Troubleshooting mp3 Sound Problems

  updated Mar 14, 2002


1.) Sound starts and stops repeatedly:

If you using the standard Windows Media Player version 6.4 or earlier to listen to the mp3 files, that player has the annoying characteristic that it will often try to play the sound while it is being downloaded. So, it plays for just a moment and then it stops for a moment while it downloads more of the sound file and then plays another tiny bit and stops again. This makes a very choppy, interrupted sound during the download. Very annoying.

After the first bit of audio starts you can hit the stop button (the square symbol) on the media player to tell it to shut up until the file is completely downloaded.   When the download is finally completed, you can hit the play button (the triangle symbol) and it should then play the complete file without any hesitations.

This annoyance has been mostly solved with the new Windows Media Player version 7. See section 3 below for more information.


2.) No sound at all:

If you've never heard any sort of sound other than a beep from your computer, perhaps you need a computer service person to take a look and see what you need in order to play sound files.

If you have previously heard music played on your computer, then check the simple things first: Are your speakers plugged in and turned on? Is the speaker volume control turned up?

As another test,  Click here to try a wav file

If you don't even hear that wav file being played, then you probably need to consult your computer supplier or a service person. Or perhaps it will all work ok if you download the latest sound player. I recommend the Microsoft Media Player version 7  (version 6.4 for the Mac) as described below in section 3. 

If you do hear the words "test, hello" from the wav file, that is very encouraging, and perhaps your computer only lacks an up-to-date mp3 player which you can easily update as described in section 3 below.


3.) Microsoft Media Player:

You can get mp3 players for free from many sources. Many of them are fine products, but some may cause problems. If you are having any sort of sound problems, I recommend downloading the latest version of the Microsoft Media Player, directly from Microsoft.

You can get the latest Microsoft Windows Media Player for both PCs and Mac for free from  

As it initially starts up, The new version 7 Media Player player has a lot of flashy graphics that can be turned off by using the "skin chooser" to select either "Classic" or "Miniplayer".... I like the Miniplayer for everyday use. But there are a lot of features such as adjusting EQ, altering the surround sound or creating playlists that you can only do in the Full Mode.

Also, the Windows Media Player software loads very slowly when the Full Mode is used, but it loads almost instantly when in "Miniplayer" or "Classic".

To turn off the goofy little square box that appears on the screen with the alternate skins, go to the "Options" menu, select the "Player" tab, then under player settings turn off  "when in compact mode, always display anchor window".


4.) WinAmp Audio Player:

If you don't like the Microsoft Windows Media Player, take a look at WinAmp. It loads very quickly and starts playing almost instantly. You can get it for free at .

When you are downloading a file via the internet, Windows Media Player tries to start playing before the complete file is downloaded, and sometimes gets into that annoying start/stop herky-jerky audio playing. In contrast, WinAmp downloads the entire audio file before starting to play, and does not have that herky-jerky problem.

I use Winamp as my standard music player for mp3 and wav audio, rather than the Microsoft Windows Media player.


5.) Saving the Audio Files on your computer:

It is possible to save any mp3 file by pointing your mouse at the desired sound file on a web page, right clicking the mouse and selecting  "Save Target As...". In this manner, you can make your own collection of mp3 sound files that are stored on your own computer. When the files are stored on your computer, you can listen to them at any time without even being connected to the internet.

Then, using the mp3 audio files that are stored on your computer, you can make your own playlists of music to listen to on your computer without being connected to the the internet. Or, you can use the m03 audio files to make your own CDs, or you can even make your own tapes using the audio line out from your computer sound card