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Update: the problem occurs using two different USB audio devices on two different ports with two different cables.

I plug an audio device into a USB port on my 2014 MacBook Pro running High Sierra 10.13.3. If I play a song in iTunes hosted locally on my hard drive, I hear audio for up to about 20 seconds. Then iTunes continues playing, but no audio comes out of the device (the device is active and powered on and makes just enough background hiss that I know it's on). If I play a video on YouTube in Chrome, I get up to a minute or so of audio, and then the video freezes (!). In all of these cases the internal speakers work fine.

If I pull down the menu bar audio icon and select internal speakers and then re-select the USB audio device, the song comes through the USB audio device again. I can't replay the frozen YouTube video.

Where can I begin to troubleshoot this?

Original question:

I have a Jabra 9470 Pro headset that I've had connected to my MacBook Pro for months if not years now. Everything has been working fine up until a few days ago.

The base is plugged into the computer via its USB jack. A few days ago, if I select the headset as the default audio device, audio sounds in it just fine for about six or seven seconds. Then it goes silent.

The Mac continues to think that the Jabra base is the USB audio device and clearly thinks that it is successfully sending audio to it.

Another USB audio device works fine, so the problem is clearly somewhere in the macOS-to-Jabra-specifically path.

I know that High Sierra has had some issues with USB audio in the past, but I can't understand what might have happened here. Are there any ideas?

  • 1
    Most likely your Jabra is failing. USB audio is nothing special, there's no special drivers for it as it's a standard. So, there's not going to be an issue somewhere in the macOS-to-Jabra path as you described. The fact that other USB audio works find pretty much rules out anything to do with macOS. – Allan May 22 '18 at 19:18
  • Thanks, @Allan; working with Jabra support on it; here's hoping. I am suspicious because there was a Jabra firmware update that got pulled down in the last week or so, but I've also read up on lots of Apple issues with USB Audio connections in High Sierra. Thanks for your comment. – Laird Nelson May 24 '18 at 20:56
  • Zeroing in on…something in the macOS-to-Jabra path. :-) Working with Jabra support, I've found that when the headset is used as a vanilla USB Audio device (i.e. not as a telephone headset, or softphone headset), audio will sound through it fine for several seconds and then stop—but not because something is screwed up in the headset: video played on Youtube (for example) will also freeze. – Laird Nelson May 30 '18 at 19:10
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    I'm now able to reproduce this with a different USB audio device, using a different cable and a different USB jack. Playing an iTunes song results in audio dropping out after about 17 or 18 seconds in, but iTunes thinks that it has not stopped playing the song. This looks like a deeper issue pertaining to USB audio on the Mac in general. – Laird Nelson Jun 7 '18 at 21:41
  • I have the same problem on an MBP running 10.9.5 using an ESI MAYA44 USB+ soundcard. Updating to later macOS versions is not an option. – Bombe Oct 4 '18 at 8:49
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The problem cropped up after my Mac took delivery of the High Sierra 10.13.3 update, and solved itself today when my Mac took delivery of the High Sierra 10.13.4 update.

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