Intermittent dropouts recording onboard audio on Linux

I am noticing intermittent dropouts when recording audio playing on my computer in Audacity 2.3.1, on Linux Mint 18.3. I originally installed it from the package repository. For hardware, I have an Intel i5-2450M CPU (2.5GhZ), 6 GB of RAM, and 70GB of space on the partition containing Audacity’s temporary folder. I started noticing the dropouts after I upgraded my OS from an older version of Linux Mint and replaced the HDD in my computer. The issue doesn’t happen totally consistently; there seem to be times when dropouts happen frequently and other times when they don’t happen at all, which makes me suspect some background process may be competing for resources with Audacity. I’ve been following these tips to alleviate the dropouts, including recording while minimized, increasing the buffer length to 500 ms, and setting the nice priority to 0 (though I think that might be the default), none of which have helped so far. Lots of the tips seem specific to Windows; for example, does Linux Mint even come with an antivirus scanner? How can I track down what could be causing these dropouts?

Not in the default installation. The most widely used anti-virus for Linux is ClamAV, which is usually used as an “on demand” scanner rather than running in the background.

You could open a task / process monitor application (such as “Task Manager”, or whatever is available for Mint) to see which apps / processes are using disk a/ CPU resources.

Note that if your computer is critically short of RAM (memory), then performance will slow down dramatically. You need to have enough free RAM to avoid using the swap partition.

I am seeing dropouts occurring with less than 50% memory and 25% CPU utilization.

How many processor cores does your computer have?
What’s using 25% CPU?

My CPU has 4 cores. Audacity is taking about 12% and the system monitor itself is averaging 8-12%. (it seems to report in multiples of 4%)

That all sounds fine.
What are you recording, and what audio device / sound card are you using?

My audio device is whatever came built-in with my Intel chipset. Using hardinfo, I see I have an “Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)”. I’m recording streaming internet radio to listen to later (it’s blocked at my work).

How are you doing that? With PulseAudio Volume Control “Monitor” input (

Do you listen to the recording while it is being recorded? If so, do you hear the intermittent drop outs during the recording?

Have you checked to see if the radio is available as a downloadable podcast (MP3)? Many radio shows are.