Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

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Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

muse_surfer
Music Fan

Just another premium spotify user with this same issue.  I have been dealing with it for months thinking it was a problem with my computer, only to realize today that it is happening only through spotify.  I've tried the following fixes to no avail:

 

1.  Turned off "gapless playback", "set the same volume level for all tracks", and "enable hardware acceleration"

2.  "High-quality streaming" is set to "on"

3.  Under Microsoft security essentials I excluded the spotify file, along with all other spotify processes.

 

It is possible that I did not correctly excluded the files/processes from Microsoft security essentials, but I can see no other way to go about it.  Is it possible that my Windows firewall is causing the problem?

 

Where is spotify support on this issue?    They seem to be ignoring the problem.

 

Thanks.

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

muse_surfer
Music Fan

Solution!!!  It seems I finally found a fix to the random crackling distortion issue.  Unfortunately, my solution may not be the solution for everyone, but hopefully it will provide some insight.  After excluding all spotify files and processes from Microsoft Essentials, the issue seemed to get better but still persisted, so I thought maybe my Windows firewall was causing a problem.  In the "advanced firewall settings", under "inbound rules", I set all spotify processes to disabled.  I heard no sound disturbances for some time and thought I had fixed the problem, but I was wrong.  Once again I heard the crackling/distortion.

 

Frustrated, I sought the advice of a computer geek.  Together we began to observe what programs were also running alongside spotify which might be causing the problem.  Under task manager, I noticed my Carbonite backup system was constantly running.  I froze the backup, and all crackling, stuttering, distortion disappeared!  Hallelujah!  Not wanting to completely freeze Carbonite, I tried to exclude all spotify files and processes from the backup.  Unfortunately, Carbonite continued to cause the sound distortion.  Maybe I'm not finding all the files, or maybe spotify and Carbonite just don't get along.  Right now I have Carbonite set to run once a day, when I'm not listening to music.

 

It's possible that Microsoft essentials, the Windows firewall, and Carbonite were all contributing to the problem, but it looks like Carbonite was the main culprit.  Since spotify is constantly downloading files, it looks like any other programs which want to interact with these files, such as Carbonite trying to back them up or antivirus software looking for bugs, may cause the sound disturbances.  Hope this helps out some folks.  I will update this post in a few days, to verify that the issue is completely gone.

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

bonhomme
Casual Listener

Hi there

 

I have the same problem as described in this post, using Win 7 and the premium client. Following the advice in this post, I have added spotify to the virus scanner's (AVG) exclusion list, and also excluded the folder from Crashplan (backup program which I guess is similar to Carbonite, constantly scanning your files and uploading changes to the backup destination). 

 

The stuttering seems to have improved but not disappeared completely. What was interesting is when I opened Crashplan to change the settings (putting a bit more load on the Crashplan process) the currently playing song locked up for almost ten seconds, until the Crashplan UI had fully opened. I guess the Spotify software is designed in such a way that it is dependent on a constant speed of IO with no delay, and anything that gets in the way of this (such as backup or anti-virus software which locks files for brief periods of time causing delays regardless of the underlying IO speed) gives it some problems. If there were any kind of options to control how much Spotify buffers into memory I guess we would be able to try increasing that and seeing if it helps, but I guess these kind of options are considered too advanced for modern day youth ;) (Increasing the memory buffer is how all the kids fixed the mp3 stuttering problems using WinAmp on their computers in 1997, maybe these days it's a lost art?). 

 

I have an SSD so really wouldn't expect IO performance to have been an issue. If someone is using a spinning disk style hard drive, try doing something extreme like doing a manual virus scan of Spotify's data folder while it's playing to see if that makes the problem a whole lot worse while it's going. If that happens, I think that's probably the cause. If not, then I'm wrong and it's something else ... 

 

EDIT: I paused Crashplan for an extended period and for a while it seemed to get better but not gone completely. SeemsI can also trigger it doing things that temporarily increase the load on my router (e.g. go to the config page and make it load up all the firewall rules to display) ... if I do this the songs freeze for seconds at a time. However, if I use the spotify client on my android phone through a wifi connection via the same router, the playback is flawless while doing all the same things with the router config.

 

(NB I wasn't doing anything bandwidth intensive, only clicking around settings pages on the router config screen)

 

I also use spotify on my android phone and the quality there is perfect both streaming and playing offline tracks.

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

spotds
Newbie

I'm on Windows XP and I have similar crackling.  I have a premium subscription and I've always had the crackling on windows.  I don't have the problem with Pandora or other audio streamed from the internet.  I have no problems on Android and Onkyo receiver.  It would be great if Spotify could provide a solution to this.  I really like their service, except for the sound quality is really bad on a Windows machine (at least my Windows machine).

 

 

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

chrislounsbury
Music Fan

Haven't posted in a while because I had just given up using Spotify on my work laptop, instead just kept my iPhone plugged in and used that.  

 

So I got a new work laptop:

 

Dell Latitude E6430s

Intel Core i7-3540M CPU @ 3.00GHz

8.00 GB RAM

256GB Samsung SSD

Windows 7 64-bit

 

First thing I did was to install Spotify and see if my issue persists, but it does not.  This laptop/Windows 7 combination does not present an issue, at least not that I've found.  I've got about 24 hours of listening time in on this machine and the audio is crystal clear.  This machine is also running a pretty hardcore anti-virus suite plus software firewall, without issues.

 

I'm beginning to think this is a CODEC issue on certain Windows installs.  At any rate, my issue has been resolved by virtue of swapping machines.  If it re-appears you can bet I'll be back!

 

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

smattie
Newbie

I have been encountering this problem for a long time as well. I tried every option in Spotify to prevent it. I started to recognize a pattern: it occurs mostly on my PC when I'm away from my pc and the system is running idle. No sleep mode or anything. Spotify uses only 1% CPU and around 80mb RAM. 

 

I tried to record what I mean by stuttering using http://recordwhatyouhear.com/. Now comes the weird part. I captured a few seconds of stuttering, but when playing the recorded sound, it was gone. So I guess this is all soundcard related and not so much Spotify related.

 

Using:

Intel Q6600 @ 2.4GHz x64

4GB MB RAM

Windows 8 Pro (official)

Soundcard: Creative 5.1 Soundblaster, don't know the exact type (kinda old)

 

 

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

bonhomme
Casual Listener

I've been able to solve the issues on my computer, but unfortunately I didn't do single operations and test each time, so now I'm not sure exactly what I did to fix it.

 

What I did was disable my sound card and all sound-related related devices in device manager, reboot, enable them again, reboot. I did the same for the wired NIC (since network activity via that card was causing spikes in the crackling as per my post above). 

 

Since then the problem hasn't recurred, and it's been a few weeks. So I suspect it was some kind of IRQ conflict on the NIC and sound card (Windows automatically assigns this stuff and since there are more devices than available IRQ channels on any modern machine I guess it sometimes overloads one channel causing a conflict? I don't really know). Maybe, if that theory is right, disabling and re-enabling those devices caused Windows to reassign the IRQs again and they ended up on different channels. 

 

If it were IRQ related that would also explain why recording with the program mentioned by smattie wouldn't pick it up, since the interference would be happening after the point where it picks up the recording, on the way from the kernel sound drivers to the sound card. 

 

Anyway I'd be curious if anyone with the problem can replicate my fix... and then assuming it does work and wasn't random fluke, if someone with more knowledge of how this stuff works than me can explain it ;) If it is the conclusive reason, then the folks at Spotify might be able to set up that situation on a test machine to reproduce the issue (since they would actually know what situation they need to set up) and then work out a fix.

 

 

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

Bodlar
Regular

I've perpetually had issues with Spotify stuttering during playback, and it seemed completely sporadic.  I tried all of the solutions in the forums I could find to no avail.  Finally I did some deeper digging into the resource monitor and the Spotify Cache process was hammering my C drive.  My drive que was through the roof and when it spiked it corelated with my sound glitching.  I changed my cache folder to my D drive, which is a separate physical disk, and this solved the problem completely.  Obviously this solution only helps if you have a second hard drive, but it might help you if you do.

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

orange
Newbie

 

@Bodlar wrote:

I've perpetually had issues with Spotify stuttering during playback, and it seemed completely sporadic.  I tried all of the solutions in the forums I could find to no avail.  Finally I did some deeper digging into the resource monitor and the Spotify Cache process was hammering my C drive.  My drive que was through the roof and when it spiked it corelated with my sound glitching.  I changed my cache folder to my D drive, which is a separate physical disk, and this solved the problem completely.  Obviously this solution only helps if you have a second hard drive, but it might help you if you do.


 

I had the same exact problem when I upgraded to premium, sound crackled with a steady rythm and the volume was muffled. 
I use a macbook pro and my solution was just to shut down all other heavy programs like blender and indesign... and the sound quality improved instantly. So this might really easy to solve. I think it all comes down to the number of programs running beside spotify so the best solution would be to get a second hard drive if you need to use heavy programs and want to listen to spotify at the same time. 

 

Re: Premium - Crackling, Stuttering

wildhighlander
Newbie

Happening on my MBA as well. Very persistent. 

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