6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 16, 2011 9:55 AM by JCAtlanta
JCAtlanta Level 1 (0 points)
Hello everyone.

I am running iTunes and have recently upgraded my crappy old SoundBlaster and $20 speakers to an HT Omega Claro Halo sound card and Audioengine A2's. Now that my audio equipment has upgraded, I can hear a very noticeable (and extremely irritating) crackle whenever I play anything through iTunes. Most notably in my ambient-esque music.

The sound is a crackle or sizzle in the background, much like dust on vinyl. The crackling sound is not present when playing music through Foobar2000, Windows Media Player, or Winamp.

I reverted back to my old SoundBlaster/Cheapo Speaker setup and verified that the crackling sound was present in iTunes and not in the other media players. My old system was just too crappy to notice.

There are no playback settings that I have ever been able to find in iTunes, but I have changed the settings in Quicktime. I currently have the "Windows Audio Session" radio button selected in my "Play Audio Using:" option box with no improvement. I have explored all the other options in the "Audio" tab in Quicktime Preferences as well. Nothing helps.

Any suggestions are much appreciated. I'm ready to try anything and would ditch iTunes over this issue if I didn't have to interface with a half dozen other Apple products.

x64, Windows 7, HT Omega Claro Halo
  • JCAtlanta Level 1 (0 points)
    Additionally, I wanted to report that Quicktime plays the music without the crackle.
  • JCAtlanta Level 1 (0 points)
    iTunes 10.2 did not fix the problem. If anything, it's worse.

    I've verified that I have this issue with my computer at work. It is running Windows 7 64 bit and running I've never noticed it before, because my soundcard at work is crap and the office is too loud to hear nuances. Knowing what to listen for, the crackle is definitely in iTunes and not other players. At home with a much better audio setup, much of my music is simply unenjoyable.
  • JCAtlanta Level 1 (0 points)
    I just ran through Apple's Knowledge Base (http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/) and checked through all their known audio issues to no avail.

    FWIW, I did not have the latest version of DirectX, but I do now, and that upgrade did not help.
  • JCAtlanta Level 1 (0 points)
    10.2.1 did not fix the audio quality problem. It is not a codec problem, since changing formats (mp3 vs. aac vs. Apple Lossless) did not change the crackle/distortion.

    If it helps, the crackles always sound the same. They always occur at the same point in the song, as if they were part of the file. However, they never occur in other music programs.
  • ric926 Level 1 (20 points)
    I've had that issue on individual songs, and reimporting them seemed to solve that, but the entire playlist? did you import everything or are they dloaded via the web? if you imported...then i'd say its your cd drive, lasers can get dirty
  • JCAtlanta Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks ric926, but I'm confident that there is no problem with my rip. First, I used iTunes, then I used dbPoweramp and had it verify that my track is bit-perfect. And since every other music player on my computer, including Quicktime, plays the song without error, I'm sure my problem is with iTunes.

    I can't verify that I have the crackling on every track, since some songs are just too loud and fast. But the crackling definitely ruins a crescendo in smooth electronica or jazz.