Weird Audio Glitch

The audio is cutting out every few seconds, but only in specific videos that I watch on YouTube. It seems to affect spoken word only, not music. As if, when the speaker pauses, the sound card thinks there’s no audio and mutes the audio and then when the speaker resumes speaking there is a delay to start the audio again resulting in the audio cutting out. This is just a guess.

To rule out that the problem was not related to Firefox or YouTube, I downloaded the video and played it locally and the problem still happened. So, it appears that the problem is with the sound card and the audio driver or something.

The sound card is “Tiger Lake-H HD Audio Controller” integrated into my laptop. Default install of EndeavourOS with KDE Plasma 6.1. I think the problem started somewhere after KDE Plasma 6 was released as I don’t recall having this problem before.

I just upgraded to KDE Plasma 6.1 and was hoping it would fix it, but unfortunately it did not. I considered doing a reinstall, but that’s a lot of work. So, I decided to ask here first.

This sounds like either of two things (but could be something else): noise cancellation or real-time audio processing.

Have you recently installed any audio or noise cancellation apps, whether on your system or any add-ons?

What’s the output of:

pacman -Q | grep -i linux

Are you able to confirm the issue presents both from the laptop speakers, and when you plug in headphones?

If you have a screen connected to your laptop with a headphone jack, I’d be curious how that behaves too, as the HDMI out may use a different audio controller.

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No, I haven’t installed anything. Or anything audio related. I’m basically using the default installation. The output is:

archlinux-keyring 20240609-1
linux 6.9.5.arch1-1
linux-api-headers 6.8-1
linux-firmware 20240610.9c10a208-1
linux-firmware-whence 20240610.9c10a208-1
linux-headers 6.9.5.arch1-1
util-linux 2.40.1-1
util-linux-libs 2.40.1-1

It only occurs when using the laptop speakers. Not when using wired or wireless headphones. I don’t have an external monitor connected with a headphone jack. But the wireless Bluetooth headphones uses a USB dongle.

What is the output of:

inxi -FGAxxz
System:
  Kernel: 6.9.5-arch1-1 arch: x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 14.1.1
  Desktop: KDE Plasma v: 6.1.0 tk: Qt v: N/A wm: kwin_wayland dm: SDDM
    Distro: EndeavourOS base: Arch Linux
Machine:
  Type: Laptop System: Micro-Star product: Creator 17 B11UE v: REV:1.0
    serial: <superuser required> Chassis: type: 10 serial: <superuser required>
  Mobo: Micro-Star model: MS-17M1 v: REV:1.0 serial: <superuser required>
    part-nu: 17M1.3 UEFI: American Megatrends LLC. v: E17M1IMS.319
    date: 07/04/2023
Battery:
  ID-1: BAT1 charge: 47.0 Wh (60.0%) condition: 78.3/95.0 Wh (82.5%)
    volts: 15.4 min: 15.2 model: MSI BIF0_9 serial: N/A status: not charging
CPU:
  Info: 8-core model: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H bits: 64 type: MT MCP
    arch: Tiger Lake rev: 1 cache: L1: 640 KiB L2: 10 MiB L3: 24 MiB
  Speed (MHz): avg: 800 high: 801 min/max: 800/4600 cores: 1: 800 2: 800
    3: 800 4: 800 5: 800 6: 800 7: 800 8: 800 9: 800 10: 801 11: 800 12: 800
    13: 800 14: 800 15: 800 16: 800 bogomips: 73744
  Flags: avx avx2 ht lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel TigerLake-H GT1 [UHD Graphics] vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: i915 v: kernel arch: Gen-12.1 ports: active: eDP-1
    empty: DP-1, DP-2, DP-3, DP-4 bus-ID: 00:02.0 chip-ID: 8086:9a60
  Device-2: NVIDIA GA106M [GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile / Max-Q]
    vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: nouveau v: kernel arch: Ampere pcie:
    speed: 16 GT/s lanes: 16 ports: active: none empty: DP-5, DP-6, HDMI-A-1,
    eDP-2 bus-ID: 01:00.0 chip-ID: 10de:2520
  Display: wayland server: X.org v: 1.21.1.13 with: Xwayland v: 24.1.0
    compositor: kwin_wayland driver: X: loaded: modesetting
    alternate: fbdev,intel,nouveau,nv,vesa dri: iris,nouveau gpu: i915,nouveau
    display-ID: 0
  Monitor-1: eDP-1 res: 1920x1080 size: N/A
  API: EGL v: 1.5 platforms: device: 0 drv: iris device: 1 drv: nouveau
    device: 2 drv: swrast gbm: drv: nouveau surfaceless: drv: iris wayland:
    drv: iris x11: drv: iris
  API: OpenGL v: 4.6 compat-v: 4.3 vendor: intel mesa v: 24.1.1-arch1.1
    glx-v: 1.4 direct-render: yes renderer: Mesa Intel UHD Graphics (TGL GT1)
    device-ID: 8086:9a60 display-ID: :1.0
  API: Vulkan Message: No Vulkan data available.
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel Tiger Lake-H HD Audio vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: sof-audio-pci-intel-tgl bus-ID: 00:1f.3 chip-ID: 8086:43c8
  Device-2: NVIDIA GA106 High Definition Audio vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel pcie: speed: 16 GT/s lanes: 16
    bus-ID: 01:00.1 chip-ID: 10de:228e
  API: ALSA v: k6.9.5-arch1-1 status: kernel-api
  Server-1: PipeWire v: 1.0.7 status: active with: 1: pipewire-pulse
    status: active 2: wireplumber status: active 3: pipewire-alsa type: plugin
    4: pw-jack type: plugin
Network:
  Device-1: Realtek RTL8125 2.5GbE vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: r8169
    v: kernel pcie: speed: 5 GT/s lanes: 1 port: 3000 bus-ID: 59:00.0
    chip-ID: 10ec:8125
  IF: enp89s0 state: down mac: <filter>
  Device-2: Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210/AX1675 2x2 [Typhoon Peak]
    vendor: Rivet Networks Killer driver: iwlwifi v: kernel pcie: speed: 5 GT/s
    lanes: 1 bus-ID: 5c:00.0 chip-ID: 8086:2725
  IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filter>
Bluetooth:
  Device-1: Intel AX210 Bluetooth driver: btusb v: 0.8 type: USB rev: 2.0
    speed: 12 Mb/s lanes: 1 bus-ID: 3-14:5 chip-ID: 8087:0032
  Report: btmgmt ID: hci0 rfk-id: 0 state: down bt-service: disabled
    rfk-block: hardware: no software: no address: N/A
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 1.38 TiB used: 7.25 GiB (0.5%)
  ID-1: /dev/nvme0n1 vendor: Samsung model: SSD 980 PRO 1TB size: 931.51 GiB
    speed: 63.2 Gb/s lanes: 4 serial: <filter> temp: 36.9 C
  ID-2: /dev/nvme1n1 vendor: Samsung model: MZVL2512HCJQ-00B00
    size: 476.94 GiB speed: 63.2 Gb/s lanes: 4 serial: <filter> temp: 34.9 C
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 433.77 GiB used: 7.14 GiB (1.6%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/nvme1n1p2
Swap:
  ID-1: swap-1 type: partition size: 34.16 GiB used: 0 KiB (0.0%) priority: -2
    dev: /dev/nvme1n1p3
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 51.0 C mobo: N/A
  Fan Speeds (rpm): N/A
Info:
  Memory: total: 32 GiB note: est. available: 31.05 GiB used: 4.18 GiB (13.5%)
  Processes: 308 Power: uptime: 46m wakeups: 0 Init: systemd v: 256
    default: graphical
  Packages: pm: pacman pkgs: 994 Compilers: gcc: 14.1.1 Shell: Bash
    v: 5.2.26 running-in: konsole inxi: 3.3.34

Your last BIOS update is fairly recent, almost a year old, but shouldn’t be the issue.

Do you have the Live ISO? Try booting into it and testing your speakers.

If there are no issues, mount your home folder and rename the folder below to something like “wireplumber-bkp”.

.local/state/wireplumber to .local/state/wireplumber-bkp

After this, you can unmont your home folder and reboot into your installed system. Test your speakers again and let us know what’s what.

I think it would therefore be safe to assume the issue is with this specific driver:

Device-1: Intel Tiger Lake-H HD Audio vendor: Micro-Star MSI
    driver: sof-audio-pci-intel-tgl bus-ID: 00:1f.3 chip-ID: 8086:43c8

That driver is using Sound Open Firmware. See here regarding sof-fimrware.

If it’s not already installed, you might try installing the sof-firmware package.

Unfortunately, installing sof-firmware didn’t work. I’ll try booting into the Live ISO, like ddnn suggested, and see if that works.

The problem still exists with the Live ISO too.

Okay. So that narrows it down to a hardware, BIOS, distro, or driver issue. In other words, we haven’t narrowed it down one bit. :sweat_smile:

Do you have another Live ISO for a different distro? Or another distro/OS already installed?

Also, is your system fully up-to-date?

PS: Yes, it could still be a driver issue.

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You might try installing and booting with the LTS kernel (and it’s headers, assuming you’re using the nvidia-dkms drivers), in case the issue is one that was introduced more recently.

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@ddnn @Bink

I did the following and the problem still occurs:

  • Reinstalled EndeavourOS
  • Tried the following Live ISO’s: Latest EndeavourOS and previous one, Manjaro KDE Plasma and Gnome, Fedora KDE Plasma and Gnome, Ubuntu

So, that means all these distros must have something in common causing the problem. The only OS that doesn’t have the problem is Windows 11.

A few different kernels, all have the same issue, but no issues on Windows… That rules out hardware, and possibly distro and driver issues. That would leave BIOS/firmware, though drivers aren’t completely ruled out.

Please check if there is an update for your BIOS available. I’m guessing MSI has a specific Windows app for this?

I have sometimes the audio crackling when the processor is under heavy use. Someone said somewhere, it could be because of the frequency scaling. But it only happens for a few seconds.

I think I figured out what the problem is. Apparently, the sound card has some sort of “Smart Amplifier” (like Intel Smart Sound Technology) that doesn’t work properly in Linux. It struggles playing audio with gaps of silence in it resulting in the audio cutting out. This only affects the speaker, which explains why the wired headphones work.

One workaround, although not optimal, is to play background music/sound when listening to audio with gaps of silence in it. This prevents the amplifier from turning off, as there is constant audio. I tested it and it works.

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This is why I didn’t completely rule out drivers. Sometimes, more sophisticated/specialised/unique hardware require drivers not yet available on or not fully compatible with Linux.

Good that you found a workaround.

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