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ITunes audio cuts out at random times when listening to music

This has been an ongoing issue for over a year. When listening to music in iTunes, something is causing the audio to cut out for a second or two at seemingly random momentjs. I’ve never played music. All the music I listen to is stored locally on my car. I have had the same car for several years and have not always done this. It was perfectly suited to playing music, no matter how many programs I had open or how many intense work tasks I had performed. In fact I can remember instances where I was doing some video editing that slowed the machine down to a scan strip. And even with the spinning wheel of death and everything frozen, even then, if I was listening to music, it never missed a beat. But now it seems like the slightest networking activity or the slightest bump in CPU usage not only iTunes but also audio through the VLC Player to cut. The problem persisted through more than a thorough hard drive cleanup and across multiple versions of OS X. Also, I’m not sure if this is relevant, but it appears the overall output volume is less than it was. My system in a nutshell:

  • OS X El Capitan 10.11.4
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2012)
  • Processor – 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory – 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M 512MB
  • 750 GB free from 999

I have searched the internet for an answer to this problem and so far I have come short. If anyone has any suggestions, advice or ideas; any replies to all would be highly appreciated.

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I’ve had this problem with some MP3 VBRs that I ripped a decade ago with LAME 3.92. The problem went away when I converted them to fixed rate MP3 in iTunes (File> Convert)

iTunes 12.4.1.6, Mac OS X 10.11.5

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