Music Playback is Choppy

By bedouinrising
Aug 11, 2009
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  1. I am running XP/Win7 on my AMD 64 Athlon 3400+ powered Pavillion. I have an integrated Realtek AC'97 audio card and lately I've noticed that all music playback is choppy - whether it's iTunes, Windows Media Player, or Youtube. I've tried different speakers, headphones, etc., but reagrdless of the hardware I use, I still get the same problem. It sounds as if the music is being paused and then played very quickly throughout the song. I don't really notice it in Windows sound effects, but that may be because they are short in length. I notice this happening on both XP and Windows 7 and don't know why.

    Please help!!!
  2. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,763

    Try updating your audio and chipset driver. There could also be a program running in the background taking up to much memory or CPU cycles. If you listen to music alot you should get a dedicated sound card. You can get a really good Audigy on Ebay for under $15. Onboard audio is notoriously troublesome. Too many other things in the system can interfere with it.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,349   +122

    I doubt so...considering it affects both operating systems. Same thing with a virus.
  4. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    The first thing i did was update my drivers when i noticed the problem. And i ruled out a virus too considering i noticed the problem on Windows 7 immediatley after installing it. I don't understand what could have caused this, but the only thing I can think of is a bad sound card. But i want to make sure before i put out the money for one. If i'm going to buy one, i'm going to buy a good one.
  5. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    This probably isn't the case, but make sure you have all the power saving features on your computer turned off. These often underclock the cpu to reduce power usage, which may be causing the stuttering. I've noticed this on older machines like yours. Go into the bios and disable Cool n' Quiet, and disable all windows power saving features also.
  6. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    I couldn't find a cool n' quiet option in my bios, and all my power saving features are all ready disabled. I appreciate the help though!!! If anyone has any other tips it would be appreciated!
  7. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    When you play music, try opening the task manager at the same time. Check to see if your CPU usage goes to 100 percent when the music stutters. If your CPU usage does go to 100 percent, go to the "processes" tab in the task manager, sort by CPU usage, and see what is eating your CPU cycles.
  8. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    My CPU usage doesn't go to 100% when the music stutters, but i did open msconfig and remove some startup processes and noticed a bit of improvement in the stutterring at first, but then it came back. I have 2gb of ddr ram, which should at least be holding up, but this tells me that the problem is probably related to CPU usage.
  9. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    CORRECTION* I updated the view speed in the task manager and noticed that the CPU usage does go to 100% when the music stutters, i just didnt notice it earlier because the task manager was using a lower refresh speed!
  10. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    Try downloading CPU-Z and see what your CPU frequency is while you are listening to music. For your CPU it should be 2.2 gigahertz.
  11. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    The CPU runs at 2.19 MHz when music is playing on iTunes.
     
  12. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    Have you checked the task manager to see if it is the music player that us using up the cpu?
  13. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    its using 3% at most.
  14. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    I mean when the cpu usage goes to 100%, what is the cause? What process in the task manager is using all the cpu cycles? If the music player uses 3% at most, there must be something else hogging the cpu.
  15. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    System Idle Process uses like 98%.
  16. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    Has this always happened, or did it just start? System Idle Process using up most of your cpu is normal.
  17. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    It happened on Windows 7 right after I installed it, but i just recently noticed it on XP, maybe like 4 days ago
  18. g4mer

    g4mer TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 340

    Try to download newest plugins for all your media player's. I had a similar problem.
  19. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    That doesnt seem to work either. I've searched around a bit and noticed that this is actually a really common problem, and a lot of people are saying there is not yet a fix available. Just google choppy music playback and you'll see what i mean. Some are saying it's related to iTunes + Quicktime; regardless its a pain.
  20. nismo91

    nismo91 TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,000   +11

    i got a friend that experience exact stuttering, due to degradation in speed for IDE harddrive.
    if you're using IDE harddrive, might check for DMA mode, it should be 5.

    if using SATA, make sure the 1.5gbps limit is disabled if your mobo supports it.
  21. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 903

    That shouldn't make a difference unless he is using a SSD. Normal HDD's cannot read or write 1.5 gbps.

    Also, try using VLC media player. It hardly uses any resources, so it might play media more smoothly than iTunes or WMP.
  22. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    ok under device manager it shows 3 primary ide channels and 3 secondary ide channels. The first primary is set to 5 and the other 2 read not applicable. The first secondary reads 2 and the others read not applicable. This is all in XP by the way.
  23. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Even when i use vlc media player i get the choppy playback. Although it is alot less than itunes.
  24. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,349   +122

    Thats interesting, but I don't really know what it points to.

    It could be your hdd.
    If your interested in checking, press and hold the windows key (between ctrl and alt), then click "r". A box should come up. Type in "dfrg.msc" to open up disk defragment utility. Select the volume that contains your music and analyse it.
  25. bedouinrising

    bedouinrising Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 90

    everything's fine according to the defrag tool.
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