JRiver Media Center version 20 for Windows introduced a WDM Driver (a kind of virtual audio driver), which can be used to re-route windows sounds through Media Center. This allows full use of Media Center's DSP stack for streaming content, and allows better integration with external audio sources, like streaming video services or video games.
How to Set up the WDM Driver
- In versions of Media Center after 20.0.95 the WDM driver is disabled by default. To enable it go to Options-->General-->Features and check WDM Driver. Then restart Media Center and the driver will install
- Once the driver is installed, go to the windows control panel, and then to the sound menu item. You should see all of the Audio devices on your system listed. Select the one labelled JRiver Media Center 20 and click the Set Default button at the bottom of the menu.
- Make sure that, in Media Center, your setting under Options-->Audio-->Audio Device is not "Default Audio Device." You need to set your audio device to whatever your actual physical output device is. Because the WDM Driver is now the system default, setting JRiver to output to the system default just creates a closed loop.
Now whenever windows sounds or other system audio play (whether from web browsers, apps, or video games), they'll play to the JRiver driver. This re-routes the audio through JRiver's DSP stack to whatever output device you have selected as an audio output in JRiver.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Clicks, Pops, and Static
Clicks, pops, and static are typically caused by buffer underruns, and because the WDM Driver is re-routing sound in real time, it is more sensitive to buffering settings than normal audio playback. There are two buffers that are important to WDM performance:
- The output buffer, found at Options-->Audio-->Device Settings, and
- The input buffer, found at Options-->Audio-->Advanced-->Live Playback Latency
If you are experiencing clicks and pops, try different combinations of settings with these two buffers. It is important to note that a larger buffer will not necessarily work better. Different hardware configurations work best with different combinations of settings, so try different combinations large and small until you find settings that resolve your issue.
Because the WDM driver requires some buffer to function, it necessarily adds some latency to audio. For pure audio applications, this is irrelevant, but for streaming video (or video games), too much latency can cause lipsync issues. If you're experiencing these issues, you can adjust the two buffers listed under Clicks, Pops, and Static above. The total added latency is close to the sum of those two buffers, so you want to try and find the combination of buffer settings that creates the lowest total latency, but doesn't cause audio drop outs as described above.
The recommendation for lipsync in film is about 22ms; the recommendations for television are about 45ms. Most delays below 45ms will not create visible lipsync issues, and higher latency may or may not be noticeable to all viewers