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I've now tried a number of USB microphones with my high-end Mac (a very fast machine). While I can record just fine with a 3.5mm jack microphone, any recording from the USB microphones (via Zoom, Quicktime, whatever) comes in with a stutter - like, parts of the recording are either missing or sort of jammed on to the previous part of the sound. What is going on, how to fix that?

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Does it come with a control panel of any sort? Sounds like you need to raise the buffer so it can keep up - basically the computer is 'too busy' to process realtime.
Alternatively, try changing the input sample rate in Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup

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Rates may be variable between 16k right up to 48, 96 or 192k, depending on the device capabilities. Zoom, Skype etc don't really need more than 32k. The lower the figure, the easier it is to process.

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  • Ok I've taken it down to 16,000Hz using the Midi Setup and it's still missing chunks of my audio in a test recording :( The mic has no control panel of its own. It's this one: Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic
    – mlevin77
    Oct 18 '21 at 13:56
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    If you're using a hub, eliminate it & plug direct. If that doesn't work, then you're down to figuring out what other app is stealing the resources. test a new account, test in safe mode etc.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 18 '21 at 14:00
  • Ok I just eliminated the hub and went straight into the back of the machine. It was better, but still skipped and Audacity gave me this error: "Recorded audio was lost at the labeled location." The CPU levels on my Mac are low - I don't think it's CPU time. How do I diagnose USB bus resource usage/speed?
    – mlevin77
    Oct 18 '21 at 19:41
  • One possible cause is the machine overheating and throttling back the CPU? (If you look at the Activity Monitor or top, that looks like lots of CPU being used by kernel_task. Though if, as you say, the CPU load showed as low throughout, then that's probably not the cause.)
    – gidds
    Oct 20 '21 at 16:10
  • Are you using a good-quality (and reasonably short) USB cable? If the quality improved by eliminating the hub, that suggests USB issues.
    – gidds
    Oct 20 '21 at 16:11

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