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Within the last few days, when I play any song or internet stream in Clementine, it plays the first few seconds, and then goes silent.

In Banshee, when playing MP3 files, I can't use the slider to move around in the song, it is slow to effect changes, resulting in jumping around the song and not representing the position in the song accurately. There are also problems with playing internet streams, though that might be a different issue.

If that weren't enough, videos in YouTube are slow to start, and it takes a good ten to thirty seconds for the sound and video to sync up.

So, either I'm just having a world of bad luck with a whole bunch of disparate problems.

Or, I thought, maybe since they are all connected to sound in some way, maybe there is a root problem with my sound set up and all the problems I'm seeing are symptoms.

My suspicion is that this is a gstreamer issue because so far as I can tell VLC has no such problems playing audio streams. (I wish VLC had an interface that would allow me to edit and sort playlists...)

Is there any way I might diagnose this problem?

Or do I just have to live with the fact that sound drivers and audio programs on Ubuntu are flakey?

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closed as too localized by James May 22 '12 at 16:48

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Can you play local songs (not Internet radio streams) in Banshee, or do they also go silent? The Internet radio problem with Banshee is a separate bug so I'm going to remove that part from your question. – Michael Martin-Smucker Feb 9 '12 at 13:52
@michaelms: Maybe. Just because that bug exists doesn't mean you know for sure that this is the same problem with the same root. Until I know exactly what the issue is, I'm not discounting it. Also, there are problems in Banshee either way, so it doesn't make sense to remove the Banshee tag. – Questioner Feb 9 '12 at 14:44
As far as I can tell, nothing about your question is specific to Banshee except the part about radio stations, which is almost certainly a different, well-known issue. That's why I replaced the Banshee tag with gstreamer, which is likely behind at least part of the problem. – Michael Martin-Smucker Feb 9 '12 at 17:27
I have this problem too... any ideas? Also with rhythmbox :( – flux Feb 9 '12 at 19:27
@DaveMG you mention this is happening "within the last few days..." Were things working before that? Do you know of any changes you've made since then? updates? – Michael Martin-Smucker Feb 9 '12 at 20:15

I'm not sure exactly how to fix the problem(s), but since you asked for ways to diagnose the problem, some of the following suggestions might be useful:

  • Are all gstreamer players broken?

    Test out Clementine, Banshee, Rhythmbox, and Totem. Can you play the files in some media players, but not others? Does seeking work with some of those players but not others? Since all of those players are based on gstreamer, they should behave pretty similarly. If they don't, you're probably looking at a bug in a particular media player.

  • What about non-gstreamer media players?

    If the problems seem to affect all of the gstreamer players you try, it will be good to know if you can play and seek in the files using other media players such as VLC or mplayer.

  • Need some extra plugins?

    If the problem seems to be limited to gstreamer, you'll want to check your gstreamer plugins. Depending on the type of file you're trying to play, you may need to install gstreamer0.1-plugin-ugly. It's important to note that the -ffmpeg plugin allows for playback but not seeking in mp3 files.

  • Or should we blame PulseAudio?

    The bullet points above may help you narrow down the problem, but in all honesty, I'll be surprised if they fix things. Youtube playback should have very little to do with gstreamer, and much more to do with Flash's interaction with PulseAudio. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about PulseAudio to be of much use. :(

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Thanks for these tips. I'll try each out and see if I can narrow down the issue. – Questioner Feb 10 '12 at 0:51
I already had gstreamer's "ugly" plugin, but I didn't have the "bad". So I installed that, and so far it seems to have helped with at least some issues. I'll test a bit and see if it solves all of them. – Questioner Feb 10 '12 at 1:14
I have all gstreamer-plugins but the problem it persists. Clementine, Rhythmbox and Totem (I test) plays few seconds of a song and then stop :( – flux Feb 10 '12 at 8:23

First off, make sure you have your system updated.

  sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

If you have already made sure you have installed the ubuntu sound codecs that are needed to play some formats not there in the default install. This can be done through typing

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse

You can attempt to restart alsa. A guide explaining how to attempt to do this is avaible here If these do not work, I would recomend installing the Ubuntu Audio team's ppa to troubleshot sound issues by giving you more "bleeding edge" sound drivers. The instructions are avaible here and the page also contains information on other ways of getting sound information sorted out.

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