13 Replies Latest reply: Oct 21, 2008 5:27 AM by arnoldik
Doug Dellis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Hi All!

I'm having a sound-related issue:

EVERY sound--except for the startup sound--is now cutting in and out/stuttering on my iMac:

- Music playback stutters
- sound does not play during previewing video
- Sound cuts in/out during video playback in QT
- alert sounds stutter
- various sounds within other programs (adium, aol, etc) stutter and cut in and out.

In addition, the volume buttons on my keyboard are showing some lag, and are sometimes not responsive. EG: if you tap 3-4 times briskly to raise the volume, it may not respond, and then all three "blips" will occur in a bunch to signify the volume has been raised.

I recently downloaded the recent OSX security update/itunes update, as well as an HP print driver update, but that was days ago, and this problem only started RIGHT NOW.

My only lead is this: I visited some sort of audio recording/karaoke page on MySpace to view something, and the audio started acting glitchy. I'm not saying this act was responsible for the current issues, but it did seem to occur at about the same time I noticed these problems.

Lastly, you should know I've ALREADY tried the following:

- verifying/repairing disk after starting up from the install CD
- verifying/repairing permissions after starting up from the install CD
- Resetting my PRAM
- I've checked my temps (for fear of an overheat), but all my temps seem to be under 60 celsius which is normal according to iStat Pro, and these boards.

Any thoughts on this one? Thanks VERY MUCH in advance!

iMac 2ghz Intel Core 2 Duo 20", Mac OS X (10.5.4), 2.0 GB RAM (upgraded), ION FIREWIRE/USB 2.0 160GB EXT HD, HP 3210, WACOM TABLET
  • elmac Level 5 Level 5 (4,230 points)
    Hi, Open & Close Garage Band...L
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 Level 7 (30,460 points)
    Open System Preferences Sound pane Output tab. Try making a change such as muting and then unmuting or changing the volume to see if there is any effect on the sound issue. If not, plug any headphones (or earbuds from an iPod) into the headphones port in the back. The +device for sound output+ in that window should change to Headphones. Does the sound issue continue on the headphones? If not, disconnect the headphones. Does the sound issue return with the internal speakers?

    If you were already using the headphones port for external speakers, unplug it to use internal speakers as the test...
  • Doug Dellis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I actually already tried the "open and close garage band" idea (forgot to mention that). Didn't work.

    FYI, while IN garage band, anything that produces sound (such as the keyboard) will be choppy, laggy, etc., just like other sounds on the computer.

    Message was edited by: Doug Dellis
  • Doug Dellis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Well, I tried the sound preferences panel idea, and that only produced MORE sound weirdness (the mute checkbox was unresponsive, volume control was laggy, etc).


    Here's a very odd thing that happened:

    I noticed a faint "clicking" noise that seemed to coincide with the staggered sound playback--especially when music played. So I decided to play a song and try to find where the sound was coming from.

    Upon turning my iMac to get a closer inspection, I noticed that the pausing/glitchy audio playback temporarily stopped. Then, when I removed the "audio in" cable, the skipping/cutting in and out stopped for good!

    So, while I am happy there aren't any laggy/glitchy sound issues, I'm confused as to what this was all about.

    (It should be noted that I have my xbox running into the audio in jack so that I can use my computer speakers for both units--I've been doing this for 3 years with no issues whatsoever. Also of note is that ALL of this occurred while no xbox was connected.)

    Any ideas as to what I may have experienced and how I can prevent it in the future?
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 Level 7 (30,460 points)
    Some ideas for consideration...

    If you are saying that once you removed the audio-in cable, the problem went away and does NOT come back even if you put that cable back in, it was probably some odd situation with preference files related to sound input and output. Some combination of changing settings and pulling out the sound input cable rewrote the preference files and everything is back to normal.

    I don't know how you would prevent it since the exact cause is still unknown. Just note down how it was resolved this time before you forget.

    Note: There is a second place where you can adjust sound settings. It is in the +Audio MIDI Setup+ utility in the Utilities folder. The settings as shown there should reflect the settings in System Preferences Sound pane, but maybe there was some discrepancy.

    A quick question for you. As you probably know, Mac OS X does not have a play-through setting to play the audio input through the speakers "on the fly." Which method do you use to get your sound input (from the xbox) to play out the iMac's speakers? Maybe the glitch was there.
  • Doug Dellis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi Kenichi, thanks for your help so far!

    To answer your questions:

    1) I just re-inserted my "audio in" cable, and so far, so good. Now, please realize, there's nothing on the other end of the cable--but that's exactly the same way it was when the problem was occurring.

    2) All of the sound glitches, pauses, lags and cutting out intervals occurred independently of "playing through" my mac. In other words, I was NOT using the audio in cable for anything (xbox or otherwise) when these problems occurred.

    3) In response to your last question: I use an excellent, free utility called "LineIn" that enables playthrough on the iMac. As I said, I've been using it for years, and never had any issues.

    As of now, I'm not really doing anything different, and it seems as though the problem is gone--I just wish I had a more concrete idea of how to make sure it doesn't happen again!
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 Level 7 (30,460 points)
    LineIn is a great little program. If you were not using it, I would have suggested it. You say nothing was connected to +audio in+, but was LineIn running in the background? Is it the latest version, in case there is some Leopard-related incompatibility with a pre-Leopard version?

    The iMac probably recognizes that there is something in the +audio in+ port and adjusts its internal settings accordingly, whether there is a source at the other end or not. The +audio out+ port certainly tells the system if there is a jack inserted. So it may not matter that there was sound coming into the port from the xbox.
  • Doug Dellis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Interesting. That's good to know--

    Oh, and and no, LineIn was NOT running at the time of any of these problems.

    I should reiterate that these problems seemed to appear after visiting a section of Myspace.com that's devoted to "karaoke." From what I could tell, allows users to use their own mics to sync up to music they provide--the video/audio SEEMS to be flash-based (like the videos on myspace and youtube), but Im not entirely sure. (I didn't USE the application, I just VIEWED it, by the way--not sure if that matters.)

    Just figured I'd share that just in case it's applicable...
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 Level 7 (30,460 points)
    I can't see how a web site can make any changes to your user settings, unless part of the "getting started" process involved running a downloaded setup program on your side (including authenticating with username and password). Then, it would be like an unintended Trojan Horse.

    FYI - A good general trouble-shooting technique that I would have suggested if you did resolve the problem is to create a new admin user account in System Preferences Accounts pane. Log out and log in to that new user account. See if the same problem occurs for the new user. If it does not, the problem can be narrowed down to something in your normal user account. If it does recur, then the problem is likely to be related to the overall system or hardware.

    That does not answer your question about avoiding such problems, but it may help resolve them.
  • JohnnyDemonic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    hello all.

    so, to the chase. my G5 running 10.5.4 clean install, is experiancing the same sorts of audio complications listed here, it did the same with 10.5.1, and every couple of weeks or so for months i have come to the discussions to find out why my music/video (itunes mplayer vlc youtube whatever moves and makes noise) clips out, belches static, stutters, or just stops the play head, the program will say playing, but the head just sits for some totally random time, sometimes seconds others several minutes and then ups and starts again. or just screeches, like it plays the music and the white loud noise that comes out is clearly inspired by the song that was playing, the peaks of the screeching synching with the beats/vocals of the track.

    so i hit pause, or quit the app, neither makes a difference and no matter what i do the music is either noise or non-existant for some time until it wants to go again.

    so what process could possibly be doing all this. it does not appear to be load related. happens when its just playing music as much when half the dock is light up.

    so in short, the music will play fine with the ocassionaly ticking artifact in the mix, and then out of nowhere, 5 minute union break. This is a big problem when i open logic and reason and set to it.

    theres a thousand other complications too, in reason the audio interface will show up as missing occasionally. (when it fully cuts out) and then be back in a min, (no restart or anything required)

    so whats the deal, new audio card? is its 10.5 Server? or some crazy driver thing i need to get for my Texas instruments Integrated (built-in) audio, (havent found anything of the sort yet). or do i need some ritual sacrifice?

    anyway thanks for enduring this. and i would love eternally any who could help with this.
    soon i am just gonna go buy the prettiest sound card in the market and some chickens.

  • Doug Dellis Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Just to tie up loose ends on this one: I found that the audio cable-related actions I took (see above) solved this issue. My thanks to those that helped, and hopefully the ideas discussed here will help others that experienced what I did!
  • WL_x Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    hi all - i'm having the same problem as Doug, except i've tried everything including plugging and unplugging the audio cable and the problem hasn't gone away.

    i've also tried all the suggestions above and they haven't helped either. can anyone else offer any additional insight into this? i'm hoping i won't have to take my computer in for repair..

  • arnoldik Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello everybody. I have a much more simple problem :

    I have connected external speakers to my brand new iMac Intel. All sounds coming from the computer are perfectly transfered to the external speakers, should they come from the system or any application, except only one sound! This only one sound that is not played through the external speakers is the iMac start chime!!! It is only played through the internal speakers.

    I checked all volumes possible and "sound out" choices in the system preferences, but in vain

    Could anyone be able to help me ? Thanks in advance.