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Crackle / stutter Windows 10 app only

Crackle / stutter Windows 10 app only







media editing PC (bespoke): Intel i7 - 4790K, 4Ghz, 32gb RAM, SB x-fi titanium sound card

Operating System

Win 10 64 bit


My Question or Issue

Spotify desktop app plays with an intermittent crackle. No other devices are affected. No other apps are affected. Spotify web play also seems unaffected. I have put up with the issue for close to 6 months (thinking it was sound card related). I have tried all solutions that I can find - none of which work:

  • exceptions to win defender or avg
  • sound card and related settings
  • compatibility issues between programs
  • fresh re-install

It seems a prevalent issue on various PCs running various sound cards. I have used spotify for a few years with the PC in question with NO isssues.

<begin rant>I have isolated the issue to being related to the Spotify App itself - when is this likely to be fixed? Since playback is fundamental to the use of Spotify, support/bug fixing seems lacking in urgency! </end rant>

23 Replies

Hey @crackle_n_pop


Sorry to hear about this!


Windows 10 has Spotify from both Windows Store and also the standalone app (which is downloaded from Spotify's page). Is the crackling present for both?


There is also an offline installer available which you can get here.
You can try removing the current Spotify, deleting any Spotify files under %Appdata% (roaming and local), restarting the computer and installing Spotify.


I also had crackle issues when the buffer for my sound interface was a little low, but you might have tried it already (if setting buffer is possible for your interface).


Let me know how it goes! 🙂

Hello, I am experiencing the exact same problem, songs sound just fine when I play them over spotify on chrome but the windows app seems to cause cracking and popping at specific parts of some songs. A good example is Alice in Chains - Rainier Fog, the cracking starts at 0:07.
I actually noticed, just this morning that there is a difference between the app and browser. Up until last night I was looking through the internet like crazy for a solution to this problem, uninstalling and installing sound drivers from my motherboard distributor's site, checking the plugs and whatnot on my newly bought headphones and unticking various things on the Spotify windows app but nothing really worked. I have tried this given solution (uninstalling Spotify, deleting anything from AppData and using the given link installer) but it didn't help. Any other ideas? What is this "low buffer" you are referring to? Haha, sorry I'm not very tech savvy, but I'm willing to try out any potential solutions. Thank you in advance.

Thanks for the reply. I've tried both the Windows intallation and the standalone - both with the same issue. May try the full wipe of app data etc and re-install but sound like the issue remains (given the comment above).


I think it's a compatibility bug with the Spotify player that needs correcting by Spotify and we're all wasting our time finding workarounds and looking for solutions that ultimately don't rectify the issue.


Currently, I have opened the web player in Chrome - then used the 3 dot tool menu > more tools > create shortcut (on desktop) > select "open in new window". This way I can use Spotify through Chrome (with no issues) but still have my browser activity separate (one of the reasons for wanting the desktop app in the first place). It's not really a solution but does at least allow listening to music crackle free until such a time as the app player gets sorted.

Hey @MisterAgent


It's ok, I'll explain 🙂

Some soundcards come with ASIO drivers. They will have the following settings in their 'control panel' (like ASUS Xonar) or standalone (Focusrite):



It's not very likely that motherboard soundcards come with ASIO drivers as default though. If you do find something like this, try to increase the buffer.


I definitely recommend taking a look at the following settings:

The audio enhancements:
1. Go to Taskbar, find and click on the speaker icon. Click the speaker/device icon again on the volume slider popup.
2. Go to Sound Enhancement tab and disable them.
3. If there are additional tabs like Dolby or similar, try disabling these too.

4. Just in case, search for any 'sound control' app that might have been installed by the manufacturer. They often have various settings enabled which may not work well with Spotify.

The Communications setting:
1. Find the speaker icon on Taskbar again. Right-click on it and select Sounds.
2. In the opened window go to COmmunications and set Windows to do nothing.


Also, make sure your sound device is marked as Default. See this Tenforums tutorial on how to. 🙂


Let me know how it goes!

I had already tried most of that stuff, unfortunately nothing helped.

I found the solution to that problem (On my case) I changed the buffer length to not bigger than 512smp (11ms)! Try to find the audio configurations in your audio card or audio interface. I have the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen, the notification icon shows the options right away on windows 10. Sample Rate (Hz) 48000.


*Change buffer length/size to 512 or less.

*Change sample rate to 48000 Hz

*Change the Default Format on the Sound Card Properties to 2 channel, 24 bit, 48000 Hz (Studio Quality)

Focusrite Sample Rate.jpg

I have the exact same issue. Only spotify. No other apps, games, browsers or similar have this issue...

Looks like there have been no "recent" comments on this. I have been searching this forum and applying all the "fixes" people suggest and it is still happening.


I have an HP desktop PC. Windows 10 Pro, Version 20H2 (OS Build 19042.867)


I have Spotify on my PC, on my Phone and my Google Homes play it as well. 

I only have the stutter and crackling on my PC, not on my phone and not with my Googles.

I have removed and re-installed the app, no difference.

I have updated all the drivers for audio, no difference.

I removed the audio driver and then re-installed them fresh, no difference.



Hey folks,


Sorry for the delayed reply, we've just come across this thread.


@coredr3, we recommend toggling off the option Enable hardware acceleration in the app's settings to see if that makes any difference.


If that doesn't do the trick, try checking your hosts file by following the steps in this article.


Also and just to confirm, did you make sure to follow the specific steps in this guide for a clean reinstall? This is more thorough than a regular one and can be helpful to get rid of any cached files that might be causing trouble. We also suggest downloading the app again from the Microsoft Store.


Keep us posted on how it goes. We'll be on the lookout.

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Interesting that it's currently mid October 2021 and this problem is continuing to bother people.  I think spotify need to get to and Fix it if they want to keep premium users!  I tried disabling the acceleration with no improvement. I don't' have the time or the ability to try all the other serious fixes. I shouldn't NEED to!  I'm just an end user, not a developer! 

Hey @Lynda-Waiheke,


Thanks for posting here.


In order to investigate this further we'll need more information.


Could you please share with us the troubleshooting steps that you've tried so far? We'd recommend that you also give the steps mentioned in this thread a go to see if the issue persists.


Let us know how it goes.

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I have also been having this issue for several weeks now and it's gotten to the point where if I can't fix it I'll just look for another music service. It's beyond frustrating that I can't get through a single song without crackling starting about 2/3rds of the way through then just continue for all future songs.


I've tried all the steps in this thread (clean, really clean install, both Windows Store and regular exe install, changing USB cables, making sure I'm not going through any USB hubs, turning off hardware acceleration etc) but nothing is helping.


One thing to note though is if I start playing on my speakers (that are also USB) the problem does not occur initially. If I use my USB DAC (which is what my headphones are connected to) the problem will occur every time. If I switch audio to speakers though the problem persists there. 

Hi @PlayingKarrde,


Thank you for reaching out on this thread.


We'd like to narrow this down as much as possible. Could you try accessing a different account to see if the same happens? Alternatively, you can create a free account here, just make sure you're logged out of your own account before creating a new one.  


If the issue persists with a different account, please let us know what's the make, model and OS of the affected devices, as well as the Spotify version you're running.


Keep us posted.

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Thanks for the reply MafeG. I signed up for a free account and yes, immediately on the first song, 2/3rds of the way through the crackling/stuttering begins and continues to future songs.


I'm running Spotify for Windows on Windows 11 Pro 21H2 (22000.469). The audio device is a FiiO USB DAC-E10.


-Edit- Problem persists when connecting headphones directly into motherboard's audio jack as well as USB speakers (contrary to what I originally wrote). And it actually seems to start consistently at the 3 minute mark of the song.

OK I *think* I fixed it by installing the latest realtech hd audio drivers for my motherboard. Not sure why it's only Spotify that it's affected (and on every audio device) but so far so good after testing 5 songs.


Welp no that wasn't it. Stuttering back this morning.

Hi @PlayingKarrde,


Thanks for the reply.


Could you confirm that you've tried changing the Buffer Size, like @Sebasty and @nurgualdron did? You should find this option in your motherboard's settings as well as on your DAC's app. Also, what sample rate have you selected for your output device? Does changing it make any difference?


It's also important to note that some songs where the intermittent crackle occurs are simply produced this way, so try different songs from different genres to see if the issue occurs on all of them. You can also activate Volume Normalization.


Keep us posted on this.

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Unfortunately I don't have any specific software or drivers for my audio devices. The USB DAC just uses generic drivers and the other is coming from the motherboard. Checking the BIOS doesn't show anything regarding buffer size. I've tried looking everywhere for it but I don't appear to have that option.

I select the highest sample rate but lowering it doesn't appear to have any affect. I'm not sure if it's related but I've noticed that the karaoke lines get out of sync with the song too. It's like Spotify thinks the song is at a different point than it is and is trying to correct itself or something.

And this happens on every song I try. Definitely not part of the song 🙂

Hey @PlayingKarrde,


Thanks for the reply and the info.


This issue is most likely related directly to the computer's motherboard or the specific sound card installed. Some users report that similar crackling issues are fixed after updating/ flashing your BIOS.


You can head over to the computer/ motherboard manufacturer's website and check if there are any available BIOS updates. Some manufacturers offer automatically installing BIOS updates.


In some cases this may not be possible and you'd have to do it manually. Note that if you're not sure how to flash your BIOS it's better to turn to a professional technician, as this process might render the motherboard unusable if the update doesn't finish or gets interrupted. In case you want to do it on your own, you can find plenty of step-by-step guides online and to be honest, it only takes a few minutes to do. So you might consider this as an option, since none of the other troubleshooting steps have resolved the issue so far.


You might also want to reach out to the computer/ motherboard manufacturer and ask if there are any known issues with sounds on this configuration before all of this.


I know that this solution might seem a bit over the top, but you've already tried changing all possible settings on the Spotify app and Windows.


Keep us posted on how you get on.




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So turns out there is a new BIOS update for my motherboard that "Adds support for Windows 11" (I was on the one previous to this). I don't want to speak too soon but after updating to it I haven't had any stutters and it's looking like a couple of other issues unrelated (or maybe tangentially related) have also been fixed...


So... if so - thank you Alex! I'll report back if things go awry but after about an hour everything seems good.

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