Distorted sound on Macbook (SL)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by maclook, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. maclook macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    Lately my Macbook's sound has become distorted while playing videos or watching flash videos/streams. This doesn't happen all the time, it seems to happen most when my computer is overloaded (which happens a lot due to the Safari Flash plug in). The distorted sound is not just in the video, but the entire computer is effected (any sound including iTunes music/volume control sounds/etc). I found a way to fix it, which is to plug in a pair of headphones into the audio out port (which then plays sound normally through the headphones) and then when i unplug it the sound is all fixed when playing from the speakers.

    I want to prevent this from happening again though because it's annoying enough when Flash video starts chugging in Safari. Whenever it f*cks up the sound I get even more pissed that I have to go grab a pair of headphones to fix the problem. This happened like 5 times today so any help would be great. I have SL, if that matters since I never had this issue when Leopard was installed.
  2. KayoCasari macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2009
    I also have this problem! It's only started happening in the last few weeks. I never had this problem before I upgraded to Snow Leopard. My computer has even crashed more than once because of this. All of my causes and symptoms are the same, except that my cursor freezes during the initial distortion, before the sound becomes completely garbled. Connecting and disconnecting headphones will fix the garbled sound, but the jerkiness will still persist.

    If it helps anything, I have an old style (silver) 17" Macbook Pro running 10.6.1. I'm using Spaces and I often have Opera, iTunes, Safari, Adium, Yahoo! Widgets, Wine, SMC Fan Control, Google Notifier, and SMARTReporter running at the same time. I have a second monitor and an external hard drive attached. The problem happens most frequently when I'm streaming Flash video (YouTube or MEGAVIDEO) and using a processor hog (Flash CS4 or a graphic-intensive game). However, in rare cases it will happen even when the video is paused and loaded.

    If anyone knows how to fix this, please help! I'm a multitasker and this is getting increasingly difficult to manage. Thank you.
  3. kevin.dickerson macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2010
    Me too. I do the exact same thing. It happens with Flash, high CPU. Now it's happening when I have tons of Chrome tabs and put on a song on iTunes. I have a 13" MacBook. It is so frustrating. I have no idea how to fix it, but I am certain it has to do with Snow Leopard. I keep expecting it to go away with every major software update. I'm at 10.6.2.

    Does anyone have any ideas about how to fix it?
  4. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    I have thew same sound distortions on my Aluminum macbook. I took it in to an authorized apple repair shop for an applecare fix..
    They said they couldn't replicate the problem so they didnt fix it.:rolleyes:
  5. theinfamoustim macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2008
    I wanted to add to this thread. I have the same problem. I thought it would be important to let everyone know I've been dealing with this issue since Tiger. The issue carried on through Leopard and now Snow Leopard. I never knew about the headphone trick, so at least now I won't have to reboot quite as much, which is nice.
  6. AlmightyMe macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010
    ME too..

    tossing my hat in the ring of defectiveness. I have a 2009 Macbook Pro 13" and am experiencing the same issue in Windows 7 but ONLY in Google Chrome. When I have an site that gets distorted (sounds like the speakers are shot....but definitely aren't) I instantly open it in Internet Explorer (hate it) it runs fine. Now I've already tried reinstalling the audio drivers (boot camp 3.1) multiple times to no avail, so I know it's not a bad install. This problem only occurs in Chrome (I'm sure it would happen in Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc, as they use the same install of flash player).

    I just wanted you all to know it's a greater issue than just a Mac OS X or Windows thing. I think it's gonna come down to the audio hardware (maybe drivers?) not liking the non ActiveX Flash Player or vise versa. I really don't want to go back to using IE, but will have to play the cut and paste the url game until something gets resolved.
  7. AlmightyMe macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010
    ummmm, I think I may have fixed it. I'll play with it for a while and post back. But try this. Uninstall your flash plugin and try the latest Flash Beta, version 10.1 from Adobe Labs here:


    They have downloads for all os's. I had two sites in particular that would cause it, YouTube and Netflix (during the previews) and they both work fine now. Like I said, I'll play with it for a while and report back. Hopefully any of you will do the same.


    UPDATE: Definitely didn't work. After coming back to the computer I noticed that my sound was messed up again. Hope I didn't get anyone's hopes up.
  8. AlmightyMe macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2010

    After more research, I found someone at the Adobe forums with a similar problem. I added my info to this post and am linking you all to a thread with possibly more info. Feel free to join the conversation if you have any other info.

  9. Stang macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2007
    Northern Suburbs, Chicago, IL
    I have this same problem. I'm glad that other people are having a similar problem. So it's FLASH's problem? Interesting...especially now during this little quarrel with Apple and Adobe.

    Anyway, I installed 10.1 so we'll see how things go. Thanks everyone.
  10. sunkentheory macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2007
  11. sawmaster macrumors regular

    I don't think this is related to Flash. Sometimes when my macbook overheats, the sound will be come distorted as described above. My macbook's fan is broken so it tends to get hot quite easily. When the macbook freezes for a second and the sound skips, it usually is caused by your system getting too hot. This happens all the time with my macbook, and about 20% of the time the sound gets distorted. I got a video of the sound skipping if anybody wants to hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrSs9KOzqRM

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