Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Questions about codecs, DVD playback, web plugins...
Forum rules
Before you post please read how to get help
somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:50 pm

I am using Linux Mint 18 Mate, 64-bit version. When I first installed it on my system about a year ago, I had some stuttering problems with sound. The problems eventually went away, and I was happy for months, but recently, the stuttering has returned. I suspect that it's some kind of package update, but I can't be sure. Google is almost completely useless regarding how to start troubleshooting a sound problem like mine; sound works, but every few minutes or so, there is about a half second of stuttering, then the sound resumes playing normally.

Where do I begin?

User avatar
catweazel
Level 16
Level 16
Posts: 6212
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:44 pm
Location: Australian Antarctic Territory

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by catweazel » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:13 am

somelurker wrote:Where do I begin?
Please post the output of this terminal command:

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz
Enclose the results in code markers, which you can select from the mini toolbar above the textbox where you type your reply.

You might also install htop: sudo apt install htop

Run it from the command line and watch it to see if any application hogs resources while watching a video.
Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile - Albert Einstein

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:42 am

I ran htop, but I'm not sure what I should be looking for. When playing a YouTube video (one of the things that stutters), under the CPU column, the highest percentage usage is 2%, and it's htop itself.

As for the inxi -Fxz command, here's everything down to the audio:

Code: Select all

System:    Host: 123PC Kernel: 4.4.0-21-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.3.1)
           Desktop: MATE 1.14.1 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3)
           Distro: Linux Mint 18 Sarah
Machine:   Mobo: HP model: 2B4B v: 1.04 Bios: AMI v: A0.08 date: 11/12/2015
CPU:       Quad core Intel Core i7-6700 (-HT-MCP-) cache: 8192 KB
           flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 27266
           clock speeds: max: 4000 MHz 1: 899 MHz 2: 899 MHz 3: 899 MHz
           4: 899 MHz 5: 899 MHz 6: 899 MHz 7: 899 MHz 8: 899 MHz
Graphics:  Card-1: Intel Sky Lake Integrated Graphics bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Card-2: NVIDIA GM204 [GeForce GTX 970] bus-ID: 01:00.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.3 drivers: (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) FAILED: intel,nouveau
           Resolution: 1920x1080@60.00hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 3.8, 256 bits)
           GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 11.2.0 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card-1 NVIDIA GM204 High Definition Audio Controller
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 01:00.1
           Card-2 Intel Sunrise Point-H HD Audio
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1f.3
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.4.0-21-generic

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:23 am

Anyone? Mint is basically perfect for my needs, aside from this very annoying problem. I just wanted to reiterate that there was a period of months during which this problem had disappeared. It only came back within the past 2 months or so. Was there a recent update to some package that could have caused this? I know I didn't make any changes to the hardware on my end.

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:42 am

Upgrade your kernel:

- Update Manager - panel: View - Linux kernels

- Install the latest kernel from the 4.4 series.

- Reboot.

When no avail, try the latest kernel from the 4.13 series.
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:17 am

Before I proceed, what is the best way to do kernel upgrades? I am using Ukuu right now. It lists numerous kernel versions that my Update Manager doesn't.

Also, I see version 4.14 listed also, and it's not marked one of the unstable versions. Should I try that instead of 4.13? If there was a specific reason you recommended 4.13, just let me know and I will go with it.

Thanks!

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:23 am

Do not, repeat not, use ukuu. Only install officially supported kernels in the official way, like I described.
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:58 pm

Thanks for the help! I have great news, and not so great news. The great news is that the kernel was indeed the cause of my sound problems, as you suspected. The bad news is that I messed up, but hopefully not fatally. Allow me to explain.

I misread your first post (Pjotr) and missed the part about upgrading using the Update Manager. That was completely my fault. I was exhausted from a long day, frustrated at having the same sound problem for months with no solution, and uncertain of when you or someone else would reply next, so I applied my best interpretation of your post. I did see the words Update Manager, but missed the part about going into View > Linux kernels, so I just installed everything visible in the main window (which also contains non-kernel updates) and assumed that was what you meant.

After I had already installed the latest updates in the main window (not using the View > Linux kernels), I assumed I had updated to the latest 4.4 series as you recommended. I rebooted, and still had stuttering, so I looked at your next line, which said to install the latest kernel from the 4.13 series. Having missed the line about doing it from update manager, I figured there must be another way to upgrade the kernel outside update manager, so I went searching for such a way and found Ukuu.

Before I saw your 2nd reply, I tried version 4.14 of the kernel (installed from Ukuu), which fortunately fixed the sound problem. I was happy until I checked back, saw your latest post, and realized I had completely misread your instructions. I immediately installed the latest official version (4.13) from Update Manager, which also fixes my sound problem like unofficial 4.14, then rebooted into 4.13 and got rid of the version of 4.14 I had installed using Ukuu.

So basically, I didn't intentionally go against your instructions. I misread your first post, and being an inexperienced user, did the best I could by finding another way to upgrade the kernel when I thought I had exhausted what was in your first post. I figured 4.13 was probably the latest version when you checked, and 4.14 was just released. I didn't realize you recommended 4.13 because it was the latest official version. I only found out later by comparing to a clean installation of Mint that 4.14 was unofficial.

So far as I can tell, sound works perfectly in the latest official version of 4.13. My system boots perfectly too. 4.14 is uninstalled. But there's just one problem left. The version of 4.14 I installed unofficially using Ukuu is still listed in Update Manager even though I thought I uninstalled it. I used Ukuu to uninstall 4.14 because that's how I initially installed it, and even Update Manager shows an "install" button that's grayed out, which tells me Update Manager recognizes 4.14 is uninstalled. But the fact that 4.14 is still listed in my Update Manager under View > Linux kernels tells me my uninstallation was not perfect and left some traces.

How can I clean all traces of unofficial kernels from my system, and is there anything else I need to do to repair any damage I might have done?

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:03 am

I wouldn't worry about those remaining traces. If all works well now, there's probably no reason to assume that your system needs any fixing. :)
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:05 am

Well, it looks like I spoke too soon. 4.13.0-21 and 4.4.0-104 both reduce the frequency of the stuttering from 1-2 minutes each occurrence to about 5-10 minutes each occurrence, but don't completely fix it.

Unfortunately, the latest version of 4.14 (not officially supported) that I accidentally installed does seem to fix the problem completely; I tested it before removing it. Do I have any recourse other than to install an unsupported and potentially system-breaking version of the kernel?

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:02 am

somelurker wrote:Do I have any recourse other than to install an unsupported and potentially system-breaking version of the kernel?
I'm afraid not. That, and waiting for a hopefully redeeming update within the 4.13 series....
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:46 pm

Is it usually the kernel that causes these sound problems? I have Mint installed on a decade-old computer, and it has a similar problem with stuttering sound. The one I'm trying to fix now has a sound problem too. Why does Linux seem to have problems with sound regardless of age of hardware?

Like most people, I came from a Windows environment and took a major risk switching to Linux distro as my main os. The learning curve was steep, but I managed to find workarounds for most of the major problems. I still can't seem to do anything about sound though. In a way, I'm grateful it even works to be honest. This isn't a fatal problem, but it's quite annoying.

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:48 am

somelurker wrote:Is it usually the kernel that causes these sound problems? I have Mint installed on a decade-old computer, and it has a similar problem with stuttering sound. The one I'm trying to fix now has a sound problem too. Why does Linux seem to have problems with sound regardless of age of hardware?

Like most people, I came from a Windows environment and took a major risk switching to Linux distro as my main os. The learning curve was steep, but I managed to find workarounds for most of the major problems. I still can't seem to do anything about sound though. In a way, I'm grateful it even works to be honest. This isn't a fatal problem, but it's quite annoying.
*You* apparently have sound problems on *your* machines. I never had any at all, neither on new machines nor on old machines. So it's definitely not a very common problem in Linux. :mrgreen:

The drivers are in the kernel, so a kernel change might mean a (hopefully redeeming) driver change. On weak hardware, you might also try whether it helps when you reduce general system load: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/3
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

User avatar
thx-1138
Level 6
Level 6
Posts: 1043
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Athens, Greece

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by thx-1138 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:46 am

4.13.0-21 and 4.4.0-104 both reduce the frequency of the stuttering from 1-2 minutes each occurrence to about 5-10 minutes each occurrence, but don't completely fix it.
If the stuttering appears to happen semi-randomly every couple of minutes when on Youtube as you said above, then it might just be network bottleneck. Or your router possibly overheating etc etc...

Code: Select all

Display Server: X.Org 1.18.3 drivers: (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) FAILED: intel,nouveau
Check your graphics' drivers / stack & their configuration. You are on an i7-6700 & Mate. You shouldn't really be experiencing stuttering (i'm on i5-6200 & Mate as well). If video isn't decoded properly overall, there's a good chance the audio in the container exhibits 'hick-ups' every now & then.

Code: Select all

Machine:   Mobo: HP model: 2B4B v: 1.04 Bios: AMI v: A0.08 date: 11/12/2015
Chances are there is a newer BIOS for your machine, it certainly wouldn't hurt looking it up.

And as Pjotr said, don't use 'ukuu'. It's totally superfluous, Update Manager is all that someone needs...

User avatar
Marziano
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1822
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:00 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Marziano » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:58 pm

Pjotr wrote:Do not, repeat not, use ukuu. Only install officially supported kernels in the official way, like I described.
Hi, since I did use Ukuu quite recently to upgrade the kernel to the latest stable version which is 4.14.11, I just wondered what are the disadvantages of using such a tool? The process seemed quite smooth and after the reboot, everything worked fine.
regards,
Marte

@Pjotr

Hi,
I've recently upgraded to 18.3 from 18.1 and I thought I might as well upgrade the kernel to the latest version listed in the update manager which is 4.13.0-21. And everything worked out fine. Then I thought while I am at it maybe it's a good idea to upgrade to the latest stable version namely 4.14.11. I used Ukuu to do that and the process was smooth and after the reboot everything seemed to work fine. Then I read your posts here discouraging the use of Ukuu. I just wondered what are the disadvantages of using such a tool? And another question is that if all the kernels listed in the update manager will receive security patches and other relevant updates? Will 4.14.11 receive updates through the official channel too?
regards,
Marte

Moderator Note: I added the text from the disproved second post to this one
Last edited by WharfRat on Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added text from dissaproved post
I suppose that's one of the ironies of life, doing the wrong thing at the right moment -C.C.

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:29 pm

Marziano wrote:
Pjotr wrote:Do not, repeat not, use ukuu. Only install officially supported kernels in the official way, like I described.
Hi, since I did use Ukuu quite recently to upgrade the kernel to the latest stable version which is 4.14.11, I just wondered what are the disadvantages of using such a tool? The process seemed quite smooth and after the reboot, everything worked fine.
regards,
Marte
Only officially supported kernels have been tested and customized to work well in your Linux Mint version (or rather in its underlying Ubuntu code base), by the developers of the Canonical Kernel Team.
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

User avatar
Marziano
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1822
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:00 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Marziano » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:39 pm

Thanks Pjotr for your swift response.
So basically if I use any version listed in the update manager then I should be fine?
regards

PS. Actually I have rolled back to 4.13.0-21 after reading your post.
I suppose that's one of the ironies of life, doing the wrong thing at the right moment -C.C.

User avatar
Pjotr
Level 20
Level 20
Posts: 10625
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:18 am
Location: The Netherlands (Holland)
Contact:

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Pjotr » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:43 pm

Marziano wrote:Thanks Pjotr for your swift response.
So basically if I use any version listed in the update manager then I should be fine?
Yes.
PS. Actually I have rolled back to 4.13.0-21 after reading your post.
Well done. :)
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 19 Tara
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
Twitter: twitter.com/easylinuxtips
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

User avatar
Marziano
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1822
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:00 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by Marziano » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:03 pm

Thanks a lot!
I surely feel much more secure.
I suppose that's one of the ironies of life, doing the wrong thing at the right moment -C.C.

somelurker
Level 2
Level 2
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 pm

Re: Stuttering sound on Linux Mint 18 Sarah 64-bit (MATE)

Post by somelurker » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:31 pm

thx-1138, thanks for the analysis. The problem is really hard to diagnose because it's so infrequent. I decided to risk the loss of all data on this system to install the latest version of 4.14 of the kernel, just to be sure it would fix the problem. The stuttering actually still happens; probably with about the same frequency as the latest version of 4.13 (which is officially supported, so I'm going back to 4.13.

If the latest version of the kernel doesn't fix it, the problem might possibly be caused by something else. I'll need to look into the BIOS update, but the problem is unlikely to be network-related (including connection or router) because the amount of video loaded is far ahead of the current position, which indicates the bandwidth is more than adequate for the video in question. Also, if the problem was caused by my connection or router, I would expect the video to stop to buffer, but it doesn't do that; it just skips for about half a second, then goes back to normal.

Post Reply

Return to “Sound, Multimedia, & Codecs”