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Member Since 10 Aug 2005
Offline Last Active Sep 30 2015 07:04 PM

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OS X 10.8 Guest in VMware (Windows host) - Audio crackles like mad, any solutions?

28 May 2015 - 08:40 AM

Well it's been some time since I've been around these parts - I check in from time to time just to see what's happening - but I've got an issue here that may or may not be something anyone can help with so I figured it can't hurt to ask. Yes, I've done a lot of research into this but almost every reference to the audio crackling issue is with an OSX Guest in VMware running on an OSX (or even Linux) host ala a Hackintosh or even a real Mac - I can't find any info about such issues with a Windows host OS so again, it might not be something I can do a damned thing about at all.


Anyway, I've got a decent laptop these days: a Dell Latitude E6420 with the following specs:


- Core i5-2540m CPU @ 2.6 GHz (2 cores, 4 threads)

- 8GB of DDR3 1600 (2x4GB)

- 500 GB 7200 rpm SATA II hard drive

- Intel HD 3000 graphics (not relevant on the OSX Guest since it's just using the VMware VGA driver anyway but the performance is ok I suppose)


Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 fully updated is the host OS, using VMware 11 Workstation as the virtual machine client for the OSX 10.8.5 Guest OS (fully updated) - I have no interest in Mavericks or Yosemite so that's why I stick with Mountain Lion.


Yes I realize that using Windows as a host OS isn't the preferred method but my days of bothering with OSX and making a Hackintosh are behind me now and well documented considering my history with the OSx86 Project and all. Nowadays, since machines are more than powerful enough to run a Guest OS at full bore with near-bare metal performance that's what I use this setup for.


Having said all that, obviously the audio crackling is damned bad. It's not like I really care all that much about it but sometimes I do "stay" in the OSX VM and fire up iTunes for some Internet radio content and it just crackles constantly. I've adjusted the priority of the VM to be Above Normal when grabbed, no effect. I won't push it further than that since it could effect the Windows host OS which is pretty much in constant use as well so that's not a potential solution (High or Real-time priority when grabbed).


I've read about situations where the specific audio card that's being emulated might help to some degrees, aka the Ensoniq driver/kext but that didn't seem to work at all, maybe I'm just doing it wrong.


Again, since this is a Windows host and I know that's the evil {censored} OS everyone hates I may not be able to do anything about this - 10.8.5 runs great in a VM on this hardware, it really does. If I can get a decent SATA III SSD at some point that obviously should seriously boost performance overall on the Latitude so I should expect screaming performance (as much as can be expected I suppose) from VMs and the host OS too.


So, if anyone has any suggestions I might be able to try out to get the sound working a wee bit better than it does right now, I'd greatly appreciate hearing it.

Thanks for reading and for any potential help.


Have fun, always...




Well, I haven't resolved the audio issue but, here's the strangest thing I think I've ever seen with OSx86 or anything related to it. I decided to grab the Yosemite DMG and set up another VM just to see how it would go. Of course, as anyone knows Yosemite is a resource hog unlike any other version of OSX that's ever existed and I'm not really sure why. It consumes like 1.5GB of RAM just to boot and then a bit more - I've been running it (after fully updating it, of course) for a few hours with a few reboots just for good measure to see how the RAM usage will work itself out. I gave it 4GB (of my 8GB) for the VM and it still chugs along. I did discover the "Beam Sync" issue and yes, when I use beamoff it definitely does improve the graphics performance but the OS itself is still damned sluggish in a VM at this point, probably always will be.


I also gave Mavericks a go earlier and holy mackerel that is fast as hell and I never even bothered with beamoff - it's just snappy and responsive in a VM unlike what I was expecting: it's even faster and smoother than Mountain Lion is on this Latitude of mine.


But anyway, for the strange part:


All three OSes exhibit severe audio crackling issues with iTunes, whether I'm playing an Internet radio stream or even playing local content (mp3 files I encoded myself, LAME V0). I don't know if I can resolve this so I figured I'd check out the QuickTime Player a few moments ago (under Yosemite) and try playing a local video file, a movie trailer for "Accidental Love" which was featured on YouTube and I downloaded it using SaveTube (an addon for Firefox). The file is in a Shared folder on the same partition that Yosemite is running from and, well... it plays perfectly, without skipping, and no damned crackling audio...


/me shakes his head, how the hell can a full blown video clip (with no hardware acceleration at all) play back with perfect audio sync on the exact same VM that can't even play an audio file or stream without crackling like crazy?


See, I told you it was strange. :surprised:


I even tried a higher bitrate video file (still in mp4 format) and it plays just fine as well, no skipping, no dropouts, no audio crackling. Of course because there's no functional hardware acceleration I see CPU usage (measured with MenuMeters on the toolbar) of about 75% across the 4 "cores" of this i5-2540m but I could care less since it's actually playing the video perfectly which was completely unexpected.


But the audio issue with iTunes... there's something funky going on there, I just can't figure out what it is.

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