[App_rpt-users] First experience with ACID app_rpt & usbradio audio popping problem.

Steve Gladden steve at michiganbroadband.com
Wed Nov 18 09:57:52 EST 2009


Jim Duuuude wrote:
> if you dont mind, I would like to ask a completely left-field question.
>
> What kind of ethernet hardware do you have on your system, and what kind of 
> bus controller (northbridge, etc). Back in the really old days when we first
> were using Zapata Telephony cards, we found a number of drivers that had, well
> lets say, some serious issues in Linux.
>
> Thanks for humoring me.
>
> JIM WB6NIL
>
>
> ----------------------------------------
>   
>> Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:27:01 -0500
>> From: steve at michiganbroadband.com
>> To: sales at qrvc.com
>> CC: app_rpt-users at qrvc.com
>> Subject: Re: [App_rpt-users] First experience with ACID app_rpt & usbradio audio popping problem.
>>
>> Stephen Rodgers wrote:
>>     
>>> Steve Gladden wrote:
>>>
>>>       
>>>> Hi David.. it's not a terribly loud popping it's right with the normal audio
>>>> levels
>>>> It really sounds like 'holes' in the processing small abrupt dropouts of the
>>>> stream..
>>>> Very random in timing maybe 5-15 hits per minute when I key the radio with
>>>> PL..
>>>>
>>>> Seems to more frequently happen on/around the CWID but still is happening
>>>> very randomly.
>>>>
>>>> CPU utilization is ~10% while radio keyed producing PL and CWID..
>>>> Have radio continuously keyed (no actual radio) and CDID beacon going every
>>>> minute.
>>>>
>>>> 5-15 'dropouts' per minute.
>>>>
>>>> I've tried to isolate it by throwing different tasks at the hardware/CPU to
>>>> see if the audio dropouts
>>>> Would increase or not during heavy CPU utilization or maxing out IO on
>>>> network hard drives etc.
>>>>
>>>> Checked alsa mixer to make sure there were no open turned way up audio
>>>> inputs or mic monitor turned on..
>>>> Turned down all input levels and this had no effect on the dropouts either.
>>>>
>>>> One thing I have not tried (but will not matter) is to hook a usb HDD to the
>>>> usb port and give the usb controller
>>>> Itself some activity besides the usbradio port and see if this impacts the
>>>> issue.
>>>>
>>>> This might tend to point me back to the usb controller itself having an
>>>> issue..
>>>>
>>>> I should also try a PCI external USB card on the motherboard and give it
>>>> it's own interrupt.
>>>>
>>>> :-)
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: David McGough [mailto:kb4fxc at inttek.net]
>>>> Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 6:57 PM
>>>> To: Steve Gladden
>>>> Cc: app_rpt-users at qrvc.com
>>>> Subject: Re: [App_rpt-users] First experience with ACID app_rpt & usbradio
>>>> audio popping problem.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Hi Steve,
>>>>
>>>> What exactly do you mean by "popping"?? Is it a loud POP! like a drum or
>>>> is it a momentary audio drop-out or choppiness??
>>>>
>>>> The reason I ask about choppiness is that I've experienced this issue.
>>>> But, I've never had loud POPS! ....
>>>>
>>>> 73, David kb4fxc
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Wed, 11 Nov 2009, Steve Gladden wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>         
>>>>> Short version:
>>>>>
>>>>> *Installed ACID
>>>>> *Have audio popping problem with USB transmit (output) audio.
>>>>> *I'm not surprised didn't expect it to work perfectly first attempt.
>>>>> *Only tried one combinarion of hardware/cpu/motherboard so far.. I need
>>>>> to try other motherboards/CPUs.
>>>>> * Tried 3 different USB devices and ports.
>>>>> * played with moving interrupts disabling motehrboard built-on hardware
>>>>>
>>>>>           
>>>> etc.
>>>>
>>>>         
>>>>> * CPU runs at about 10% while USB radio is active..
>>>>> * Loading PC heavily by running gzip -9 seti at home Lots of disk access
>>>>> lots of network activity seem to have zero impact on the popping
>>>>> frequentness.
>>>>>
>>>>> * I'd like to know if anyone else here has had this or similar problems
>>>>> with consistent audio from the USB device (CM-108) and what they may
>>>>> have done
>>>>> to make it work better.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Long Version:
>>>>>
>>>>> I gave it a go and went the 'easy' route just to get started..
>>>>> I ended up trying it out on that 1.1Ghz AMD Duron CPU rack mount server..
>>>>> I must say I'm extremely excited & please with this software..
>>>>> But it would be too good to be true if it all just worked first try..
>>>>> and of course would take all the 'fun'
>>>>> out of getting it to work..
>>>>> Ok enough small talk (haha)
>>>>> Here's what I have going on:
>>>>>
>>>>> Everything works except I am getting intermittent audio popping in the
>>>>> audio output of the USB sound device.
>>>>> VERY intermittent maybe about 3-4 'pops' every minute on average.. 10 at
>>>>> most sometimes.. and other times several minutes go by without a 'pop'.
>>>>> It seems to mostly occur during the CW ID beacon which I have going
>>>>> every minute..
>>>>> The pops that are heard only happen when the 'transmitter' is active
>>>>> sending PL or CW ID or PLAYBACK...
>>>>> My test arrangement has "radio key" running to produce continuous PL and
>>>>> occasional audio popping.
>>>>> There is no radio actually hooked up yet.
>>>>>
>>>>> OK will talk about the hardware a bit.. and probably worse case scenario
>>>>> here due to an 'all in one' motherboard..
>>>>> It's a MSI 6378 'budget' Athlon board.. everything built on.
>>>>> Has USB 1.1 *NOT 2*
>>>>> I don't know/think this matters for a sound device.
>>>>>
>>>>> Here's all of the things I have tried all of which have absolutely no
>>>>> effect on the intermittent popping...
>>>>>
>>>>> 1. Disabling everything not needed on motherboard including ethernet for
>>>>> test..
>>>>> ethernet + usb share an interrup line and there is no ability to
>>>>> re-route this in the bios
>>>>> so I turned off the ethernet on the motherboard for testing.
>>>>>
>>>>> 2. Carefully monitor CPU during audio pops running 'top' around 20
>>>>> updates per second (this alone takes more CPU load than asterisk
>>>>> /app_rpt + usb radio.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 3. On this motherboard the USB controller and ethernet share a PCI
>>>>> interuupt line and you cannot change it.
>>>>> I've tried disabling the built on ethernet and still get the popping..
>>>>> I've also flood and large pinged the machine which genreates huge
>>>>> numbers of interrups from the ethernet chip and this has no effect on
>>>>> the popping..
>>>>>
>>>>> 4. Tried other USB fobs with same chipset.
>>>>> Created various types of heavy system activity to see if it has any
>>>>> impact on the popping heavy disk use hevy network use and heavy vga use
>>>>> (text mode)
>>>>> moving interrupts (changing them) on the motherboard.. getting usb
>>>>> controller onto a different interuupt (ethernet ends up on same).
>>>>>
>>>>> 5. Measured and scoped 5V output on USB to be sure 'popping' sound is
>>>>> not coming from 5V power supply.
>>>>>
>>>>> 6. Am really looking to hear what some others experience has been with
>>>>> this..
>>>>> what works and what does not?
>>>>> The popping very much sounds like an interrupt issue or some kind of
>>>>> issue where the task of sending and audio stream is completely dropped
>>>>> for something else
>>>>> and then resumed leaving lots of holes heard as pops in the output stream.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>           
>>> This is reported occasionally, but I've never experienced it.
>>>
>>> Given what you've tried already, I'd try a different motherboard.
>>>
>>> Also, remove any usb hobs if you are using one.
>>>
>>>
>>> Steve
>>> WA6ZFT
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>       
>> Hello David... I *may* also be on to something here as I've been able to
>> also determine that the audio pops are occuring ALWAYS
>> While app_rpt is doing it's statpost routine! updating stats via the web.
>>
>> I set te statpost address to something local on the LAN for now just for
>> testing but I get the same audio pops whether just on the
>> LAN or if it's statposting out to the internet.
>>
>> The popping definitely happening at the time that app_rpt is sending
>> HTTP out..
>> The popping never happens during other access to-from the ethernet or
>> during IAX interchanges between asterisk and the world..
>> Seems to be only when app_rpt is stat posting...
>> Dave I think you are certainl correct about the issue being within app_rpt.
>> I'm sure the stat posting is not the only issue but I can duplicate the
>> problem 100% by seeing the popping every time app_rpt
>> sends out HTTP. :-)
>>
>> You may have already found that app_rpt does the 'droppouts' with a ton
>> of other activities... not just stat posting like I am currently
>> pointing out...
>>
>> Might be a start to something though... since it's duplicatable here. :-)
>>
>> Note: I've not figured out how to manually make it statpost.. I just
>> turend up the debug to 7 and waited for it to say it was statposting
>> also looking at the ethernet and see the HTTP packets go out at same
>> time dropous are ocurring.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>>     
>  		 	   		  
>   
I'm on test machine #4 now this one is a P3 @450Mhz  on an Asus P2-99 
Motherboard.. no built on video audio or ethernet..
A bit of a slower CPU on this one the audio dropouts are about the same 
(just as bad no worse) Turning off the stat post
by commenting out the two lines makes a HUGE difference for the better 
but still not perfect as there is still some dropouts..
This is totally stock off the ACID install after all updates & setup.

I still (badly) need to try David's suggested source and re-compile 
fixes and see what I get.
I've certainly found that the stat post part of app_rpt is really making 
the problem show up when it is active.
Besides needing to apply & try David's fixes I am still at the same time 
trying this on a variety of different hardware..
So far ACID out of the box has had the same issue of 4 different systems.

On this last attempt with a P2-99 I've gotten away from the VIA chipsets 
and pretty much all of the on motherboard problem/frustration causers.
This Motherboard uses Intel NB and SB.. A copy of the manual for this 
one is at: http://stuff.michiganbroadband.com/p2-99.pdf

Cheers!
Steve

















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