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Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

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Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

Active Colors » May 23rd, 2016, 10:48 am

Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin:
[Last update: 19 November, 2018]

Before posting your problem on the forum make sure you go through this troubleshooting guide. If nothing helps at the end of the post it is described how to get helpful information of your problem before making a post on the forum.
  1. Check this example skin to be sure the problem is not on a skin level: Example Audio Level Spectrum.rmskin
  2. The bars might not react with a low volume level of master. Check the volume mixer setting and see if master sound is not set to a low volume. If you have it low then push the volume up (higher than 50%) and see if your visualizer starts to react.
  3. If you see "Error: Failed to initialize audio..." then you have a program on your PC that has exclusive control of the audio (Nahamic, Sonic, etc.) and you need to disable that program before any Rainmeter visualizer will work. Look at options to disable it at startup and set the output to DirectSound (no wasapi). Restart is mostly probably required.
  4. If you run Windows 10 spring creators update, make sure you do not have disabled mic and webcam access in the privacy settings as they might run from same device.
  5. Are you sure your default audio device is what you think it is? Go to Control Panel -> Manage Audio Devices. In the Playback tab there should be a list of audio outputs, pick the one that's actually connected to your output hardware and set that as the default. Restart Rainmeter.
  6. Try running in stereo 48khz if possible.
  7. Open this skin to check your audio device: Audio Device Information.rmskin
  8. Try to manually put the ID of your device right into your visualizer skin.
  9. There's a known issue where the loopback client will fail to initialize if the device is running in WASAPI exclusive mode. Make sure none of the devices are able to take exclusive control of the stream. One way to prevent apps taking exclusive control is to right click on the volume icon, select "Playback Devices", pick your device, right-click and do Properties, look in the Advanced tab, and disable "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device". Restart Rainmeter. Some details in here:
  10. Something might happend to your rainmeter copy, so performing Complete Rainmeter Uninstall is worth trying to be sure you are running clean version of rainmeter.
  11. Update or reinstall your sound device drivers. It will never hurt.

Other solutions or information found by folks.
Check these topics as well to see if you face similar issues:
  1. Issue with a Razor audio device.
  2. If bars are moving strangely this is the explanation.
  3. If you were changing your HDD, or moving your Rainmeter folder from another device/PC, or using any backup software (like TrueImage) check for the ownership issue.
  4. Having a buzz? Check this buzz fixer and this one.
  5. Experience high CPU performance using AudioLevel plugin? Check this tip.
  6. Issue with a Nahimic audio device.

Before asking for help...
  • If nothing helps from the troubleshooting guide, then you would like to ask for help on this forum. For doing that you first should get what errors the log throws to you. Go into Rainmeter Settings (right click, Rainmeter->Manage, pick Settings tab) and enable "Debug mode" and "Log to file" in the Logging section. Refresh your skin to see the new log and prepare that information for your post.
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Re: Resolve your AudioLevel plugin issue

Active Colors » May 23rd, 2016, 10:56 am

Last update: November 19, 2018
November 19, 2018
- Style improvements and small corrections to the information.
April 10, 2018
- Added solution for shared devices based on this post.
- Added solution about Nahamic software based on this post.
- Other info and minor changes.
May 26, 2016
Added link to the workaround about increased CPU usage using the plugin.
May 25, 2016
- Added recommendation to update and reinstall sound drivers.
May 23, 2016
Updated the troubleshooting info.
- Reordered the list to a more logical order
- Renamed this topic with a better title
previous: Resolve your AudioLevel plugin issue
new: Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin
- Added new tip about master volume sent by eclectic-tech
Since the AudioLevel has become one of the most popular topics on the forums, I came to a decision to form a list with known problems and solutions for this plugin I constantly see on the forums. Feel free to give the link to this topic to anybody having troubles with the AudioLevel plugin. I will be updating this list when I see another discussed problem/solution.

If you have any suggestions about improving this list or have more explanations worth adding to this list post them here or send me a pm.

(I personally remember there was an issue using AudioLevel plugin with one particular antivirus software, but I can't find the discussion about it, thus I can not add information about this issue currently.)
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Re: Resolve your AudioLevel plugin issue

dgrace » May 23rd, 2016, 1:39 pm

Thanks AC.
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Re: Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

mikehmikeh798 » August 5th, 2018, 8:45 pm

when sound is playing the bars are not moving and i think it is because in he settings it is not allowing me to select an audio device to use. why is this and can you help me fix my problem
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Re: Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

eclectic-tech » August 6th, 2018, 2:11 am

mikehmikeh798 wrote:when sound is playing the bars are not moving and i think it is because in he settings it is not allowing me to select an audio device to use. why is this and can you help me fix my problem
The plugin uses your default audio device, generally, you do not need to select a device ID for visualizers to work.

Before changing the skin, I would suggest checking several other possible issues:
Are you seeing any error messages in the Log? If so, post them here...
Have you check the playback volume levels for Rainmeter and your media player and make sure they are not muted?
Does the test skin in the first post of this thread work?

You can add ID=[i]{}[/i]
using the device ID for your desired device to the parent audio measure, but I do not believe that will fix your problem.
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Re: Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

DoomiN » August 11th, 2018, 4:55 pm

Hi, I have a problem with the visualizer. When I listen to music through headphones, everything is ok. But when the sound is played through the laptop speakers, the visualizer reacts badly, practically does not show the low tones. It is less sensitive. When I increase drastically the sensitivity, low tones show up, but that does not make sense, because then all bars are always on top. Does anyone know the solution to this problem? I guess it's something with speaker settings, I tried to change something but no effects.


As you can see, half don't react :/
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Re: Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

rxtd » December 8th, 2018, 7:32 pm

DoomiN wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 4:55 pm
I don't know if DoomiN still haven't solved this, or if someone else is having same problem.

I believe that the cause of very low (zero) values of low frequency bands is high sampling rate of audio card combined with small FFT size and low min band frequency. Frequency resolution is likely not high enough.

Frequency resolution is sampling_rate / fftSize. If your sampling rate is 41000 Hz and FFT size is 1000 is then your frequency resolution is 41 Hz. This means that one FFT bin has 41 Hz width.
When you are using bands, you are simply combining fft bins. AudioLevel plugin defines bands width exponentially. If band 0 is 100 Hz width, then band 1 is 200 Hz width. Bands simply sum FFT bin value.

And here is a place where several problems arise:
1. The lower your fft size and the higher your sampling rate, the less your fft resolution. Remember my 44100/1000 example? Now imagine that your actual sampling rate is 192000. FFT resolution is 192 Hz then.
2. If band width is less then FFT bin width, the band takes band_width/fft_width of FFT bin value. If you have bands with bound frequencies 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, and your FFT resolution is 192 Hz, then all of these bands take the value of first FFT bin. This means that they have essentially the same value, except for that band_width/fft_width part. This is actually is a bit more complicated, as AudioLevel has several mistakes in it's band calculating code, and zeroth FFT bin does not start from 0 Hz frequency, but it doesn't matter for explanation.
3. 0th FFT bin of the FFT is different from others. While all other bins contain frequency magnitude, 0th bin only contains sin wave magnitude. Or you can call it DC value (absolute DC in case of AudioLevel). This not only means that it should not be used in bands or any other frequency analysis at all, but also means that it's mush smaller than other bins. It's actually almost always essentially zero.
4. I'm not quite sure about this one, but it's possible that because of the decrease of FFT bin width, it's value is effectively averaged compared with several smaller FFT bins. This means that if they had values like "1" and "-1", then summing their magnitude would be "2", but if we average them before getting the magnitude, then the magnitude would be "0".

Now combine all these problems in one piece, and you get the fact, that few bands are likely linear and zero, and few more bands are much smaller then they should be.

Three possible solutions would be:
1. Set higher MinFreq option
2. Set bigger FFT Size.
3. Decrease sampling rate in your audio driver settings.

Or, you know, it may be some other problem. I dunno. I just think that my scenario is quite possible.
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Re: Troubleshooting AudioLevel plugin

sertro166 » March 14th, 2019, 6:51 pm

Guys today i started using this interesting program using it in rainmeter,
I am using Kingston hyperx headphones and they have one interesting spec, i always use like volume at 10% on them.
And i figured out that visualised bars are not simply reacting on sound which is pretty loud on headphones. I opened location of Fountain of colors and found there file called variables.
I needed that file simply cause there is more settings to play than in settings menu. There was variable called Sensetivity and FreqMin and FreqMax Which really helped me to boost thouse bars to a normal and visible level. Just incase some1 will have similar situation and is newbie as me.Also if you change something there you will need to refresh Fountain of Colors