Downgraded back to 2.0.3, because playback on 2.0.5 crackles

So, I tried to upgrade to Audacity 2.0.5, got massive amounts of crackling on the playback. Removed it and downgraded back to 2.0.3, everything works just fine. No crackling in the playback. Using OSX 10.6.8 on a mid 2010 MacBook Pro, 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8GB 1067MHz DDR3 ram with M-Audio Profire 610 interface.

We hear this complaint quite a lot on Mac but can’t reproduce it - perhaps because as far as I know we don’t have Macbook Pro.

Are you playing multiple tracks or one track? If multiple tracks, have you turned them down with the -…+ gain sliders so the combined volume doesn’t distort?

There is a reasonable chance you can fix the problem if you choose Audacity > Preferences in 2.0.5 and adjust the “Audio to Buffer”. You may also need to adjust the buffer in M-Audio (if it is adjustable). We can’t say which way to adjust it, but perversely, reducing the buffer length might help - depending what the problem is.

Also, is the project you have in 2.0.3 at the same project rate as the one in 2.0.5?


For what it’s worth, I had the identical experience and got resolution in the same way: Reverting back to 2.0.3.

I’m NOT a highly technical user, and I don’t need crystal clear sound for what I’m doing. I’m using a Mac OS X 10.7.5. (I import mp3’s of four-part barbershop harmony–and I record my voice to make sure I’m “on track” with the notes I’ve learned; making sure I match the model in the “learning track.”) Other similar threads on this forum have described the problem as “crackling” and “stuttering.” My experience is decidedly crackling; not stuttering.

I had downloaded the (dmg?) file for my 2.0.5 install–as I had done with 2.0.3. But playback produced the dreaded crackling. When I replayed my 2.0.5 recordings in 2.0.3 (after reverting back to 2.0.3), the crackling was still there, so I deleted my recorded track and re-recorded it in 2.0.3, with no problem.

In another thread, I saw that a user with a similar experience resolved the problem by reverting to 2.0.3, then installing 2.0.4, then installing 2.0.5 again. Maybe the progression is important. I don’t have easy access to 2.0.4 (and I had never installed that version); otherwise I’d try it. But, frankly, 2.0.3 is all that I need for my very simplistic projects.

The most sane explanation for that would be that there was a problem with the recording in 2.0.5.

If so, and you describe it as crackle rather than stutter, you should be able to zoom in to see the sample dots and should see spikes where the crackles are. Have you looked for those?

I don’t recall that thread on this Forum. Can you point me to it?

Installing Audacity on Mac cannot change the Audacity preferences, so there is no obvious settings reason why changing from one version to another would make any difference. 2.0.4 and 2.0.5 as I understand it are both potentially subject to the crackling/stutter playback issue.

Also, no Audacity 2.0.x versions should be changing system or device audio settings except for volume.

What playback and recording devices are you using?

It is possible that 2.0.4 and 2.0.5 don’t initialise audio correctly on some Mac systems when they are the first program to use audio in that boot session. This may or may not be an explanation, but you could boot and then try 2.0.5 followed by 2.0.3 to test that. On Mavericks 10.9.0 and 10.9.1
this can mean that Audacity only produces a starting click when it is the first app to play audio.

I think 2.0.4 and 2.0.5 would have the same effect, but here is 2.0.4: .

Did you open the Audacity Recording Preferences in 2.0.5 and adjust audio to buffer?


Thanks, Gale. (You’re much more responsive than I.) Reminder about my disclaimer that I’m not tech savvy.

  1. You asked if I zoomed in to look at the wave pattern. I did not know that was an option, so no. I have since deleted my crackling 2.0.5 recordings–as I didn’t have a use for them.

  2. You asked what my playback and recording devices are. I’m merely using my (several years old) MacBook Pro 17-inch 2.4 GHZ.

  3. You asked if I adjusted my Audacity Recording Preferences in 2.0.5 and adjusted audio to buffer. The answer is no. The ONLY adjustment I’ve ever made was changing Latency to 0 when I originally downloaded 2.0.3. I have not since had to make any other adjustments.

  4. You asked me to direct you to a thread where another user apparently reported success after progressing through 2.0.4 then 2.0.5 in sequence. Not sure how best to do that, but I’ll try. The thread was called “Crackling audio playback - multiple formats and volume I.” The post in question was by sdev108 from Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 3:06pm.

Do you have any external sound cards connected such as USB or Firewire Sound interfaces? It might be an idea if you choose Help > Audio Device Info… in Audacity, drag-select from the top of the list to the bottom, COMMAND + C to copy then COMMAND + V to paste in here.

What is the make and model number of the microphone you are using and where do you physically connect that microphone?

You can install both 2.0.3 and 2.0.5 as long as you don’t use both at the same time. In 2.0.5, you could see if adjusting audio to buffer helped with the recording problem.

Thanks for that. I’ve no rational explanation for that other than the one I already proposed. Again, all I can suggest is that you try running 2.0.4 and/or 2.0.5 after running 2.0.3, given you can have multiple versions of Audacity installed. Note that you must use Audacity > Quit Audacity to quit that version. File > Close does not quit.

If you hear problems in any version of Audacity, try soloing the tracks (look to left of the blue waves) to identify which tracks are the problem. Listen if the crackles are in exactly the same place each time - if not, it is a playback problem. Zoom in to see if the blue waves show spikes or jumps in what should be a smooth progression of dots.


Do I have external sound cards? No. I’m using my Mac’s internal/built-in mic (which is sufficient for my needs).

What’s the make/model of my mic? Not applicable, see above.

I DO appreciate your diligence, Gale, but I will just be sticking with 2.0.3 for the foreseeable future. The additional effort for me to try to troubleshoot 2.0.5 is not worthwhile for me–since I get what I need out of 2.0.3.

Best regards.