Popping/crackling sound on piano playback

• Jan 9, 2020 - 05:00

Could not find a previous issue on this, but I am having a strange cracking sound during playback of the piano tracks. I will upload a file below. This seems to have popped up relatively recently. If I change to another keyboard instrument (piano to harpsichord, for example) the crackling sound goes away, but comes back when I switch back. So definitely tied to the piano.

I am running MuseScore on Mac OS 10.14

Any help would be appreciated.


Attachment Size
Duet_#2_in_Am.mscz 11.49 KB


In reply to by mgault24

Ditto. This time in the strings. Horrific crackling upon playback. Disabled soundcard in order to use the motherboard audio drivers and motherboard audio jack. Still the same problem. Changing to an entirely different soundfont does not correct the problem. Checked memory performance monitor, CPU and memory usage around 30% with 11.3 GB available with Musescore loaded. Loading and playing several different scores has no effect - still crackles. Restarting program and rebooting computer has no effect. Still crackles. Crackling sometimes changes in amount of crackling if you play a section over again, so it's not the same crackling. Sounds like a bad ground, but headphones tests okay by playing video and audio files, and YouTube videos. Seems to me like there is an audio driver in Musescore that's gone awry.

OS: Windows 10 (10.0), Arch.: x86_64, MuseScore version (64-bit):, revision: 3224f34

Also if it's any help, Windows 10 Version 21H1 (OS Build 19043.1110). I have my computer set to update Windows automatically, and maybe one of those updates has clobbered the Musecore audio drivers.

UPDATE: Now playback seems to slow down with each beat. CPU usage still fine. No problem with using other computer functions like the browser. Maybe a virus? I'll investigate further.

In reply to by Shoichi

I have reverted to factory settings by uninstalling the program. Before I did that, I saves my files and deleted the Musescore folders. Then I did a clean install of Musescore 3.6.2 that I had previously downloaded. Still getting the crackling and now with a slowdown that seems to occur on the beat. Doesn't matter which score I load. Next I will investigate whether rolling back a Windows update or two might fix it. I'm hopeful that's the cause because the program was working up to about last week when I first noticed slight intermittent crackling. Today it's just horrific and unlistenable.

In reply to by bobjp

Yes, deleted the Musescore folders in Appdata>Local and Roaming. Then I deleted as many registry entries having to do with Musescore except for ones in the Components section of HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData. I had an ASUS Xonar DX and bought an ASUS Xonar AE with drivers from last December.

In reply to by FBXOPWKDOIR

Have you tried:
"In case of interference with other programs, esp. on Windows, go into your soundcard configuration from Control Panel and ensure that the Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device in the Advanced tab of both Playback and Recording is unticked."

In reply to by Jm6stringer

I have my soundcard disabled because I thought it was bad. Switched to the motherboard audio drivers and it did the same. It seems to be working after shutting it down for an hour or so. The file I was working on is missing (even though I am 100 percent sure I saved it several times while working, and it shows up three times in a search in File Explorer, which crashed while I was searching) but it's not important since it's just a rescore of the original file which I have saved and safely backed up. And I only started working on the rescore last night so it don't matter. But I will let this new Musescore installation burn in for a while, see it the problem crops up again. I still believe it's some kind of Microsoft update corruption having to do with the Windows 10 21H1 update. If the problem happens again I'm rolling back that update.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Okay, the problem is back. I went into Sounds>Playback>Headphones >Advanced and found the box checked. unchecked it, closed the dialog, restarted Musescore and still the problem is there. So I went back and checked it again. It seems that the problem happens after the computer is on for a while. I checked CPU and motherboard temperatures and according to Core Temp they are about average, 50-60C. Checked the mother board for dust, just a little but cleaned it anyway. Nothing more I can do today. Tomorrow I'm going to roll back the Windows 10 update to see if that helps.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

When I uninstalled I got rid of everything - installation, folders in Program Files and Appdata, registry entries. The new install opened as if you've started Musescore for the first time, with the splash screen, tours and such, and settings in Edit>Preferences and Edit>Shortcuts having to be re-entered. I usually don't delete stuff, just run the update and let it delete the program and install the new one. This time I did it to see what was going on.

In reply to by bobjp

Windows update did it. I have it set so that Microsoft downloads and installs updates automatically.
This morning, so far so good. I'm letting the computer burn in for a few more hours and then I'll test again. But if it happens again I'm just gonna go ahead and do the rollback.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

My computer has vacuum tubes, and a crank on the side.
UPDATE: And sure enough, just as I posted the above, the problem reoccurs. Always after letting the computer sit for at least an hour. Played a file, and heard a loud scratch on the first chord. Also, very slight and quick dips in the sound as if you were playing music on an old style cassette player powered by oxen. Goodbye 21H1 update. I'll be back when this is done.

In reply to by FBXOPWKDOIR

UPDATE: OK, I believe I have found the problem. I don't know why it's doing it, though, but I do have a workaround. The problem occurs when I run Musescore, load the score and then when the score appears I immediately pressed "Play". Musescore then paused as if it were loading the soundfont, and then the score started playing. Upon the first note that's where I heard the scratch. So I immediately closed the program and ran it again, this time waiting 30 seconds before loading and playing the score. No problems. I tried the first way at least 10 times and it gave me the same noise. When I waited the 30 seconds, there was no scratch. I tried that method several times with success. So, like an ancient car with a carburetor, you have to let Musescore warm up for 30 seconds before loading a score. So now I'm going to undo what I did to Windows and that should be the end of that, I hope!

In reply to by FBXOPWKDOIR

Earlier you wrote:
It seems that the problem happens after the computer is on for a while.
and later:
I'm letting the computer burn in for a few more hours...

What? You did not have MuseScore running during those hours that the computer was "burning in"? :-o

So, because now it's only a 30 second problem... it's probably no big deal, as loading soundfonts may require time.
BTW: What soundfont(s) are you using?
Using MuseScore Drumline by any chance?

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Not using Musescore Drumline. Using the built-in soundfont that comes with Musescore. And let me correct: To clear the problem, I now start Musescore, load a score, and THEN wait 30 seconds. Then play.
No, I didn't have to have Musescore on constantly to see the problem. But, it could still be some kind of driver/hardware/software misconfiguration peculiar to my machine that's causing the problem, I don't know. All I know is that it works if I hold off from playing for some seconds, which I never used to do before and never had a problem. And, 30 seconds is an arbitrary figure. I'm sure it has to be less, but no matter.

In reply to by FBXOPWKDOIR

There's a short delay (some 5 seconds, far from the 30 you describe) after MuseScore startup where MuseScore extracts the SF3 soundfont into memory.
Maybe you're hitting some race condition, at the end of that extraction/decompression process.
Another workaround might be to use the SF2 version of that soundfont, you can get it from https://musescore.org/en/handbook/3/soundfonts-and-sfz-files#gm_soundfo…

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