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Lenovo W520 audio dropouts, low volume
LocrianGroove
post Jul 5 2012, 08:21
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I have a Lenovo W520 with 2nd gen i7, 8GB RAM, running Windows 7 64 bit, and foobar2000. The audio skips during network activity when using the Conexant audio driver, but it doesn't have this problem with the Microsoft High Definition Device driver. This is even when the buffer in foobar2000 is set to 1500 ms.

The problem with the Microsoft driver, is the volume is limited (maybe 5 dB lower) than the Conexant driver. This is unacceptable when driving the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones with ReplayGain enabled, especially during quite passages. Is it possible to bump up the volume of the system when using the Microsoft driver?
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LocrianGroove
post Jul 10 2012, 04:39
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Yes, the volume controls/mixer levels are all up in both cases. I just took some measurements.

I'm playing a 1 kHz sine wave with foobar2000 (using tone://1000:10) and measuring the open circuit voltage with each of the two drivers, volume up all the way in foobar2000, Windows 7, without using the foobar preamp gain.

With the Microsoft High Definition Device driver, I'm reading 444 mV
With the Conexant driver (with headphone limiter enabled), I'm reading 430 mV
With the Conexant driver (with headphone limiter disabled), I'm reading 965 mV
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uart
post Jul 10 2012, 18:13
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QUOTE (LocrianGroove @ Jul 9 2012, 19:39) *
With the Microsoft High Definition Device driver, I'm reading 444 mV
With the Conexant driver (with headphone limiter enabled), I'm reading 430 mV
With the Conexant driver (with headphone limiter disabled), I'm reading 965 mV

Interesting. So it looks like the real difference is that the "headphone limiter" cannot be disabled in the microsoft driver.

Take a really close look in the Windows mixer (I'm still using WinXP but there's probably something similar in Win7). Under "options" you'll sometimes find an "advanced options" setting that enables extra stuff like that.

BTW. What's the purpose of the "headphone limiter". Is it some kind of attempt to protect the listeners hearing from excessive volume?
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LocrianGroove
post Jul 12 2012, 07:42
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QUOTE (uart @ Jul 10 2012, 13:13) *
Take a really close look in the Windows mixer (I'm still using WinXP but there's probably something similar in Win7). Under "options" you'll sometimes find an "advanced options" setting that enables extra stuff like that.

I did look carefully and double checked, but I couldn't find any other way to boost the volume. I wonder if there's a registry value that could be changed to disable the volume limiter, though I haven't been able to find anything on this.
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