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Videochat December 2015

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This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »

 

 

 

Here's the second installment of the live videochats from Twitch. This one wasn't as full of people, likely due to the time. I tried to vary it to get different crowds, but in the future I think I'll try and target times when more people are around. Nothing super important in this one, mostly just that you can expect more videos, I answer questions on a lot of different topics, and try to get some help and input on things. The format is the same as last time since I didn't have time to organize something better, but hopefully the next chat will be more structured.

 

Anyway, this video is unlisted so as not to crowd out the others, but I'll try and make it easier to access in time. You're of course welcome to share the link anywhere you want.

 

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In THEORY there should be no big difference between motherboard and soundcard sound, but the thing is that soundcards can filter out ground loops and bus noise in a vastly better way. It's night and day in terms of hiss/hum reduction. I used to think just the opposite till I actually got a xonar for myself. Sound card manufacturers will often put that ability as a spec on their fact sheet.

 

As a xonar dsx owner, I've never had any weird audio problems. I can suggest you physically inspect it and your motherboard for burst capacitors. If they're filtering the power with classic electrolytic capacitors, they can pop. Look for cracks/bulging tops/weird stains in the middle. If you can replicate the sound problem reliably, try different video drivers too. Video cards are notorious for introducing noise on the bus, especially when you move the mouse. Another classic thing to try is moving the video and sound cards further apart.

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Ross: you mention moving the time slider in youtube videos can sometimes trigger your audio problem. It is necessary to interrogate you further before I can let you leave:

 

  • Has this problem ever triggered at another time/in a different situation? What were these situations?
  • Once the problem is triggered, how do you stop it? Is it as simple as repositioning the slider again or do you have to reboot your computer?
  • Are you watching youtube videos using flash player or the htm5 player? You can right click a playing youtube video to find out. ]

 

I concur with some of Presence's ideas: A good visual inspection for any leaky/popped parts is worthwhile. While you are there you may as well re-socket the sound card and do the same for your RAM for good measure. Intermittently faulty contacts can cause all manner of annoyingly unique problems. Electrical interference from other cards, nearby fluorescent lights, electric fans and HAM broadcasters next door are all also possible.

Edited by Guest

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I also agree that your motherboard's sound chipset "should" not sound worse than a bigger sound card. It's possible something is wrong with your motherboard/power supply (some are designed very poorly, especially re noise on the mic inputs).

 

Keep in mind that sound quality testing is as evil as room acoustics. Small differences in volume can make you favour one device under test over another DUT. Similarly the Xonar card may be tweaked (in software or hardware) to have a higher bass response (or other EQ shenanigans), which some people prefer.

 

It's good to see you did a comparison between the two. Hopefully you've been happy with your results.

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If you can replicate the sound problem reliably, try different video drivers too.
None of this is reliable. None of it.

 

[*] Has this problem ever triggered at another time/in a different situation? What were these situations?
It has triggered before, but always in the same situation, seeking on Youtube. It hasn't happened in any other situation. I have also had another driver problem with the card, but nothing so serious as this. The other problem is at a random time interval (sometimes days, sometimes months), the volume control for the right audio channel will stop working. There's been no consistency whatsoever with what triggers this. Rebooting won't fix it. Only reinstalling the drivers will. Others have reported the same problem:

 

http://www.sevenforums.com/sound-audio/304988-volume-control-left-channel-only-asus-xonar-essence-stx-win7.html

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-2001229/conflict-soundcard-asus-xonar.html

http://www.overclock.net/t/1097645/solved-asus-xonar-problem-no-sound-on-left-channel

 

This was bugging me earlier and making me consider getting a different solution, but the more recent random ear-shattering static means I have to change something.

 

[*]Once the problem is triggered, how do you stop it? Is it as simple as repositioning the slider again or do you have to reboot your computer?
I think I may have had both, I'm not sure, it's practically an assault when it happens, it's distorted my memory somewhat. I'm pretty sure one time I had to reboot and it affected other sounds system-wide, another time it may have gone back to normal, but I decided to reboot anyway, I don't remember. I know the problem doesn't occur if no audio is playing.

 

[*]Are you watching youtube videos using flash player or the htm5 player? You can right click a playing youtube video to find out. ]

HTML5 on Firefox.

 

Keep in mind that sound quality testing is as evil as room acoustics. Small differences in volume can make you favour one device under test over another DUT. Similarly the Xonar card may be tweaked (in software or hardware) to have a higher bass response (or other EQ shenanigans), which some people prefer.
I was using closed studio headphones on songs I was extremely familiar with when I tested it, so I doubt acoustics played into it. The difference was fairly obvious for songs that I knew. I wouldn't say it was a night and day, but there were subtle details I simply couldn't hear on the motherboard audio. I would easily be able to pick out the difference without having to listen to it repeatedly for songs I'm familiar with.

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It has triggered before, but always in the same situation, seeking on Youtube. It hasn't happened in any other situation. I have also had another driver problem with the card, but nothing so serious as this. The other problem is at a random time interval (sometimes days, sometimes months), the volume control for the right audio channel will stop working. There's been no consistency whatsoever with what triggers this. Rebooting won't fix it. Only reinstalling the drivers will.

Absolutely nasty. Definitely not a hardware issue.

 

The xonar drivers are unique and I don't have access to the hardware, so I can't suggest much more on the driver front than head-banging some of its settings around (eg nuke the sample rate down to 48K or 44.1K).

 

Changing settings in other software may be an easier route (see below).

 

[*]Once the problem is triggered, how do you stop it? Is it as simple as repositioning the slider again or do you have to reboot your computer?
I think I may have had both, I'm not sure, it's practically an assault when it happens, it's distorted my memory somewhat.

 

ulXHkVk.png

 

HTML5 on Firefox.

Have you tried disabling hardware acceleration in firefox? It should be in the options dialog under the advanced tab. This may force the audio to take a different route through different code before it gets to your drivers.

 

I was using closed studio headphones on songs I was extremely familiar with when I tested it, so I doubt acoustics played into it. The difference was fairly obvious for songs that I knew. I wouldn't say it was a night and day, but there were subtle details I simply couldn't hear on the motherboard audio.

Soundcards have different acoustic properties similarly to how headphones do. If you set them up at approximately the same volume they will still both render different pitches at different volumes, which heavily influences what parts of songs you hear.

 

I've exploited this when mastering recordings: often certain instruments/vocal parts can be brought in/out by adjusting the frequency response of parts of the recording (notable victim: double bass, but this applies to everyone). It's not anywhere are good as having a separate mic/channel on the musicians you wanted in the first place but it can get you halfway to ensuring there's good balance between the parts.

 

Similarly I've notched out frequencies to try and mask horrible distortion in recordings, but that's a story best told at night over campfire with haunted marshmallows.

 

The reason I'm ranting on about this: it's often easy to tweak the EQ curves yourself. Some drivers have options that let you do it, other times a box with a 'treble' and 'bass' knob on it is good enough.

soundly_issued_ross.png.f8ff0b6351a65d6616f6fe472e6ef619.png

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I found a thread on tomsguide mentioning this, but it looks like you found it already and posted there. The only answer I've seen here that I know much about is disabling hardware acceleration in firefox; that's a common fix for a lot of very weird glitches. It's never bad to try. I'm leaning toward it being a flaw in the hardware, though I can't really justify that beyond gut feeling.

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The sudden noise symptom suggests that digital audio data is being decoded incorrectly. Anything from losing synchronisation in an audio stream to not noticing the audio stream format has changed can cause this. Indeed it may be a hardware/firmware bug, but let's hope not :)

 

Ross: have you tried sending an email to ASUS about the issue? The cards are not crazily expensive, but they're not free either, so they may be happy to give some assistance.

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The reason I'm ranting on about this: it's often easy to tweak the EQ curves yourself. Some drivers have options that let you do it, other times a box with a 'treble' and 'bass' knob on it is good enough.
I keep all EQ settings at default since I do so much editing. If anything's being colored, it would have to be happening at the driver level, not from user control. Also your picture sums up the situation pretty well.

 

Ross: have you tried sending an email to ASUS about the issue? The cards are not crazily expensive, but they're not free either, so they may be happy to give some assistance.
Yes, they have no solution aside from "reinstall drivers and hope it doesn't happen again". Even the creator of Unified unofficial drivers said they don't know what the cause is.

 

On that note, please lay on me what would be recommended setups.

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Well, few years ago I bought old HP laptop for 300zł(about 70Euro) just to play old games, But then I said screw that, And I just made multi boot on my everyday laptop. For most of time I use Linux LiteOS, and for rest I switch to good old Windows7 but I made small 5GB partition for Windows xp and using only integrated Intel Graphic(not Nvidia one that normally is used) I can play almost any old game(even those from win98 times).

I though that I would have problems with other part of hardware but no, nothing. I just didnt update any drivers and I run everything on software and for some games I had to set process to use only one core... For now its work excellent.

 

Also for people that dont like Windows10(like me) because of tracking and data recording on it.

I spend some time with that system and I recorded logs from my router, and even with all available options turned off, system can send/receive almost 4-10MB of data per day(only by system part).

So because of that I just blocked most Microsoft IPs on my router, and I use external Firewall(like tinywall) to block all that crap. I actually use IP blocker on my router as a best Ad blocker :]

 

 

 

 

And about videos idea.

 

Most of people play older games, and because you need to spend time playing game, record it and find something interesting about it, Why not to ask people: "Hey! You play this game? You like it? RECORD gameplay, WRITE simple info about it, about specific part of it, problems you encounter in it, maybe some cool stuff? Write it down, add timestamps for your records to quick find that parts and send them to Ross or post in forum..."

Ross could choose game, still play it to get that "feel" of it, but it could use your video to speed up making Game Dungeon. It would credit you at the end of video and everyone would be happy...

 

Because think about it. For example last Week I played again Giants: Citizen Kabuto, and I actually could record gameplay of it, and write some basic and interesting things about it. Ross could play it a bit, and he could use some part of my records and info that I found to speed up making his next video.

And if someone say that they need to record it and edit it? I dont think that it would take more time than few hours, and because you can spread this to few days or weeks its not big deal... and write about it? Basic info that could be useful for Ross and timestamps to find interesting parts... Nothing big.

 

 

PS, you need to seriously review in RGD "Giants: Citizen Kabuto" its too good and too underrated to just leave it, like you said MaxPayne and other games are well know, but game like this... Some people know it, but rest just dont know what they miss :]

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because you need to spend time playing game, record it and find something interesting about it, Why not to ask people: "Hey! You play this game? You like it? RECORD gameplay, WRITE simple info about it, about specific part of it, problems you encounter in it, maybe some cool stuff? Write it down, add timestamps for your records to quick find that parts and send them to Ross or post in forum..."

Ross could choose game, still play it to get that "feel" of it, but it could use your video to speed up making Game Dungeon. It would credit you at the end of video and everyone would be happy...

Wow, this is a GREAT idea on so many levels. It would allow fans to participate in Ross's work, it would put some weight from Ross's shoulders, it would give fans an opportunity to cram in a Game Dungeon episode about a game that THEY want an episode about but chances are that Ross himself won't do one.

 

I totally would participate.

 

 

PS, you need to seriously review in RGD "Giants: Citizen Kabuto" its too good and too underrated to just leave it, like you said MaxPayne and other games are well know, but game like this... Some people know it, but rest just dont know what they miss :]

Oh, another fan of Citizen Kabuto :-) Last time I met one was about a decade ago...

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Suggested hardware option for Ross: pick up a <5 AUD USB two-jack audio dongle off the web for now. Drivers tend to be much more generic for these and they perform better than motherboard inputs/outputs in some situations.

 

I've sent these out to people with mic input problems. When you can hear the other person's interrupts firing off every time they move their mouse it's worth suddenly appearing at their doorstep and forcing it on them. The difference between them and a bad motherboard for the input side of things is amazing, but I'll leave it up to you how you want to compare it's output it with your more expensive card's outputs. Your results will vary.

 

Keep in mind that your speakers tend to be the biggest sources of distortion, not your DACs.

 

Wooden bench: Damn, I should have added more pieces of pine under that monitor. If it's anything like my monitor stand there should be several novels and books called "Phase Transitions in the Early Universe" below it.

 

I'm very careful not to knock my monitor stands. It may cause cataclysms.

Minecraft video suggestions: I thought someone would notice this. Google has not worked out how to differentiate people in my house yet, so I don't get the bad minecraft videos suggested. I also get lots of "NASA hiding secret alien life on mars!" videos too.

 

I preferred the video suggestions when they just run by similar videos to what you currently have open on the page, not to what they want to profile you with. I'm looking forward to a day that Youtube no longer has a monopoly. Perhaps archive.org might be the next big thing for video.

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Only I like to have screen lower? -_-

 

 

And Youtube is amazing in suggesting video. Someone should write a book about their system.

One time I watched Funny Star Wars video, and for WHOLE F MONTH i got suggestions about Star Wars related movies... and I watched only ONE movie about Star Wars...

And Minecraft gameplays... or latest Internet Cancer "Reaction" videos... oh my God... no comments. I would understand it If I would watch them... but only 3 person use my network and none of them watch those(they hate them too)

 

Clicking "Im not interested" is like hitting a concrete wall using leaf.

I seriously dont know why Youtube dont have "Ignore" and "block user videos" options. It would actually help making more views and users would find new channels to watch... so that would be also good for YT.

 

Because for example I NEVER gonna click anything that have "reaction" tag in name, and if I would block those videos and channels once and for good from my view, I would have a chance to watch other channels. For now you can click "Im not interested" but after some time you gonna see this video again and again and again... And google wonder why no one like YT and they not get more money from views...

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Clicking "Im not interested" is like hitting a concrete wall using leaf.

 

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT PEWDIEPIE????????????????!!!!!!!!!!1111one

 

The point of sites like Gorilla Gong is that actual people vet the videos. Then again, computer vetted videos would be just fine if Youtube didn't want to hack off long tail videos with a carving knife.

 

I keep meaning to do a writeup on building legacy boxes. There's modern fixes for a lot of legacy woes that don't compromise the integrity of anything that matters.

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Towards the end of the stream someone mentioned physical media for distribution, and it reminded me of my suggestion for mugs as merchandise and how that would fit into the whole copyright situation. As far as I know, the Freeman's mind logo is inspired by the game, but isn't a direct resource from Valve; so while i'm not an expert on copyright laws, I don't think there would be any legal repercussions for profiting off Freeman's mind mug or T-shirt designs. Half-life's Freeman, however may have some ties to intellectual property, but that's where it becomes grey for me.

If any Freeman's mugs go on sale I'd buy one in an instant.

k45Ue.png Black mugs would be cool too.

If anything, I might just make my own mug if I want it so damn much. It would probably be cheaper too.

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Minecraft video suggestions: I thought someone would notice this. Google has not worked out how to differentiate people in my house yet, so I don't get the bad minecraft videos suggested. I also get lots of "NASA hiding secret alien life on mars!" videos too.

 

I preferred the video suggestions when they just run by similar videos to what you currently have open on the page, not to what they want to profile you with. I'm looking forward to a day that Youtube no longer has a monopoly. Perhaps archive.org might be the next big thing for video.

 

Actually I get the same exact suggestions. It's weird though because I don't see crappy suggestions on any of his other videos, huh. But yeah, YouTube has decided they'd rather display the videos that make them the most money, and those happen to be shitty minecraft videos for 10 year olds. I really don't blame them though, since YouTube is basically losing money at this point because of AdBlocker, but it still pisses me off.

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