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Problems with poor/distorted sound quality watching Youtube videos

Apr 7, 2012 7:46 PM

Tags: #issue #youtube #sound #firefox #flash_player_11 #bad_quality



For the past few days, since getting the newest update to Adobe Flash Player I've had a very annoying problem with watching youtube videos. The sound quality while watching videos is just terrible. Depending on if it's a song with a lot of bass, singing, or a video with just commentary, the distortion differs. It's a craking, static-y sound, like a poorly tuned radio in some cases. Some videos, especially with certain frequencies of sound as I've said, can be a very heavily distorted.

I was completely fine, with perfect audio all around before accepting the update. I didn't place Adobe Flash as the cause for a while, but after eliminting so many other causes, Adobe Flash is what I feel is the problem. Every other source of audio on my computer still plays perfectly(iTunes, MP3, MP4, etc), it's only youtube.  I also tried other video sites such as Vimeo which I believed to run with flash as well and really didn't notice the distortion, but also I can't find a perfect video comparison, so I really can't be sure and don't want to rule them out. Youtube is the only one I absolutely can tell is affected, badly. I checked my firefox Plugins and the Shockwave plugin from Flash is indeed enabled. Also, it happens regardless of whether I watch a youtube video with Firefox or IE. And a final note, I am the admin of this computer, and the only user.


I run Windows 7 64bit

I use Firefox as my main web browser.

I have the lastest Adobe Flash update (

I use a Toshiba M645-S4070 laptop.

Intel i5 Processor

4gb ram

Realtek High Definition (I believe this is the soundcard)


I've been looking through threads both here, on microsoft help, and through google search in general trying to solve this and nothing has worked.

I tried uninstalling and re-installing, both with and without full computer reboots between the instalations/unistalations, updating my sound card drivers, checking and disabling my firewall when installing, installing offline, checking to make sure audio enhancement was off (right click on youtube video > settings).


I'm really at loss, and it can be painful to use youtube now as things stand. Also, if I need to post more of my computer's information please say so, since I'm not very knowlagable how to get more specs than what I posted.


Hope someone can help, thanks.

Branched to a new discussion.
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 12:59 PM   in reply to Alkaid47

    Hello, I just made this account to respond you because I had the same problem and your message was useful to me.


    Go to: Control Panel > System > Advanced Options > Config [Performance] > Advanced Opt > Check "Programs"


    [Virtual Memory] / Click "Change" / Custom Size [Increase the first number in both fields]


    Still not working? Activate HTML5 on YouTube to view videos without Flash:


    That's all until Adobe fix its buggy application. Regards.

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  • Chris Campbell
    9,455 posts
    May 4, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 9, 2012 5:22 PM   in reply to Alkaid47

    Please take a moment and visit the following bugs:




    If these sound similar to what you are encountering I encourage you to cast your vote for a fix.  If you believe your problem is different, please open a new bug report.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 12, 2012 12:09 PM   in reply to Alkaid47

    I had the same bug with bad sound, especially on bass-heavy sound bits, but I found a work arround


    Go to Start -> Control panel -> Flash Player -> Advanced


    I deleted all "Site Data and Settings"


    Sound is back to normal now.


    I hope it helps!

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2012 1:40 PM   in reply to Alkaid47

    posting this here, in response to bug


    current Flash build 11,3,300,214 (beta) but reproduced on 11.2 release


    deleting cache and "site data and settings" only causes a short term fix. A few videos and websites later, sound crackling during playback returns.


    In both Windows 7 x64 rc7100 and XP x86, fresh format installs, sound issue persists.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 5:30 AM   in reply to Wildboar79

    just to add to my post, that this sound popping/crackling issue is MOST noticable while using another flash enabled application or a 3D game like Half-Life2, but I still get sound drops just by moving the mouse and hovering over a tool tip or something that causes a popup. It's as if the video card and the CPU are fighting over which takes priority, the flash audio stream or the screen render. Still hoping for a fix, because deleting the site data and settings did not fix this issue for me.


    update - installing flash build solved audio playback stutter/high latency for me. I can duplicate this reliably, after uninstalling and reinstalling each version several times on a freshly formated system. Visual performance is slower on 10.3 but my issue was strictly sound playback via youtube, which 11.2 and the 11.3 beta were the direct cause. Updated bug report. Hope that helps you guys out a bit. Good luck all

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2012 6:01 PM   in reply to Alkaid47

    Immediately after upgrading to Adobe’s Flash player 11.3.300.257 on 6/18/2012 streaming audio from YouTube and Pandora experienced extreme crackling sound whenever I launched another memory intensive application in my case it was an online backgammon game. I could also re-create the “crackling” just by launching Windows task manager and dragging the task manager screen around my desktop. Prior to the upgrade I never had any audio issues. My PC is quite old by today’s standards but wanted to post as I did find a simple (Adobe) solution which ultimately resolved my crackling issue. I’ll get to that in just a moment.

    My PC system configuration is as follows:

    Windows XP Professional v2002 Service Pack 3

    Internet Explorer v8.0.6001.18702

    Dell OPTIPLEX GX270

    Pentium® 4 CPU 2.40GHz

    1. 2.39 HGz, 512 MB of RAM


    The solution which worked quite nicely for me was to simply re-install to a prior version of Flash Player (i.e. Flash Player ActiveX Version


    Step one: Download and run the latest Adobe Flash player uninstaller from html


    Step two: Download and install a prior version of Adobe Flash Player. I got mine from


    In conclusion, unless there’s a bug in the latest and greatest version of Flash Player, I tend to think, that one or more of my computer components are just not beefy enough to handle new Flash Player upgrades. My audio driver is from 2003!

    I hope my recent, painful experience and its solution may help some other poor suffering fool like myself!

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 21, 2012 9:43 AM   in reply to Starman01370

    Since the newest flash player update about a week ago, I too have been having some issues similar to what everyone in this thread is talking about - I am not noticing it on YouTube or other videos as much, it is mostly happening when playing some games where the sounds the game makes as you click the game pieces will vibrate or echo really badly.  The games are running slower too and freezing up on me as well. I didn't have these issues before the update. 


    So I have two questions.  The first is related to the first solution: start > control panel > adobe flash > advanced.  Once I get to my control panel I do not see where to find Flash...I only have a screen showing the main areas such as maintenance, add or remove programs, etc.  If I go to add or remove programs I can find flash in there but there is no "advanced" button to click.  I have no idea how to find that area to make that change and see if that solution works for me. 


    My next question is related to the 2nd solution by Starman01370.  I uninstalled adobe flash player with the uninstaller you linked to, however when I go to the file hippo site I do not see any versions prior to the 11.3.  I put it in their search field as well and only 11.3 is being offered on there as far as I can see.  I suppose I could try to search online for another file sharing site for an earlier Flash version, but I am a tad leery in downloading things from sites I am unfamiliar with. 


    At first I thought it was a possible issue with my drivers needing updating, but they are as up to date as they can be given the age of this computer (see below for my computer specs).  All other programs and software are up to date on my computer.  Though the newest version of Firefox is causing additional issues as well but I did that update after the Adobe Flash update and had the problems I described here prior to the FF update. 


    Compaq Presario V5225, Win XP Home Edition SP3, 3000+ processor, 640 MB Ram. 

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 21, 2012 6:28 PM   in reply to MelM27

    In response to your first question: I probably can't help too much there. I

    too took many of the same actions you've taken and had no success. I felt

    like there was no clear solution available (and perhaps there isn't) but

    there sure are a lot of folks having similar audio issues.


    I also wasn't comfortable using file hippo for the very same reason you

    expressed, but I was desperate. I've since discovered the Adobe download URL

    for their archived flash players. It is as follows: html.

    Their page is a bit deceiving, but the archive links can be found near the

    bottom of the page...just scroll down and select the prior version that you

    think might work for you.


    I hope this helps. Remember to use Adobe's flash player uninstaller first

    and not Window's "Add Remove Programs located in the Window's control panel.

    Don't ask me why 'cause I don't have an answer other than I read it

    somewhere when I was searching for my fix.


    I just reviewed one of the adobe archive zip files that I could have used (but didn't). They appear to contain installation setups for a variety of Operating Systems. If you're running XP, then I believe you'd extract (from the zip file) and run a program like:

    fp_11.2.202.235_archive/11_2r202_235_32bit/flashplayer11_2r202_235_win 32bit.msi.


    For what it's worth: the installation file I used from File HIPPO was named install_flash_player_ax_32bit.exe.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 22, 2012 3:51 PM   in reply to Starman01370

    First, my system specs:


    Form: laptop, Dell Inspiron 6000 (Nov. 2005)

    CPU: Pentium M, 1.60 GHz

    Memory: 504 MB

    Audio Device: SigmaTel C-Major

    OS: XP Home Edition, Version: 2002, SP3

    Browser: IE 8, 32-bit


    Thanks, Starman. Your input was most helpful. In applying your recommendations, all went well -- up to the stipulated archived version of Adobe FP. As it turns out, adopting Wildboar's selection of an older version of FP (i.e., was an essential last step. I also should add that your follow-on posting, which included the alternative Adobe Flash Player archives link, was very helpful.


    BTW, here's a brief FYI on specific symptoms (mostly stuttering and some momentary and intermittant freeze-ups) of my audio distortion problem:


    I had no problems with CD/DVD playback or with playback of Windows Media Player or iTunes content.


    The specific problems I encountered were with YouTube and other on-line media playback.


    While I don't know for sure how widespread this problem might be, or to what degree Adobe's most recent updates might be implicated in these audio problems, I nonetheless hope that Adobe is taking proper notice. ...


    After all, this has been one momunental pain in the ***!

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 26, 2012 9:32 PM   in reply to Starman01370

    Thanks Starman - I am happy to report that by installing v. 10.3, I no longer have any issues (11.2 does not have the most recent security patches so I went with 10.3 which does).  Incidently, I mentioned I didn't have any issues with YouTube or other media type video players but soon after I posted that I started to have those stuttering and freezing issues on there as well.  I haven't checked yet to see if installing the earlier flash version solved those issues but I assume and hope it will.


    By the way, I found the info and link to the 10.3 version via the Firefox forums - it is a known issue where others are having these same video and sound issues after having installed the latest version of both FF and Adobe Flash and both are working to solve the hopefully it will all be resolved with the next updates. 

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 4, 2012 6:09 PM   in reply to MelM27

    Yesterday I got an update from Adobe Flash saying it was the newest "fix" for firefox users to alleviate the issues many were reporting.  So I upgraded back to 11.3 with the reported updates, however it did not resolve the echoing/stuttering sound issues - still getting that with the 11.3 version.  So back to 10.3 again where I had absolutely no sound issues after I downgraded it last week. Sigh. 

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 4, 2012 7:05 PM   in reply to MelM27

    I appreciate the on-going follow-up and feedback from other folks who, like myself, are plagued (apparently) with sound distortion problems resulting from the downloading of Abobe's most recent Flash Player update.


    I should mention that in the case of MelM27 (and in the case of another poster whose name I can't recall just now) the OS environment they operate in (i.e., Firefox) differs from mine, which is MS XP.


    I mention this because I'm not certain whether the outcome of my downloading Adobe's latest FP "fix" and then re-downloading version 11.3 into my XP environment will be any more successful it has been for the two Foxfire users.


    For me personally, it would be particularly helpful to receive feedback from anyone in this chatroom who is experiencing this problem and who is also a XP user.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 5, 2012 3:13 PM   in reply to John Patrick Ryan

    John Patrick Ryan: I'm running XP Pro and use IE8, but after reading

    MelM27's most recent post, I've opted not to waste my time Beta testing

    another supposedly Adobe G/A flash player update. Since I re-installed back

    to an earlier flash player version, life has been good on the sound front.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 5, 2012 3:38 PM   in reply to Starman01370

    I did likewise -- with similarly satisfactory results. For now I'm standing pat with v. 10.3.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 26, 2012 1:44 AM   in reply to John Patrick Ryan

    I haven't checked this thread since the last time I posted here but I popped back in here to see if there was any new info. I actually tried to update again when I received an update notice from Adobe a week or so, maybe two weeks back - I thought/hoped they made yet another fix to this issue, but nope...still same problems so back to 10.3 I went again. 


    John Patrick, regarding your post above about using a different OS than those of us who use Firefox....Firefox is the browser I use, but I have the same OS as you.  I have MS windows XP 2002 Home Edition  SP3.  I thought this was an issue just between Firefox and Adobe but I guess others are having similar issues using other browsers too.  I am still using v. 13 of Firefox and have not updated to v.14 yet...afraid to do so with all these issues so I am keeping things as they are for the time being. 


    EDIT TO ADD: I just found another thread that was also talking about this issue and found out v. 11.4 has been released (as of 8/21 I believe) and a few were reporting it solved all issues for more sound or video problems.  This is good news!    I haven't tried it yet but hoping it really does solve all these issues. I think it was advised to uninstall the older version (with Adobe uninstall tool not your computer's uninstall) and rebooting computer, then install the newest version to be sure no remnants are still on your computer of the older version. 

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 26, 2012 9:13 AM   in reply to MelM27

    You're much braver than I. I had a sneeking suspicion that if I updated, I'd

    be disappointed. Thanks for saving me some unwanted grief!

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 13, 2012 5:08 PM   in reply to Alkaid47

    I run Windows XP Home Edition SP3 32-bit (x86 processor) using a Pentium 4 CPU 2.53 GHz with 2.00 GB RAM.

    I also have an excellent sound card (Creative Sound Blaster) but just a generic video card because I don't use my computer for advanced gaming or any other advanced video application.

    I WAS using the latest version of Google Chrome, which has the latest version of Adobe Flash Player built in. This gave me no choice about which version of Flash Player to use. Even though I uninstalled the self-standing Flash Player from my system, Google Chrome still had Flash Player built-in.

    Recently I too began having distorted sound quality while watching YouTube videos. Quality would worsen if I scrolled down on the same page as the video or if I had another tab open where I was scrolling. The audio/video would even play at slower speeds.

    I switched to HTML5 on YouTube and the problem was immediately solved. That is, for videos which use HTML5.

    However videos that do not use HTML5 and still use Flash Player were still having the same sound quality issues.

    I also ran Angry Birds Chrome online ( on Google Chrome in order to test basic gaming. It had the same buggy sound problems as it had on YouTube.

    This told me that the problem lies squarely with the newest build of Adobe Flash Player.

    I then installed the newest Firefox 32-bit (while luckily retaining all of my bookmarks from Chrome) and uninstalled Google Chrome. At that point Flash Player was completely uninstalled on my computer.

    I then chose to install an older build of Flash Player.

    Video and sound quality now work perfectly fine on YouTube with the newest Firefox and the older version of Flash Player on my computer:

    Mozilla Firefox 16.0.2

    Adobe Flash Player

    I also ran Angry Birds Chrome online again, this time using Firefox, even though it is supposedly designed for Google Chrome only. It ran perfectly fine on Firefox, without any of the buggy sound problems that it had when I tested it on Chrome.

    I do not plan to ever go back to using Google Chrome again. I think it is a poor idea to have Adobe Flash Player built into Google Chrome. These two applications should be separate.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 8, 2013 2:46 PM   in reply to Brucenator

    I had a problem with cracking or popping, more blaring than anything after a recent update (this was happening in all browsers and all flash and youtube vids). Resolved by reinstalling 10.3 as suggested. Thanks!

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2013 9:48 AM   in reply to monkeywren

    @20. monkeywren

    Same for me. But I am not sure yet, if I downgrade or wait for an update.


    Sometimes I start to believe in conspiracies. That new grapics drivers that make old graphic chips slower or new flash versions that start to stutter, crackle and crash older systems have the purpose to make us buy new hardware.

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