Why won't my internet browsers play sound?
February 10, 2005 3:53 PM   Subscribe

OSXFilter. My girlfriend has a problem with playing sound in her browsers: "I just got a new G5 running Panther. I have Safari, IE, and Firefox installed, and suddenly none of them will play any sound. Flash, Java, media files, nothing makes sound when it's running through a browser. Other applications play sounds fine." [+]

"Safari and Firefox don't seem to have an option to toggle sound playing. IE does, and it's set to play sounds. I'm concerned because this is nearly an out-of-the box problem. I do think I got some sounds out of browsers in the first couple days of using the machine, but I can't swear to it. What could possibly be causing this?"
posted by kenko to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
The "Sound" control panel lists the output device used. It also allows you to set the output device. It's possible that the output device is set to, say, the digital out, and therefore it does nothing- and perhaps some applications ignore this?

Do *all* other apps play sounds? iTunes? QuickTime Player? What about the volume keys- they should beep when you hit them- are they making sounds?

Additional note: Flash and Quicktime Player, when in a browser, have mute/volume controls- make sure the plugin itself isn't muted.
posted by thethirdman at 4:22 PM on February 10, 2005

If it's a brand new machine, use the Restore discs to reimage the machine. If the problem remains, call Applecare before your 90 days are up (unless you bought the extension).
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:28 PM on February 10, 2005

I've never heard of this issue, and Google isn't being much help. Here's something she can try to determine if just running a browser blocks out sound:

With the browser active, does she hear the alert "pings" when she hits the volume up or down keys on her keyboard?

On preview: thethirdman, if the output setting works in one app, it will work in all apps. It only affects the signal going to what's on the other end of the wire. -- Which brings up an additional question for the OP:

Is your GF's mac connected to speakers or is she using the internal speaker?
posted by pmbuko at 4:28 PM on February 10, 2005

Also make sure that she isn't running Audio Hijack Pro or any APE components are installed. These can cause odd issues. If the machine is brand new it's unlikely that these are causes.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:29 PM on February 10, 2005

iTunes plays, and the output is to external speakers.
posted by kenko at 4:55 PM on February 10, 2005

I think it'd be worth running Disk Utility's Repair Permissions option. I used to be dismissive of Repairing Permissions (people tend to consider it a panacea), but it really *does* fix some odd situations, and just today (I'd just installed OS X 10.3.8), I saw that the permissions for some of my browser's plug-ins were set wrong. On a brand new G5, it would probably only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
posted by kimota at 5:12 PM on February 10, 2005

kimota, good call. Unlike OS 9 and earlier's "zap the PRAM" panacea, rebuilding permissions does work a lot of the time.
posted by pmbuko at 5:27 PM on February 10, 2005

test it this way.

Take a quicktime file and drag it into safari?

Does it play sound?

Go to a flash site (like homestarrunner.com). Sound there? No?

Go back to the QT file? Sound?

Create another user and see if you have problems in both places.
posted by filmgeek at 8:01 PM on February 10, 2005

Create another user and see if you have problems in both places.

That's a very good test.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:39 PM on February 10, 2005

Update: same problem for two users. Tried playing an mp3 from within Safari (on the logic that iTunes works and uses Quicktime (is this correct?)), no dice: "it doesn't recognize the browsers as apps that can open those files". Repair permissions didn't work.
posted by kenko at 10:24 PM on February 10, 2005

Kenko, consider having her back up files and use the Software Restore discs to set up her machine from scratch. You might as well do it now before she really gets into using the machine. If the problem remains, call Applecare and get warranty support while you're within the 90-day grace period.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:50 PM on February 10, 2005

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