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If a device generates clicks and pops at start and end of audio file playback, even when those audio files are completely zeroed out and dc-offset corrected, what could've caused them?

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    $\begingroup$ You should provide more details about what you're doing and what you see $\endgroup$ – endolith Sep 19 '11 at 14:54
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If your question relates to playback from a computer system, some audio drivers and codecs often have buffering schemes to stream audio to and from the hardware. I have found that some such drivers/codecs don't empty the queue of samples buffered up, even when the previous file is closed. This can account for a click at the start of playback. If you are getting a click at the beginning and the end it is most likely a driver issue.

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  • $\begingroup$ It turned out that there is a firmware bug when the device interacts with certain televisions when the device ouputs application triggered audio (triggered events instead of streamed events) through an HDMI port. The clicks/pops don't happen with audio from the built in analog outputs. $\endgroup$ – alphablender Sep 25 '11 at 19:34
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Clicking in an audio stream is typically indicative of some kind of discontinuity in the time-domain waveform. I'm not sure what you mean by "zeroed out and dc-offset corrected," but these sort of artifacts can be created via unsophisticated audio editing methods. If you're suggesting, though, that an all-zero (i.e. pure silence) audio file will cause this behavior, then there's probably some little implementation detail that's causing it. Examples:

  • Audible effects caused by turn-on/turn-off of the output audio amplifier. This is relatively common.

  • Significant differences between the initial/final sample values and the output level forced to the DAC when "idle" (I can't think of a sane reason why the designer wouldn't make the DAC output zero when not in use, but it's possible to do something else).

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  • $\begingroup$ by zeroed out, in Logic Audio, the wave file is selected and set to "silence" - the amplitude is zero from the beginning to end of the file. DC Offset correction is a standard function in most audio editors. In software modular synthesizers, sometimes a "dc blocker" module is included, otherwise, you get loud pops when the output amplitude is zero - example would be Jasuto Pro for iPhone. The hardware I'm developing for is exhibiting pops and clicks on the new firmware, but not on old and I wanted to help the mfg get it fixed. $\endgroup$ – alphablender Sep 18 '11 at 6:54

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