If my computer plays a system sound while Firefox is loading, or while it has an open tab containing content with sound, the system sound file is terribly distorted; raspy and buzzy like it is playing over continuous, heavy static.

  • This happens even if the Firefox sound content is not actively playing, although the symptom is much worse if it is.
  • Once Firefox is loaded, and if it has no tab open containing sound, system sounds play normally.
  • The problem does not happen while Firefox is loading if it loads in safe mode. This is curious because safe mode disables only extensions and none of the extensions deal with sound.

  • To clarify, there is no actual static, that's just what the distortion sounds like.

  • Other than this quirk, everything sound-related functions normally, and the symptom is not dependent on the specific sound file I use.

The reason this is a problem is that I auto-load Firefox at startup. I also have the computer play a system sound file associated with log-in. Log-in triggers the sound file, which then plays while Firefox is being loaded. I also use a little timer app as an alarm clock to alert me while I'm on the computer. It uses system sounds. If it goes off while I'm in Firefox, the sound is distorted if certain content happens to be open.

This is a minor problem, and it can be solved by simply not playing a login sound and ignoring a less than melodious alarm. However, it is functionality that is not working as it should and I would like to fix it.

I'm running Debian Wheezy with KDE. System sounds are configured to use the KDE sound system. Firefox is V38 (the latest available).

Any suggestions for a fix?


I have similar problem with the VLC backend (the default), even without autostarting anything. I have been using the GStreamer backend, which does not produce distorted login sound. You can install it using apt-get install phonon-backend-gstreamer. Then make sure it is the preferred backend in System Settings > Multimedia > Backend by moving it to the top.

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