iTunes and QuickTime for Windows: Audio does not play or plays incorrectly

If you experience one of the symptoms below, follow the steps in this article to troubleshoot your issue:

  • A song or audiobook may play too fast or too slow
  • The audio playback may sound scratchy or muffled
  • There is no sound when playing
  • The playhead does not progress
  • Audio and video playback are out of sync

Note: Follow the steps in this article only after confirming that your audio or video file plays correctly on another computer or device.

  • Update to the latest version of iTunes.
  • Update your audio drivers
    • Check to see if you have the latest audio driver updates for your computer and any installed components. Audio driver software updates often offer improved performance for your system. Read this article to learn more about updating drivers on your Windows PC.
  • Remove third-party iTunes plug-ins:
    • On Windows XP and Windows 2000, iTunes plug-ins are stored in the following location:
      C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunes Plug-ins
      Note: The "Application Data" folder is hidden by default. Choose Tools > Folder Options in the file browser window, then click the View tab and change the "Hidden files and folders" option to "Show hidden files and folders."
    • On Windows Vista or Windows 7, iTunes plug-ins are stored in the following location:
      C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iTunes Plug-ins
      Note: The "AppData" folder is hidden by default. Choose Organize > Folder and Search Options in the file browser window, then click the View tab and change the "Hidden files and folders" option to "Show hidden files and folders."
    • On Mac OS X, iTunes Plug-ins are stored in the following locations:
      /Users/username/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
      /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
  • Disable speaker enhancements (Windows Vista/Windows 7 only):
    1. From the Start button, click Control Panel.
    2. Click "Hardware and Sound" and then Sound, or click Sound if viewing as icons.
    3. From the Playback tab, click Speakers and then click the Properties button
    4. Click the Enhancements tab, and then select the "Disable all enhancements" checkbox.
  • Enable Maximum Audio Hardware Acceleration (Windows XP only)
    1. On the Start menu, choose Control Panel.
    2. Open Sounds and Audio Devices.
    3. Click the Volume tab and then click the Advanced button from the Speaker settings section.

    4. When the Advanced Audio Properties window opens, select the Performance tab.

    5. In the Audio playback section increase the Hardware acceleration to Full.
    6. Click OK in both the Advanced Audio Properties window and then the Sound and Audio Devices Properties window.
  • Conflict with Sound Enhancer
  • Some PC audio hardware has audio-enhancing effects that can conflict with iTunes' Sound Enhancer feature. To resolve these conflicts, do one of the following:

    • Turn off the effects for your PC's audio hardware using the configuration software that came with your hardware.
    • Disable the Sound Enhancer feature in iTunes:
      1. Open iTunes.
      2. On the Edit menu, click Preferences.
      3. Click the Playback tab.
      4. Deselect Sound Enhancer.

Similar symptoms can occur if:

  • Your version of DirectX is not current.
  • The application Total Recorder is installed. Absent a compatible version of Total Recorder, the solution is to remove Total Recorder using the Add or Remove Programs control panel.
  • The drivers for your sound card are not current. See Updating the drivers on your Windows PC for help updating your drivers.
  • You are running any other audio applications that use Direct Sound output while listening to audio in iTunes. To see if the application is causing the conflict, exit the application while you are listening to Audio in iTunes or QuickTime. If the issue is gone you should consult the manufacturer of this application to attempt changing the output from Direct Sound to Wave Out to see if that alleviates the conflict with iTunes.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
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