More PC/Windows issues

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  • (@dr-wes)

    Our choral group is exploring the use of SoundJack to enable us to sing together while remaining isolated. Of the 60-70 or so members, we’re piloting it with a smaller group at first, mostly computer savvy people. Of the 10 or so of us, about half have PCs; the rest MACs. The PC users are all having trouble getting quality sound. We’re all running high end PCs (for example 10th gen i7-10875H CPU, 2.3 GHz, 32 GB RAM, Windows 64bit latest build); those of us who didn’t have ASIO drivers are using ASIO4ALL. The Stage interface works (can hear each other, but with very poor quality sound). We’ve tried all the combinations of buffers (512 works the best), CODECs (linear 768 works best), fairly low jitter buffer settings (4-6). Time of day seems to have an impact (afternoons are really bad), but we’ve sort of hit the wall on things to try. The main problem is that the sound often fades in and out, sort of like with the old rotating speakers people played with in the 70’s. We call it a wah-wah effect.

    What else can we try, or should we just give up?

    Wes Church
    Northborough, MA

    (@jazzalex)

    Sounds like a combination of setup and network issues. Before actually connecting with other first try the localhost connection and make sure that your setup is working fine. Then try the mirros (under public servers) to verfiy that your sound is received back fine. Only if both works fine you’ll be all set to connect. Apart from that on Windows you should not use ASIO4ALL – only do it with an external USB soundcard with a native ASIO driver. Anything else will lead to issues per se – especially with larger ensembles.

    (@mread)

    Wes,

    I will echo what Alexander stated. With a Windows computer, anyway, you really have to have an audio interface box. I use a Presonus, another popular series is the Fousrite Scarlet. Both can be had for about $100. Behringer has a lower priced unit that others have reported to work. I tried several high end computers without an external interface and met with nothing but frustration. Note also if someone does not have a good computer, the FastMusic box or an equivalent build of a Raspberry Pi (with the Symonics operating system) works very well.

    Michael Read

    (@jgspix)

    Check the ASIO4ALL settings. Something might be wrong there, specially if you find a yellow/golden symbol there. Then some other program might block that part.
    The Leslie effect is a bit strange. Try every member individually to find the problem. If there is no problem individually, it might become a problem with network bandwidth if you use one machine as a server (“send received mix + local audio”), make sure that the network bandwidth is large enough. This is n times the bandwidth of one of the participants. Using mix servers sound not be a problem if there is one not too far away.
    Also the processor load goes up a lot receiving a lot of incoming data streams. Check the processor activity on the machines with problems and (if you use one) on your local soundjack-server (“send received mix + local audio”).
    And make sure that really an ASIO driver is selected as input and output, not a different kind of driver that may appear in the driver list and does not contain the word ASIO.
    It might be a very good idea to define a new (restricted) user account only for soundjack. That way any programs loaded in the background in your normal user account and can slow down the machine will not run and no programs can block your audio device. At least worth a try. If it doesn’t help it is easy to remove the account.

    (@hsc_ms)

    Hi Wesley, good to hear about others evaluating the choral usecase.
    Did your participants increase their process priority in task manager? For me this was the key.
    Some months ago we also tested in a small choral group (tech people). It worked quite well but it required to have at least a 30 mins support session with every new participant to check their setup. And yes, most of them have no ASIO devices. ASIO4ALL works with a lot of support, but it’s unusable for the average user.

    So unfortunately we’re back at Zoom one way rehearsals.

    Best regards
    Michael

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