PCem v15 Sound Issue

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NT31
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Location: Buffalo, New York, USA

PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

I have been a user of PCem for a couple of years now, and I have nothing but respect for the people behind it! However, I have noticed a strange sound issue in the latest version. When playing audio on an emulated Sound Blaster, I notice a very distracting stutter or "skipping", especially when playing MIDI under DOS or Windows. I tested the exact same configuration on PCem 14, and there was no stuttering. I don't know if this is a PCem 15 bug or a problem with my configuration or hardware. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Configuration:
Machine: AMI WinBIOS 486
CPU: Intel 486SX2/50
RAM: 64MB
Video Card: Cirrus Logic GD-5430
Sound Card: Sound Blaster Pro v2 (I did also try Pro v1 and 16; same issue occurred)

If you need more details, let me know! Thanks for your help!
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leilei
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by leilei »

There's a lot of DOS sound stutter in V15 on lower emulated targets and most of it seems to go away when under Win9x. Supposedly it doesn't happen under FreeDOS

The dynarec was ruled out as it does happen on interpreter, though V15 also had a lot of timer changes...
NT31
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Location: Buffalo, New York, USA

Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

Okay! Good to know I'm not the only one who has noticed this.
NT31
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

For the record, I tried enabling and disabling EMM386, enabling and disabling drivers, lowering the RAM, using a different version of DOS, using a different machine/BIOS. Nothing fixed it.
karr
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by karr »

i've had the same experience.
(and a friend of mine made the same experience)

when i play mod sound files with impulse tracker or other players
i have random sound stutters/loops.
happens with all machines and soundcards.
and when i play midi files with ultrasound i have these random sound problems as well.

sometimes i can play music for 10 min without a sound loop
and sometimes i have 2 stutters/loops in 1 minute.

increasing the sound buffer in pcem won't help.
with v14 (and with dosbox ece) there are no problems.

seems there is a major problem with audio output in v15.
NT31
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Location: Buffalo, New York, USA

Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

UPDATE: I adjusted the "video speed" setting, and that fixed the issue.
NT31
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

Never mind. Different programs produce different results. I'll just go back and forth between versions for different purposes.
karr
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by karr »

the bug still exists in v16 !!

it is disappointing that the bug still exists and sarah has not commented
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SarahWalker
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by SarahWalker »

It's called being human. I genuinely forgot about this thread. And it's not an issue I've seen personally, or I would have fixed it.

Can you provide more details, possibly maybe a video recording or something of this happening? Something other than JUST SHOUTING.
karr
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by karr »

hi

thx for reply
i'll try to make a video
seth
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by seth »

@SarahWalker:

While we are on this subject of sound problems... there is this one windows game called Obsidian (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian_(1997_video_game) that has some problems with Windows Sound System (Sound Blaster 128 works, though). After a while, some sounds loop again and again. Here is a video:

(it begins at 02:11)

https://streamable.com/hbd439

And:
Age of Empires 2
I can't regulate the music volume in options with "windows sound system" in a game. Sound Blaster PCI 128 does work here as well.
In the future, I will test some DOS games as well.


Do you think you can fix this? Either way... thanks for everything you did for the old game community. I love PCem. =)
Last edited by seth on Wed 22 Apr, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cheez
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by Cheez »

There's always the chance that it's a problem with the real hardware.
seth
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by seth »

I mean... yeah, of course it could be a problem with the real hardware as well. ^^; I just wanted to make SarahWalker aware of this. That's it.
tk421
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by tk421 »

Have you tried using the AMI 486 Clone bios instead of the WinBios 486? I found the AMI Clone bios to be of very high quality, especially in v15. I am doing some v16 testing now, but I have not seen this bug at all.
karr
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by karr »

@seth
i guess your problem is something different from the looping problem with v15
may be its better to post that in the compatibility thread

@SarahWalker

here the videos with the random looping problem
i used ocam to record the videos and tried these 2 file hosters

https://filehorst.de/d/dDFJapHE

http://www.mediafire.com/file/a8blzijm8ppzb28/test.zip/file

(would be nice if you could answer and say if you got the files)

here a detailed description:

pcemv16-mod1-1.24.mp4
shows the looping problem with mod files
pcem v16, 486 ami clone with dos 6.22 + gravis ultrasound and impulse tracker (happens also with other soundcards and machines)
at time 1:24/1:25 you can hear the loop

pcemv16-mod2-0.30.mp4
another mod file, same configuration
here you can hear the loop at 0:30/0:31


pcemv16-mod2-ok.mp4
same file same configuration this time without the looping
for better comparison

these random loops happen random with pcem v15 and v16
sometimes 2 loops in 1 minute, sometimes no loop in 5 minutes.
with pcem v14 there are no loops at all.



now to the midi files
here it becomes interesting:

pcemv16-midi-xms.mp4
pcem v16, 486 with dos 6.22 + gravis ultrasound and dosmid
xms memory
plays without loop

pcemv16-midi-ems.mp4
same configuration this time with ems memory
sound loops very extreme

pcemv14-midi-xms.mp4
pcem v14, 486 with dos 6.22 + gravis ultrasound and dosmid
xms memory
plays without loop

pcemv14-midi-ems.mp4
same configuration this time with ems
plays without loop


here is my summary of it

seems with ems memory pcem v16 (and v15)
will create this strange random looping
with pcem v14 with and without ems its perfect

may be its a bug in sound engine with pcem v15 and v16
or its a memory related issue.
when using ems its different compared to v14

i am not 100% sure if this is the reason
hope this helps to identify the problem
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omarsis81
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by omarsis81 »

you forgot to link the above mp4 files
Cheez
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by Cheez »

I assume they're in the zip file hosted in two different places.
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omarsis81
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by omarsis81 »

Wouldn't be easier to upload them to youtube? Easy access to everyone!
NT31
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Location: Buffalo, New York, USA

Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

I had almost forgotten about this thread too until I saw that PCem 16 was out. Here's a demo I recorded of the issue. I don't know if the dynamic recompiler is the actual issue or if that's a coincidence, but I showed the difference in case that helps. I noticed that adjusting the buffer size changes the rate of the skipping, so I also included that in case it helps. If you need more examples, I can do that as well. This isn't the only program that's affected. It seems to be any program that relies on MIDI.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xV0mYWcSYmePUw-2OQVeZ4k3Z47TNaip/view?usp=sharing
NT31
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

I don't know if this also applied to v15, but in v16, I've found that enabling EMM386 is what causes the stuttering in DOS. I tested it using QEMM instead and there was no stuttering. However, it only seems to fix the DOS stuttering. With QEMM enabled, there is still some very minor stuttering on Windows 3.1 when a MIDI file is played.
karr
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by karr »

hi SarahWalker

about 2 weeks ago i uploaded the videos you asked for.
do you have a solution for that problem yet?
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SarahWalker
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by SarahWalker »

Haven't looked. I'm working on something else right now.
karr
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by karr »

np
thx for reply
Grassini
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by Grassini »

I also have sound stuttering, very sporadically, but there are applications where stuttering are terrible, e.g. when playing pop.mid demo using AWE32 emulation, or music in pinball fantasy.

Code: Select all

https://youtu.be/5sbh6TVoXy0
PoloniumRain
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by PoloniumRain »

Hi everyone. Amazing emulator you've created here, it's really very impressive... But... i'm yet another person with the sound stuttering/skipping on PCem v16 (not tried older versions).

I made a YouTube video here:

https://youtu.be/tjRkVP1JPPU

It clearly shows the problem happening with a few games on Windows 98 and DOS. However everything has this sound problem whether it's a game or not.

I've also tried configuring many types of machines, both Intel and AMD, at different CPU speeds, with different sound hardware/settings but nothing helps (just like the people above). The one thing these machines have in common is they're all running Windows 98 and DOS.

As for real hardware, PCem is running on a Threadripper 3960X, 64GB RAM, 1080Ti and NVMe SSD, with a clean install of the latest Windows 10 (version 2004) and all the latest driver updates. But i also have this exact same sound problem on a much slower laptop.

Sadly i don't have any PC's without Win10 on them, so i can't test it, but i've got a suspicion this will be a Windows/Win10 problem. Other emulators have had trouble with it and Windows is a mess in the sound department and has more sound latency/lag than many other OS's. So maybe a timing issue is causing it. IF it is a Windows/10 problem then most people using PCem might have this issue. What OS are you all using?
tk421
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by tk421 »

Welcome to the site PoloniumRain.

May I ask which emulated hardware you are using? I use the Sound Blaster 16 for Win95/98 and I have not had any of these sound stuttering issues.

For DOS games I use the Sound Blaster 2.0.

I agree that this could be a Windows 10 issue. I noticed that Windows 10 v1909 causes serious sound stuttering issues with VMWare and VirtualBox. I had not encountered any such issues with PCem.

Hopefully this issue is fixed soon. PCem is easily one of my favorite programs.
PoloniumRain
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by PoloniumRain »

tk421 wrote:
Thu 11 Jun, 2020 8:53 pm
Welcome to the site PoloniumRain.

May I ask which emulated hardware you are using? I use the Sound Blaster 16 for Win95/98 and I have not had any of these sound stuttering issues.
Thanks! So far i've tried Sound Blaster 2.0, Sound Blaster 16 and Sound Blaster AWE32 on Windows 98SE with multiple different configurations for each card (can't remember what). I tried using different Win9x drivers for each card too, and installing the unofficial Service Pack 3 update for Windows 98. Didn't help.

With CPU's i've used a Pentium 100MHz to an AMD K6-2 300MHz and everything inbetween those speeds, on multiple Socket 7 and Super 7 boards. Tried Voodoo 1, 2 and Voodoo2 SLI. The one thing everything has in common is i always used the S3 Virge/DX for the display, which i tried with 'Fast VLB/PCI' and 'Slow VLB/PCI' speed settings. Also tried different drivers for it. I've even tried different mice, different CD drive speeds, and with and without networking... Literally nothing makes a difference lol.
tk421
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by tk421 »

Hopefully someone finds a solution for this issue soon. May I ask if you have tried another video card, such as the S3 Trio 64 or the ATI Video Xpression? I typically set the Video speed to default.

Are you using a large virtual hard disk? Mine are normally 2gb in size. Also, how much RAM have you assigned to each PCem VM? I have rarely gone above 64mb, even for a K6-2 configuration. For a fast 486 VM I normally do not exceed 16mb of RAM. I use about 4mb of RAM for a slow 486.

I have not had much issue with sound stuttering anymore thanks to my relatively new laptop. Its CPU is the i7 9750H.

If I knew how to fix this issue, I would do so. I had various problems with PCem in the past, but they typically revolved around the joystick not being read by a specific version of PCem, for example v13.1.
JosepMa
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Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by JosepMa »

Have you tried changing the buffer length on the Sound menu? I have it at 200ms here on a core i7 Win10 and works fine.
NT31
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Location: Buffalo, New York, USA

Re: PCem v15 Sound Issue

Post by NT31 »

I've tried that, and it either does nothing or makes the problem worse.

This may sound a bit far-fetched, but to those who see this...what CPU are you using on your host system? I'm starting to wonder if it might be an issue with certain CPUs. I'm using an AMD Ryzen 7 3700U.
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