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Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:11 pm
by cmd
Hello all.

This post might be a bit lengthy, but I'm trying to cover everything that I've tried and discovered about the issue I've had since I've upgraded to the May 2020 Windows feature update. I've removed as many components from my setup as I can that will still let me get to my desired configuration. I was using VB-Cable, but currently have them uninstalled as to not worry about conflicting.


Goal: Mix my microphone input & Line in (Currently hooked to an Alexa Input for music), and occasionally my webcam's microphone to the default windows recording (or at least specifically for discord). This was all working well for months, until I did windows updates (incl. drivers).


Windows 10 Pro for Workstations 2004, Build 19041.264
VoiceMeeter Potato
Discord Canary 60661

Hardware Input devices: 1: Microphone via a Wireless Headset, 2: Realtek Audio Line In, 3: Webcam Microphone, 4: [No Device], 5: [No Device]
Virtual Inputs: VM VAIO: Windows Default Playback, AUX: Discord Output, VAIO 3: Unused
Hardware Output: A1: Headset Earphone A2: [No Device], A3: [No Device], A4: [No Device], A5: [No Device]
Virtual Output: B1: Windows Default Recording, B2: [Unused, was OBS], B3: [Unused]

The Line in, and Void Pro are hooked to output B1. B1 is the 'Default Windows Recording' option, but I can also manually select it in Discord as well.

Here's a crummy diagram for the more visually inclined:

The Problem:

In Discord, the audio when coming from the VB Virtual Output is crackly, robotic, poppy, or even occasionally "drops" like the input cut to -70dB. The 'dropping' mostly can be worked around by disabling the Discord built-in 'echo cancellation', but that just exposes what I think is the real heart of the issue with the "broken" audio that is coming through.

If I switched to directly using a hardware Input, Discord doesn't seem to have the issue at all. So I continued digging.

I've monitored the input via the "VB-Audio Virtual Cable Control Panel" while using the "Let's Check" button in Discord's audio options. There was 0 push/pull loss while it was active, output levels looked like I'd expect, and everything seemed like it should be working.

Closing discord, I opened up audacity and set it's API to WASAPI, Device to VoiceMeeter Output, and started recording. On playback, everything sounded just wonderful. It seemed pedantic, but I tested it with DirectSound and MME though audacity as well. All worked wonderfully.

At this point, I was convinced it was an API issue in Discord. I enabled logging in discord and tested and have combed through the logs. The WebRTC logs discord produced seem to indicate it was unable to open any devices using the Core Audio APIs, often complaining about channel count and sample rates. I adjusted many sample rates (in VM, on physical devices, etc), but changes seemed not to effect the result positively or negatively. Continuing through the logs, I found a message where Discord's WebRTC failed to initialize IAudioClient (it's interface into the Core Audio APIs), and thus falls back to "wave APIs":

Code: Select all

[000:932] [2156] ( IAudioClient::Initialize() failed:
[000:932] [2156] ( Core Audio method failed (hr=-2004287478)
[000:932] [2156] ( Error details: ⛘ሐˠྣ
[000:932] [2156] ( AudioDeviceWindowsCore::CoreAudioIsSupported() Failed to use Core Audio Playout for device id=12
[000:933] [2156] ( webrtc::AudioDeviceWindowsCore::~AudioDeviceWindowsCore destroyed
[000:933] [2156] ( AudioDeviceWindowsCore::~AudioDeviceWindowsCore() the Avrt DLL module is now unloaded
[000:933] [2156] ( Windows Core Audio is *not* supported => Wave APIs will be utilized instead
The 'Error Details' there definitely seems to be some junk memory, as the garbage output was different every time I ran.

I've spent a little time digging through the WebRTC source, but I'm not quite sure which APIs it's using when it fails out of the Core Audio APIs [I'm reading source now.], but I'm pretty convinced at this point that is likely my problem.

However, it *shouldn't* be falling out of the Core Audio APIs (the HR it's getting back from that Initialize seems to be an `AUDCLNT_E_DEVICE_IN_USE`, but I don't see why it'd be upset about that as best I can tell the VB Aux Input allows sharing, and WebRTC is opening it with `AUDCLNT_SHAREMODE_SHARED`.

I would love thoughts or suggestions for what to look at going forward, because at this moment, I'm quite stumped!


Edit to add: It seems the 'Wave' APIs WebRTC uses when it fails out of Core Audio APIs is MME. Which leaves me further stumped, as Audacity has no problems with recording from VoiceMeeter Output via MME. :(

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Tue May 26, 2020 1:45 pm
by Vincent Burel
First check that all windows audio parameter are ok after Windows 10 update as recommended here:

Secondly check our virtual audio driver are still well installed as explained here:

finally open the VBCABLE_Controlpanel app related to the virtual recording device connected to Discord/webrtc and post a screenshot of it eventually... we will take a look...

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Sun May 31, 2020 7:32 pm
by cmd
Hello Vincent, hope this finds you well. I appreciate the response.

I've followed the instructions in those threads, including several reinstalls of the various VB Cables. I do hope to go back to using the other Virtual Audio Cables, but I figure I will keep them out for now to keep my installation as simple as possible until I can isolate the problem.

Firstly, here are the screenshots I've taken:

Device Manager
Playback Devices
Recording Devices
VoiceMeeter Output Format
VoiceMeeter Aux Output Format
VoiceMeeter VAIO3 Output Format
Discord Audio Settings

Here's the screenshots of VB-Audio Virtual Cable Control Panel (Version taken at 3 times:
Before Discord opened the recording device.
Soon after Discord opened the recording device.
After the previous, but just a short while further in the future.

Is there any other settings/options I could pull up for you?

I appreciate your time! Thanks again.

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:14 am
by ToeJam85
I just want to chime in and say that I've also been having issues since moving to Windows 2004.
Same issue where my output is robotic/crakling but only in Discord.

If I manually monitor the outputs from VoiceMeeter they all sound fine, as is recording in Audacity etc.

VB-Potato Setup

I've been and checked device manager/audio devices as well as reinstalling all the drivers etc.
So far this problem is entirely isolated to Discord so I'm thinking it's not even an issue with Potato, but I thought I'd throw another hat in the ring so people are aware they're not alone.

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:37 pm
by cmd
It honestly does mean a lot to hear that, ToeJam85!

Yeah so far I've been unable to replicate it in anything but Discord as well. (I've tried a couple audio apps now too.) I've also tried using a few different releases of discord (stable, ptb, and canary all had the issue for me.)

Perhaps we should be barking up their tree, though I've a feeling they are far less responsive and helpful than Vincent is :)

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:02 am
I also had similar mic issues after the v2004 update.

I tried several things and somehow got the mic to sound cleaner (maybe not perfect) but eventually just went back to v1909 due to performance/quality issues.

I don't recall exactly what I did but it included the following:
  • Toggle and/or disable "Enable audio enhancements" for your mic.
  • Check your mic sample rate and bit depth setting. I set mine to 2chan, 24bit, 48kHz.
  • Re-select mic device in Voicemeeter if using it as a hardware input and/or restart audio engine. Check Discord input device is correct and restart app and/or PC.

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:42 am
by acquacow
I'm having the same issues since the 2004 update.

Voicemeeter and discord aren't playing nice together. I've tried just about everything to try and clean it up.

Not sure where the issue is yet.

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:20 am
by acquacow
Just wanted to let everyone know that update 20H2 is out now and seems to have fixed a lot of my other app issues.

I haven't fully switched back to Voicemeeter and VB cables yet, but I plan to this week to see if it all works again.

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:55 am
by Vincent Burel
yes, interesting! let us know...

did you also see this strange fix about crackling audio:

Re: Discord Crackling w/VB Out since moving to Windows 2004

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:17 pm
by cmd
Sounds awesome!

I will give it a shot tonight. I have been using the built-in mixer that comes with the Elgato Wave microphone, which suffered a similar issue. (It was alleviated by disabling one of the noise suppression options in discord, though.)

I've been on 20H2 for a bit now, but haven't given Voicemeeter a shot since I updated, I don't believe. Will report back soon too!