Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Choppy/Stuttery audio on MacBookPro after plugging out headphones? A solution!

More of a MacBook Pro tip than an FCP one, even though it was the choppy audio playback on my FCP timeline that alerted me to the problem.

So, it was the first time I'm experiencing choppy audio playback from my timeline - never had any problems with DV25 or DVCPro50 [or even HDV] footage running off an external 7200RPM Firewire HDD via FW400.

Trashed FCP preferences. Unmounted and remounted my external Firewire HDD, where my media and project files are stored. Restarted the MBP. Reset PRAM [the startup chime sounded! But oh... that didn't solve the problem...]

Was going to repair permissions using Disk Utility but didn't have the patience to twiddle my thumbs for 15 mins. Besides, it didn't feel like a permissions problem... for a moment, I was afraid the sound card/logic board has gone all funky.

A quick google shows that it might be some weird MBP-headphones quirk. This morning, I was watching a movie on the MBP while commuting to work, with headphones plugged in, naturally.

I don't remember yanking out the headphones after I put the MBP to sleep... but the solution googled worked nevertheless: Plug in a pair of headphones, restart your MBP and once the Mac starts up, pull out the headphones.

Voila - works! Even though it took a few tries since I didn't pull out the headphones early enough. The key really was to pull 'em out immediately after the Mac boots up.

The page with the tip [which dates back to 2007] is:

A few minutes ago, I experienced a similar problem: the red optical light in the line in jack was on, which also meant only the 'digital out' audio was on... and I couldn't get any sound out from the internal speakers. Plugged in the headphones a few times and that seems to solve it for now...

Moments like this are made less jittery because I've got AppleCare on this machine. But definitely NOT looking forward to having to send the bugger away for a week.