[pulseaudio-discuss] How to debug intermittent audio skips?

Tanu Kaskinen tanu.kaskinen at digia.com
Thu May 3 22:44:53 PDT 2012

On Thu, 2012-05-03 at 22:32 -0700, Charles Lindsay wrote:
> Hey guys, I was hoping I could get some help debugging a problem I'm
> having with PulseAudio.
> If I'm playing music via any source (Exaile, Totem, Flash in Firefox
> or Chromium, VLC, etc.) every few minutes the audio will skip once or
> twice.  top doesn't show any process eating CPU any more when it
> happens.  dmesg doesn't show anything.  Nothing else seems to be
> affected.  It doesn't seem to happen regularly.
> I just installed Ubuntu 12.04 from scratch (with pulseaudio
> 1:1.1-0ubuntu15), but the same thing happened in 10.04 on the same
> hardware.  Uninstalling the PulseAudio packages and going back to ALSA
> gives me no issues whatsoever, which is how I know the issue is with
> PulseAudio.  I'm using my onboard audio device:
> $ lspci | grep Audio
> 00:14.2 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI SBx00
> Azalia (Intel HDA)
> Any clues what's going on?  Is there any PulseAudio log I can look at?
> Is there any way to debug the issue at all?  Should I just file a bug?
> I'd like to use PulseAudio since it's so integrated into Ubuntu these
> days, but it's annoying enough that if the issue continues I can't.
> Thanks!

I'd start from checking if there's anything printed to Pulseaudio log
when the skips happen. Open a terminal, then enter these commands: 

echo autospawn = no >> ~/.pulse/client.conf
killall pulseaudio
LANG=C pulseaudio -vvvv --log-time

Then start playing something. Then press enter in the pulseaudio
terminal window a couple of times to get some emtpy lines in the log.
Then wait for the problem to happen. When it happens, check the terminal
window - what has been printed to the log after the empty lines? If you
can reproduce this by doing absolutely nothing, then you can stare at
the terminal window all the time to make sure that whatever is printed
to the log, it is actually printed at the same time when the skips


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