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Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

  • 1.  Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 27 days ago

    I am seeking suggestions, help or updated drivers for resolving the crackling sounds of VMWare Workstation audio that seem to go back to Windows 98 clients.

    I have been trying to fix the poor audio sound for a couple of days now. I explored numerous suggestions inxluding using the VMware audio driver from (5.10 from 2009; very poor audio) or the Windows default (HD audio; much better but still crackling). 

    My system info:

    Host: Lenovo P16 windows 11 23H2

    Client: fresh install of Windows 11 23H2 


    Tools: 12.3.5


  • 2.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 22 days ago

    I've had 3d issues with 17.5.2 and restored from backup to 17.02 and ended up with this same issue.

    Reverting VmWare-Tools to 12.1.5 solved that. 

  • 3.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 22 days ago

    Hi Fred,

    Thank you for your reply. 

    Seeing that 17.0 has undergone significant security patches, I prefer to hold off hoping that this issue is **** by Broadcomm and will get addressed in the next release.

  • 4.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 21 days ago

    It has nothing to do with Broadcom. Garbled/stuttering audio on Windows VMs has been around since at least Workstation Pro/Player  version 12.x (2015); possibly earlier. So don't expect any fix any time soon.

    FWIW, it is more likely to occur on Windows hosts than Linux hosts. Have yet to encounter garbled/stuttering audio on VMs running on Fusion on macOS.
    Chances of having garbled audio increase if the Windows host machine is a laptop.
    Chances also increase if the Windows 10/11 host has Hyper-V enabled.

    My best guess is the garbled/stuttering audio issues stem from DPC latency issues on the Windows 10/11 host.

    To minimise the chances of garbled/stuttering audio occurring, remove Hyper-V (or any components that activate Hyper-V such as WSL2, VBS, Kernel DMA protection) from the Windows 10/11 host. Set the Windows host machine power profile to Performance instead of the default Balanced (at the expense of battery power duration on a laptop). 

    The drastic option is to switch to running VMware Workstation on a Linux host or run the VMs using Fusion on a macOS host. Running macOS on Apple hardware with Intel CPUs days are numbered though.

  • 5.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 18 days ago

    @bluefirestorm. Thank you for the comprehensive input 

    I have the laptop now running in Performance mode. No hyper-V, VBS or Kernel-mode protection. 

    I am also running the workstation as admin, which greatly improved loading and running apps in the VM. Apparently, the addresses some yet to be fixed issues with how Workstation handles the Intel Performance Cores. 

    Yet, audio still is not free of the crackling noises. 

  • 6.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 17 days ago

    4 things to try:

    • power options.   Go full throttle.
    • Core isolation.   Disable it is settings / privacy security / windows security / device security. 
    • Consider removing Windows Defender and HyperV if you disable Core Isolation.
    • Use a Linux Host

    Microsoft is cornering the Virtualization market through the guise of security.    They are visualizing device drivers through HyperV which gives them an edge in that Market.    This may be one reason VMWare was sold.

  • 7.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 16 days ago

    @kasper thank you.

    Running full throttle with admin credentials has not helped. Hyper-V is already disabled. Disabling defender is not a viable option and the same goes with core isolation which, I presume, is unlikely to affect the performance of a resident driver. 

    Setting the processor affinity of  audiodg.exe GitHub.com/gobidev/voicemeeter-auto-affinity had no effect either. 

    Using a Linux host presents a challenge that clearly is beyond my humble skill set and no doubt will bring about its own set of issues. 

    I hope Broadcomm is up to the challenge f caring for its VMware community. Time will tell. 

  • 8.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 16 days ago

    @kasper thank you for your suggestions.

    Audio is still crackling when running full throttle on both host and client at admin credentials. Hyper-V is off. Turning off defender is not a safe option. How is core isolation likely to affect the driver functionality once it is memory resistant?

    Audio has not improved after setting the core affinity of audiodg.exe (GitHub.com/gobidev).

  • 9.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 16 days ago

    Core isolation visualizes hardware drivers.   Like audio and video.    Try turning it off.   Rebooting.   And see what it does.    It is very easy to turn off and on through settings / privacy / windows security / device security....

    If that does not work go to the Lenovo website and download/install the latest chipset drivers.   Make a backup before you install.

  • 10.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 14 days ago

    Oh well, disabling Core Isolation had no effect. the drivers have been up to date all along. 

    @kasper, out of curiosity, what is it in your mind that makes Laptop more succeptible to audio crackling. Perhaps naively, I thought 'workstation grade' laptop, such as the Lenovo P16 Gen2 I have, would allow me to enjoy workstation performance levels. 

    Also, naively, I am wondering what might be preventing the Workstation from accessing the audio driver without limitations. 

  • 11.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 14 days ago

    I am unclear as to why you said 'laptop more susceptible'.   I never implied that.   What I am going to say is that if you have correctly done everything suggested than the issue is specific to your hardware/software configuration.   Try updating the BIOS.   Go over BIOS settings and make sure they are setup for virtualization.   Go to 'drivers'.   Show 'hidden drivers'.    Make sure they are up to date.   Identify your audio chip.   Maybe the drivers for that are incorrectly setup.   Good luck.

  • 12.  RE: Poor audio (crackling) from Workstation Windows client (17.5.2)

    Posted 14 days ago