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Troubleshooting Retroarch - no sound when launched via Launchbox (cmd line)


thraxlol
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Hi all, hope someone can help me out here!

**Brief issue** : 
I have a rather advnaced audio setup on my PC, and while fixing my recording capabilities I've now got an issue where: Anytime I launch any RetroArch game via cmd line (e.g. using Launchbox) the audio does not work (any core, any game). However if I launch RetroArch.exe alone and then use the history to launch a game (or go to a core then load a game I haven't played before) the audio works perfectly.

**Extended Setup Info:** The core pieces to understand here are:

- I'm using Voicemeeter Potato and EarTrumpet (MS App) to route audio per-app through various interfaces

- Using an XLR mic and USB audio interface (thus the need for Voicemeeter) to record audio

- Using standard USB headset for audio out

- Using Nvidia ShadowPlay to record video/desktop sound

For anyone not familiar with the above, I effectively have control over the audio routing for every individual application on my PC, so that I can stream or record and only capture what I want (e.g. I could play Spotify music that only I can hear, but stream/record my in-game sound and mic). Same example with streaming while watching Youtube, I set Chrome to pipe straight to my headphones so that any stream viewers cannot hear the audio, etc.

Now, this setup can be rather complex and taxing on the brain, but it works, and as far as I can see/test it's now setup and shouldn't have anything to do with the issues I'm seeing - just worth noting as this issue didn't start until I was troubleshooting why I couldn't capture game audio.

**What I've done:** To get ShadowPlay capturing game audio I had to ensure it ('NVIDIA Container' in app volume device settings, when it's running) was set to take an INPUT of the Voicemeeter output channel I use for desktop audio (not chrome/music) and an OUTPUT of Voicemeeter input channel. So when I open a game the audio path goes GAME > VOICEMEETER OUT > SHADOWPLAY IN > SHADOWPLAY OUT > VOICEMEETER IN > VOICEMEETER OUT > SPEAKERS (Headset). The Voicemeeter interface is just an I/O in the app, but Windows picks it up as separate in/out - which it should.

I've also gone through RetroArch options, however the exact same config if used whether it's launched with or without cmd line (Launchbox), so I'm starting my search for a fix here.

**Please Help :)**

Now, back to my issue here... prior to reconfiguring I had sound in RetroArch when launching from LaunchBox but no sound in my recordings. Now I've fixed the sound in recordings but I only get sound in game if I open RetroArch and then the game I want. So I'm hoping someone has more advanced knowledge than me to help figure out why launching via cmd line would break the sound.

Thanks in advance!

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Cheers for the reply :) I continued testing more and more after this post so I'll put those discoveries below. Winding back on when it was working Vs when it was not: the actual change made was to the in/out sound options for Nvidia ShadowPlay (which detect RetroArch and can capture it, but that was always the case regardless of wether or not ShadowPlay recorded the sound or not. I can see in the sound options that different cores present as different application names (in terms of audio routing), however these have all been set identically (which is to output to the correct route) and don't change between RA working and not working. 

Further tests/info:

- Retroarch and all cores updated fresh to latest versions. NO CHANGE

- Opening retroarch.exe via cmd line without core/rom switches. SOUND WORKING

- Opening retroarch.exe via cmd line with core/rom switches. NO SOUND

- Opening retroarch.exe via cmd line with core/rom switches and then using history to open a different rom (same or different core) OR closing content and picking any other rom. SOUND WORKING

 

Info I don't have is if using history to open another rom for the same core unloads the core and then reloads it or not, or if the GUI is using similar cmd line switches behind the scenes to do the tasks I'm selecting in the menu. I've tried this with a number of cores and roms from the cmd line and it looks like the audio is failing on startup, but I don't need to close Retroarch to get it working again... I just need to change core/game. I have a thread on the Retroarch forums as well but so far no luck.

I'm not dismissing the fact my sound routing could be the issue, and likely is, however that is both extremely inconvenient to un-do and ultimately to have a workable setup it needs to be how it is (e.g. having my mic and headset working with video conferencing (Zoom, Teams, Zoho), Streaming (OBS), ShadowPlay (recording gameplay for retro and modern games), etc). If it's between using the workaround for RA sound and undoing my entire sound config, I'll just have to live with working around the RA issue. I'm ok with that, but if anyone has alternative options feel free to let me know :D

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You say it works if you start RetroArch manually. For testing purposes you could make per core config files and load those with LaunchBox. Just start RetroArch manually, load a core and game. And if everything works, save a core config file.

2019921833_Schermopname(87).thumb.jpg.8441f0adea248e0564c9f9c44911ca4d.jpg

1187294265_Schermopname(88).thumb.jpg.fc09ab497fc2503027e285abea682b7f.jpg

The files are saved in the RetroArch config folder. Then tell LaunchBox to load those core config files when launching a game by adding: -c "config\core_name.cfg" to the platform/core in the "Extra command-Line Parameters" tab in the LaunchBox > Tools > Manage Emulators > RetroArch > Associated Platforms tab.

1778446927_Schermopname(83).thumb.jpg.9ef48593c5045c3926a385de7733d511.jpg

Of course I don't know if it solves your issues, but you could try.

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1 hour ago, Pixelpiper said:

Have you searched to see if anyone else has has similar issues with processes  (apps/windows, etc. - nothing to do with Retroarch) not triggering the audio routes unless restarted?

Yes and no... it's something pretty hard to track down as most of it goes back to 'just set your app to the right audio route', which is the fix for most things. The vast sea of internet help forums and google don't make it easy to narrow down something as niche as this. I'm hoping to gain more insight into how RA switches cores on their forums, so far I've found the GUI doesn't use the CLI commands, so that's one thing I guess... 

I guess another issue here is that while I could identify the active processes in task manager etc, unless they show up in sound options for me to alter the route it doesn't do me much good; and all processes that I've found so far that do show up, I've changed (thus why the audio routing works, other than with CLI start).

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  • 8 months later...
On 2/24/2021 at 10:07 AM, Koroth said:

You say it works if you start RetroArch manually. For testing purposes you could make per core config files and load those with LaunchBox. Just start RetroArch manually, load a core and game. And if everything works, save a core config file.

2019921833_Schermopname(87).thumb.jpg.8441f0adea248e0564c9f9c44911ca4d.jpg

1187294265_Schermopname(88).thumb.jpg.fc09ab497fc2503027e285abea682b7f.jpg

The files are saved in the RetroArch config folder. Then tell LaunchBox to load those core config files when launching a game by adding: -c "config\core_name.cfg" to the platform/core in the "Extra command-Line Parameters" tab in the LaunchBox > Tools > Manage Emulators > RetroArch > Associated Platforms tab.

1778446927_Schermopname(83).thumb.jpg.9ef48593c5045c3926a385de7733d511.jpg

Of course I don't know if it solves your issues, but you could try.

Still struggling with this issue (basically just stopped playing retro games for 6+ months because it annoyed me so much)... but now bumping this thread. 

I have opened RA and saved a config when there is an issue, then loaded the same game manually and saved another config - compared them (in notepad++ and Word) and they're identical. I've got a thread on the RA forums about this as well but no one there seems to have an answer either :(

I tried your suggestion above and explicitly launch RA with a core config that was saved when all sound was working, but same result. Thanks for the suggestion though!

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Have you tried setting up a fresh clean install of RA and pointing LB at it ? You don't need to remove or overwrite your current setup.

Usually something like this would be caused by a core override using an incorrect audio device or a custom command line in LB calling a custom config calling and incorrect audio device.

If the sound works through RA on its own but not through LB then it most likely is a custom config being called somewhere in the chain because LB only uses what RA has or what you tell it to through a custom config call.

Edit:
Oh damn, I just read your original posts and yeah you got some crazy setup going on there so it is most likely a sound routing issue because of it.

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@Lordmonkus I've learned a lot about my own audio setup in the last 6 months :) and while I wouldn't rule it out I've got no way around it, and I'm pretty sure it's nothing to do with LB, but posted here because there's so much knowledge that someone might have a great idea.

The sound does NOT with through RA on it's own unless I launch RA and then open a game from with it's GUI. If I use LB or cmd prompt (e.g. "retroarch.exe -L cores\parallel_n64_libretro.dll games\PaperMario.n64") there's no sound, but once RA is open I could use history (or load game) and when another game opens, sound works no worries. I've found launching a game and hitting restart (h, or via menu) doesn't fix it, specifically need to switch games but it's not a ROM issue...

Let's say I have 2 games (any game, any system as I have thousands / full collections configured), I double-click game 1 in LB (or cmd prompt as mentioned) and it launches with no sound, in RA I open game 2 and everything's good and back to normal with sound, then using the RA menu I go straight back to game 1 and sound remains working.

Workaround is just a frustrating 'alternate launch' every time I want to play something.... it's just annoying :)

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The only thing that comes to make that makes any sense at all is that there is something going on with the sound device settings in RA. Like maybe a core or game over ride with a different audio device setting.

The first thing I would try is a fresh clean install to a new folder of RA. I would then load up RA, download  core for testing, load the core, then load a rom. If the sound works there then I would change my RA entry in LB to the new RA setup and then try and load that same game through LB using the same core.

This is certainly a crazy one to try and troubleshoot based on your description of your setup.

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2 minutes ago, Lordmonkus said:

The only thing that comes to make that makes any sense at all is that there is something going on with the sound device settings in RA. Like maybe a core or game over ride with a different audio device setting.

The first thing I would try is a fresh clean install to a new folder of RA. I would then load up RA, download  core for testing, load the core, then load a rom. If the sound works there then I would change my RA entry in LB to the new RA setup and then try and load that same game through LB using the same core.

This is certainly a crazy one to try and troubleshoot based on your description of your setup.

Absolutely! The setup's not too crazy now that I've wrapped my head around it a lot more. 

Since my original post (and as recent as yesterday) I've started a fresh install of LB and RA from scratch on another drive and go as vanilla as possible. Same issue is present right from the get go :( At the suggestion of someone on the RA support forum I made core specific configs but to no avail.

I've done what you suggested above as well, both the new (freshly downloaded latest version) and old (older version, different drive, different GUI so i don't get them mixed up) behave the same way. Loading RA then ROM = work, loading ROM into RA in 1 move (LB, cmd, etc) no sound until I load a different ROM.

100% strange right? I'm fairly reserved to the idea that I'll just have to live with it until the day I move my retro gaming to another rig without the overly elaborate sound setup.

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