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Hot!Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", sometimes needs complete reset

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silentknyght
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2020/06/30 14:54:11 (permalink)
Randomly, and increasingly frequently since the latest Windows 10 update, my analog microphone (one of the latest Antlion analog ones) regularly exhibits problems with my Nu Audio card.  I can hear everything just fine through my headphones without any need to toggle any buttons in the Nu Audio software, but I must toggle buttons EVERY TIME for the microphone.  Specifically:
  1. The microphone setting (e.g., "Auto", "Front", etc.) regularly fails to recognize that I still have the microphone plugged in.  I have to cycle through the settings back in order to "wake up" the microphone.  This is an annoyance, and I'd really like to know if there's a fix.
  2. Much more than an annoyance, for no random reason--literally seconds after having checked that the microphone is recording properly--the microphone audio has a crackle or similar distortion to it.  I come across as virtually unintelligible on Discord.  It's not just Discord; even using the Windows Voice Recorder, the crackle is present.  It's not the microphone or the port: using either the front or rear port with either this Antlion microphone or with a different microphone, the crackle is present.  I used to restart the entire damn computer to fix it, which works.  I may have stumbled on a second solution: for the most recent issue, toggling the software mute on / off in the software seemed to restore the normal operation of the microphone. EDIT: It happened again and I was able to intentionally try the mute-unmute software button it multiple times, but it didn't fix the crackle.
I don't yet know what the trigger is to cause these issues.  I suspect some kind of sleep/wake cycle in Windows 10 for problem #1, but I've played around with several to no avail.  Since only seconds elapse between a working microphone and a crackling one, I am completely flummoxed by #2.  Either way, a permanent fix or other solution in lieu of these work-arounds would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
post edited by silentknyght - 2020/07/21 11:36:15
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    wmmills
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    Re: Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", needs muting/unmuting to eliminate crackl 2020/07/02 06:42:32 (permalink)
    So maybe roll back/do a windows recovery, with the internet unplugged and off, so you can setup delays or stop winupdate all together and you can use the previous version. If you turn on update though its going to nuke your roll back right away. That may buy you the time till the next update and it may be fixed by then and updating windows wont ruin your audio setup then.

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    silentknyght
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    Re: Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", needs muting/unmuting to eliminate crackl 2020/07/02 07:47:28 (permalink)
    wmmills
    So maybe roll back/do a windows recovery, with the internet unplugged and off, so you can setup delays or stop winupdate all together and you can use the previous version. If you turn on update though its going to nuke your roll back right away. That may buy you the time till the next update and it may be fixed by then and updating windows wont ruin your audio setup then.


    Thanks for the ideas, but I don't think those will be reasonable solutions, and the risk of ruining my audio setup with these work-arounds is low-to-none.  Issue #1 has occurred since I installed the card.  #2 has occurred for multiple Win10 releases.  I apologize if that was unclear from the original post.
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    wmmills
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    Re: Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", needs muting/unmuting to eliminate crackl 2020/07/02 19:52:37 (permalink)
    silentknyght
    wmmills
    So maybe roll back/do a windows recovery, with the internet unplugged and off, so you can setup delays or stop winupdate all together and you can use the previous version. If you turn on update though its going to nuke your roll back right away. That may buy you the time till the next update and it may be fixed by then and updating windows wont ruin your audio setup then.


    Thanks for the ideas, but I don't think those will be reasonable solutions, and the risk of ruining my audio setup with these work-arounds is low-to-none.  Issue #1 has occurred since I installed the card.  #2 has occurred for multiple Win10 releases.  I apologize if that was unclear from the original post.


    No apology needed! Yes, those little details are much more helpful cause it sounded like the tried and true "windows updated my install and now everythings broke" scenario we see oh soooo often. Hopefully Evga or another user will come along with some help for ya, as i dont own Evga's audio card so i cant play with it to figure it out. You know, im wondering if the audio card is having a problem converting the analog mic to digital natively. Maybe it needs a DSP in between to preconvert it?!?! Thats just one of my ham handed what if's though.
    post edited by wmmills - 2020/07/02 19:57:59

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    Vivicector
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    Re: Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", needs muting/unmuting to eliminate crackl 2020/07/02 21:48:20 (permalink)
    OK, I honestly don't have any idea, but try that:
    1) What sampling rate is set? Try dropping it a bit. I had troubles with voice com on high sampling rates.
    2) Is an ASIO mode on when this happens? Disable ASIO sources.
    3) Can you try loading the system from some boot USB or setup a 2nd operating system and run tests on it (to eliminate software variants altogether)?
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    silentknyght
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    Re: Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", needs muting/unmuting to eliminate crackl 2020/07/04 15:53:44 (permalink)
    Vivicector
    OK, I honestly don't have any idea, but try that:
    1) What sampling rate is set? Try dropping it a bit. I had troubles with voice com on high sampling rates.
    2) Is an ASIO mode on when this happens? Disable ASIO sources.
    3) Can you try loading the system from some boot USB or setup a 2nd operating system and run tests on it (to eliminate software variants altogether)?


    I appreciate the help.  Right now, I woke the system from sleep, I toggled the microphone through the settings to "wake" it up, and then tested the microphone in the Windows Voice Recorder app.  It seemed to work fine.  Immediately after loading into a discord voice channel, the microphone became distorted and crackly.


    1. Sampling rate is at 24 bit, 48000
    2. ASIO is apparently disabled; not sure what that is.
    3. That will be difficult to impossible.  I *can* enable my motherboard's audio chipset just to use its microphone, and perhaps diagnose from there, but using it as a long-term solution would be a great disappointment.
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    silentknyght
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    Re: Analog microphone needs cycling to "awaken", needs muting/unmuting to eliminate crackl 2020/07/21 11:43:27 (permalink)
    Note: I have edited the original title to clarify that muting/unmuting does NOT solve the microphone problem.
     
    It's been three additional weeks, and I still haven't figured out how to fix the problem.  Yesterday, the microphone functionality completely failed: I didn't merely get some crackle & distortion, instead nothing was transmitted at all.  I have reinstalled the drivers, this time without the Nahimic additions.
     
    There is a software quirk that is not likely to be related, but I'm desperate to find some permanent fix to this that doesn't require rebooting the computer, so I'll offer it just in case: Sometime within the past few weeks, I increased my microphone volume from where I had it set (in the 40s) to 72%.  Now, I can't seem to set it to anything else.  If I set it to 70% in the software, it eventually turns back to 72%.  No amount of hitting the "Apply" button seems to fix it.  It has persisted despite my re-installation of the drivers.
     
    In other news, I'm trying to see whether leaving the microphone "on" the entire time is causing problems.  I'm using the EVGA software to mute the microphone when not in use.
     
    EDIT:  I'm going to use this forum post/thread as a debugging stream-of-consciousness post, in the hopes that it helps someone.
     
    EDIT 1:
    The problem (almost) certainly seems to be linked to Discord, somehow.  Testing in the Windows Sound Recorder was perfect.  Even testing in the Discord configuration was fine.  As soon as I entered a channel, the problem arose; I didn't even try to talk to anyone!  Then, immediately afterwards, the audio everywhere--even in Windows Sound Recorder was irreparably garbled.  There's no way to share audio files directly on this website, but both of these were recorded a minute apart:
     
    Pre-Discord sound file:
    https://www.sndup.net/29bs
     
    Post-Discord sound file:
    https://sndup.net/8g97
     
    EDIT 2:
    In uploading the files, I had to convert them from m4a to an mp3.  I installed Audacity, and the Lame codecs, converted the files, and listened to the audio in a web browser.  Nothing else that I can think of.  But,  I randomly checked the microphone again, and it was no longer garbled!  Entering the Discord channel and leaving it immediately returned it to being garbled. 
     
    EDIT 3:
    I played around in audacity, performing all of the steps I could recall that I took previously, without any success.  I began recording in Audacity, without success; I even changed the project rate from 44100 hz to 96000 and back, without it fixing anything.  However, I had some success!  I changed the sample rate in the Nu Audio configuration screen from 24 bit, 96000 to 24 bit, 44100.  The system definitely "dropped" my microphone--I had to toggle the selector through all of the settings multiple times and/or wait about 30 seconds to get the entire system to see it / wake it up again--but once I had it woken up, the garbled audio was gone.  Switching this sample rate seems to be too much for the Windows Sound Recorder or for Discord; I had to restart them completely in order for it to recognize the mic (but Audacity seems to handle this better).  Restarting Discord, testing the mic in the the Discord "Voice Settings" screen, the audio is clear again, at least until I enter a Discord voice channel, and the entire problem starts all over again.
     
    I tried this at Sample Rates of 24 bit, 96000 and 24 bit, 44100.  The problem exists at both sample rates (at least until restart, as noted previously).
     
    EDIT 4:
    Something seems to be up with the "Preferred ASIO Buffer Size," though based on what I can see, it says "ASIO not active" (see attached), so I'm totally confused.  However, additional testing strongly suggests that I can fix the garbled microphone in Discord if I set the buffer size down to 128 samples (with safe mode on or off).  Repeated testing at 512 and 256 samples, with or without safe mode, still seemed to cause the microphone to be garbled simply by entering/exiting a discord voice channel.  At 128 samples, I entered/exited voice channels a half-dozen times, and even held a brief conversation, and the garbled microphone problem did not seem to reoccur.  Again, I'm not sure what this is doing, since on my screen, it says "ASIO not active."  All of this testing was done at a 24 bit, 44100 sample rate.
    post edited by silentknyght - 2020/07/21 16:34:08

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