This could help those with system freeze

System Freeze Caused by headphone cable

This may be possible help for people having system freeze issues when switching between sound modes (WDM to ASIO). Please forgive my non-technical language, but I love N Track’s music results and I was really angry when I couldn’t fix my problem on my DELL Dimension 8200…

**Nutshell - generic internal ‘headphone’ cable in PC case connected directly to Audigy 2ZS sound card caused freeze…when disconnected from card, freeze did not occur

Here is my story, it has a happy ending! I learned allot about PC upgrading, PCI cards, and N Track in the process. If anyone has any comments, tips, or PC knowledge, send it this way!


PHASE 1 - TIME TO CHANGE

Background #1:
Started off with
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 1 GB RAM
-Creative Sound Blaster Live! 16 bit

Problem #1:
Wanted to record live guitar with effects, researched and saw I needed to move to ASIO capable card (WDM wasn’t cutting it on my old card)

Fix #1:
Upgraded to SB Audigy 2ZS
:;):



PHASE 2 - GROWING PAINS

Background #2:
Now had
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 1 GB RAM
-Creative Audigy 2 24/16 bit (Recording)

Problem #2:
System locked up and froze when I changed sound mode from WDM to ASIO…always showed multiple (8) input channels too, learned in settings menu I could set to 1, but still froze after a few seconds when moved to ASIO…This was not only N Track, was Fruity Loops too…

Fix #2:
After months of BIOS/IRQ tweaking, Driver-patch reinstall/upgrade, PCI port change, DELL BIOS assistance, I said screw this and I downloaded ASIO4ALL. Because Card was ASIO capable, somehow it actually worked very well real time @512 (5ms) and I was very happy with results.
???



PHASE 3 - FEELING LUCKY

Background #3:
Now had
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 1 GB RAM
-Creative Audigy 2ZS 24/16 bit (Recording), using ASIO4ALL

Problem #3:
I wanted to have an interface to plug guitar cable directly into front PC bay w/o those card cable inputs.

I had also discovered that @ 48Khz effects were somehow richer in final mix than 44.1khz, and allowed a better buffering as well…I began to use 48Khz instead of 44.1Khz. I imagined a better card would enhance usability 2 @ 48KHz as well

FIX #3:
upgraded to Sound Blaster XFI Platinum with IO Drive
:cool:


PHASE 4 - THE TRUTH HURTS

Background #4:
Now had
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 1 GB RAM
-Creative Sound Blaster XFI Platinum with IO Drive 24bit Rec

Problem #4:

(1) Freeze was gone, but headphones in regular jack produced a light gritty pop sound every time graphics changed on screen or loaded on a web page…almost as if I could ‘hear’ the graphics loading onto the display. However, when Headphones went through the IO drive, everything sounded perfect, rich, and clean. I decided I would use this instead

(2) 24 bit recording now required an N track upgrade, but fine; better sound would be worth it. But what took me by surprise was that all my effect-rich tracks from earlier recordings now were being processed @ 24 bits, and my PC Processor couldn’t handle it well. My tracks were barely listenable in some cases because they slowed so drastically @lower ASIO settings. “Force 16 bits” did not help, because sound card dictates the interaction of N track processing to the PC. WDM still sucked and ASIO @24bits comparative to 16bits was now in effect ‘lower-performance’ despite being ‘higher-resolution’…
I could hear in my naked ear a difference, but not that much to be honest

FIX #4
-Upgraded to 2 GB RAM, upgraded to 2nd hard drive
-Upgraded to ATI Radeon 9550 Graphics card

*You can laugh; I thought this would enhance usability and performance…
:D



PHASE 5 - HOPEFULL DESPEARTION

Background #5:
Now had
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 2 GB RAM
-Creative Sound Blaster XFI Platinum with IO Drive 24bit Rec

Problem #5:
Despite my upgrades, they did not enhance performance. Processor Power needs to be faster to maximize 24bit mixing of each wave file and effects, not available RAM. This made me sad because I really liked the IO drive and I thought the sound abilities of the XFI were really great on my games and other apps. But my musical ability was way handicapped, and I couldn’t justify upgrading power supply, and mother board blah blah blah…I just wasn’t ready to get a whole new more Powerful PC.
:(

FIX #5:
Reverted back to Audigy 2 ZS…this took 5 tries before it finally worked. Scared the #### out of me too…
Basically do not do any type of clean sweep, driver removal, or uninstall. Just plain install as if there is no sound card…


PHASE 6 - BACK TO MY ROOTS

Background #6:
Now had
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 2 GB RAM
-Creative Audigy 2ZS 24/16 bit (Recording), using ASIO4ALL

Problem #6:
All seemed back to normal once was working, and the ASIO was back to freezing up. But now the headphones were still making the crackle graphics sound!!! I was so angry because it hadn’t been like that before I did all this…

It then dawned on me - would it be possible to connect the IO drive to the AUDIGY 2ZS and use the front bays and headphone jack? Upon inspection it appeared that I could as there was a port on the card that looked identical…probably meant the Audigy 2ZS is essentially the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum without the IO Drive. Now the IO Drive that comes with the XFI was different, but I still wanted to see what would happened.

FIX #6 - Connected XFI IO drive to Audigy 2ZS Card


PHASE 7 - CAUGHT IN THE ACT

Background #7:
Now had
-Windows XP Pentium 4 – 2.8 GHz – 2 GB RAM
-Creative Audigy 2ZS 24/16 bit (Recording), using ASIO4ALL, connected to IO DRIVE and headphone socket

Problem #7:
When using the IO drive bay, everything worked, in fact the Audigy 2ZS even USB-ishly detected the IO input and gave me more options to select from as recording inputs. Headphone was great through IO Drive as well. Being that I had the best of both worlds, I was happy. N Track was reverted back to operation under 16bit processing and this freed up my PC again for usability on LIVE effects @ 48 KHz.

Now, while using N Track I still wondered if the main headphone jack on my DELL would be crackly. I had opened my PC up so many times looking at AGP, PCI, PCI-E, Hard drive serial, and power supply connections, that the case was open on its side.

When I checked out the headphone port on the DELL, it was still crackly. Without thinking and computer still on, I reached with my right hand to pull the DELL headphone cable out of the sound card. I nudged it out a little and the headphones and Vu Meters all of the sudden picked up a loud television or radio station. I was wondering what the heck had happened. I began to plug it back in and all of the sudden, FREEZE (with constant sounding ring)…the classic ASIO from WDM freeze.

I shut down my PC and again wiggled the headphone from the card and it froze on N Track. I then ran a series of tests where I removed it and only using the IO drive headphones (which still worked fine) and tried the cards ASIO modes. To my surprise, if the cable was not connected, there was no freeze. When connected, there was a freeze.

FIX #7:
Removed generic headphone cable



PHASE 8 - SOUNDS LIKE A FIX

Well, everything works now…but I wonder what would happen if the IO drive was not there, would I even have the ability to use headphones. Maybe the card was just damaged, or maybe it’s a bug in the card…or maybe the PC, or the PC cable is bad.

In any event, system freeze occurred whether headphones were attached or not, and was not result of the IRQ or sound card settings, or N Track settings…It definitely was a headphone cable to card thing…maybe if I cleaned it with a degreaser it would work.

I had a very similar issue like this with an old SbLive of mine. Once in a while when I unplugged the speakers from it, it would just take a smelly crap all over everything. I bet this s a similar issue.

Quote (Bubbagump @ April 17 2006,12:53)
...Once in a while when I unplugged the speakers from it, it would just take a smelly crap all over everything...

That really puts a novel spin on tech-talk there, Bubba! :(
Quote (Bubbagump @ April 17 2006,12:53)
Once in a while when I unplugged the speakers from it, it would just take a smelly crap all over everything.

That's why I avoid electronics with triple coiled wiring.