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USB audio issues


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Hello everyone,

So I've been using my Audioquest Dragonfly Red as a soundcard for my Hackintosh basically since shortly after I built it (over 2 years ago). I never had any issues with it until lately. Didn't update macOS or anything like that, it just started giving issues.

 

I noticed that after a while of playback, like an hour or so of Safari playback, the sound starts to do crackling noises and have small dropouts. It's not the device quite surely, since also the Safari player then starts to hang up a bit and get unresponsive. It's also not Safari since the same happened with Firefox.

 

I'll watch my next lecture tomorrow on my MacBook Pro with this audio interface to really make sure it's not a hardware issue, but to me it seems like a USB audio driver issue.

 

Just wanted to open a thread so anyone who had or has a similar kind of issue can drop in and tell their experiences.

I'll give an update once I have more info!

 

Okay, thanks I'll try that! 

I tried the MacBook by the way, it gave 0 issues so the soundcard is fine and it's also not macOS Catalina giving the issue.

2 hours ago, AudioGod said:

Try going into your motherboards bios and look for serial and com ports and disable them if they are enabled.

 

 

Should it have both? I could only find a setting for serial port and turned it off. Trying now if the issue is gone.

1 minute ago, unixb0y said:

 

Should it have both? I could only find a setting for serial port and turned it off. Trying now if the issue is gone.


I don’t know you’re board layout too well so that’s why I said both but just the serial port disabled is good if that’s all there is. :thumbsup_anim:

Edited by AudioGod
Just now, AudioGod said:


I don’t know you’re board layout too well so that’s why I said both but just the serial port disabled is good if that’s all there is. :thumbsup_anim:

 

Okay :D If the issue persists, I'll try again to find COM. I'm actually surprised motherboards still have serial ports, wasn't at all aware of that.

 

Why exactly could this be the issue by the way?

Just now, unixb0y said:

 

Okay :D If the issue persists, I'll try again to find COM. I'm actually surprised motherboards still have serial ports, wasn't at all aware of that.

 

Why exactly could this be the issue by the way?


I use a Z390 Master and also had the same issue as you regarding audio via any sort of External DAC and after much digging around in my system I cured it by disabling my serial port (I too don’t have a com only serial) 

Disabling it also enabled my Apple Watch to work unlocking my Mac so it was a 2 in 1 fix for me.

Macos doesn’t wanna know about old legacy ports and it causes all sorts of trouble with usb devices.
 

I have no idea why they still have the options in the bios for it myself. Very Strange.

3 minutes ago, AudioGod said:


I use a Z390 Master and also had the same issue as you regarding audio via any sort of External DAC and after much digging around in my system I cured it by disabling my serial port (I too don’t have a com only serial) 

Disabling it also enabled my Apple Watch to work unlocking my Mac so it was a 2 in 1 fix for me.

Macos doesn’t wanna know about old legacy ports and it causes all sorts of trouble with usb devices.
 

I have no idea why they still have the options in the bios for it myself. Very Strange.

 

I see, interesting!

 

Oh wow you got it working? I can enable it but then it just doesn't work (nothing comes up on the watch and then the password field appears). After disabling serial same thing :/

My wireless hardware is a TP-Link T9E WiFi card and a USB 20702 Bluetooth dongle.

10 minutes ago, unixb0y said:

 

I see, interesting!

 

Oh wow you got it working? I can enable it but then it just doesn't work (nothing comes up on the watch and then the password field appears). After disabling serial same thing :/

My wireless hardware is a TP-Link T9E WiFi card and a USB 20702 Bluetooth dongle.


yeah it works perfectly for me now and has done for the last 12 months or so.
I use a combo card pulled from a Apple device and I use airportfixup.kext or the watch won’t unlock.

The reason it might not be working for you though is if you have loads of failed attempts in the system trying to pair your watch.

 

On your hack open keychain access and then under view select show invisible keychains then in the search field search Auto Unlock and delete it all then search AutoUnlock and do the same. Close keychain access and then hold down the alt key and under go select Liberty, open the folder Sharing and go into the folder AutoUnlock and delete everything within it. Restart and try your using you Apple Watch to unlock again. It might fail a couple of times before it connects when you tick the box in security and privacy but just keep trying if it does fail to connect.

 

Edited by AudioGod
8 minutes ago, AudioGod said:


yeah it works perfectly for me now and has done for the last 12 months or so.
I use a combo card pulled from a Apple device and I use airportfixup.kext or the watch won’t unlock.

The reason it might not be working for you though is if you have loads of failed attempts in the system trying to pair your watch.

 

On your hack open keychain access and then under view select show invisible keychains then in the search field search Auto Unlock and delete it all then search AutoUnlock and do the same. Close keychain access and then hold down the alt key and under go select Liberty, open the folder Sharing and go into the folder AutoUnlock and delete everything within it. Restart and try your using you Apple Watch to unlock again. It might fail a couple of times before it connects when you tick the box in security and privacy but just keep trying if it does fail to connect.

 

 

OMG dude you're such a legend, it works!! After years without success. Awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeee thanks so much!!!

Just now, AudioGod said:


:hysterical: Awesome brother enjoy.


P.s Is your audio sorted now too?

 

:D Until now no audio issues, but I'm just watching a Twitch stream without being super focused on it so I'm not 100% sure and it's not that long a time yet, especially since I rebooted for the Watch thing and all.

I'll watch a 90 minute lecture later, those were the kinds of videos where I started noticing because it's of course more obvious than if you have a stream on low volume running in the background I guess :)

Just now, unixb0y said:

 

:D Until now no audio issues, but I'm just watching a Twitch stream without being super focused on it so I'm not 100% sure and it's not that long a time yet, especially since I rebooted for the Watch thing and all.

I'll watch a 90 minute lecture later, those were the kinds of videos where I started noticing because it's of course more obvious than if you have a stream on low volume running in the background I guess :)


Yeah For sure, Good luck and let me know how it goes for you. 

So, it seems the audio is fine, but Watch unlock stopped working :(

Toggling off and back on worked though, without reboots or deleting files. Let's see how long it will persist :D

 

Update after a day: still works, even after a reboot and many hours.

Edited by unixb0y
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

1. For audio using USB DAC, setting you USB correctly using USBPorts.kext helps a lot in terms of intermittent popping noises. That is my experience anyway. (I have been using AudioEngine D1 for ages, bought this when getting this was the only sure fire way of getting audio working on Hackintosh ages ago).

 

2. If you are annoyed by USB popping, using optical SPDIF will totally eliminate this OSX sampling rate is limited and certain DSD files need to be played using DOP. This is seriously not very important really except to say that Windows can play higher resolution DSD files than OSX (which is a bummer). Getting SPDIF to work in your system may be problematic as well (Mine is working ALC887 using AppleALC id-99). Anyway, when buying a USB DAC, better to look for one that has both USB/optical/coaxial inputs.

 

3. When using USB DAC audio, sometime when you boot to Windows then back to OSX or update/reinstall OSX, you may suddenly lose audio. Just unplug and plug in the USB input will restore this. Doesn;t happen with optical.

 

 

  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/8/2021 at 12:18 PM, mengshi said:

1. For audio using USB DAC, setting you USB correctly using USBPorts.kext helps a lot in terms of intermittent popping noises. That is my experience anyway. (I have been using AudioEngine D1 for ages, bought this when getting this was the only sure fire way of getting audio working on Hackintosh ages ago).

 

2. If you are annoyed by USB popping, using optical SPDIF will totally eliminate this OSX sampling rate is limited and certain DSD files need to be played using DOP. This is seriously not very important really except to say that Windows can play higher resolution DSD files than OSX (which is a bummer). Getting SPDIF to work in your system may be problematic as well (Mine is working ALC887 using AppleALC id-99). Anyway, when buying a USB DAC, better to look for one that has both USB/optical/coaxial inputs.

 

3. When using USB DAC audio, sometime when you boot to Windows then back to OSX or update/reinstall OSX, you may suddenly lose audio. Just unplug and plug in the USB input will restore this. Doesn;t happen with optical.

 

 

 

Thanks for your advice! I will look into Nr. 1, haven't even installed USBPorts.kext I think, but my issue is not popping noises. It's especially when e.g. I am playing music and then open a video in parallel, then the audio just glitches around. It stutters, skips (like a record player) "backwards" and repeats like the last 2 seconds a few times then skips ahead and continues and that then happens like every 5-10 seconds unless I pause the audio and close one of the 2 audio sources.

 

Yeah I'm now looking into just buying a streamer where I can also attach a SSD with files and that connects to TIDAL itself, independent from the Mac. Very disappointing that macOS is so bad at USB audio, I've read online even with Apple Macs that happens.. 

 

Losing audio or popping isn't anything I've ever had with the Dragonfly Red. Just those super annoying skips. It completely throws you off when you just listen to music and then it's like "A-A-A-A-A-A" so annoying... :D

I've had the same lagging audio issues on my Gigabyte Z77P-D3, Gigabyte P61-USB3-B3, ASUS Z170-DELUXE boards, also on my Skylake Acer Aspire V5-591G... It was good on Windows tho.

 

The issue only happened with my USB headphone, the microphone also went lagging and distorting after a while. 

 

On P61 the sound and microphone was bad on all macOS versions, on Z170-DELUXE the sound was good, only microphone started lagging after a while, same with the Acer notebook and the Z77 board. It's not a misconfiguration, they're all configured correctly, it has nothing to do with patching USB.

 

As far as I can see it has something to do with RTC, HPET, IRQ or those kind of things. It's like the timing is off... 

I suggest you to try patching the HPET with SSDTime

 

Well I didn't use my USB headset for a long time, I sold the mentioned hacks and I'm using a Lenovo X1 Carbon now, I'll test if it's still the same even on this notebook too or not (I really hope not).

 

Onboard audio was good on all of my hacks (even the microphone), only the USB audio the issue.

 

And I'll get a new USB headset and see what is going on with that, it's possible that my USB headset is just "don't like" macOS...

It's really frustrating to re-plug the frickin headset in the middle of a Discord talk in every thirty minutes... I've being forced to use the internal mic.

On 2/21/2021 at 11:14 PM, unixb0y said:

 

Thanks for your advice! I will look into Nr. 1, haven't even installed USBPorts.kext I think, but my issue is not popping noises. It's especially when e.g. I am playing music and then open a video in parallel, then the audio just glitches around. It stutters, skips (like a record player) "backwards" and repeats like the last 2 seconds a few times then skips ahead and continues and that then happens like every 5-10 seconds unless I pause the audio and close one of the 2 audio sources.

 

Yeah I'm now looking into just buying a streamer where I can also attach a SSD with files and that connects to TIDAL itself, independent from the Mac. Very disappointing that macOS is so bad at USB audio, I've read online even with Apple Macs that happens.. 

 

Losing audio or popping isn't anything I've ever had with the Dragonfly Red. Just those super annoying skips. It completely throws you off when you just listen to music and then it's like "A-A-A-A-A-A" so annoying... :D

 

I think you issue is different. What is your processor? memory amount?

 

Sounds like buffering issues or multiple streams issues. I am not sure it is driver related as it is many sound stream going for the same output. Audirvana takes over the whole output stage when playing I think to avoid this.

On 2/23/2021 at 10:47 AM, mengshi said:

 

I think you issue is different. What is your processor? memory amount?

 

Sounds like buffering issues or multiple streams issues. I am not sure it is driver related as it is many sound stream going for the same output. Audirvana takes over the whole output stage when playing I think to avoid this.

 

It's all in my signature. (9900K, 32GB RAM) But the stuttering also happens with just one audio stream, for example when opening a program (load "spike"), then it also does such a hiccup.

 

On 2/21/2021 at 8:26 PM, kushwavez said:

I've had the same lagging audio issues on my Gigabyte Z77P-D3, Gigabyte P61-USB3-B3, ASUS Z170-DELUXE boards, also on my Skylake Acer Aspire V5-591G... It was good on Windows tho.

 

The issue only happened with my USB headphone, the microphone also went lagging and distorting after a while. 

 

On P61 the sound and microphone was bad on all macOS versions, on Z170-DELUXE the sound was good, only microphone started lagging after a while, same with the Acer notebook and the Z77 board. It's not a misconfiguration, they're all configured correctly, it has nothing to do with patching USB.

 

As far as I can see it has something to do with RTC, HPET, IRQ or those kind of things. It's like the timing is off... 

I suggest you to try patching the HPET with SSDTime

 

Well I didn't use my USB headset for a long time, I sold the mentioned hacks and I'm using a Lenovo X1 Carbon now, I'll test if it's still the same even on this notebook too or not (I really hope not).

 

Onboard audio was good on all of my hacks (even the microphone), only the USB audio the issue.

 

And I'll get a new USB headset and see what is going on with that, it's possible that my USB headset is just "don't like" macOS...

It's really frustrating to re-plug the frickin headset in the middle of a Discord talk in every thirty minutes... I've being forced to use the internal mic.

 

Thanks, I'll look into the SSDT patching thing.

Interestingly, months ago, when I disabled the serial port in BIOS, it fixed it for a good while. Maybe I'll try toggling off and on a few times with reboots, since it might have restarted after a BIOS reset (CMOS reset). The serial port is disabled though at the moment.

Edited by unixb0y
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