[Speex-dev] Speex on windows, audio cutting out ("bug" discussion and fixes)

David Hogan david.hogan at freshtel.net
Mon Feb 9 16:55:03 PST 2009

Hi Kelly,

Sorry if I'm just stating the obvious, but ..

Are you calling the speex API from multiple threads?

If so, I suspect that if you use a mutex to ensure that only one thread can access the speex API at a given moment, the problem will go away. Obviously this reduces the scalability of your program, but it makes a good test. If that fixes it, then I recommend changing the code to ensure that only one thread at a time can call speex API functions on a given preprocessor/encoding/decoding state.


David Hogan
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: speex-dev-bounces at xiph.org [mailto:speex-dev-bounces at xiph.org] On
> Behalf Of Kelly Heffner
> Sent: Tuesday, 10 February 2009 8:21 AM
> To: speex-dev at xiph.org
> Subject: [Speex-dev] Speex on windows,audio cutting out ("bug" discussion
> and fixes)
> Hi everyone!
> Our company is writing some voice chat software using Speex, and I am
> in charge of writing the Windows-only portion of the code.  I've just
> finished tracking down a very nasty little bug in our program, and, I
> saw similar symptoms of the bug in one or two posts in the list
> archives, so I thought I would make a new post in case anyone runs
> across this again.
> Symptom: While decoding and playing sound on windows, the sound
> "clicks" and then cuts out (or continues to make "clicking" noises).
> This happens after a random amount of time, sometimes immediately,
> sometimes in the 30 seconds to 1 minute range, but rarely much longer
> than a minute.  The windows audio system does not appear to be starved
> of audio data to play.
> Deeper problem: After some amount of time, the two values in the high-
> pass filter buffer of the sound decoder become NaN.  The decoded sound
> buffers all come out as a series of NaNs.
> Building libspeex disabling floating-point computation fixes the
> problem, but is unsatisfying :)
> In the course of debugging this I did find a (maybe) bug in the
> narrowband libspeex code.  The control message SPEEX_RESET_STATE to
> the decoder (I think) should reset the high-pass filter buffer to zero.
> We're actually using the speex library through foreign function calls
> in Haskell (using ghc), which contributes to the decoding glitch in
> two ways:
>   - Our program is very concurrent, with many lightweight threads
> being managed on top of OS threads.  The speex library does seem to be
> holding up on that front :) but --
>   - The windows pre-built ghc compiler is built with and older version
> of gcc (3.4.2 mingw), and I was using that version of gcc to compile
> and link libspeex and everything up.
> After eliminating other possibilities, we think the problem is that
> the older gcc has a small bug that causes some of the floating point
> state to not be managed correctly in a multithreaded program,
> eventually sending the computation into NaN land.  I am in the process
> of building everything back up with gcc-4 to verify this on windows.
> We don't have this problem on the intel mac build, that was already
> switched to gcc-4.
> As amused as we are that I have found a bug that really might be
> caused by the compiler ;-) I'd also be open to other reasons that the
> high-pass filter buffer is getting junked up.  However, hopefully this
> post will help someone debugging this crazy problem in the future --
> and its an amusing story otherwise (at least I hope so! and if not,
> I'm terribly sorry :))
> ~Kelly
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