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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

iTunes "Skipping"


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_Stormin

 
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Remember when we all used CDs? And occasionally those CD would get small scratches on them, and the music would skip.

So for some reason, my iTunes is now "skipping" on my Mac Mini. All of the songs are digital downloads and all of them work just fine on my MBA, iPhone, iPod, and iPad. No issues there whatsoever.

So I went though a ton of things trying to figure out what the heck might be going on. Checked the RAM, put in different RAM just to double check (failing memory might be causing the issue).

Then I went so far as to uninstall and reinstall iTunes.

Nothing is fixing the issue and it's driving me nuts. Normally I am capable of fixing things on my own, but I figure that I would post up here for help.


Any thoughts on what might be the issue? System specs are below.

Mac Mini 2011 model running 10.7.2
2.7 GHz Core i7 with 8GB of RAM
iTunes 10.5.2

Any help is much appreciated.
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chas_m

 
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Yeah, that definitely should not be happening.

Any chance you're running way low on free disk space on the boot drive? That could explain it ...

Anything not actually quit that sitting in the background sucking up RAM maybe? Web browsers have been known to do that ... (Activity Monitor should show if that's the case)

Does it happen immediately on restart, or does it happen after the computer has been in use for a while?
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Kevriano

 
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I agree that the most likely cause would be lack of space.
2 things I would try.
Repair permissions in Disk Utility.
Try playing the same files in VLC on the Mini, to see if it's just iTunes at fault.

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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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I would definitely take a look at how much free RAM you have and whether or not anything is suddenly sending the CPU into overdrive periodically - as Chas suggested - bring up Activity monitor and see what's going on when you experience this.
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_Stormin

 
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So ran the activity monitor while running everything and I ended up getting no spikes in activity while the "skips" were happening. No memory use of note either. 6.2GB free memory the whole time. This leads me to believe that it's just some kind of bug within iTunes.

Reporting it to Apple and I will see if they say anything back.
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robduckyworth

 
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What happens when you play files in VLC (as Kev suggested)?

Do they skip also? this would help find the cause of the skipping, be it itunes, something system level, or your actual hardware itself.

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_Stormin

 
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Thats the weird thing. It's not specific files. It's just that it skips occasionally. Different songs and in different places in the songs.

If I play the songs in anything BUT iTunes, it plays just fine. But of course, being the determined person that I am, I want the *#@% software to work... "Just use something else" may solve the problem, but it doesn't make me feel any better.
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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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I don't think anyone was suggesting that as a work around - just as a fault isolation step. I think you might want to reinstall iTunes. I can tell you - while I'm no great fan of iTunes - it has never 'skipped' on me - and I use it every day.
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Kevriano

 
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Never skipped on me either. Did you repair permissions like I suggested?

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_Stormin

 
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Yep...

Oddly enough, listening right now (have been for a couple hours) and it has been fine with one exception. About ten minutes ago it skipped once in the middle of a song. No other issues, but every time I have faith that the problem has vanished I get another skip.

Oh well. Not that hard to just play everything in a different player for the time being, or chuckle at the unsolved mystery.

I do appreciate everyone putting out all of the advice. Hopefully with the next update the issue just vanishes. I didn't have the problem in the past, so it could just be a nagging issue in the code for 10.5.2
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You never did say anything about the state of your hard drive's free space so I guess we'll never know if that is playing a role in the problem.
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_Stormin

 
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400GB remain open, and the computer is less than half a year old... I chose not to mention it because I knew that space wasn't the problem.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Stormin View Post
400GB remain open, and the computer is less than half a year old... I chose not to mention it because I knew that space wasn't the problem.
You're right, but without mentioning it WE couldn't know that so we couldn't rule it out. Help us help you, etc.
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Since iTunes communicates over the network, and network operations are pretty much notorious for making everything else stop and wait (not really the network operation itself, but the way the coder programmed it--it's a lot harder to say "hit this server, and, here, I've got a function that I want to be called when a response comes back, and until then I'll make sure everyone else can use the processor btw" than it is to say "hit this server, wait for the response, then do this next thing". If that's what's going on, it could be like this:

* Normal daily operation: itunes does its thing, and hits the network occasionally, blocking all other operations until it gets a response. The audio playback has some buffer of stuff it can play until it needs to go get more data, decode it, and play, and that is enough to not have any problems, because the network stuff is coming back quickly

* Bad day: network is slow either between you and the server or at the server end. Occasionally the audio runs out of buffer, asks the system to give it more data but the system is like "sorry bub I'm waiting for this server to talk to me hang on a sec"

PURE SPECULATION. But the first time I had this happen was after enabling Ping. I wonder if it will go away if I turn that off. Just a thought.

Did I mention that this is PURE SPECULATION? Because it is. I don't know how they have this set up, I might be completely off base. But it would explain the intermittentness.

Another thing to try--if you turn off your network when it happens, and then it goes away, that might tell you it is network communication related. (Because if the software is being smart, at least, it's a lot faster to get the response 'there's no network connection available' than it is to get "still waiting....still waiting...yeah I'm still connected, just still waiting for this transmission to complete...." or whatever.)


[EDIT: I am trying this now, I've had some skipping this morning, I just turned off ping (not obvious how to do this--you have to go to store, then your account, and then turn off ping. (I.e. the second of the methods described here: http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/7571/...-disable-ping/ ). I will update in a few hours if I have no problems after doing that. Would be great if this simple fix fixed the issue. Crossing fingers )

UPDATE: disabling ping did not clear it up, at least not completely. I am now testing another thing that might reduce its use of the network--signed out of the itunes store.

]
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Brotherbees

 
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I found this thread quite some time after you guys originally commented on it, but I've been having this skipping issue with iTunes 11 on my Macbook Pro and found that the suggestion from Kevriano to repair permissions in Disk Utility works well. Thanks for that!

I thought it was originally something to do with the outgoing connections and I couldn't use my browsers, Skype and iTunes at the same time, but this solved it. My browsers run faster and iTunes works better.
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