Why Does My Sound Get Crackly?

Jan 25, 2006
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Saint Louis
#1
Whenever I have "Things going on" on my iMac, after about 2 hours the sound starts to slowly get worse and worse.

When I restart it, sound is fine.
I open up iTunes, I open up Firefox, I open a 2nd Firefox window, I start to download something, I open up VLC player, etc.
The more I open, the worse the sound gets.

It's like this static, crackling thing, like a stutter or as if it's buffering.

Just because I have too much going on? It really doesn't seem like too much going on for a computer that's just a year old and has no problems.
Sound card issue? But like I said, it seems directly related to the amount that the computer is doing.
 

tattered

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Aug 22, 2002
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#2
Whenever I have "Things going on" on my iMac, after about 2 hours the sound starts to slowly get worse and worse.

When I restart it, sound is fine.
I open up iTunes, I open up Firefox, I open a 2nd Firefox window, I start to download something, I open up VLC player, etc.
The more I open, the worse the sound gets.

It's like this static, crackling thing, like a stutter or as if it's buffering.

Just because I have too much going on? It really doesn't seem like too much going on for a computer that's just a year old and has no problems.
Sound card issue? But like I said, it seems directly related to the amount that the computer is doing.
Sound goes thru youre ram first before it gets to sound card. The more shit you have running the more ram you eat up. So it makes it harder to process the audio at high quality if you dont have the memory available so the sound quality suffers. Thus static.
The shorter version: dont run so much shit at the same time
 

tattered

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Aug 22, 2002
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#4
I wouldn't think it's "so much shit", but I guess so
You said it yourself the more things you more things you open the worse your sound quality gets. 1+1=2
 

blazin

Registered User
Dec 9, 2004
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#5
How much RAM in that turd?
 
Apr 30, 2011
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CLT
#9
Whenever I have "Things going on" on my iMac, after about 2 hours the sound starts to slowly get worse and worse.

When I restart it, sound is fine.
I open up iTunes, I open up Firefox, I open a 2nd Firefox window, I start to download something, I open up VLC player, etc.
The more I open, the worse the sound gets.

It's like this static, crackling thing, like a stutter or as if it's buffering.

Just because I have too much going on? It really doesn't seem like too much going on for a computer that's just a year old and has no problems.
Sound card issue? But like I said, it seems directly related to the amount that the computer is doing.

I dont mess with Apple other than the phone so I dont really know how the imac is setup. Seems like the sound card would be built into the motherboard regardless so not much you can do there. You make it sound like when you reboot all is fine. Then the more programs you open the sound gets static. Does this mean no matter which program you are using the sound is static or is it only with a certain app, can you try other apps while this is going on to confirm? Doesnt seem like you are opening enough things to be a problem.

Where does the sound come from are the speakers built in or are they separate? Static in speakers can often come from the volume adjustment on standalone speakers, but wouldn't relate to the programs used or restarts.

Is there a headphone jack? Can you test to see if you get the same result through the headphone jack.

I wonder if what is really happening is as the board heats up, its causing the static like some kind of hardware problem.
 
Jan 25, 2006
33,621
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Saint Louis
#10
Speakers are built in, I'll check out the headphone thing.

I know nothing, but I'm still leaning towards it just having too much going on, and the sound slowly going down the tube. Then you restart, nothing happening, it's good to go.
 

weeniewawa

it's a man, baby!!!
May 21, 2005
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#11
I have a OLD Mac Pro with 7GB of memory and constantly have 30+ tabs open in one browser another 5-7 open in another and email, itunes, security cam viewer and who knows what else running and have never had any audio problems while streaming music or video or listening from itunes

if you have any Apple care left, call the "experts" or whatever their official name is

maybe they can help
 
Jan 25, 2006
33,621
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578
Saint Louis
#12
So, it does it with our without headphones. It's the downloading... But, "Fake Taxi" videos aren't going to magically appear on their own.
 
Apr 30, 2011
35,547
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358
CLT
#13
So, it does it with our without headphones. It's the downloading... But, "Fake Taxi" videos aren't going to magically appear on their own.
This sure seems like something hardware based. Running a lot of programs could be directly related to the amount of stress you are putting on the whole computer which in turn is raising the temperature of various parts across the motherboard and power supply etc.... This does not make a good environment for things like audio electronics. Since this has a LCD display built in it could be the whatever generates the backlighting for the monitor.

Can you turn the screen off when some music is playing to see if the static goes away? Its possible that you may have to shut the monitor off for a few minutes to see a change.

Any warranty left on this thing?
 

Bobobie

Registered User
Oct 1, 2005
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#14
Most likely a wire or component has an intermittent connection. The usual culprit is an attenuator in the form of a volume control knob. Jiggle or knock on the knob, wired connections to your powered speakers etc.


You can get a cheap USB sound adapter and a set of powered PC speakers if you can't fix it.
 

tattered

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Aug 22, 2002
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#15
Most likely a wire or component has an intermittent connection. The usual culprit is an attenuator in the form of a volume control knob. Jiggle or knock on the knob, wired connections to your powered speakers etc.


You can get a cheap USB sound adapter and a set of powered PC speakers if you can't fix it.
Thats not the problem. He says the audio is fine when nothing else is running and quantity degrades the more things he opens. Its a RAM issue
 

Bobobie

Registered User
Oct 1, 2005
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Bay City Michigan
#16
Thats not the problem. He says the audio is fine when nothing else is running and quantity degrades the more things he opens. Its a RAM issue
Thus the intermittent thing. It's on for a while then it starts failing.
Doubt if it's the Ram, but that would be something easy to check by alternately pulling his sticks of ram.
 

tattered

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Aug 22, 2002
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#17
Thus the intermittent thing. It's on for a while then it starts failing.
Doubt if it's the Ram, but that would be something easy to check by alternately pulling his sticks of ram.
When I say ram issue I mean not having enough
 

Hog's Big Ben

Getting ass-***** in The Octagon, brother.
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Jul 28, 2005
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#18
Sound goes thru youre ram first before it gets to sound card. The more shit you have running the more ram you eat up. So it makes it harder to process the audio at high quality if you dont have the memory available so the sound quality suffers. Thus static.
The shorter version: dont run so much shit at the same time
Oof. That could be the worst troubleshooting logic I've ever read.

Abs, you can pretty much rule out that it's a RAM issue.
 

Hog's Big Ben

Getting ass-***** in The Octagon, brother.
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#19
I think we need a better description of the problem to begin with.

It's like this static, crackling thing, like a stutter or as if it's buffering.
You're describing two distinct things here.

*Static = normal audio with a crackling sound added, much like those nasty old vinyl records you're so fond of.
*Stuttering/buffering = audio drops out, meaning it takes more than 10 seconds to play 10 seconds of audio.

Does it happen with local audio files, too, or does it only happen while streaming?

Does the audio settle down once the "things going on" have settled down? Meaning, the audio goes to shit when you open a new Firefox tab, but then sounds fine again once the Firefox tab is fully opened and the webpage is rendered? What I'm getting at is does the sound degradation coincide with disk access?

Are there any circumstances where the audio plays perfectly?