Home > All, Hacks/Tricks, Internet, iTunes, Music, Technology > I Fixed My iTunes “Choppy Audio” Problem

I Fixed My iTunes “Choppy Audio” Problem


First of all, I want to say that I’m not exactly sure how I fixed this problem. What I do know is that I did fix it. With that being said, let us continue.

Previously, I was unable to use iTunes while browsing the Internet (or using other programs) without the audio output being extremely choppy. As soon as I would click on a link, the audio would immediately begin to get choppy. I was incensed by the fact that there is no reason for this to be happening. I have an AMD  Phenom 64 Quad-Core processor and 3 GB of RAM running Windows Vista Home Premium. iTunes should have no problems.

At this point I should probably clarify that I cannot say that I don’t have any idea, whatsoever, of how I fixed the problem. What I’ll do now is give a list of the things that I did in an attempt to solve it.

Something in this list fixed the problem, though I’m not sure exactly what.

The List

First, I went into Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Services and disabled the following services…

I also made the following modifications to the BIOS. Here’s the list…

Under the “Advanced Chipset Features” menu:

  • Set “PCIe Spread Spectrum” to Disabled.
  • Set “SATA Spread Spectrum” to Disabled.
  • Set “HT Spread Spectrum” to Disabled.

Here’s a link explaining what exactly “Spread Spectrum” means.

I also set the “OS Select For DRAM > 64MB” to “OS/2,” as opposed to “Non-OS/2.”


So if anyone out there reading this has any more technical information as to what, specifically, in this list fixed the problem I was having, I (as well as a great many other people) would greatly appreciate some elaboration. I’d also found that people all over the net have been having this same problem – with no resolution to speak of.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got.

Read a book. It’s good for you.

Update As Of 3/28/2009

I spoke too soon. This worked for a few days, but my iTunes is back to being choppy. This is insanely frustrating. And there’s no help from Apple on this.

Update As Of 4/2/2009

Ok, so I fiddled with some more BIOS settings and the choppy audio is gone again. I set “HD Audio” to “Disabled,” along with a few other things. Turned all the Spread Spectrum settings back on. So apparently they didn’t have anything to do with this problem.

So far, so good. No choppy audio.

I don’t know what’s going on, but this is driving me up a wall. If the audio gets choppy again, I think I’m going to lose it. Maybe the only way to fix this problem is to continually fiddle with BIOS settings?

Another thing that helps is to restart the computer when the audio starts getting choppy. I don’t know if that says anything about what’s wrong?

Update As Of 6/6/2009

Simply restarting the computer when the audio becomes choppy seems to work. Maybe scratch all that other stuff??

  1. Bill Jamison
    Thursday April 30, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    I’m having the exact same problem – choppy audio/static when I browse the Internet. It happens with iTunes as well as foobar2000. I haven’t tried any bios changes yet but it looks like a good place to start!

  2. kyle
    Tuesday August 18, 2009 at 11:56 PM

    Yeah I have the exact same problem too, and same here restart temporarily clears it up, Im running vista ultimate with quad 2.66 and gig ram wtf?

    • Wednesday August 19, 2009 at 9:22 AM

      How long does it clear up for? And do you use MySpace? I’ve discovered that it usually happens after using MySpace (another reason I only use Facebook now). Might have something to do with all of the flash and other scripts running on there, interfering with iTunes?

      • kyle
        Friday August 21, 2009 at 6:23 PM

        it seems to only clear up for about half a day or so, I don’t really go on myspace that often but do check it now and then, maybe ill have to try that, also I found on my computer its not only itunes, windows media player does it too. Let me know if yours does.

  3. ClearMusic
    Thursday September 3, 2009 at 9:12 AM

    After trying every fix under the sun I finally fixed this problem by restarting the “ipod service” and the “apple mobile device service” from the task manager. I just closed iTunes when it started to act up, then used the task manager to end these two processes and restarted iTunes (which, in turn, restarted the processes). Not sure why this worked, but hopefully it will work with your systems as well… If it does, then it might be possible to disable these processes entirely if you don’t use an ipod or iphone. Cheers.

    • Kyle
      Friday October 9, 2009 at 6:21 PM

      yeah it seems dell has fixed my computer from this problem by uninstalling all the sound drivers and installing the latest ones. I hope im not speaking too soon, but its been about a week now

  4. Tyler
    Monday December 21, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    I too been having this problem ever since I used my free Dell Vista upgrade from XP back in 2007. I notice it happens mostly with iTunes. Starts out fine and as time goes on it get worse and worse, especially when I’m listening to iTunes and start downloading torrents or youtube videos. I researched this problem constantly and most common solution seems to be to uninstall the “high def audio device” drivers that automatically download and install and instead install the latest Sigma Tel audio drivers from the Dell support page. However now of them will install properly and I have no reason not to believe that’s the type of audio device I have in my pc (A Dimension E521). Still, I read stories stating even THAT doesn’t fix the problem. It’s been more than frustrating that this problem has yet to be fixed and one of the reasons why I will not buy a dell ever again.

    I wanted to ask you a question though. Did Dell install the correct drivers for you free of charge and if so where they able to without deleting everything on your pc? I ask because I have 1 year left on my warranty and if this will actually solve this problem once and for all I might as well go for it.

    And just so you know I too have AMD Athlon X2 64 processor (4200+ 2.2 ghz). I also have a Nvidia 9600GT which I upgraded to from the 7300 LE that came with the system, a 550W peak PC Power and Colling PSU which I upgraded from the 301W and 3gb memory, so the problem as far as I can tell is neither a power, memory, or graphics problem.

  5. jake
    Monday June 7, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    Why are people using iTunes on Windows?!


  6. Michael N
    Saturday September 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I had the exact same problem (choppy music playback in iTunes esp. when browsing inernet). This fix worked for me: Go to Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, Find Quicktime and select Change, then Repair.

  7. Tuesday April 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    If I update iTunes, I can tell a difference for a few days. And then it is back to trouble. But this isn’t for iTunes only. It happens in GoToMeeting or anything really that uses streaming audio such as Pandora. Blah…

    This is one of those times when you wish it was hardware so that you could just fix it and move on…

  8. Monday December 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    I have this exact same problem. I have tried multiple music players (exception is itunes) and both firefox and chrome. the problem persists as detailed above : music is fine for half a day+ and then becomes increasingly choppy whilst actively browsing. I have made a fresh install of my OS recently and the problem persists.

    Really frustrating and annoying.

    As above have said, a restart does fix the problem temporarily. I don’t want to keep restarting! Problem seems to be during either internet of hdd activity.

  9. mitchell
    Monday January 6, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    guys this problem is caused by a grounding wire issue in your computer which is causing an interferance with the audio try unplugging all plugs in your computer clearing out all dust because dust could have metal fragments in it, and then re-connect every plug in your computer even ones unrelated to audio motherbaord power plugs everything

    • Tuesday February 3, 2015 at 2:22 AM

      I have the same issue with choppy audio in itune when browsing. It can’t be the grounding because other audio players have no problem…foobar2000 and window media player.

  10. Tuesday February 3, 2015 at 1:52 AM

    the problem is itunes because at first i was using itunes and i had the same problem and so i decided to use windows media player to see if itunes was the problem and it was itunes that was causing the problem it has nothing to do with your laptop or pc im using windows media player and there is no glitch or choppy audio

  11. Eric
    Thursday February 19, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    It is now Feburary 2015 and I have the same problem, ITunes music plays fine when the computer (HP Envy) is first booted up, then maybe 10 minutes after bootup the music quality detriorates substantially, skipping, scratchy. It is very frustrating.APPLE ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION? I play the same playlist transferred from the HP Envy on to my IPHONE 6+ and it plays GREAT.

  12. Heath
    Saturday July 11, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Itunes expects me to buy a apple device just to watch one movie? so $200 or more to watch a movie? just one movie… and i can’t get a refund? because i’m not using a apple device? #AppleLogic

    • Heath
      Saturday July 11, 2015 at 12:39 PM

      never mind, i just updated my itunes, turns out i was outdated by about a years worth of updates, but still, apple still does expect a fair bit to watch a movie #AppleLogic

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