[Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

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The Bright Side
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[Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

Post by The Bright Side » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:45 am

Hello, Mint team!

I am hoping you can give me some advice on a bug that I've been experiencing in Ubuntu for over 8 years, and that finally went away when I switched to Mint last year.

Yesterday, it started happening here, too.

Unfortunately, I am about to move to Germany and my home theater system will be on the Atlantic Ocean for the next 1-2 months, so I won't be able to play back multichannel music for a while. I will definitely keep reading this thread and updating with new info as I get it.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

===========================================

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Start up Linux Mint 19
2. Launch e.g. VLC, SMPlayer, Parole or similar
3. Listen to multichannel music (e.g. 4.0, 5.1, 7.1 surround) until issue occurs

Current Results:
While listening to multichannel music (e.g. in FLAC format, or .mka, .mkv, .ac3, .dts, .iso...), there are occasional audio dropouts.

Expected Results:
All music should play back without issue.


Notes:
  • Repro rate: unpredictable. Sometimes no issue for days, sometimes 3-4 dropouts in just 5-6 consecutive songs
  • Issue never occurs at the same point in a song twice
  • Issue used to occur in Ubuntu when I was using it between March 2009 and November 2017
  • Issue stopped occurring when I switched to Mint in November 2017
  • Issue first encountered in Mint on September 8, 2018
  • Issue occurs on both my desktop and laptop PC (encountered on Sep 8th and 9th, 2018, respectively)
  • Issue never encountered in stereo music in MP3, OGG or FLAC format.

Resources:
Hardware specs - my desktop PC:
Sound device: NVidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti (HDMI out)
Playback hardware: Yamaha RX-V661 7.1 surround receiver (HDMI in)
RAM: 32 GB
CPU: Intel Core i7-4970K (4.00GHz x4)

Hardware specs - my laptop PC:
Sound device: NVidia GeForce GTX 980M (HDMI out)
Playback hardware: Yamaha RX-V661 7.1 surround receiver (HDMI in)
RAM: 32 GB
CPU: Intel Core i7-4710HQ (2.5GHz x4)

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MrEen
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Re: [Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

Post by MrEen » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:09 pm

Hello The Bright Side.

Based on your description I would strongly suspect an update you applied has caused this. I'm on 18.3 and see a couple of audio updates waiting to be applied in my Update Manager

ffmpeg changelog shows:

Code: Select all

  * SECURITY UPDATE: New upstream bugfix release.
    - Fixes CVE-2018-7557, CVE-2018-12458 and CVE-2018-13302.
mpg123 changelog shows:

Code: Select all

  * SECURITY UPDATE: Memory overread
    - debian/patches/CVE-2016-1000247.patch: fix DoS with crafted ID3v2
      tags.
    - CVE-2016-1000247
  * SECURITY UPDATE: Memory overread
    - debian/patches/CVE-2017-10683.patch: fix in id3.c
    - CVE-2017-10683
Both being security fixes, I wouldn't be surprised that you had those as well.

I'm not familiar with downgrading packages so we'll have to wait for someone else to offer advice if you want to try going that route.

Just in case it's only a configuration issue, try deleting the files in ~/.config/pulse/ and issue pulseaudio -k in the terminal. Wait 10 seconds then test your sound.

Hope that helps.

The Bright Side
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Re: [Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

Post by The Bright Side » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:08 pm

Hi MrEen! Thanks for that. I was strongly suspecting recent updates as well, since I haven't changed anything about my configuration settings lately. I will delete the files in the config folder you mentioned and keep an .... ear on this in the upcoming weeks.

I wouldn't consider downgrading, since this is not a show-stopping issue, and since a downgrade would not constitute a solution.

Would you happen to know how to reach whoever works on the affected packages? Are they seeing this bug report?

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MrEen
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Re: [Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

Post by MrEen » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:52 pm

Hi again The Bright Side.

Regarding the dowgrading comment, I was specifically referring to the updated packages, not your whole system.

As far as anyone seeing this that matters, that answer is, more or less, no. We're not even sure yet where any bug may lie.

After re-reading your initial post, I have another suggestion. Check the Driver Manager if there's any recommendations not applied for your nvidia card. As you're using HDMI for sound, maybe that could help. Alternatively, if you recently applied an update for your video card, that might be where the problem originated.

Hope that gets us closer to solving this.

The Bright Side
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Re: [Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

Post by The Bright Side » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:27 am

Cool. I will look at NVidia drivers for sure. Since I'll be using headphones / my built-in speakers for the next few months, I don't expect to even encounter this bug for a while. Here's hoping it just disappears :-)

One more question.

I was a bit surprised to find that the codecs listed in SMPlayer's codecs list used to be called "lavc:" back in January, and now I see the same "ffm~" codecs that Ubuntu has (screenshots from January here). Has there been any change in the audio codecs Mint uses in the past months?

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MrEen
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Re: [Mint 19] Irregular Audio Dropouts during Multichannel/Surround Music Playback

Post by MrEen » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:46 am

As far as I know, everything sound in Mint comes from Ubuntu/Debian and of course the kernel.

After a very quick search, lavc appears to be part of ffmpeg.

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