Schiit Fulla 3 Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by SchwizzelKick66, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    Hey all, my first post here. I didn't see a thread for the Fulla 3 specifically, so hopefully its alright to post about it in this thread.

    I had been using the Fulla 2 for a few years and I love the thing. Perfect for the headphones I currently have (HD58x, Fidelio X2HR, TakStar Pro82). I ordered a Fulla 3 the day it launched.

    Sound wise, it was a bit warmer than the Fulla 2 to me. The difference is subtle but there. Build quality of the Fulla 3 is similar to the 2, with a charcoal paint that I think looks really nice. Nice to have 3.5mm headphone out vs 1/4" that required use of an adapter on the 2.

    Mic is excellent, clear, "podcast quality". Had to turn down the mic in sound settings a bit, very loud. Little to no background noise cancellation though, but again very clear.

    I did notice power output was slightly lower than the Fulla 2 it seems. Guessing its because some power has to divert to the mic components?

    Unfortunately I had an issue with mine. I experienced random crackles with audio- would happen randomly, both ear cups, with music and games. I contacted Schiit support and did a ton of troubleshooting over a few days with them. Tried everything- separate power, powered usb hub, different usb ports, different usb cables, all available sample rates and bit depths, changing windows power management settings, all no dice. I even ran LatencyMon to check for dpc latency issues, but it all showed green with no issues. I really think its a driver issue of some sort, possibly a conflict with another driver like Nvidia drivers, don't know. I couldnt get rid of the random crackle, Schiit even replaced the unit with a new one and it did the same thing.

    The Fulla 3 did show differently in Windows sound settings vs the Fulla 2, no enhancements tab and some other differences, leading me to believe it uses a different driver. I had no such crackling issues on the Fulla 2, nor any of my other usb audio devices. Anyone have any ideas? I love the Fulla 3 in terms of what it brings for the cost, prefect little item for me if not for the issues.

    Debating whether I should try the Hel instead. Worried it might have the same issues.
     
  2. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    Have you tried it with a different computer? Sounds like it may be in conflict with something else. Fulla 3 uses Windows 10's standard UAC2 driver--is there anything else using it?
     
  3. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    I don't believe anything else using that driver. I did attempt to remove all of my other usb devices and the problem persisted. How would I determine if anything else is using it?

    I was only able to try it on a Chromebook (only other computer we have), connected via usb, and it worked as a usb audio device but the power was lacking and volume was super low- had to turn it all of the way up for even the X2HR which is only 30 ohms. I don't think it uses any sort of driver on a Chromebook.
     
  4. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    If volume was low on the Chromebook, there's an internal volume control applied by the OS or the music player.

    Honestly, it sounds like there's a system problem with your first computer. You don't mention the OS or the version, nor if you are able to do a system wipe and restore easily, but that would be the next step if you can't try it with another computer.
     
  5. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    I'm on Windows 10, latest build (whatever it us, Windows Update is up to date).

    Is there a reason that the Fulla 3 would have this crackling issue, but not the Fulla 2? I even tried swapping between the two using the same exact USB cable remaining plugged in to the same USB port. When the Fulla 2 is plugged in, it works perfectly fine. When the Fulla 3 is plugged in, the random crackling returns. Thats what lead me to believe its a driver issue, as I believe the driver is slightly different between the two, or at least appears to be.

    I guess I could do a system restore, but that would be a last resort. I have the Fulla 2, a HyperX Amp usb soundcard, and a HyperX wireless headset that all work fine via usb audio, so I'm lost on why the Fulla 3 would have an issue.

    Are there any other potential points of issue, like power settings or buffer settings? Thank you for the help so far. I also do not mean to hijack this impressions thread for troubleshooting so if needed a continued discussion can move out of this thread.
     
  6. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    Yep, probably best if the mods move this. This is Hel impressions after all.

    But yes, Fulla 2 is a UAC1 device. Fulla 3 is a UAC2 device. If you have other UAC2 devices on the bus, that could conflict, or it could be a system problem. Which is why the first thing is always trying it on another system.
     
  7. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    Wondering if its possible that Intel Speedstepping could be an issue? I read reports of it causing similar issues due to CPU voltage and speed fluctuating, causing audio issues.

    Is the Fulla 3 able to use a different driver than UAC2? The Fulla 2 works perfectly with UAC1.
     
  8. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    Fulla 3 uses Microsoft's own UAC2 support, with no other driver. Fulla 2 uses Microsoft's own UAC1 support, with no other driver. It's possible there's a conflict with one and not the other, or one is affected more by the system.

    Bottom line, we test everything on every OS (even iOS) and it works without issue. Tyler uses a Fulla 3 for gaming on a W10 machine. I've used one extensively on a Surface Pro. I'm sorry you're having problems, but it sounds like it comes down to the system.
     
  9. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    Understood, thanks. I'll report back if I find out what the issue is.
     
  10. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

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    You might also want to use the cables from the Fulla 2 to see if you have a defective cable.

    I'm considering a new Fulla for work and would like to know how this works out.
     
  11. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    I tested that. Kept the Fulla 2 cable plugged into my PC usb, and swapped between the Fulla 3 and Fulla 2 with that same cable. Fulla 3 had crackle, Fulla 2 did not.

    The only difference i was able to find between the two was that Fulla 2 uses UAC1 Windows audio driver and Fulla 3 uses UAC2. Seems to be some sort of driver/software compatibility issue. Haven't figure it out.
     
  12. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    Just a small update to add. I noticed my motherboard has a USB C port, so out of curiosity I ordered a micro to USB C cable. This reduced the crackling a lot. Its still there in games, but pretty much gone on desktop/spotify and while listening to browser audio. In game there is still pops and cracks occasionally.

    I noticed that the pops and cracks increase in frequency with higher bit and sampling rates in windows audio settings. For example its much more prevalent at 32 bit than 24 bit, and its even less at 16 bit. Likewise it increases as sampling rate is increased. 44 or 48 khz are similar, but higher than that increases the pops/cracks.

    I also tested using the additional USB power plugged into an outlet, so the unit is supposed to be not calling for any power from the usb port correct? I feel like its pointing towards a data stream issue. I have no idea how to address it though. I am assuming its better on the USB C port because its probably by itself on that bus, rather than sharing with other items.

    There are no pops/cracks on my work computer that runs Windows. Its just on my home PC where I do my gaming and other stuff. And again no matter what I change the Fulla 2 works perfectly fine. Strange.

    I have a mind to try the Schiit Hel (I maybe should have sprung for it as a "true" upgrade from my Fulla 2 anyway), but I'm unsure if I would have similar issues, or if Hel's design is different enough that it likely wouldn't.
     
  13. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    Figured it out!

    Just got the Hel, and had the same crackling. Don't know why I didnt try when I had the Fulla 3, but I decided to reset my bios to optimized defaults. I have an asus z170-a and a 7700k that I have an overclock on using -0.1 negative offset voltage for 4.5 ghz. Resetting bios to default totally fixed it.

    Assuming this would have fixed the Fulla 3 as well. Thanks to Jason for the help and to Schiit support for trying to help me with the Fulla 3. I feel kind of stupid, but maybe this can serve as learning for future customers who have similar issues. Tell them to try resetting their bios to optimized defaults.

    The Hel is amazing by the way!
     
  14. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    Just in case someone comes upon this thread from googling. The issue is actually specific to the Asus z170-a motherboard I have. There is an issue with voltage regulation when ram is run over default 2133mhz. The pch becomes under volted, this causing issues with USB devices and potentially other components. I had to increase pch voltage in bios to get rid of the USB audio crackling.

    So not an issue with the fulla 3, rather an issue with my particular config.
     
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