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Interesting one here, I have an iMac 2011 and a MBP 13" Retina 2013, the iMac works fine every which way, both are connected at 5GHz to my router, both running Mavericks.

My MBP will jitter and pop horribly when outputting audio to my AppleTV. Audio output is fine when using Display Mirroring. Audio is also perfect when initiating AirPlay from iTunes... unless I afterwards enable AirPlay from System Preferences in which case the popping starts again.

It can't be the router because my iMac doesn't have a problem with it. It can't be the AppleTV because of the above reason. It can't be the MBP because iTunes doesn't have an issue and when Display Mirroring is on it's fine. What the heck is it then?

Can anyone think how I can output audio from the comfort of my couch to my AppleTV without having display mirroring on and without enduring horrendous bouts of skin-curling pops?

  • What are you trying to do exactly, stream a movie or play a game or what is it? – Jaqenhghar Mar 8 '14 at 8:19
  • @Jaqenhghar I would've thought it was obvious from the question but obviously I'm attempting to communicate with aliens. – Dragos Mar 8 '14 at 14:34
  • No, it's actually not clear. Changing audio output from System Preferences is not a common use case and this post is actually the first I've heard of this. And even so, the problem itself can depend on the specific app you are using or encountering the problem with - since the problem is NOT being faced with regular mirroring and iTunes Airplay and is therefore not likely to do with your WiFi or other system-wide problems. For example maybe it's an audio-mixing app that isn't buffering its output properly. Who knows. Hence, I believe, the other commenter's question - what are you trying to do. – Dev Kanchen Mar 19 '14 at 18:27
  • That said, Airplay in general does not seem to work well with third-party apps in general on the Mac. I don't know why. VLC for example doesn't output audio properly either - even in Mirroring mode. Sometimes it stutters and sometimes there's just no sound, while video is okay. So it may not be a problem specific to audio-only output, it may be a problem with 3rd party apps in general. Once you point out which specific app you want to get to work, others may be able to help. – Dev Kanchen Mar 19 '14 at 18:32
  • I was using a browser to stream music and wanted to output to AppleTV where I have some nice speakers hooked up. – Dragos Mar 20 '14 at 11:14
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The problem stopped occurring since updating OSX last night to 10.9.2.

In the fix lists is one ominous line: "Fixes an issue that may cause audio distortion on certain Macs"

Here is the support link for reference: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6114

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