I've been using Voicemeeter Banana and then Voicemeeter Potato for the past few years and recently I've been noticing the crackling sound show up more and more frequently on multiple virtual audio cables and output devices. It's been driving me mad that I cannot get to the bottom of this. Let me explain the setup and then I'll explain the solutions I've tried.
Using Voicemeeter Potato, I have Virtual Audio CABLE and CABLES A-D as my input devices using the WDM driver. I use these to send software audio to different devices depending on what I need. For Outputs, I have my Focusrite USB ASIO driver (for my Scarlett 18i20) as A1, WDM - Realtek HD Audio 2nd Output as A2 (for speakers), and WDM - Realtek High Definition Audio for A3. Everything has a buffer of 512 (including the ASIO device), 48k sample rate, and the Cables all have 7168 internal latency.
In the most stressful situation, I am using all of these devices to route software audio to my speakers/headphones (A2/3) and record audio in OBS by capturing the CABLE Inputs, as well as Reaper using the input channels of the ASIO device to record microphones. In the least stressful situations, I'm playing a video in my browser or listening to Spotify and only using one of the devices. Audio crackling happens in both places, whether or not the system's been running audio through that channel for hours or it just sarted. Sometimes, restarting the audio engine does not work and I have to reboot.
I have tried the uninstall/reinstall steps from the Windows 10 Update thread:
1- Remove all USB audio device + REBOOT.
2- De-install VB-CABLE one by one + REBOOT
3- De-install Voicemeeter + REBOOT
4- Check your remaining audio devices are working ok.
5- Check there is no presence of our virtual audio driver in Windows Device Manager (in both sections: multimedia controller and audio input output).
6- Re-install VB-CABLE and Voicemeeter one by one , REBOOT after each operation, check your device list in Windows Sound Dialog box.
7- When all is re-installed, re-plug your USB audio device. check again your default playback and recording device
8- Run Voicemeeter and check systray option. Audio should work again correctly.
I have tried setting the WDM buffer to as high as it can go. I've upped the ASIO buffer (it was at 128 by default, but I manually changed it to 512). I have made sure I've uninstalled and reinstalled the latest drivers for my ASIO device and the on-board audio. I've tried switching to KS for the audio devices. I've swapped between Normal and Swift mode. I've upped the WDM buffer to 2048. I've tried swapping the non-ASIO outputs and input drivers to both MME and KS.
My computer should be able to handle almost anything. When I get this audio buffer issue, my CPU resource consumption can be anywhere between 30 and 70%. Here are my specs:
Intel Core i7-7800X @ 3.5 GHz
32 GB Ram
GTX 1080 and a GTX 680
all hard drives are 256 GB SSDs
If there are any ideas on what else I can try, I would really appreciate it.