Passthrough audio issues since upgrade to Lollipop

#1
Hi there

Wonder if anyone can help me?

I've just upgraded my X8-H Plus to the official Lollipop RC2 firmware posted in this forum & have installed Kodi 18.2 Leia from the Google Play Store. Previously I was running KitKat 4.4 & Kodi 15.

The MiniX is connected to my home network via CAT6/1Gbit Ethernet, with 1080p movies streaming from a dedicated, always on Windows 7 media server. All my movies have either a DD, DD MA, DTS or DTS HD soundtrack to them. The MiniX is connected to my AVR (Onkyo 876) via HDMI, which is in turn connected to my TV via HDMI too. I have a 5.1 audio setup. In the main Audio settings of the MiniX (home menu), Digital Sounds is set to "auto detection" & it selects HDMI.

When running KitKat/Kodi 15, I had Kodi set to 2.0 speakers with "allow passthrough" & "DD/AC3 capable receiver" both enabled. In the main MiniX settings, audio was set to PCM. The amp would receive the audio signal and decode/show whatever the soundtrack was, e.g. DTS/DD MA. With this configuration, I never experienced video stuttering, however recently I had started to get some occasional audio dropouts when playing movies, maybe 3 or 4 times during the movie, but it was getting enjoying, so I updated to Lollipop in the hope it would cure it.

Since upgrading, I've set Kodi 18.2 to the same settings but now I get terrible & constant video stuttering & audio dropouts. It's completely unwatchable. I've tried multiple other configurations, e.g. 5.1 & 7.1 speakers but this doesn't seem to make any difference. If I disable "allow passthrough" then I get perfect video & audio, but only if I set the number of audio channels to 2.0. If I set it to 5.1 or 7.1, the MiniX just freezes when I start to play video & requires the power cord pulling out to reset it.

My other Kodi audio settings are:

- output configuration: best match
- maintain original volume on downmix: disabled
- stereo upmix: disabled
- resample quality: medium
- keep audio device alive: 1 min
- send low volume nose: enabled

I've tried setting audio to PCM in the main MiniX settings, but this doesn't make any difference.

Any thoughts as to why I'm getting so much stuttering now, but didn't before? I've reset everything (media server, Ethernet hubs, MiniX etc) but it makes no difference. Enable "Allow passthrough", everything stutters, disable it, everything back to normal.

Obviously I could just leave it with those settings, but audio is just as important as video to me, so I'm reluctant to do this. My amp does give a pseudo surround sound with this configuration, but my ears know it's not true surround!

Could dropping to Kodi 17 help or is the problem elsewhere?
 
#2
I tried a number of different HDMI cables last night but these still gave the same stuttering. However, when I use the XBMC version of Kodi that's part of the official Lollipop firmware I'm able to stream with DD/DTS and no stuttering, so I'm guessing it's some kind of issue with Kodi 18.2. Anyone know how I can install 17.6 instead of 18.2? Can I do this through Google Play or do I need to sideload an APK? If the latter, has anyone got any links where I can download it from?
 
#4
thanks - is sideloading as easy as putting the APK on a usb memory stick/SD memory card and 'double clicking' the file to load it?
 

ArcticWolf

Trusted Helper
#5
Hi there

Wonder if anyone can help me?

I've just upgraded my X8-H Plus to the official Lollipop RC2 firmware posted in this forum & have installed Kodi 18.2 Leia from the Google Play Store. Previously I was running KitKat 4.4 & Kodi 15.

The MiniX is connected to my home network via CAT6/1Gbit Ethernet, with 1080p movies streaming from a dedicated, always on Windows 7 media server. All my movies have either a DD, DD MA, DTS or DTS HD soundtrack to them. The MiniX is connected to my AVR (Onkyo 876) via HDMI, which is in turn connected to my TV via HDMI too. I have a 5.1 audio setup. In the main Audio settings of the MiniX (home menu), Digital Sounds is set to "auto detection" & it selects HDMI.

When running KitKat/Kodi 15, I had Kodi set to 2.0 speakers with "allow passthrough" & "DD/AC3 capable receiver" both enabled. In the main MiniX settings, audio was set to PCM. The amp would receive the audio signal and decode/show whatever the soundtrack was, e.g. DTS/DD MA. With this configuration, I never experienced video stuttering, however recently I had started to get some occasional audio dropouts when playing movies, maybe 3 or 4 times during the movie, but it was getting enjoying, so I updated to Lollipop in the hope it would cure it.

Since upgrading, I've set Kodi 18.2 to the same settings but now I get terrible & constant video stuttering & audio dropouts. It's completely unwatchable. I've tried multiple other configurations, e.g. 5.1 & 7.1 speakers but this doesn't seem to make any difference. If I disable "allow passthrough" then I get perfect video & audio, but only if I set the number of audio channels to 2.0. If I set it to 5.1 or 7.1, the MiniX just freezes when I start to play video & requires the power cord pulling out to reset it.

My other Kodi audio settings are:

- output configuration: best match
- maintain original volume on downmix: disabled
- stereo upmix: disabled
- resample quality: medium
- keep audio device alive: 1 min
- send low volume nose: enabled

I've tried setting audio to PCM in the main MiniX settings, but this doesn't make any difference.

Any thoughts as to why I'm getting so much stuttering now, but didn't before? I've reset everything (media server, Ethernet hubs, MiniX etc) but it makes no difference. Enable "Allow passthrough", everything stutters, disable it, everything back to normal.

Obviously I could just leave it with those settings, but audio is just as important as video to me, so I'm reluctant to do this. My amp does give a pseudo surround sound with this configuration, but my ears know it's not true surround!

Could dropping to Kodi 17 help or is the problem elsewhere?
Before you try 17.6, check your settings in Kodi.

In Kodi's settings -> Player -> Adjust display refresh rate. Do you have this setting enabled or disabled?

If disabled, try enabling it but don't use "Sync playback to display" or it will disable audio passthrough to your receiver. This may help with the visual stuttering at least. The audio dropouts may be another issue entirely but see how you go when trying this setting.

Have you tried any other media players such as VLC or MX Player too? If yes, do you experience audio dropouts with them as well or just Kodi?

If you still experience problems, then try 17.6. To answer your additional question, once you've downloaded the .APK just double click it so to speak, Android should install it as is. (Don't forget to enable "unknown sources" in Android's settings first.)

Keep us updated. If worse comes to worse, you can always drop back to Kit Kat ;).
 

notrui2

Trusted Helper
#6
I tried a number of different HDMI cables last night but these still gave the same stuttering. However, when I use the XBMC version of Kodi that's part of the official Lollipop firmware I'm able to stream with DD/DTS and no stuttering, so I'm guessing it's some kind of issue with Kodi 18.2. Anyone know how I can install 17.6 instead of 18.2? Can I do this through Google Play or do I need to sideload an APK? If the latter, has anyone got any links where I can download it from?
As said here you need to download APK .
Google store has ALWAYS THE LATEST APPS VERSIONS.
Download that apk, save it and do a backup.
 
#9
So, I've now tried a number of things, but still scratching my head!

- Uninstalled 18.2 and performed a fresh install of 18.2 from Google Play - no change - still stutters if I enable "Audio Passthrough" - stops as soon as I disable it
- Uninstalled fresh install of 18.2 and installed 17.6 (downloaded from Kodi website) - no change - still stutters if I enable "Audio Passthrough" - stops as soon as I disable it
- both of the above are without installing any add-ons, just a 'straight out of the box' install

Yet, on the XBMC version that is included with the Lollipop firmware, it works like a dream! I get full DD/DTS/MA/DTS HD... this seems to be based on Kodi version 16.x/Jarvis, so maybe it's just some weird incompatibility that kicks in with Ver 17 onwards, although if that were the case, then surely it would affect everyone and not just me.

For the time being I've left 18.2 on my MiniX and it's currently building my library and syncing with Trakt, but it'll just be upmixed stereo, so realistically I don't think I'll use it. I'll default to using the XBMC version. I use the Xperience 1080 skin, so the look/feel is the same with both versions.

Can anyone think of any other settings that I could try in 18.2? In my previous KitKat/ver 15 install, I'd left everything as default and it played fine with 'Audio Passthrough'.
 
#10
Have you tried any other media players such as VLC or MX Player too? If yes, do you experience audio dropouts with them as well or just Kodi?
I've only tried Kodi and XBMC (essentially the same thing I guess). My library is pretty big (c. 1,000 movies + c. 800 TV episodes), and I'm very used to how Kodi catalogues and displays everything.

I didn't seem to get any audio dropouts with XBMC when I was testing it last night, but didn't watch a whole film. I'll try to watch one tonight and see if I get any.
 

notrui2

Trusted Helper
#11
I've only tried Kodi and XBMC (essentially the same thing I guess). My library is pretty big (c. 1,000 movies + c. 800 TV episodes), and I'm very used to how Kodi catalogues and displays everything.

I didn't seem to get any audio dropouts with XBMC when I was testing it last night, but didn't watch a whole film. I'll try to watch one tonight and see if I get any.
Take a look at this:
https://theminixforum.com/index.php?threads/any-knowledgeable-kodi-mysql-users-please.1274/

If your library (database) is in a NAS (server) for example is much better, faster, etc .

If i understand you have one client (one minix) but even with one client is much better using a kodi NAS server.

You must be able to do the same thing (or similar) in your windows 7 server

I used before phpMyAdmin for win 7 and it works its just download and try to configure.
 
Last edited:

CybeRider

Trusted Helper
#12
I've only tried Kodi and XBMC (essentially the same thing I guess). My library is pretty big (c. 1,000 movies + c. 800 TV episodes), and I'm very used to how Kodi catalogues and displays everything.

I didn't seem to get any audio dropouts with XBMC when I was testing it last night, but didn't watch a whole film. I'll try to watch one tonight and see if I get any.

All has been said, so I think what is left to recall is that, should you use Kodi or Minix XBMC for streaming, there are some differences between one and the other. Minix XBMC couldn't deal with the SSL addresses from the content providers since 2017, it also got a security flaw that theoretically allows malware code to spread into the box hidden in subtitles. Both these issues were fixed a little prior to Kodi 17.6.

However my testing with one and the other in a U1, which is also Lollipop, tells me that as a player of my own content (not streaming) I prefer Minix XBMC, which I keep in my U1 for that exact purpose. Not a noticeable difference but I feel it somehow smoother. Kodi 17.6 does also very well. Should you take some time to read Kodi Forum, the Android zone, it seems there have been issues with passthrough since Kodi 18.1 the Playstore version, and I was trying to figure out if the issues had been resolved but I am not sure about it. It seems the issue is related with some boxes missing compliance with IEC61937 which to a point only existed, in what concerns Minix (edited: Android) boxes and according to that forum, in the U9-H, but I would say it should have been included in this new firmware for the X8H Plus, and that seems to be required for passthrough performance with Kodi 18. But once again all this info is hard to confirm, so my doubts remain. As far as Lollipop is concerned and since U1 according to Kodi Forum is not IEC61937 compliant you should be doing well with either Kodi 17.6 or Minix XBMC taking into account the above considerations. I tried Kodi 18.2 for a while in the U1 but since it broke some add-ons I couldn't keep it, or need it. But I got it in the U9-H with excellent results so far, as Minix XBMC is not good for this box.
 
Last edited:

ArcticWolf

Trusted Helper
#13
So, I've now tried a number of things, but still scratching my head!

- Uninstalled 18.2 and performed a fresh install of 18.2 from Google Play - no change - still stutters if I enable "Audio Passthrough" - stops as soon as I disable it
- Uninstalled fresh install of 18.2 and installed 17.6 (downloaded from Kodi website) - no change - still stutters if I enable "Audio Passthrough" - stops as soon as I disable it
- both of the above are without installing any add-ons, just a 'straight out of the box' install

Yet, on the XBMC version that is included with the Lollipop firmware, it works like a dream! I get full DD/DTS/MA/DTS HD... this seems to be based on Kodi version 16.x/Jarvis, so maybe it's just some weird incompatibility that kicks in with Ver 17 onwards, although if that were the case, then surely it would affect everyone and not just me.

For the time being I've left 18.2 on my MiniX and it's currently building my library and syncing with Trakt, but it'll just be upmixed stereo, so realistically I don't think I'll use it. I'll default to using the XBMC version. I use the Xperience 1080 skin, so the look/feel is the same with both versions.

Can anyone think of any other settings that I could try in 18.2? In my previous KitKat/ver 15 install, I'd left everything as default and it played fine with 'Audio Passthrough'.
Have you also looked into whether your TV and/or the receiver are both employing any upscaling etc.? If both are employing their own upscaling individually it's possible this could cause issues under certain circumstances. Adjust either your TV, or the AVR's settings, & run tests so that only one device is performing upscaling etc., not both. See if that makes any difference too. (If not, just put the settings back where they were.)

Otherwise, if you really want to stick with Lollipop you may also have to just stick with the older MINIX XBMC, or Kodi 15/16. If your primary & main use is for streaming locally stored content & passthrough works well, continuing on with the older versions of XBMC/Kodi is absolutely fine.

Were there any particular features or options specific to Kodi versions 17.6 or 18.x that you needed over the older versions?

Were I in your shoes I'd definitely prefer to retain the option of full audio passthrough rather than the alternative, especially with your AVR ;). It might be getting a bit long in the tooth now, but still, very nice :)!!
 
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