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Having problems with sound….

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Scenario : You try playing a music or a video file, but you experience breaks in the sound intermittently and thats bumming you out. Also while playing your music player or video player hangs suddenly.

Solution : This was an issue, i had recently encountered. It seriously bummed me out. Normally i use Winamp for my music files and VLC for my video files, but all of a sudden both started acting weird, my music files would not play properly…playing in bits and pieces or not playing at all and in between it would decide to just hang itself and i would be forced to kill the process and restart again. Same went for VLC, it would require me to stop and start atleast thrice before i could get it to play properly and then again if i decided to pause it, i would be made sorry….and it was just pissing me off….cos because of my work and other commitments, i did not get much time to investigate the error and the time i was home, i could not do any TP on my PC bcos of the problem.

So one fine day, i decided to investigate the issue and get to its root. Here’s how i went about it….

I first removed my external speakers and tried to play any music file in Winamp and any video file in VLC….to see if it was my speakers fault….still the same. I then reconnected my speakers and also plugged my headphones to my PC and played those files again….they played fine in both. This confirmed that it was not an error with my sound card and also that i was not  infected by any malware. Now i removed my headphones and the errors returned back….so i could isolate the cause to the point that my headphones jack might not be functioning properly or that somehow my playback devices in Win7 had gotten set as headphones…perhaps. So i went to playback devices and checked and at that time i noticed a very strange thing….that the headphones property under playback devices was toggling on and off and replacing speakers which was resulting in the whole issue.

Thats when everything fell into place. You see, my PC casing is of that kind where you have USB ports and Headphone and Mic jacks in the front. Very recently i had opened my PC casing to replace my burnt out SMPS, during which that front panel headphone jack connectors broke internally….it would just connect and disconnect causing the playback devices API to believe that Headphones were being connected or disconnected rapidly. It is a default property in Windows(i think) that headphones have been set as default playback device. So whenever the API felt that headphones were connected, it would just route the audio to the headphone and hence the break in the sound. Also sometimes the false connection and disconnection would happen so rapidly that the API would try to rapidly route the audio to the headphones on false connection and back to speakers on disconnection causing the players to hang…or atleast thats my understanding of it.

So how did i solve it ??

First of all i went to playback devices control panel (Right-Click on  the volume icon in System tray and select playback devices) and set speakers as default device. Next, i disabled headphones(right-click on headphones and click on disable). Thats it…..That solved my problem.


so next time you face such a problem, be sure to check through the windows Sound API, it might be something as stupid as this.

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