After a day of futzing around with this, I'm at wits end.
I'm using a Dell Latitude laptop (work laptop). It has a fully updated version of Windows 7 64-bit. Since the last update (I think) I've bee hearing crackling and stuttering in any and all tracks. It comes and goes, there could be 30 seconds of pristine playback and then a brief crackle/stutter.
After searching the forums and Intertubes, here's the things I've tried:
1. Resetting sound device settings, and trying various stample rates and bit-depths
2. Toggling off Hardware Acceleration
3. Toggling off Play all songs at same volume
4. High quality streaming
5. Downloading playlists local
I went so far as to drop $100 on a USB DAC that bypasses my built in Soundcard in my laptop and docking station, and the crackling still persists.
It does NOT happen in iTunes, Windows Media Player, or in YouTube videos. Only Spotify. I'm getting really frustrated, as I'm paying $10 a month for a service that is almost unusable to me for 8-10 hours a day.
It works fine on my iPhone and my several Macs at home without issues. Only my Windows 7 machine that's causing the problem.
Solved! Go to Solution.
Ok I fixed the problem and I have to say I am kinda embarresed to say what it is guys.
You all ready for this. Its really this easy. I have spent a ton of money and I have been so pissed off about it and now to find out what it is im just even more pissed. It is the bluetooth headphones. Everyone go get your other set of plug in headphones and turn off the bluetooth headset and go back to your plug in headphones and guess what no more skipping and choppy **bleep** to deal with. Thank god I have to say I am over wireless **bleep** not working right and causing this much **bleep** all the time. Trust me guys its the wireless headphones and bluetooth. Happy music with no more skipping , thank god
My Realtek audio driver seemed to be the issue on my PC. (I was getting crackling on desktop app, web app, but never on my phone).
For me, the only thing that worked permanently (uninstalling/reinstalling did not work long-term), was rolling back my audio driver for my headphones/speakers to the native driver.
1. Open the Device Manager (type devmgmt.msc in the Windows search box).
2. Expand the "Sound, video & game controllers" and right click on "Realtek High Definition Audio". Target the specific device you are trying to prevent crackling on (Headphones, Speakers, etc).
3. Select to "Update Driver Software".
4. Click on "Browse my computer for driver software".
5. Click "Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer".
6. Put a check in the box "Show compatible hardware" if not already checked.
7. In the list of devices, click "High Definition Audio" or "Generic Audio Device" (the native driver).
8. Click "Next".
9. On the Update Driver Warning box, click "Yes" (install the driver).
10. Restart the laptop if prompted. If not prompted, then no need to restart.
After this discovery, I'm going to try to reach out to Realtek support to see if they can clarify if this is just a compatibility issue between the driver software and Spotify.