media (records, tapes,etc.). My problem is that while streaming music from any source Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, Music Aficionado, or Tidal. I am hearing what sounds like hissing sound of a slightly miss tuned or low quality fm signal with a very present upper mid range and higher background distortion. My attempts to correct this problem have all failed! At first I thought it was the equipment that I was using, Speakers I have tried Polk RT16's, Ohm Walsh 2's, DCM Timeframe 400"s and couple of other nondescript sets. I have also tried several Amps low powered to higher. Like Marantz 2015, HH Scott A-417, CMS receiver, several Sony A/V receivers and currently a Parasound HCA 1000A with matching PHP-850 preamp none of these changes have helped. The better the equipment the more obvious the distortion! I then attacked the problem from the source side I bought better speaker cables (banana plugs both ends), new interconnects, New Hifimediy UAE23 USB DAC (ESS Sabre) with a same brand USB Isolator. The sound quality seems to have improved but the distortion is even more noticeable. At this point I am about to loose the rest of my gray hair! I beg that someone can give me other options I might have. I forgot to mention two things I have tried wireless and wired no difference, I am downloading @ 60 mbs.
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-18-2019, 02:58 AM
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What do you use as a streamer?
Have you set the streaming services to max quality instead of often a lower bitrate default?
Is everything quiet when on pause?
Is there any source like a cd player that doesnt cause this distortion?
Is your room very bright with a lot of echo?


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post #3 of 16 Old 10-18-2019, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I use an old windows 8 laptop running Win 10 lap top that is my dedicated streaming machine. As stated before this problem has been around from my beginning with streaming. I am not streaming out I am streaming incoming. I have done a lot of things in windows settings, turned off anti virus, shut off firewall, changed power settings and turned off a bunch of background programs. I am running 24 bit / 96000 Hz. Which is the max for the USB DAC sound card max there is no static when it is paused dead silence. yes I have a couple of DVD drives I will test and get back with you. Thank you, I hope we can unravel this mystery.
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-18-2019, 01:33 PM
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Are you using the headphone jack on your old laptop for audio to your stereo? There are very few computers that have a quality analog audio out. If that is the case it is quite possible your laptop that is causing the issue, so no matter what receiver/amplifier or speakers you use you will have this issue.

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post #5 of 16 Old 10-18-2019, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehatche View Post
I use an old windows 8 laptop running Win 10 lap top that is my dedicated streaming machine. As stated before this problem has been around from my beginning with streaming. I am not streaming out I am streaming incoming. I have done a lot of things in windows settings, turned off anti virus, shut off firewall, changed power settings and turned off a bunch of background programs. I am running 24 bit / 96000 Hz. Which is the max for the USB DAC sound card max there is no static when it is paused dead silence. yes I have a couple of DVD drives I will test and get back with you. Thank you, I hope we can unravel this mystery.


If its upsampling everything to 24b/96khz it might be an idea to just let the laptop send the native resolution. But ye test another source.
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-18-2019, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jawaburger View Post
Are you using the headphone jack on your old laptop for audio to your stereo? There are very few computers that have a quality analog audio out. If that is the case it is quite possible your laptop that is causing the issue, so no matter what receiver/amplifier or speakers you use you will have this issue.
Jawaburger, I had already addressed that problem by purchasing a USB DAC along with a USB isolater. those additions did improve sound quality, but did not eliminate the distortion. That is the reason I am here to see if a group of more experienced than myself could have experienced or knows of someone who has, and hopefully found a solution to this mystery. Thanks!
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-24-2019, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Leeliemix View Post
What do you use as a streamer?
Have you set the streaming services to max quality instead of often a lower bitrate default?
Is everything quiet when on pause?
Is there any source like a cd player that doesnt cause this distortion?
Is your room very bright with a lot of echo?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I am using Tidal streaming paying for best quality, I have 60mbs download DSL.
Everything is quiet on pause.
I connected an old er DVD player and it sounded fine no background noise.
Room not too bright!
Update I have purchased new cables mini plug to RCA, replaced all interconnects with new, bought a power conditioner power strip, had already replaced old bare wire 12 gauge with 14 gauge w/banana plugs. At this point I am about to pull out my hair! any more suggestions? Could it be a problem with my modem router? I have tried wired and wireless same result.
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post #8 of 16 Old 10-24-2019, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehatche View Post
I am using Tidal streaming paying for best quality, I have 60mbs download DSL.

Everything is quiet on pause.

I connected an old er DVD player and it sounded fine no background noise.

Room not too bright!

Update I have purchased new cables mini plug to RCA, replaced all interconnects with new, bought a power conditioner power strip, had already replaced old bare wire 12 gauge with 14 gauge w/banana plugs. At this point I am about to pull out my hair! any more suggestions? Could it be a problem with my modem router? I have tried wired and wireless same result.


It sounds like the PC might be the problem if CD is fine. Try the CD in the PC drive and check. Its possible you have some wrong setting, i hope you turned off upsampling/forced sample rate in the computer. If there is some windows settings that are not right im not really able to help, havent spent time with my pc for a few years now so its been a while since i last did any PC sound settings.


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post #9 of 16 Old 10-24-2019, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Leeliemix View Post
It sounds like the PC might be the problem if CD is fine. Try the CD in the PC drive and check. Its possible you have some wrong setting, i hope you turned off upsampling/forced sample rate in the computer. If there is some windows settings that are not right im not really able to help, havent spent time with my pc for a few years now so its been a while since i last did any PC sound settings.


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I am running windows 10, I have followed a guide I found on line to shut down a lot of the background stuff, removed Anti virus, shut down windows defender. I followed all the instructions the best I could. although I do not recall turning off upsampling/forced sample rate! I will check on line to see instructions Thanks.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-25-2019, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
I will check on line to see instructions
Nope, if you want to play everything at is native sample rate, you need to bypass the Win audio stack.
You can do so using any media player e.g. MusicBee, Foobar, etc supporting WASAPI.
I doubt if this will cure the problem but bypassing the win audio stack is not a bad idea.

Assuming you are using a USB DAC, you might check a couple of settings: http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.c...in7/USBDAC.htm

If possible, try another USB port, maybe even a powered hub to see if this helps.
Best method to isolate the problem is using any other USB source e.g. another PC, a smartphone driving the DAC.

The symptoms give me the feeling that it is a CRC error so something inside the laptop affecting the USB.
But it remains a bit of guesswork: http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.c...SB_Trouble.htm
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post #11 of 16 Old 10-28-2019, 05:45 PM
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Undoubtedly the problem is with the hardware and/or software on your PC. While you are trying the other suggestions here, why not download the Tidal app on your smartphone and enjoy excellent sound through the headphone output directly to the amplifier.
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post #12 of 16 Old 10-28-2019, 07:17 PM
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Dumb question but is your USB shielded? Some USB 2.0 ports are which makes the good for sound. Almost no USB 3.0 ports are though so don't think an upgrade will be an improvement.
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post #13 of 16 Old 10-28-2019, 08:28 PM
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Try another laptop. Borrow one from a friend if you have to. You'll know for sure if your laptop or not.
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post #14 of 16 Old 11-01-2019, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone's suggestions. I would like to add that I have tried using a Linux based O/S (Zorin 15) on a different computer a (Dell desktop) and the sound quality was much better than the windows 10 laptop (it still had distortion but to a lesser degree!) but without using the USB sound card on either. This was done before the sound card was added to the laptop. I am going to try an experiment first of the week, to set the desktop back up and connect the USB soundcard and stream spotify to see if there are improvements. I probably will not be able to stream Tidal because it uses an app. I can run Spotify through a browser in Zorin but you have to use app's not compatible with Linux based systems for most other streams.
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post #15 of 16 Old 11-01-2019, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ditcho View Post
Undoubtedly the problem is with the hardware and/or software on your PC. While you are trying the other suggestions here, why not download the Tidal app on your smartphone and enjoy excellent sound through the headphone output directly to the amplifier.
Excellent idea, if I owned one. I use a dumb wireless because I don't want to be addicted to it like most people become. I am addicted to the computer as it is! LOL
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post #16 of 16 Old 11-03-2019, 07:40 AM
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I am using Linux on my Lenovo Tiny PC with Solus OS and do not have any distortion issues at all. I also use NAD Wireless USB DAC 2 that’s connected via USB to my Lenovo and the other box is connected to my pre-amplifier. At the beginning the sound was okay but after sometime the sound did improve a lot (I guess burn-in effect). Also on Solus OS I installed Spotify app from their software repository and works amazing. I can also control App from my iPad or iPhone or Android phone. Everything works as it should ie. skip, changing the album, search function, etc.

Also depending on the player I am using I can specify what to use directly, speak, I can stream from player directly to NAD DAC but also using different connection for my PC output (this works only for music saved on hard drive but not for streaming) and sending the output to my Fostex small Studio Monitors. For streaming I have to use PC’s default output which can be configured in settings.

I do not have distortions anywhere.

With NAD USB DAC 2 I have eliminated the wires as this is point-to-point wireless solution without need for wifi. Works very, very reliably and since they one I never had failure or any troubles.

The only thing that I have to do if I like to stream from PC is to change the sound output from Settings to NAD instead to speakers. That’s all.

I hope that this will contribute to your troubleshooting but I as someone stated before it is likely the combination of the hardware and software you are using.

P.S. I did try Zorin OS but it was so buggy and I had always issues with that OS. Ubuntu was much better as well as Mint. I did like Fedora but ultimately I settled for Solus OS (using gnome but previously used Solus OS Budgie) and is working without any hiccups since I installedIt, I think 5-6 years ago. I did full reinstall around 1-2 years ago but I did change my hybrid HD (combination of SSD+HDD) to SSD and did clean install instead of moving the installation to new SSD and I always recommend to do full clean install of OS.

Since you have DELL laptop you can experiment with it and try some other distros as Zorin OS may be also not prefect. Try Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, and others... Just my 2c.


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