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Starting a few days ago, the audio will just "duck" (turn itself way down), seemingly randomly. This happens even if I am using my AirPods, so perhaps it's not even related to the audio interface? This is not app specific, it happens in multiple web browsers, Zoom, Teams, Spotify app, etc.

I have no idea how to fix this, help appreciated.

Update:

  • The issue is not entirely random - I cannot reproduce it on-demand, but when it is happening I can temporarily "fix" the issue by switching to a different virtual desktop ("Spaces") with Mission Control (via magic mouse gesture / keyboard shortcut CNTRL-Arrow). The audio drops back down a second or so after I switch back to my "home" / original desktop. This doesn't work 100% of the time, but usually it is the case.

I have JBL studio monitors as speakers, but this issue happens with multiple audio output devices: internal speakers, AirPods, etc.

Issue does NOT seem to be related to the audio interface (since it happens on output devices that don't use the audio interface), but I have the Gen1 version of this USB audio interface - Focusrite Scarlett 2i2:

There is "no" driver since it is built into macOS. The audio interface just works natively / out-of-the-box. So there is no driver I can update.

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    Have you tried rebooting and shutting down and turning back on?
    – Thinkr
    Apr 19, 2023 at 16:57
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    I mean also mean completely shut down and boot.
    – Thinkr
    Apr 19, 2023 at 16:59
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    Inform me when you have some results! :)
    – Thinkr
    Apr 19, 2023 at 17:27
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    Does it happen with the built in speakers?
    – Allan
    Apr 20, 2023 at 13:46
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    We can safely rule out hardware. The next thing to try is booting in Safe Mode to rule out any interference from 3rd party apps or kexts. I have a feeling this is a macOS bug. My USB DAC drops out after about 3 mins of use (started doing this suddenly) but speakers work.
    – Allan
    Apr 20, 2023 at 16:29

1 Answer 1

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Well, I feel quite silly, but I've figured out what has reducing the volume on my Mac:

  • the Home app

I monitor the Ring doorbell camera via the "Home" app and it will stream audio when there is something detected by the camera. When that happened, it "ducked" (reduced) the volume of any other app which was playing audio at the time.

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    Glad you got it sorted! Issues like this can be a royal PITA.
    – Allan
    Apr 25, 2023 at 20:11

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