Sound crackling in Ubuntu 16.04

Bug #1739310 reported by Marlon Pavanello
This bug affects 7 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
speech-dispatcher (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Sometimes, when i’m watching videos in youtube or facebook, the sound is distorced with a “static sound”. After searching the web for a solution, i found this site (maybe it’s the same problem, with better explanations in english):

Always when i start the service “speech-dispatcher” for the first time while playing something with sound, the bug occurs. So, i think maybe the problem is with this “speed-dispatcher” service. When i restart pulseaudio everything becomes normal again… This problem happens in ubuntu 17.10 too. It’s a annoying bug and i don’t know the best way to report it.

My specs:
GPU: Nvidia GTX 950
Motherboard: Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 (Rev. 6.0)
CPU: AMD FX 8300

P.S: I'm using Xubuntu now but this bug occurs in all ubuntu 16.04 "family". Sorry for the bad english.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 16.04
Package: speech-dispatcher 0.8.3-1ubuntu3
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.10.0-40.44~16.04.1-generic 4.10.17
Uname: Linux 4.10.0-40-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia_uvm nvidia_drm nvidia_modeset nvidia
ApportVersion: 2.20.1-0ubuntu2.13
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: XFCE
Date: Tue Dec 19 20:50:34 2017
EcryptfsInUse: Yes
InstallationDate: Installed on 2017-11-13 (36 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Xubuntu 16.04.3 LTS "Xenial Xerus" - Release amd64 (20170801)
SourcePackage: speech-dispatcher
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Revision history for this message
Marlon Pavanello (mplife2012) wrote :
description: updated
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in speech-dispatcher (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Robin Preiss (rpreiss) wrote :

I have the same issue on Xubuntu 18.04 and Debian Stretch. It occurs on a fresh install while watching a video in Firefox. Restarting Pulseaudio does fix the issue for me as well.

I observed that when the problem occurs, I can see multiple instances of speech-dispatcher in Pavucontrol. Whenever I select a different output device for all of them, the crackling disappears. If one of them has the same output device selected as Firefox, the crackling comes back.

I could fix the issue by uncommenting the last line (DisableAutoSpawn) in /etc/speech-dispatcher/speechd.conf.

I hope it might help.

My system:
Xubuntu 18.04
CPU: Intel i3-4160
Motherboard: Gigabyte H97-D3HM
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB

Revision history for this message
giffel (xgiffel) wrote :

Affects also Xubuntu 18.10, while playing MP3 in Audacious (no other application playing any sound). I discover 3 instances of speech-dispatcher in Pavucontrol, when distortion/crackling occurred. Stop playing, wait 10 seconds and resume playing helps to recover normal sound, but speech-dispatcher instances are still there.

Revision history for this message
Kevin Freeman (kevinfreeman1101) wrote :

tI've had this problem for a number of years on a range of Ubuntu distros; I'm currently working from an Ubuntu install that I switched over to Xubuntu after some graphics issues with the standard window manager.

The problem can usually be triggered when I have too many tabs open while one of them is playing Youtube audio in a background tab. Because of this, I suspect there could be a memory allocation issue; tried increasing available browser memory, but since I really have no idea what the problem is, I figured I would post here as well. Let me know if you would like any diagnostic outputs or something similar.

Attaching some hw info. Please let me know if you would like a different diagnostic output.

Revision history for this message
Marlon Pavanello (mplife2012) wrote :

I never used this feature, so I just uninstall with "apt-get remove speech-dispatcher". It's not a problem to me, but I reported the bug for 2 reason:

- Some people maybe need this feature;
- Maybe basic users couldn't find a solution for this annoying bug and can "go away" from "linux world".

Thanks for replying

Revision history for this message
Daniel Novotny (daniel-novotny) wrote :

I was haunted by this bug for several years, yet I was not able to google the solution, because I am not a native English speaker and I did not know the English world "crackling" (shame on me) and I was not able to describe the sound degradation properly to Google.

Today I was inspecting the processes on my system and I was suspicious, because of the speech dispatcher processes: I thought they were malware, because I don't want nor need any speech synthesis on my system, so I was wondering why they run under my account.

Solved this by uncommenting DisableAutoSpawn in /etc/speech-dispatcher/speechd.conf

Revision history for this message
Peter Petrakis (peter-petrakis) wrote :

Still present in the 21.10 daily build. The "fix" is to kill the process and uninstall the package.

killall speech-dispatcher

sudo apt-get remove speech-dispatcher

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