Discussion Phantom Audio Device causing stutter

The strangest thing happened yesterday and I am completely at a loss as to what is happening and how to resolve it.

Initial issue: My headset randomly stopped being recognized until I performed 2x system restarts. Afterwards I observed normal behavior for awhile but then the weirdness started.

Situation: I am experiencing intermittent audio stuttering. The sound source does not matter as the issue persists between applications and output devices. The stutter is just that, a less than quarter second blip where the sound cuts before resuming.

Symptoms: In trying to investigate the issue I found 2 oddities.
  1. The windows 10 settings window (the big blocky crappy one) is constantly lagging when on the sound settings page. All other pages have no issues. The input and output device selected keeps going blank and then switching back to normal periodically in time with the sound stutter. Attempting to move the window results in a 3-10 second delay before it actually moves.
  2. In the actually useful 'Sound' manager on the Playback devices tab there is a phantom device called "Headphones High Definition Audio Device" that is repeatedly disappearing and appearing and set to disabled.
Resolution: Oddly enough the issue was solved by plugging my USB headset (Hyper X Cloud Revolver S) back in and then plugging in its removeable microphone and then unplugging it again. The whole stutter and phantom device issue went away.

Overall this post is more just to express my dumbfounded disbelief at this peculiar problem and to see if anyone else here has experienced a similar issue and knows how to prevent it.
 
Last edited:

Colif

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Jun 12, 2015
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Resolution: Oddly enough the issue was solved by plugging my USB headset (Hyper X Cloud Revolver S) back in and then plugging in its removeable microphone and then unplugging it again. The whole stutter and phantom device issue went away.
did you unplug headphones from PC, or just the microphone from the headphones, while it was plugged into PC?
guess driver must have been trying to access the microphone?

From memory that headset doesn't have drivers?
 
did you unplug headphones from PC, or just the microphone from the headphones, while it was plugged into PC?
guess driver must have been trying to access the microphone?

From memory that headset doesn't have drivers?
I use the headset on both my gaming PC and work laptop so i swap them around from time to time.
As for resolving the issue the order of oeprations was
  1. Plug USB from headset back into PC
  2. Plug 3.5mm attached microphone back into headset.
  3. Remove 3.5mm microphone from headset
and yeah no drivers on the headset

The weird thing is the default microphone is my AT2020 which never got unplugged and was always the chosen output device

The way i found the answer was checking the input devices and noticing that the microphone for the HyperX was detected but the headset was not... while both were unplugged
 

Colif

Win 11 Master
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Jun 12, 2015
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Clearly the PC had memory of the headset being plugged in with the microphone attached, and when you attached it without the microphone, it freaked out and was sending messages trying to enable it again

You can use this to see any USB devices ever attached to PC, and can use it to make it forget them too - https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html

Probably too late now you worked it out, but might help others.
 

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