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I'm stumped: Why is my Mac Chrome & VLC audio so "reverby" now?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by ejacobsen, Dec 5, 2018.
  1. ejacobsen
    The audio from chrome browser and VLC on my mac mini is distorted as though an echo or reverb has been applied., The same audio files or YouTube video played in Firefox, Safari, Quicktime and Preview sound fine. Further, Chrome and VLC on Windows 10 on the same Mac Mini via Parallels are fine too. And I have no such issues with my MacBook Pro.

    I've been trying for hours today to isolate the cause and I'm officially stumped. Hoping my Head-fi friends have some suggestions.

    System: Mac Mini late 2012
    OS: MacOS Mojave 10.14.2
    Chrome Browser: Version 71.0.3578.80 (Official Build) (64-bit)
    VLC: 3.0.4
    Audio Output Devices: Headphone jack, Denon PMA-50, Monoprice THX AAA

    Symptoms: Playing audio through Chrome Browser via YouTube or dropping a downloaded audio file into Chrome or VLC results in audio that sounds reverby while playing the same audio via web or direct file playing through Firefox, Safari, Quicktime or Preview sounds normal. Doesn't matter what output device I use. Headphone jack or DACAmps produce the same results.

    I've tried the following today:
    1) Looked for audio settings that might effect this in Sound Pref Panel, AudioMIDI Setup, Chrome and VLC (couldn't find settings that would do this)
    2) Changed bit rates and sampling rates for output devices in Audio MIDI Setup panel (no effect)
    3) Reset SMC and Pram on mac.
    4) Deleted and re-installed Chrome Browser and VLC, including helper files and restart (no change)
    5) Updating to most recent OSX version (no change)
    6)Searched web and head-fi for other solutions. None found.

    It's odd to me that the effect is present in both Chrome and VLC but not in the other browsers and players. That should indicate it's an app settings issue, but I can't find a setting or switch that I've mistakenly set wrong.

    Please put on your mystery solving hats and let me know if you have a potential fix for this.

    Thank you in advance!

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  2. ejacobsen
    Mystery solved. I was able to eliminate the mystery reverb in Chrome and VLC by completely uninstalling all EQ related apps. I had JoeSoft HEAR and 2 SonarWorks apps installed but not currently running. And even with a fresh reboot and not running any EQ app, something in these apps or their supporting preferences appears to have affected the signal path of the mac but only in Chrome and VLC. I suspect HEAR was the culprit since it's an application written several years ago and would not run after the latest OSX Mojave update. So I uninstalled all 3 EQ apps including their supporting apps and preferences and the reverb issue appears to be gone. But I love these EQ apps for some listening and will add them back one at a time starting with Sonarworks.
  3. ejacobsen
    Does anyone know who created the JoeSoft HEAR EQ app? I'd love to ask them some questions.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  4. mushin1989
    I had this issue anytime I used some included 'Soundblaster Experience' software which came with my motherboard. It added this insane reverb and I have no idea whatsoever why anyone could want that.

    On the off chance anyone ever googles this issue, what OP says is absolutely right, check out any and all EQ software.
    ejacobsen likes this.
  5. ejacobsen
    Thank you, mushin1989. I was beginning to think I was all alone in this. :)
  6. mushin1989
    Never alone in audio or life!
  7. hifip
    Glad you’ve sorted it. I was going to ask whether you’ve just moved into an old church or something

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