Playback noise when video playing in background

Hi! new to to the forms but I’ve been using audacity for a while now. I just recently got a macbook pro retina and just installed audacity today. I’m recording guitar through a Yamaha THR5.

As a habit I like to watch videos on youtube and etc. as I record and edit on audacity, and I noticed that the playback audio was making crackling and popping noises, but ONLY when a video is being played. Even if the video audio is muted, if the video is playing, the playback in audacity crackles and pops. It seems to be completely fine through earphones, but if the audio is played back through the laptop speakers or the Yamaha THR5 itself I get this issue.

I never had this issue with my previous HP laptop. I’m new to macbooks so I’m wondering if this is normal?

Anyone have a guess as to what’s going on?

The crackling and popping occurs due to the computer struggling to keep up with the audio data. I don’t use a Mac. but perhaps the retina display requires more processing power for video playback than a normal display??? It is recommended to avoid doing anything on the computer that is CPU intensive or disk intensive. USB interfaces tend to be particularly sensitive to high CPU load.

Could you please tell us what software you use to play the video? E.g. Safari, Quicktime Player, VLC…

Next, check in System preferences if you still have stuff like Perian or Flip4Mac installed. Sometimes, these can be a little hairy and in general you don’t really need these anymore.

And lastly, is your Yosemite updated?


Alternatively, download EtreCheck from

and run it. There’s nothing to install. It produces a report of you system and software that you can post here. With that report, we can usually find the culprit.

I’m running chrome for the videos. The system is os x 10.10.3 yosemite. The laptop is literally two weeks old and I have nothing installed except for audacity and drivers for the Yamaha THR and a printer.

I’ve just tried garageband and there seems to be no issue, just audacity.

My 4 yr old hp didn’t have this issue. the latest macbook pro can’t really be struggling with audio data could it?

I’ll try the etrereport later today. Thanks

I’ve seen a weird issue in a few posts in the Mac part of this forum where similar problems occur and the solution has been to adjust the audio buffer settings…

Here’s a quote from one of them:

you should look at - “Audio to buffer” in Audacity’s Recording Preferences. On many modern Macs running recent Audacity versions, the Audio to buffer needs to be set down to a much lower value than the default 100 ms in order to avoid clicky playback. You may find that setting the buffer lower will avoid the need to go down to 16-bit in Audacity.

See here for how to change it: Audacity Manual

If your Mac is new and you didn’t migrate software from another Mac, there is not much use in an etrecheck report, I’m afraid.

Better follow Steve’s suggestion about buffers…

here’s the report just in case

EtreCheck version: 2.2 (132)
Report generated 6/23/15, 2:17 PM
Download EtreCheck from

Click the [Click for support] links for help with non-Apple products.
Click the [Click for details] links for more information about that line.

Hardware Information: ℹ️
    MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) (Verified)
    MacBook Pro - model: MacBookPro12,1
    1 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 CPU: 2-core
    8 GB RAM Not upgradeable
        BANK 0/DIMM0
            4 GB DDR3 1867 MHz ok
        BANK 1/DIMM0
            4 GB DDR3 1867 MHz ok
    Bluetooth: Good - Handoff/Airdrop2 supported
    Wireless:  en0: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    Battery: Health = Normal - Cycle count = 6 - SN = C01509511JKFY5J67

Video Information: ℹ️
    Intel Iris Graphics 6100
        Color LCD 2560 x 1600

System Software: ℹ️
    OS X 10.10.3 (14D136) - Time since boot: 4:17:42

Disk Information: ℹ️
    APPLE SSD SM0256G disk0 : (251 GB)
        EFI (disk0s1) <not mounted> : 210 MB 
        Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted>  [Recovery]: 650 MB 
        Macintosh HD (disk1) / : 249.78 GB (217.57 GB free)
            Encrypted AES-XTS Unlocked
            Core Storage: disk0s2 250.14 GB Online

USB Information: ℹ️
    Apple Internal Memory Card Reader 
    Broadcom Corp. Bluetooth USB Host Controller 

Thunderbolt Information: ℹ️
    Apple Inc. thunderbolt_bus

Gatekeeper: ℹ️
    Mac App Store and identified developers

Kernel Extensions: ℹ️
    [not loaded] (1.9.02 - SDK 10.6) [Click for support]

Launch Daemons: ℹ️
    [loaded] [Click for support]

User Launch Agents: ℹ️
    [loaded] [Click for support]

User Login Items: ℹ️
    iTunesHelper    Application  (/Applications/

Internet Plug-ins: ℹ️
    Default Browser: Version: 600 - SDK 10.10
    QuickTime Plugin: Version: 7.7.3

3rd Party Preference Panes: ℹ️
    Yamaha Steinberg USB  [Click for support]

Time Machine: ℹ️
    Time Machine not configured!

Top Processes by CPU: ℹ️
        35%    Google Chrome Helper(9)
         9%    WindowServer
         5%    Google Chrome
         3%    fontd
         3%    coreaudiod

Top Processes by Memory: ℹ️
    1.74 GB    Google Chrome Helper(9)
    605 MB    kernel_task
    254 MB    Google Chrome
    106 MB    Dock
    106 MB    mdworker(5)

Virtual Memory Information: ℹ️
    2.30 GB    Free RAM 
    5.70 GB    Used RAM 
    0 B    Swap Used 

Diagnostics Information: ℹ️
    Jun 23, 2015, 09:59:14 AM    Self test - passed

I actually had the audio to buffer lowered to 0 even before I noticed the issue. I’m kinda bummed cause I really prefer audacity over garageband.

kinda off topic but why does the etrecheck say 4 GB DDR3 1867 MHz? the laptop should have 8 gb of ram.

etrecheck say 4 GB DDR3 1867 MHz?

What does it say under Apple (desktop upper left) > About This Mac?


Looks like it says 8 GB 1867 MHz DDR3, so I guess etrecheck is referring to something else

Well, I was wrong. The report shows…

Macintosh HD (disk1) / : 249.78 GB (217.57 GB free)
Encrypted AES-XTS Unlocked


You're running on an encrypted startup partition. I don't think that it is compatible with audio at all (like Apple's Fusion disk). We've never been able to make that reliable work with recording (and sometimes even playing) audio.

Did you install this Mac yourself?

A solution is to make a partition for sensitive data and encrypt only that partition.

You also seem to have an old Yamaha driver:

> ```text
Kernel Extensions: 
    [not loaded] (1.9.02 - SDK 10.6)

but it’s not loaded, so it can’t cause any mayhem. The accompanying control panel is loaded tho. You should remove or update…

And Google’s Chrome is eating a lot of CPU. Maybe that one needs an update too, especially if you run it while doing audio. It might even be necessary to turn off Keystone agent (Chrome updater). It might be having a memory leak, especially on newer Macs. Keystone agent even runs when Chrome isn’t launched. See:

BTW, it also shows: 8 GB RAM Not upgradeable, in two banks of 4…