I've just set up my first PC hifi rig. Not bad. I'm getting sporadic "drop-outs" (music cuts out for split seconds and comes back on its own). What is most likely cause?

-DAC (I use USB-only Kingrex)
-something else

All web sites or just particular ones?

Its not uncommon for some internet radio web sites, especially higher kbps bandwidth sites to drop out or more accurately stop and restart periodically on occasion often due to a combination of high load on the server and/or limited bandwidth between the site and you somewhere along the internet pipeline, especially during peak listening hours.
You may not have the audio set to 'highest' priority in your computer.
Other computer functions having 'higher' priority notation settings will override the audio stream, even is they are something really stupid.
You have to go into the settings and change the audio program to have a 'highest' priority setting. And nothing else more than average...
And If i could tell you exactly were/how in your computer system to do this i would be a geek instead of the computer idiot that I actually am.
What is the make and model of the computer, how much RAM (memory) does it have, and what operating system does it use (Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, etc.)?

Does this problem only occur when playing music directly from the internet, or does it also occur when playing files from a cd or files that are stored on a hard drive? If the latter, on what drive are the music files stored (on your internal "c" drive that also contains Windows and program files; on a second internal hard drive; on an external hard drive)? If they are stored on an external hard drive, how is it connected to the computer (usb, firewire, esata)?

What program are you using to play the music files?

What kind of internet connection do you have (cable, dsl, dial-up)? Go here and test the download and upload speeds of your connection, choosing the closest location from among those offered. Let us know the results.

-- Al
I had the same identical problem just before my hardrive went bad. I suggest you make a back up file just in case.
exactly what is your computer, what software and how is it all set up????? dropouts can be symptoms of a hard drive on its' last legs but hard to diagnose with the limited info you have provided.
I have a "home-brew" PC with new operating system installed (Windows 7 Ultimate, I believe). I'm hopeless on the computer and know where to find nothing! I'm getting sporadic drop-outs on internet radio (Pandora, Wolfgang, Dead radio). I have not tried ripping CDs yet, so I cannot speak to this. Thanx for the help, folks.
Scratch my response, it was based on music files.
Try the link Almarg provided and tell us what the #s are.
That's 3-4 X faster download time than I am getting currently on my wireless laptop and I do not have any problem, so it does not appear likely your internet connection bandwidth is a problem.

If you get dropouts at similar intervals on all internet stations, then some thing on your PC may be the limiting factor.

Usually it is either due to insufficient memory and/or other programs running that consume memory and/or cpu time.

I have not tried newer versions of Windows but my experience has been 2Gb or less of memory does not cut it for reliable streaming. You generally need at least 4 Gb.

If you right click on your taskbar and launch task manager you can see what programs are running and consuming resources.

These are likely candidates but unfortunately there are many things that can interfere in that the PC is never fully dedicated just to any one program or function.

My problem is that I don't know what programs are necessary and which ones aren't. I have turned off everything at "startup" that I am familiar with, but I don't recognize a lot of what is running in the background.

How does one know which ones can be either turned off at startup, or uninstalled? I’m using a Netbook as a dedicated server for network streaming, so I could care less about anything that is not absolutely necessary for operation...


Lindisfarne -- I second Mapman's comments, assuming as he indicated that the problem appears on many stations.

Ben -- Try the following:


2)http://answersthatwork.com/ (click on the green "Task List" button and see if the particular process or service is listed).

3)If necessary, Google the name of the process or service.

Best regards,
-- Al
Lindisfarne -- Before doing any of that, though, try doing what I described in this post. Be sure to follow the instructions precisely. Click "save changes" where applicable.

Ben, that may be applicable to you as well, if the netbook is running Windows 7.

-- Al