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I'm looking for suggestions to either fix or further diagnose an audio problem I'm having. The components involved are a Mac Mini (Late 2012) running 10.13.6 and a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 USB audio interface.

Starting two days ago, audio output would stop after some amount of playback, ranging from a few seconds to 10 minutes. While playback is broken, recording has been working correctly. The system has had no software upgrades or installations in the past few weeks.

Switching the Scarlett to a different USB port caused everything to start working again temporarily. When it failed on the new port, switching back to the original also worked temporarily.

Suggested fixes such as trashing audio preferences and doing a SMC reset have had no effect.

Attaching the Scarlett to an obsolete MacBook Pro (Mid 2009) running 10.11.6 doesn't seem to produce any problems.

EDIT: I was able to update to Mojave (thereby avoiding the Catalina trauma) but it resulted in no change to the symptoms.

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I had a similar issue on High Sierra with a Line6 interface; slightly different as the audio would fail if I left the machine alone for a while. It didn't sleep, my machines never do, but after some unknown period of time the audio would fail.
When it did this it would also cause any video to fail too - endlessly spinning pizza wheel when on VLC or YouTube etc.

My temporary fix at the time was to toggle my output's output frequency in Audio MIDI Setup, 44.1 to 48 & back again [or vice versa] which would be fine for another day or so.

The issue went away with Mojave [as did many other issues High Sierra was plagued with].

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I had the same experience with High Sierra, where a USB audio interface (not the same one) also would stop working after a while. Switching USB ports and/or rebooting would fix it - temporarily. The problem appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and wouldn't go away.

I fixed it by upgrading to Mojave, and haven't seen it since.

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  • Very interesting. I hadn't planned on upgrading this system exactly because audio has been working well on it. I may try your approach, though I'd like to understand why the failure would happen after so long without a problem. (And no software changes.) Feb 26 '20 at 22:33
  • I tried for a while to get an understanding of what happens when it stops working, but it wasn't at all obvious on my system. I was using a Mac Pro at the time, so it doesn't seem to be something to do with the Mac Mini as such. It has to be a software issue of some kind. I was using a USB hub and that might have had something to do with it - is yours plugged in directly to the computer?
    – jksoegaard
    Feb 26 '20 at 22:37
  • Direct. I've also tried minimizing the other things attached with no change. I would have thought that a USB failure would be device-level rather than output only. I also tried reduced volumes in case there was some kind of overload cut-out...nothing obvious there either. Feb 26 '20 at 22:41
  • Also, no related messages showing up in console logs (which originally made me think it was internal to the Scarlett). Feb 26 '20 at 22:42
  • Same here - there isn't much to go on. I was using a USB audio interface from a different vendor.
    – jksoegaard
    Feb 26 '20 at 22:48

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