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Kodi Krypton 17.6, ProjectM causing audio skipping and stuttering with certain presets on older processors

29th of January 2018

Good day, all!

Firstly, apologies if I am posting this to the wrong forum, if that is the case please direct me to the correct one.

This is a bug report, actually two bug reports in one.

I have a dedicated media server connected to my 1080p HDTV.

On Saturday morning I upgraded the operating system from OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 to 42.3. In the process my version of Kodi was upgraded from 17.4 to 17.6.

Firstly, congratulations, the first thing I noticed when using ProjectM was that the responsiveness to the music seems to have been improved!

However this change seems to have caused a new issue on my setup. It seems to me to have come at the cost of CPU cycles.

Relevant specifications for my box are as follows:

HP Proliant N54L Microserver purchased in 2013
AMD Turion II Neo N54L 800Mhz dual-core CPU
8Gb RAM - 2x 4Gb DDR3 DIMMs
ATI Radeon 5450 graphics card with 1Gb of RAM

All video hardware acceleration settings have been enabled in the Player/Video section of Settings.

The new problem I have picked up in version 17.6 is now that certain presets are causing the audio output to skip and stutter. This was never an issue with version 17.4 under Leap 42.2.

By far the majority of my presets are not causing any problems at all, and most of the time music playback is perfect. This problem happens both when playing audio files and with the ShoutCAST2 plugin.

My visualiser settings are as follows:

Render Quality: Maximum
Shuffle Mode: On
Smooth Preset Duration: 15 secs
Preset Duration: 25 secs
Beat Sensitivity: 70%

I have 1960 presets installed at present so trying to isolate and remove the ones that are causing problems is going to be a lot of work.

I tried turning the render quality down to low with four of the presets I discovered were causing this issue, but it didn’t help at all.

I spent some time monitoring the kodi.bin process with top. Most of the time top was using between 60%-80% CPU, however it did go as low as 40% and sometimes up to 90%, depending on the preset. I also noticed sometimes it was operating in the range of 106%-119% (presumably utilising both cores), without any problems.

It’s definitely not a memory issue, top was reporting over 4Gb main memory free.

However when kodi.bin was in the range of 102%-105% CPU, the skipping and stuttering audio occurred.

You may find four of the presets that I determined were causing this particular problem here:


Please don’t suggest to me that I upgrade my CPU to solve this problem, firstly I think it is an integrated unit with a motherboard that was designed for this CPU, and secondly if I investigated and discovered that an upgrade was possible, because the motherboard is so old I severely doubt that they are still manufacturing CPUs that will fit it. For everything else that I would ever need a media server to do, the CPU is quite adequate and it was perfectly adequate for ProjectM up until Kodi 17.4. If I have to buy an entirely new box just to fix this particular problem the cost would not be justified.

The next bug that I want to report is a long-standing issue. It happens when playing audio files and does not seem to be restricted to the type of audio file. What happens is that right at the end of the track, just before the next track, Kodi crashes. Less frequently, Kodi just freezes and I have to kill the process manually. When last I Googled this problem on the Kodi forums, the suggestion was to turn of visualisation completely. This is not very helpful. The main reason I use Kodi to play music in the first place is for the ProjectM visualisation. If my intent was just to play audio without visualisation, I would just use something like VLC, which I frequently do when I am working. ProjectM is one of the plugins that makes Kodi so great!

This was a major problem with version 17.4, it would crash after every third or fourth track, which made the music player virtually unusable except when playing long audio files like DJ sets. I am pleased to note that the situation is much improved as of version 17.6, but still not completely solved. It has happened six times since my upgrade and since then I have played the equivalent of about twelve albums worth of audio files.

You may find the crash logs for the five of these times here:


The sixth time it froze and I had to kill the process. Unfortunately I am not able to provide a crash log for that occasion.

Finally I want to just say that despite these problems, I am still a huge fan of ProjectM and Kodi generally. ProjectM is easily the best music visualisation software I have ever encountered and I absolutely love it. It is even better than most screensavers I have seen. It is probably one of the best packages available in the broad category of all graphics software. I am also a pretty big fan of the ShoutCAST2 plugin. ProjectM and the ShoutCAST plugin are two of the main reasons why I use Kodi at all. By far my preferred recreational activity is listening to music, and it is just so much better with the ProjectM visualiser!

So please do keep up the great work! :-)

Kind regards,

Edit: The audio skipping only happens in full-screen mode, with no dialogs open and without the track information displaying.
I have a temporary fix for this: turn off Shuffle Mode. As reported here: