Audio with bluetooth is awful

• May 19, 2017 - 20:26

I followed a ton of older threads trying to figure out how to get MuseScore playback to work with bluetooth speakers in the first place (at first there's no option for it in the I/O panel of Preferences, but if you pick "built-in microphone" one suddenly appears—this is already pretty weird and probably also qualifies as a bug), and when I finally got it working the audio quality was absolutely awful. The speaker kept popping and the music sounded like it had been illegally recorded on a cassette tape. It's not a problem with my computer or my speaker, as the playback had been sounding great until I plugged the speaker in, and the speaker had been sounding great with iTunes and YouTube all morning (and went straight back to sounding great when I switched back). What in the world causes such an enormous discrepancy? Is there any way to fix this in later versions of MuseScore?


Could you report your full system info and musescore version. Especially what are your settings in Preferences I/o. Does it happen with all scores? Have you tried different Bluetooth devices? What is your Bluetooth speaker model, and what is your computer's bluetooth device?

When you say the the audio sounds like illegal cassette, what do you mean? Is it clipping? Is it skipping time? Is it producing discontinuities?

I'd like to help out...I can try some tests myself.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

I'm working with the latest version of MuseScore (2.1.0) on a macOS Sierra. On the I/O page I have PortAudio selected, with Core Audio for API. I had to select "Built-in Microphone" (as opposed to "Built-in Output," which is the only other option) in the Device menu with the speaker connected in order for the name of my speaker to appear as one of the options. When I finally figured this out, I had it set to the name of the speaker. I was using a Beats Pill 2.0 (I don't actually have any others, so I couldn't try anything else). And yes, it happened with every score.

As for the audio quality, it kept popping no matter what the volume of either the computer or the speaker. By "illegal cassette" I was referring to the quality of the audio in general—you know how things sound when they're recorded professionally versus with a crappy microphone? Not sure how else to describe it, but it sounded like the first one with my computer speakers/audio jack and like the second one on the Bluetooth speaker. Everything was kind of muffled, even if I turned the volume up, sometimes enough to sound off-key even though that shouldn't be possible with an artificial soundfont.

Hope this helps!

In reply to by AFlatMinor

From what you describe as "muffled" that leads me to think that maybe PortAudio has selected a very low sample rate. Typical recorded audio is 44.1kHz sample rate, which can comtaine the whole harmonic range that a human can hear, but lower sample rates will loose some of the higher harmonic frequencies, causing the audio to loose its richness.

I think the solution is for musescore to implement #202561: PortAudio option to choose from different sample rates in QComboBox to give user control of what sample rate to select.

One thing to note, you might have a poor connection. Try moving your Bluetooth device as close to your computer as possible, restart your Bluetooth controller (or just reboot your computer), then restart Musescore. If it gets a better connection, it might be able to select a better sample rate as default. Not saying that will work...that is just a hunch.

Note that when you listen to music from iTunes that is already compressed, the Bluetooth is sending that compressed audio, so iTunes may sound just fine even though it is on a weak connection. Even when playing youtube, your os might be compressing it so it can fit over a weak connection. But musescore on the other hand is sending raw stereo wave over the Bluetooth. Also when you mention audio "popping", that leads me to speculate that it is trying to send the raw wave but can't fit it over a weak connection rate.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

actually I don't quite know much about how bluetooth negotiates connection settings.

And I think I misspoke when I said "musescore on the other hand is sending raw stereo wave over the Bluetoot" because from what I can read, it seems bluetooth can only do that if both receiver and sender supports aptX Lossless:

Anyway, looking up the "Beats Pill 2.0" speaker online, I see it uses Bluetooth 2.1 (which is a bit old), and so maybe doesn't support these newer higher quality codecs, and might just be compressing with it a low-quality builtin codec. Presumably it supports the codecs that your iTunes file and YouTube streams with, though, with would explain why it works.

I'd be curious if you could try with another program that outputs wav (and not a compressed stream such as iTunes). Maybe try opening a wav file in iTunes?? I don't know. Again, I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the particularities.

I'm having the same issue, but with Apple AirPods. Sounds fine with any other audio playback from all the apps I've tested but once I get it to connect in MuseScore the fidelity is awful. Pops and crackles and loses a lot of clarity.

I would like to leave my issue with a related problem here.

For the entire time I've been using MuseScore, I've been using the same pair of Altec Lansing Bluetooth headphones (as my AlienWare does not support a standard headphone jack, for some reason) and for the most part, they have worked with relatively no issues regarding sound quality up until a few days ago.
For some reason, no matter what I do now whenever I open up MuseScore the audio completely breaks. It doesn't sound low quality as much as it does completely destroyed. The strange thing is that every other program on my computer still works fine for these headphones except MuseScore, and it's extremely irritating for me as I can't compose anything without it playing as a distorted, warped mess of sounds blasting into my ears. Strangely, this began happening before I updated to 2.1, and while I've gotten it to work a limited amount of times, the effect never really fixes itself. Help is urgently needed.

In reply to by NTD-Gear

I don't know how to help out. MuseScore is completely unaware about is up to your OS's sound system to send the wav audio produced by musescore and send it your bluetooth headphones. So I don't think that musescore could in anyway be the cause of your problem. I suspect there was some update or some modification of your OS's bluetooth settings which caused this. The only advice I can offer is test out someone else's bluetooth headphones to make sure the headphones don't have a problem (I don't think they do), but maybe there is not enough charge for it to receive the audio. You might also try lowering sample rate of your audio driver, so that it isn't putting too much bandwidth demand on the bluetooth connection.

In reply to by NTD-Gear

It's possible that MuseScore's internal volume is turned up too high, or the OS has MuseScore's volume too high in the system mixer. First try Help : Revert to Factory Settings. If that doesn't work consult the documentation for your OS to learn how to use the system mixer.

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