View Full Version : Sound Jerky While Modem Dialing

16-04-2004, 05:26 PM
If I am playing a music file (MP3, WAV, WMA, etc) and then connect to my ISP, When the modem initialises and starts to dial the ISP number, the sound playing is interrupted and becomes choopy for a second or two and the mouse becomes jerky during that time period as well.

Does anyone have any idea how to fix this?

My modem is a Lucent Winmodem (I also tried a Conexant HCF Modem, but the same thing happened). My computer is a 1Ghz Celeron on a Transcend TS-AVE3/B running Windows XP.

I noticed on a friends faster Pentium 4 Computer, also running a Lucent Winmodem, that there was no interruption in music playback while dialling the ISP.

Is it because my machine is too slow?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as this is an annoying problem.

16-04-2004, 05:37 PM
I have a similar problem on my computer with a lucent modem. I have an ISA soundcard, which I put down as one of the causes, coupled with a sluggish processor - 500mhz. The performance tab on Task Manager indicates that 99% of the CPU's resources are used up when dialling, which would naturally drain resources from Mp3 playback. A slow processor is probably the reason - I would be interested to know what sort of soundcard you have - if you have an old ISA type like me, that would suggest it was part of the problem...

16-04-2004, 06:00 PM
Internal PCI "WinModems" will take a lot of CPU cycles, particularly at initialisation. What you are seeing is not unusual for that type of Modem.

16-04-2004, 06:04 PM
My family had similar issues. It knuckles down to the fact that it is a WinModem (Read: Software Relient Modem), and so because your computer takes a lot of the load instead of the actual Modem itself.

They had Onboard Audio and a Lucent WinModem.

The issue went away when using JAMD Linux. It's basically to do with the drivers I believe.

The had a 933Mhz Celeron.

If it really bugs you, get a better modem or try another OS ;-)



16-04-2004, 06:05 PM
How are winmodems different from any other PCI modem?

16-04-2004, 06:10 PM
A winmodem relies on windows and the cpu to do all the work,a real modem is a self contaned piece of hardware that looks after its own end.

My lucent winmodem also causes the stutter,can't say i have ever looked on it as a problem,only upsets the cart for a couple seconds.

16-04-2004, 06:10 PM
Thanks chill, that answers my question.

I'm in the process of downloading the ISO for Knoppix (missed the PCworld giveaway) as a way of dipping into Linux. Another PC mag is giving away Xandros, and thinking of trying that as well... Hope to upgrade things in the near future anyway.


16-04-2004, 06:12 PM
Thanks also Metla,

jeez, you guys are fast tonight! :D


16-04-2004, 06:15 PM
> How are winmodems different from any other PCI modem?

They are the same "family".
There are several flavours of WinModems (HCF, HSF etc) but all rely on the CPU for almost every action within the modem. Their correct operation is therefore dependent on every other piece of hardware and software in the PC co-operating at all times.

"Real" modems (external RS232 hardware modems) have their own processor and firmware and place no load on the PC processor.

There are such things as real hardware internal PCI modems however, but they are not generally available. I have seen them advertised in the US, but never sold retail here. Its possible they do not comply with the NZ requirements, but not sure.

16-04-2004, 06:16 PM
I have onboard sound, but I think 1GHz out to be enough for a modem!
The modem dials flawlessly on a 2.4GHz Pentium 4, but an extra 1.4GHz wouldn't make the difference, would it?

Neil McC
16-04-2004, 06:25 PM
I've just installed and am using a free player from here
I've just come on line,and was pleased to notice that there was no stutter when the modem started up,as it usually happens.Playing a cd. Win ME,800mhz.
But am yet to try it playing a music file.

16-04-2004, 06:28 PM
Everyone can't be experienciong this stutter, considering that most modems are Winmodems!?!

Neil McC
16-04-2004, 06:38 PM
Sorry,pmchapman.It does still stutter a little while playing a file.

16-04-2004, 07:09 PM
> There are such things as real hardware internal PCI
> modems however, but they are not generally available.
> I have seen them advertised in the US, but never sold
> retail here. Its possible they do not comply with the
> NZ requirements, but not sure.


The problem is that people don't want them,they consider external modems as superior to internal modems,without any understanding of the differing chipsets.

Try to sell them a more expensive pci modem and they will tell you if they wanted to spend more money they would buy an external modem.

Try and explain the difference and prepare to be greeted with the blank stare that means they lost where you were heading as soon as you started......

16-04-2004, 07:37 PM
Thats interesting metla, I thought they were unavailable here.

Thats also a very reasonable price for a full hardware modem. I simply cannot understand why anyone would buy a soft modem, they obviously have little understanding of the difference as you say.

Personally I found that the WinModem/Softmodems made a very satisfying "clunk" when I threw them in the rubbish bin after many a futile attempt to make them work consistently.

Prior to going Jetstream I had changed to external hardware modems (as I purchased them in lots of 100 they were reasonably priced, but still over double the cost of that one). The reliability and consistent performance of a good hardware modem was a welcome relief.

16-04-2004, 08:24 PM
I got rid of my external modem because it was only 33 KBP anbd the serial port on my old machine was only 28000 Kbp. You just can't win with computers :-(

I was hoping it was a BIOS or a Driver problem. At least that doesn't cost the price of a new modem to fix. I still find it wierd how some computers don't stutter (The neighbours P100 doesnt stutter with the same Winmodem, which I think is very weird!)

16-04-2004, 09:34 PM
I've found this thread interesting, as I, too, suffer from the problem.

I use a Conexant HCF modem, on an 800MHz Celeron CPU. I've noticed that several people said their CPUs were Celerons (wondering if that could be related), and I too do not see how the software interaction with the winmodem could place such a high load on a CPU.

What I've noticed, however, is that I suffer the same problem when disabling my network card via Device Manager (disabling a LAN connection does the same thing, never tried it simply by unplugging the network cable), and that lead me to believe that the underlying issue was not simply the matter of using a winmodem. Whether it be my motherboard, the CPU, or some combination of things, I don't know, but I find it can be quite annoying when there is bad line quality while I'm playing MP3s ;)

17-04-2004, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the explanations. One thing still puzzles me, though. Can you have a soundcard with hardware MP3 decoding that takes the process off the CPU, thereby negating the competition for resources? If I'm right, this would avoid the stutter regardless of whether a hardware modem was present. Am I right?


17-04-2004, 07:58 PM
Yes Hardware Decoding is available on some upper-end cards.

But at the price of the modem in Metla's link, why would you bother?

17-04-2004, 09:12 PM
> Everyone can't be experienciong this stutter,
> considering that most modems are Winmodems!?!

You are correct in saying most modems are Winmodems. I have only ever used one PCI Modem in my system and that for a reasonably short period of time. Like Godfather the modem went in the bin. This was the last noise it ever made as far as I am aware. There may have been a more satisfying noise as the D6 rolled over it at the tip but I wasn't there to hear it. :-)

Back in the dark ages I could use an ISA modem which was hardware and therefore didn't use much in the way of CPU cycles. These days I would be flat out trying to get a Motherboard (new) with an ISA slot in which to insert a modem.

Why buy a motherboard rather than an External modem anyway?

It would appear at first glance Metla may have a solution. If so then that's fine. You certainly can't fault the price.

Is it possible that some of the symtoms can be put down to the sound card?

17-04-2004, 09:19 PM
Well my computer is a bog-standard OEM job. Sound is a standard VIA AC-97 and the graphics chipset is not too fancy.

I checked with some computer retailers and an assembler and they said they all use Winmodems for their new machines. It can't be that all standard OEM computers are rubbish, can it? I find it hard to believe that everyone who buys a standard store bought computer, supplied with a Winmodem experiences the same problem. Seeing others computers work fine with a Winmodem makes me doubt it.

I did try disabling the on-board sound and plugging in a Yamaha PCI soundcard, but still the same problem.

17-04-2004, 09:36 PM
all winmodems are rubbish.

and they are dirt cheap.

so they are popular.

i can get winmodems for $4 each,i garentee dell get them for a few cents each.

17-04-2004, 11:18 PM
For the length of time my sound goes "jerky" when connecting is neither here nor there. I mean whats the big deal. Its only a couple of seconds

God forbid you guys living in the days of the wind up gramaphone.

Whats the freekin big deal. Get over it

18-04-2004, 12:00 AM
My other computer (interweb host) is a AMD Duron 900mhz, 192 mb ram and onboard sound and a Lucent Winmodem (now calls itself Agere Winmodem with the newest drivers)

And it does the same thing, but its for like 2 seconds. You have to be real crazy to fret over that.

18-04-2004, 12:03 AM
Yes, but the mnachine cost me $2000 and I don't want to accept mediocrity for that price!

Susan B
18-04-2004, 11:47 AM
> Yes, but the mnachine cost me $2000 and I don't want to accept mediocrity for that price!

Sorry to burst your bubble but these days your computer is on the mediocre side. Your friend's Pentium 4 computer leaves your one for dead in the specifications department, especially if it is loaded with heaps of RAM.

You don't say how much RAM your computer has but it could possibly make a difference if it had plenty, eg 512MB.

18-04-2004, 12:32 PM
Pity there is no way around it. It just seems weird that the OEMs dump cheap rubbish on us. I should buy a Mac, then I'd live in perfect world.

I still remmeber when the Port of Tauranga bought a mainframe. Wasn't out of date for 15 years. If only i could get that on a pc....

Susan B
18-04-2004, 12:49 PM
> Pity there is no way around it.

Not unless you are prepared to upgrade your computer.

> It just seems weird that the OEMs dump cheap rubbish on us.

They do it to keep the prices down. If you want quality you have to be prepared to pay for it. You do have a choice - build your own computer (or have one built to your specs) and have 100% control over what parts go into it.

18-04-2004, 12:59 PM
He would still get a jerky signal fotr a mind numbing 2 secs max whether he has a store built computer or a home built "beast" though.

I have yet to find a computer that does no seem to be effected by the Modem "talking" when it dials up.

23-04-2004, 04:30 PM
hmmm......The modem I refereed to in this thread, labeled as a hardware modem by the manufacturer.

Its a scam, its a bog standard controllerless winmodem.

Link won't work anymore, Iíve removed the item from the site.

23-04-2004, 04:59 PM
Thats a real pity, but research suggests that all PCI modems labelled as "hardware" may indeed have an on-board dsp, but the driver still remains in software within Windows.

I wonder why this is?

I cannot imagine a technical limitation with the PCI BUS, it must be a manufacturers fixation that if its internal, it will not be self controlled.

23-04-2004, 05:20 PM
the onboard dsp models have less cpu useage but there are still software driven to certian degree. its best to discribe them as semi-software modems (much like semi-soft butter ;-) )

while true hardware pci modems are advailable a lot of it comes down to cost. not many people will buy $100+ modem when a $10 one will do the same job.