Poor Sound Quality

Discussion in 'Windows Guest OS Discussion' started by JoachimH, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

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    I have prepared and successfully gotten my bootcamp Windows 7 to work with Parallel Desktop. I have a problem with the sound though. Any application playing sound on Windows 7 lags the sound through to Mac OS X. The sound works but is cutting in and out fast... not sure how to explain this.

    For example I start Napster, which starts nice and fast and then the music starts playing (fast too) but then as soon as I start working with my Mac or Windows the quality degrades. Can someone help?

    I have dedicated 2048 MB to Windows 7.
    I have tried with 1 or 2 processors.

    Thanks for any help.
    Joe
     
  2. kitesurf

    kitesurf

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    I have to agree. Sound quality is appalling in Parallels 5. If I load up a browser in the VM and stream a radio station, for example, the sound comes through but it's very distorted. Like it's cutting out every couple of milliseconds.

    Can anyone else confirm?

    Mac 10.6.2, 2.6Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM
    VM: 1Gb RAM, 1 Processor.
     
  3. pritams

    pritams

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    same wid me ..............
     
  4. Eric J.F

    Eric J.F

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    Indeed. I can't get any application to play without it skipping at least once every second. I first thought: "Oh well, it's just a virtual machine" ... but then I see a thread here talking about playing actual games in Parallel's, so this does not seem to be normal.
    And I'm not on a MacMini either, it's a full-fledged octacore Mac Pro!
     
  5. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    626
    Confirmed.

    I confirm this. Sound is choppy on my MB Air 2 GB 1.6 GHz, running Parallels 5. The VM is Windows 7, I have 512 MB reserved for it. The memory requirements of Parallels 5 are humongous (> 1 GB for the 512 MB machine). I can't assign more memory to the VM as that would basically use all my Mac's memory: I tried assigning 1 Gig to the VM and the machine comes to a standstill. I believe the poor sound is connected to the Mac having to swap a lot of memory.
     
  6. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

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    Perhaps it has to do with the drivers for Windows 7? I use the Realtek HD drivers and the sounds work when I start directly from bootcamp though. It would be nice to hear from Parallels about this.
     
  7. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

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    No improvement.

    I have continued to test this issue but have not solved it yet.

    It does not matter what application I'm using, as soon as I start doing something on my Mac the sound starts lagging behind. Sometimes it plays fine but it's generally not acceptable, because the cut-outs occur every x seconds. I am not even using resource intensive apps. On my Mac I have hardly anything open. After a fresh restart, I boot into Windows 7 open any application (only one at the same time) (Real Player, Windows Media Player, vlc, last.fm) and let it play, start working with my Mac (Just web browsing, nothing else open) and it starts lagging the sound.

    I have just updated to the last version and things don't seem to improve.

    Did anyone try out anything to improve the issue? Thanks
     
  8. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    you write you've just updated to the latest version... latest version of what? Parallels? The Sound driver?

    I have a very similar condition, the sound is stuttering terribly in particular in games. I think this is connected to the VM's enormous memory requirements which cause the Mac to start swapping to virtual memory rather quickly. But of course we'll only know once Parallels will release an update :-D
     
  9. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

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    What sound drivers are you guys using in your Windows 7 Bootcamp or Virtual Machine?

    I meant the update of Parallels Desktop.
     
  10. Peter Linsener

    Peter Linsener

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    I'm having the same issue, here it says "AMD-8111 AC'97 Audio Controller Driver" is used for Audio in Win 7. Furthermore, in dirver details, it says its version 1.8.6.0 with (c) 2003, seems pretty old ? However, I cannot update the driver as the update driver button is greyed. Does anybody have nicely working audio in Win 7 under Parallels 5 ? Whats your settings ?
     
  11. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

    Messages:
    24
    Things I Tried

    Hi Peter - correct, that is the same driver that is on my PC. AC '97.

    Boot Camp

    When I boot directly into the Windows 7 Boot Camp parition however the PC uses the "Realtek HD Drivers" and the quality is much better but I never had issues if I booted directly into Windows. I tried to install these drivers when booted through Parallels Desktop but they would not activate and I got no sound. The driver could not be started. I assume you have to use the sound driver that is designated for the virtual Parallels Desktop machine. I get the driver back working and it works but with the poor sound quality (which I am trying to fix, my original problem).

    (Separate) Virtual Machine

    Going along with a suggestion by the Parallels Desktop support team I created a new virtual machine with Windows 7 to see if I get better sound quality. What I noticed is that running a clean Windows 7 as a new VM is much faster then using a clean boot camp with Windows 7. I hope this improves when Apple officially supports Windows 7. Thinking the noticeable performance difference as compared to Boot Camp might have a positive effect on the sound I launch a couple of sound applications; Windows Media Player's sample music and sample videos, music from the Internet and Napster. I start to notice the sound quality is unfortunately just as bad. So in the end I got a major performance difference compared to boot camp but no real improvement to the sound. I can probably say though the sound is slightly better but note worth pointing out.

    Side Note

    On a PC that has only two processors, I think it's better to only let the VM/Bootcamp VM use 1 processor, I find that the performance is better and nothing freezes between applications. When I choose two processors I get slight freezes from time to time (no crash, just hang ups when task switching) Does anyone else notice this? Is it better to let the VM just have one processor?

    Hope this might give somebody idea of my problems or towards a solution.
     
  12. Peter Linsener

    Peter Linsener

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    Hi Joachim,

    I never tried from Bootcamp (I used to have Win Vista on Bootcamp and did a fresh install of Win 7 in a freshly created Virtual machine), so it seems our situation is now quite similar. Using Bootcamp has indeed not lead to any problems with Audio, as you can install a suitable driver (cant remember which i had), but for our core issue with audio in the VM thats not of much use anyway.

    What really puzzles me is if this is a common issue, audio being so bad in parallels, or if there is something wrong in our setups. Unfortunately there is not much you can set up / configure in the paralles preferences for audio.
     
  13. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    The driver on my Parallels 5 VM (running Windows 7) appears to be a "AMD 8111 AC'97 Audio Controller Driver" - same as yours.

    Yes, I also find that running with only 1 virtual processor makes for smoother operation.

    Now if I would only know how to reduce the memory that Parallels is reserving ("wired memory")...
     
  14. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    Sound Driver

    Today I downloaded an AC'97 sound driver from Realtek (search for Realtek AC'97 on Google, or search for it on the Realtek site). The driver package comes with an installer, and it installed over Parallels default AMD AC'97 driver without a hitch. After I'd restarted the VM, sound is much improved. I tested this with Warhammer 40,000 and with Icewind Dale. Prior to the driver change both games would stutter and crackle a lot. This is now fixed, I am thoroughly enjoying these games again. The driver has the added benefit of an equalizer that applies to all sound on the machine.

    The only issue I have with it is that it comes with a very non-Windows 7-like icon for the task bar. But that's just an aesthetic quirk :)

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    I should add that I am running my VM off a virtual drive (32 Gig, fixed size), not off a BootCamp partition (I haven't partitioned my drive and am not using BootCamp).
     
  16. Peter Linsener

    Peter Linsener

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    Thank you, this indeed improved sound performance a lot. Its not 100% crackle free, but 95%. So improved audio quality in Parallels 5 would still be welcome, however, for me its not the most urgent issue to address.
     
  17. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

    Messages:
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    Getting there... :)

    Thanks Shaddam, the suggestion helped me too, likewise I have much improved sound, however not satisfactory. If you play games the sound might not need to be as perfect as when you're listening to music, especially music at quiet parts is ruined by crackles. Windows should run much better with the given resources, which PD dedicates to it, including the sound.

    Running the virtual machine of an external drive, I have not tried this but I can't image it to be much difference then the internal drive, usually I get better performance from internal drives then USB drives but here it depends what Mac you have and what drive. Those with an internal solid state drive would probably get great results.

    I'm glad to hear that about processor, I thought this to be true.
     
  18. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    626
    One method I found to reduce crackles even more is to turn off mouse integration. My guess is that the Parallels mouse integration (which adds a mouse driver) isn't terribly effective, or they're sampling the cursor position or whatever very often... (I'm fairly new to digging in Windows innards so I may be wrong here.) ... anyway I turned off mouse integration altogether and since then the animated Windows cursors run much smoother, and crackle is again reduced.

    Since I'm running Windows 7 in full screen I don't really need mouse integration.
     
  19. Peter Linsener

    Peter Linsener

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    Hmmm ... I cannot seem to find that, "mouse integration" ... where is that option ?
     
  20. JoachimH

    JoachimH Bit Poster

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    Is it not under hardware when entering configuration in the virtual machine list? I am not at home so I can't try this to Monday evening but thanks for the tip. Shaddam if I disable the mouse integration then I can't use the mac mouse and need a seperate USB mouse or there is no mouse at all?
     

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