MuseScore 4 playback keeps crackling and stuttering even with just rests

• Dec 17, 2022 - 02:52

I recently downloaded MuseScore 4 with immense excitement and then the playback is just terrible. I don't know if my laptop is just too weak to run MS4 but it was running MS3 just fine. I've already tried increasing the buffer size to 4096 (max) in Preferences>I/O, but it was still the same terrible playback with stuttering. It even stutters when the metronome is on and there are just rests on a new score.

Laptop specs (idk if my laptop is just weak for MS4)
OS: Windows 10 Pro Build 19042
Processor: Intel Celeron CPU N3350
Audio devices: Intel Display Audio, Realtek High Definition Audio

Do you guys have any ideas on possible ways to solve this problem?


It's a pretty common problem, from what I've gathered. I'm having the same issue on my laptop which I know has the power to run MS4 just fine but doesn't. The new audio engine works by looking ahead a few seconds and figuring out how everything should sound instead of just being "note on-note off" as it comes by, which I verified earlier today. I honestly expect the solution to be wait for the next update, which I'm hoping comes along soon.

I've been dealing with the same issue. Playback in MS4 is very CPU-reliant from what I can tell. Currently the only "fix" I've found is to restart my laptop. Opening a different score brings back the crackling.

I have a feeling my PC would be able to run MS4 just fine, but I'm still using Windows 7 on there :/

Yes, this is a real issue which is easily reproducible, not related to the hardware or operating system.
Were it commercial software, I'd say: 'why didn't you test this basic function ?', however as it's open source we should be thankful for the new version and hope for a quick fixing of the playback stuttering and crackling blunder.

In reply to by Bruce Chadbourne

Opening the mixer does help a bit, but I don't want the mixer open when I am playing back a simple melody, or even less when I am inputting notes. The problem persists after I have had the mixer open, and definitely does not go away when I close the mixer. I am surprised that I haven't seen a response from any of the 'big names' in the community, who have always come forward quickly when I have had technical queries in the past. I have an old computer, so I accept that my set up is not ideal, but there are no problems with earlier versions. There must be hundreds of users like me who don't have technical computing skills, so some of the suggested solutions are way beyond my level of understanding. I don't accept that the user should be technically competent to resolve this kind of problem, so I hope that a solution will be rolled out as soon as possible.

In reply to by Gordon H Taylor

Personally this Musescore 4 and MusHub was released too early. They knew about these potential issues. Also, like Windows 11 and Mac Ventura updates, how many of us can afford to go out a buy a new computer at a whim for free application software. They should have updated the improved fonts and layout in 3.2 version. They are loosing a lot of users. I think it is better to continue with the 3.2, that works, with all of it's quarks and work arounds until they're really ready for 4 and MusHub.

Same,... even when you click on a note you get that awful crackling. Disappointing. Hope it´s going to be fixed soon, ´cause I really love the new layout.

i am running on a Mac. I haven't experienced the crackling, the actual sound is fine. But the audio will not play in some circumstances. The most obvious one is that it won't play during a repeated passage in a score. There is just silence. I also notice the playback, when I hear it, sometimes gets a few notes out of sync as well.

I was having the same issue. Increasing the buffer size to 4096 gave me little to no improvement. The thing is, when my computer is not connected to the internet, the sound is back to normal. I guess its something to do with the cloud saving trying to refresh every few second(?).
My temporary fix is to write my score without being connected to internet.

For me, it seems to happen moreso when working on larger scores, vs doing solo pieces. And my specs aren't low by any means, either.
OSL Win 10 Pro
Processor: Intel I3-10100F
Audio Devices: NVidia HD

In reply to by bobjp

I tried these suggestions with the Muse Orchestra Demo, which has far more parts than I will normally use. I found that adjusting the master volume in the mixer had the most effect. Turning it way down removed the stutter. (I had to turn the volume on my speakers to max, so just be careful to turn them down before you listen to another score.)

I´m not sure if I mentioned this in this thread or in another, but it might help remembering that when I EXPORTED the score to mp3, e.g. (no matter how complex it is) there are no noises, crackles or interruptions of any kind (in my computer, of course...). So (IMHO) this problem could be related to the use of resources needed to handle the interface DURING playback. Another piece of information: it helped (just a little) to lower the overall volume on the mixer (e.g. -12). Another thing: I am pleasantly surprised by the degree of collaboration obtained from the community. Thanks you all...!!!

I can't guarantee it will fix it for everyone, but I found a suggestion elsewhere on the forum. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. it's usually set to 96KHz. I tried setting it to 48KHz, and Musescore 4 is now more or less happy.

I have an MS Surface Pro that there has been no problem with any previous versions and playback, I have followed the links and advice and I'm a subscription member but the supposed advantage of 4 is totally lost with the playback issue. Sorry to say I have uninstalled 4 and will monitor it's development but 3 works am returning to it.

In reply to by bobjp

I have fiddled with the settings as listed in threads and leaving the mixer open none of which made any great change. 3 works, my surface is stock no enhancements and 3 works. Luckily I only have 1 score with 12 instruments and 3 transposed other parts to re-enter in three. I haven't wasted too much effort with 4. I'm not going to be a beta tester for 4.

In reply to by bobjp

No I probably didn't, but it's not really up to me to tweak my system is it? If I had add-ons and gizmos piled on top of my standard system then yep I would have to accept needing to make changes because I already have altered the original design of my OS. Reduced functionality is not what I want, playback is used with our community choir, the amateur musicians of the band, it is one of the most important things for me as an amateur bandmaster and from the number of complaints about this same issue, why has it not been fixed, acknowledged or re-called?

In reply to by Temora Town Band

None of these adjustments change the design of your OS. They are standard adjustments provided by your OS that help it interact properly with software. They are not hidden hacks or at all dangerous to change. They are made to changed. Normally you may never need to change them. People who do heavy duty audio work are familiar with them.
Did you read the minimum specs required to run MS4. My guess is, no. Many here, including myself, did not. We just downloaded MS4 and found out it was unusable junk. Because of our underpowered computers.
However, because there are settings in the OS that are there for just such occasions, most have been able to get MS4 running. Including myself. No functionality is reduced. I can say if this is an issue that needs to be fixed. My desktop that does meet the specs did not need any adjustments.

In reply to by Temora Town Band

I agree with you. I'm having the same problem, as are many people, but no one from MS seems to take it seriously. They blame it on our systems, and give us all these things we should do to our computers, but nothing works. The reason is that there is a fundamental flaw in the software, not our systems. It's typical for MS to release a new version that is buggy and unusable in some respect, deny that it's a problem and blame it on the user. They did the same with the change from 2 to 3. When 3 came out, I had to continue using 2 for several months, until they finally fixed it.

I love MS, and when they get it to work it's wonderful, but we'll have to wait until they decide it's a real problem with the software and fix it. It's not they only problem with MS4, which is buggy in other ways, but the playback issue makes it unusable for composition.

On the other hand, when I upload a file to the cloud, it sounds fine. So perhaps the answer is to compose in 3 and upload in 4 to take advantage of the better-sounding instruments (which are wonderful). But give them time, they always get around to doing the right thing and making it work as it should.

I found a solution for my system. I'm using a Focusrite Scarlett interface. set to 96KHz sampling rate. This seems to be what Musescore 4 really doesn't like. I set it to 48KHz, and most of the problems went away.

I have the same problem, to the extent I have had to revert to MS 3. Very disappointing but I am sure it is a bug for which a fix will be forthcoming...right?

In reply to by bobjp

I am perfectly capable of tweaking my computer and I actually build them. I have been with MS since Day 1 and have not had this problem with any previous versions of MS. Ergo this version unfortunately has a significant bug right out of the gate. If you have positive suggestions on a "tweakage" approach to start obviating the problem on a desktop PC, I would be interested though, as clearly I am not alone!

In reply to by Ombredunord

There are indeed many issues that need to be addressed. MS4 is more than just an upgrade. It is brand new. And it is intended to run on a fairly hefty computer. At least by most standards. Read the minimum specs and you will see why many are having problems. But I have it running on my vastly under powered Surface Go. Granted, the last piece of the puzzle was an audio interface. About 20 or 30 dollars if I recall. Cheaper than a new computer. Here are some tings you can try:

In reply to by Norbert Mimpen

Where have you tried to contact the people of MuseScore? The forum is where users like you and me try to help each other. There are many times more posts on the forum than usual. Some are bound to be missed. MS4 is far more demanding than MS3 ever was. And there are some bugs to be sure. But good playback is possible. I have been using computers for all kinds of purposes since W95. It has always been the case for demanding software that some system adjustments need to be made. Such is the case for MS4. If you read the suggested specs for MS4 and have a system that matches or exceeds them, than you probably won't have any trouble with playback. Though there are few sure things with any software. If I can get good playback on underpowered machines, you should be able to also.

In reply to by bobjp

I have tried every option mentioned in the forums, all that I could find. I have even downloaded the latest version and used the option of using the mixer. With easy scores it works, but with multiple instruments it gets bad again. And I have to use the simple muse-sound otherwise again problems. The check of the MuseScore installation program says it must work. But in the end the only thing that works is MuseScore 3.

I have a very similar laptop to you, if not similar then the same. I have had the same problem and done everything I can about it, I've just gone back to MS3 for now and am waiting for the next update in hopes that it will help.

I didn't have this issue on release. In fact, it performed really well. But yesterday, the first time I used MS in a couple months, I started having this issue. So far, all I've noticed is that playback goes back to normal if I go to another window or deselect the MS window. Because I know my computer is set to cap 3D softwares' FPS at 20 if their window is not selected, I suspected there was something weird going on with that (though it would have to be really weird since I know MS is not a 3D rendering software). I tried to cap MS at 20 FPS no matter what, but that didn't go anywhere as MS isn't recognized by the system as something that can be capped in that respect (for the obvious reason it isn't rendering 3D objects). Keeping the mixer open did fix it. The following day, the issue wasn't resent at all.

In reply to by BenjaminBCGB

I've been having a lot of trouble from day one on stuttering. I upgraded my memory to 32gb and updated my sound system on my motherboard to current drivers and still it stuttered. I followed your suggestion and left my mixer panel open and it play flawless, even the two samples from Mus Hubb. Thank you! Looking forward for improving updates coming down the pike.

I have just started using MuseScore 4 and have a similar problem with the playback, though I'm not sure if its the same. It seems to play nearly every note twice, and sometimes plays a long note three or four times. Has anyone found a solution?

In reply to by hadleyclarinet

Thank you for your suggestion. It does help, though I don't understand why. To be honest, until I read through this discussion thread I had never heard of the mixer, and certainly had not opened it, or used it, but having it open does help a bit with the playback, though it is not perfect. Having the mixer on screen is a distraction, when I don't know how to use it and don't need it open, so I still hope that the developers can smooth it out properly.

I've installed 4.02 and the stuttering and crackling returned. Opening mixer doesn't help. It seems that VST3 has issues with older computers. The average user doesn't have money to buy newer devices. If they do, then they would purchase commercial notation software. My system has 32gb memory, 5 core processor, etc. It cannot be upgraded anymore. Musecore folks do more homework testing and improvements under the hood. Try to get upgrades out faster.

I didn't have this problem until my most recent score. (It's probably a coincidence because y'all have had this problem for some time, but it's the first score I've started since getting Musescore 4.0.2) Revisiting my previous scores, they still don't have the stutter issues, just the newest one. Restarting my PC temporarily solves the problem, but that's annoying.

However, I found an (arguably more annoying) SOLUTION (for my iteration of the problem at least). While the playback is occurring, you need to always be doing something. The most convenient way for me is just to pan around the score in small circles. Alternatively, you could spam-click an empty area on the workspace. At first, I thought it was a placebo, but no, it legitimately works (for me).

I have no clue why it works. How can doing more stuff reduce (what at least appears to be) lag? Very weird...

It only happens for me when I select a note with my cursor. Playback seems fine but apparently conversion to .mp3 also ruins the sounds.

I agree; many of the patches are brilliant and I much appreciate the upgrades...but playback is awful. It's uneven--opening the mixer makes the field cluttered for no reason and it doesn't fix the problem anyway. I don't have an old computer, either. So what gives?

In reply to by claudinejones

It is just bad programming with Muse. The creators, made this program for Windows 1000 with a processor from out of this world, no one can afford and want to afford. There just trying to make us buy newer devices, for what? They should have just kept 3 version and added muse sounds and not redoing the entire code from scratch. if you can afford the newer devices, the user can afford Dorico etc. Why bother with open source headaches.

In reply to by hadleyclarinet

One of the biggest problems with Musescore in general is accurate playback with the real world musicians. Sometimes your articulations or dynamics don't work with accurate playback with people, i.e. un-needed staccato markings, etc. Muse4 makes this balance required, far worse than ever, in the real world. As I said with my comments in above, if you can afford a new super computer, why bother with an open source program, use mainline, like Dorico, Syblius, Fianle, etc. Muse 3 is far superior over Muse4, and works with all systems well. Musescore lost their focus with 4.

In reply to by claudinejones

It's typical of Musescore that the new versions are unusable for months because of defects in the program. The frustrating part is that they deny there is a problem, and that it's the fault of the user or his gear, until they realize it's MS, and finally fix it.

MS 4 instruments are superior, but it's not possible for most people to compose on it because of the playback issue. I've found that an exported file from 4 does not have the problem, so the only viable solution is to compose in 3, import into 4, set up the sound files, and then export to the cloud and then to Youtube.

I found that pulling up the mixer didn't solve my completely parallel problem. Neither did it help to decrease the sampling rate, nor other good suggestions.

However: Shutting down the VirtualMIDIMapper process (not just exiting the application but going through the Task Manager to end the VirtualMIDIMapper process) did the trick. Now I enjoy the great music in Panis Angelicus with o-sounds and a full-tone piano - and without any lagging or disturbing noice.

/Per Hertz

I believe I've fixed the issue on my system by turning off the reverb for the individual instruments in the mixer. You can use the reverb on the master by itself. (Windows 11, i5-12600K, 32 gig RAM, GTX 1080i).

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