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Audio Quality

322 words

This is bad news. I just listened to some music from my Powerbook. And it sounded bad – having little 'hickups' or 'artifacts' or bits of clipping in it.

I tried to track down the problem but can't pinpoint it properly. Here is what I know and concluded so far:

To make things more interesting, I can't reproduce this reliably. While testing out the different sources for the problem, doing some unplugging, plugging and muting, the problem went away for the time being. Very strange.

Anybody else with similar observations? I'd be interested to hear them. Just keep this in mind the next time you think you're listening to a dodgy MP3, it might be the same problem I'm seeing here.

October 18, 2003, 19:51


Comment by brian w: User icon

Hey, this has been happening to me, too. I thought it was due to high levels of disk access as I was downloading a large installer file that was making the hard drive chug chug chug away when I first noticed it. I have upgraded to 10.2.8 (the “second” release only) but I have not upgraded QuickTime or iTunes (in fact, I still have iTunes 4.0 from before the disabling of playlist sharing). The problem seems to come and go… haven’t been able to track it down yet…

October 18, 2003, 23:11

Comment by ssp: User icon

I suspected disk access as well at first. But I never noticed disk access affecting sound output (that much) before. In addition, the artifacts always appeared at the same places when playing the piece several times.

Same here for iTunes 4.0. I tried my backup of that one as well and saw the same effects.

I guess this points to X.2.8 as a potential culprit.

I am tempted to submit a bug report with Apple, but I fear that the lack of reproducability won’t make it too useful.

October 19, 2003, 0:31

Comment by A. Napolitano: User icon


i have something similar since an update of QuickTime. I figured out that there must be something wrong in the audio output chain - one (or more) components seems to increase the overall signal level wich will lead to clipping on the higher volume levels. If you slide down the volume, everything seems to be fine.

Till now i cannot figure out what exactly is the source of this but i think that this is a bug within one of the apple applications (probably quicktime).

On my machine (a Mac Mini G4) the problem is permanently there. And it is reproducable if i increase the volume.

A call to the apple hotline was not satisfiying because the want money for recording this (around 40 EUR) so i decided to live with it until the next update comes or until i throw the machine in the corner.

January 7, 2006, 2:01

Comment by Ryan: User icon

Hi, im not sure if this is what you are talking about but i have a problem playing mp3’s in itunes. All of my mp3s play fine in windows media player, quicktime etc, but when i play them through itunes they always have a skipping /crackly noise throughout. Thus i cannot transfer such poor quality onto my ipod and subsequently have no use for my ipod! it is not the mp3s as they are fine when burnt on cd/played in windows media, so it must be itunes, but i cannot see any option of how to fix this? any help??!!!

January 7, 2006, 16:37

Comment by d.w.: User icon

Ryan — iTunes uses Quicktime for all audio playback. Do you have the equalizer turned on in iTunes? If so, try turning it off.

January 10, 2006, 15:48

Comment by Stephan: User icon

Thank you, d.w. I had the same problem and I nearly got sick because I love itunes and now it sounds again!

February 7, 2006, 13:37

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