Arun Raghavan

Extremely pithy tagline here

This is a public service announcement for packagers and users of Skype and PulseAudio 4.0.

In PulseAudio 4.0, we added some code to allow us to deal with automatic latency adjustment more gracefully, particularly for latency requests under ~80 ms. This exposed a bug in Skype that breaks audio in interesting ways (no sound, choppy sound, playback happens faster than it should).

We’ve spoken to the Skype developers about this problem and they have been investigating the problem. In the mean time, we suggest that users and packagers work around this problem in the mean time.

If you are packaging Skype for your distribution, you need to change the Exec line in your Skype .desktop file as follows:

Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype %U

If you are a user, and your distribution doesn’t already carry this fix (as of about a week ago, Ubuntu does, and as of ~1 hour from now, Gentoo will), you need to launch Skype from the command line as follows:

$ PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype

If you’re not sure if you’re hit but this bug, you’re probably not. :-)


Comments
Harvey Specter
Posted at 6:51 am August 6, 2013
Zoidberg
Reply
Author

In Arch Linux it is set to PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=30 Why 60 or 30 ms? Which is better?

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 12:21 pm August 6, 2013
    Arun
    Reply
    Author

    30ms would likely work on many systems with PA 4.0. We picked 60ms based on what would work best on most systems, across PulseAudio versions.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 6:15 am August 11, 2013
Tauseef
Reply
Author

Hi Arun, Thanks for this useful blog. I use Mageia2 system and have been unsuccessful in getting Skype to work with me. I am a great votary of open source systems but I really need to get Skype working with Mageia. Could you point out some useful literature (either online or otherwise) that I can read to get a hang of the evolution of the sound architecture in Linux – from OSS to ALSA to pulse audio?

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 9:38 am August 17, 2013
    Arun
    Reply
    Author

    Hi Tauseef. I don’t really know of such literature. If you need help solving the problem, dropping by #pulseaudio on Freenode IRC or a mail on the mailing list might help (can’t promise speedy replies, but it’s the best option).

Harvey Specter
Posted at 7:45 pm September 17, 2013
Fab
Reply
Author

Thanks a lot !!!!!!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 2:08 pm October 6, 2013
gentoo user
Reply
Author

On Gentoo this apparently is not yet fixed. Thanks for the tip.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 1:42 pm October 24, 2013
Yuris
Reply
Author

Thank You very mutch! P.S. Linux Mint 15 “olivia”

Harvey Specter
Posted at 8:15 pm November 6, 2013
chipu
Reply
Author

It worked great (Opensuse 13.1 RC2)

Harvey Specter
Posted at 5:35 am November 10, 2013
jer007
Reply
Author

Solved it (permanently?) in Xubuntu 13.10 by doing this even though you say only to do this when you pack the distro:

in command line (install gedit if needed):

sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop

then changing where it reads in gedit:

Exec=skype %U

to:

Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype %U

Then it ran fine everytime! Hope this is useful. I only had to recreate the launcher for skype to take these modifications into account.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 5:36 am November 10, 2013
    jer007
    Reply
    Author

    Thanks by the way for the solution!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 2:11 am November 11, 2013
Nathan Samson
Reply
Author

Just had a similar problem in Fedora 20. (as reference for other people).

The fix worked without any issue. Thanks

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 2:10 am December 27, 2013
    Mark Johnson
    Reply
    Author

    Same here. Fix is valid for Fedora 20.

      Harvey Specter
      Posted at 3:47 am January 23, 2014
      Mark Müller
      Reply
      Author

      I have a fresh install of Fedora 20, and had choppy sound with Skype. Running with “PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype” solved it.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 6:55 pm November 11, 2013
Sam
Reply
Author

Hi, thanks for the fix!

Just wanted to know what is “PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC” is used for from a technical standpoint?

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 11:38 pm November 11, 2013
    Arun
    Reply
    Author

    Applications can ask PulseAudio for the latency that they wish to have (the amount of time between writing out a sample and it being played out the speaker/headphones/whatever).

    Skype seemed to have some weird buggy math that only kicked in at low latencies (20-25ms or less) that caused the problem you saw. Setting PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC forces the requested latency (60 is pretty safe across most setups), making sure this bug in Skype is not triggered.

    Hope that makes some sense. :)

Harvey Specter
Posted at 12:19 am November 12, 2013
Sam
Reply
Author

Thanks, for the details! Is there more in depth on PulseAudio parameters? Probably on the PulseAudio website if any!?

Harvey Specter
Posted at 2:13 am November 13, 2013
Dirk
Reply
Author

What does “Sink callback failure: Timeout” and PAVUControl mean? Thanks

Harvey Specter
Posted at 2:22 pm November 15, 2013
chris
Reply
Author

Works great thanks

Harvey Specter
Posted at 8:14 pm November 28, 2013
Cedric Simon
Reply
Author

Thanks a lo!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 7:32 pm December 1, 2013
Gergely Szabó
Reply
Author

Opensuse 13.1 x64 THX!

sudo pico /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop

then changing where it reads in pico (or joe, or vim, or any text editor) :

Exec=skype %U

to:

Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype %U

Ctrl-o=saving. Thats it.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 10:31 pm December 1, 2013
Codedwrench
Reply
Author

I made a script in /usr/bin with Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 skype %U

that helps if you are using something like dmenu, so you don’ t have to keep typing that long command

i called my script wskype You know, (working)skype.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 7:55 pm December 29, 2013
Frogger
Reply
Author

Been driving me mad all morning. Can’t thank you guys enough.

openSUSE 12.3 (x86_64) VERSION = 12.3 CODENAME = Dartmouth

Harvey Specter
Posted at 5:06 am January 3, 2014
Roy Eberhardt
Reply
Author

This fixes the sound problem but breaks

bash -c ‘LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype’

The camera does not work. So I either have to have sound or sight, but not both.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 5:08 am January 3, 2014
Roy Eberhardt
Reply
Author

This fixes the sound problem but breaks

bash -c ‘LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype’

The camera does not work. So I either have to have sound or sight, but not both.

Labtec 2200

Tried

Exec=env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 && bash -c ‘LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype’

With no success.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 9:18 am January 3, 2014
    Arun
    Reply
    Author

    That’s incorrect syntax. You want to modify that to look like:

    bash -c ‘PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60 LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype’

Harvey Specter
Posted at 10:38 pm January 18, 2014
fishears
Reply
Author

THANK YOU, from a Fedora 20 (KDE Spin) user

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:18 pm January 20, 2014
Adam Short
Reply
Author

Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to fix this issue for ages. I can’t believe I’ve only just found your site and the brilliant solution. Works great now. I can re-enable pulseaudio and get all my sounds back. Previously I had it disabled and was using ALSA, and only skype would work.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 3:53 pm January 25, 2014
MArco
Reply
Author

Thanks, solved the issue for me as well

Harvey Specter
Posted at 2:57 pm March 17, 2014
Roberto
Reply
Author

Thank’s a lot. Are long time that I can’t use skype with my 64bit version of Ubuntu 13.10.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 8:37 am March 30, 2014
Michał
Reply
Author

I am afraid that the picture is not so rosy. So far I cannot get a sound working on Fedora 20 x86_64 installation. I tried two different machines and results are the same. Various experiments with PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC values got me nothing. Just no sound. This is with pulseaudio-4.0-9.gitf81e3.fc20. OTOH video camera from skype does work and I even managed a vertical flip of its image. :-)

An old skype-4.0.0.8-fedora.i586, which used to work in the past on that hardware, now segfaults hence cannot be used anymore.

I have also Fedora 20 i686 handy, with the same software versions, and there skype-4.2.0.13 gets its sound like expected.

Any ideas?

Harvey Specter
Posted at 1:29 pm April 1, 2014
Adi
Reply
Author

Hi,

I had the same problem when using Linphone, so I just added: export PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=60

to my .profile and now both Skype and Linphone work fine and normal audio is also still ok.

Cheers Adi

Harvey Specter
Posted at 4:08 pm April 7, 2014
gggggg
Reply
Author

ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 4:10 pm April 7, 2014
    gggggg
    Reply
    Author

    I meant thanks alot..

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:03 pm April 17, 2014
Bob
Reply
Author

Hi, on my Fedora 20 system, the default is set to 60 msec, but I had to bump it down to 30 msec to get it to work.

Thanks!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 5:44 pm May 8, 2014
babushka
Reply
Author

finally! i solved the problem! this was taking looooooong time. dammit, why pulseaudio developers never tell users, what they do or change?! skype sucks, but it’s the only way i can call my non-IT-familiy-and-friends!

i was wondering long time why command skype doesn’t work, but shortcut does. DAMN!

Harvey Specter
Posted at 5:47 pm May 8, 2014
babushka
Reply
Author

btw

env PULSE_LATENCY_MSEC=30 skype %U

works too. even 28

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:27 pm June 24, 2014
boo
Reply
Author

Now the buzzing noise has gone, but the icon I can find skype when i look for it. How did i get that back. using debian.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:28 pm June 24, 2014
boo
Reply
Author

I can’t find the sky icon…

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