Pandora Playback issues

Hmmmmm…I have an issue that I think I know what it is, but not sure how to fix it. When I say “Hey Mycroft, play Pandora”, Pandora starts playing, but at super slow speed. The news plays well, but it uses a different playback method. The voice works well, but not with long utterances. The biggest thing is Pandora. I use it often and would love to have it fixed.

I agree. Mine stops after a few songs. @steve.penrod - when will this be fixed?

Hey builderjer,

From memory you have a few devices running Mycroft is that right? Is the slow playback occurring across all devices or just one?

It sounds like this is a different issue to the playback stopping after a few songs. Last time it happened, I believe there was an issue with the pianobar package that we use, but I will take a look and see what we can find.

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This one is on a fresh picroft.

I found this old pianobar issue that describes a similar issue.

The first (easiest) thing I’d try is reducing the audio quality. You can do this by editing your pianobar config which should be located at:
and add/edit the following line
audio_quality = low

Second, for at least some people it was an issue with libao. The fix there was to edit:
and change:
to read

If neither of those work I’d also be interested to see what your CPU load and memory usage look like at rest vs when Pandora is playing. I’m assuming this is a Raspberry Pi 3?


Yes, it’s a pi 3, I will try your suggestions when I get a chance. Thanks for your research.

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Neither of these options worked for me. How do I show CPU usage while running Mycroft?

htop should be installed. So if you open another ssh shell and hit ctrl+c to exit the CLI.

You can just run:

This provides a nice terminal GUI to view the running processes and system resource usage.

I figured that out, and was getting ready to post here. It normally goes, with all 4 processors, between 48 and 58%. No matter if I’m playing Pandora, or not. I will try it on my other machine, not pycroft, and see what happens

Can you try running pianobar without Mycroft and see if it’s the same?

Exit the CLI and run pianobar

It should have your login credentials configured already so will give you a list of stations, just use the station number to select.

Same thing!! Arghhh!!

Tested on another machine and it works fine. Must be a pi error

As in same thing just using pianobar?

Yes, sloooooowwwww playback. Works fine on my other machine. Just not my pi. It sounds very robotic and jittery. Is there a way I can post an audio file so you can hear?

You can record from the mic and save it to a file with:
arecord -d 10 -o test.wav
d = duration in seconds - ie 10 seconds here

I’ve done a callout in the Picroft Chat channel to see how widespread this is too.

I apologize for digging up this old thread but I am experiencing this problem right now and would like to know if you found the problem back in the days :wink:

The very slow and distorted sound-playback does not only occur in pianobar but also when I play selfmade arecords via aplay.
But it doesn’t occur in all audio-outputs - I can listen to the news-skill (German WDR2-Radio) without problems.

I use a Raspi 3B+ with the latest stable release of picroft and a Respeaker 4Mic-HAT.
The audio-output is configured to the raspberrys own 3.5inch plug in the raspi-config.

I replaced alsa with pulse and set the pianobar-quality to low as suggested above but the problem remains.
I can`'t see a change in htop with or without running a pandora-playback. One core goes to max. 50% while the others remain at 5-15%.


I have had the same problem with Pandora. However I did the following and somehow it seems to have helped:

  1. I updated and then upgraded my Raspberry Pi (version 3).
  2. I rebooted my Pi
  3. I tried using a different skill (news skill) then retried the Pandora skill

Frankly I am not sure what really helped, but I can listen to Pandora now. I just hope this is a good fix - only time will tell.,


Thank you for your help :slight_smile:

I already tried this last week (and now a second time) but sadly without success.

Another user had similar problems which were originated within pulse-audio, so I will remove it later to check if the problem persists if I am only using ALSA (it’s a shot in the dark but who knows ^^).

Since my primary goal for mycroft is to control the lights and powersockets in my livingroom and my beloved kodi-mediacenter (and maybe learn a little python on the way :grin:) I will focus on these tasks first.

If I find the time I will try a new, clean install of my rpi3 and then test pandora again next week.
This post will be updated if I find something useful.

Changing /etc/libao.conf to default_driver=alsa worked for me?

The package I had to install was libao4 on Debian 9. My understanding is that this is for programs that use alsa directly when pulseaudio is the system default? Anyone?

Linux sound…ugg

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I seem to be having the same issues described in this post. All audio is crystal clear except for Pandora. Pandora music sounds slow and distorted.

I have tried settings “audio_quality = low” in the .config/pianobar/config file

I have also tried changing the “default_driver” to “pulse” in the /etc/libao.conf config file

Resources look okay during playback while monitoring with htop.

If I launch Pianobar independently, enter my Pandora credentials, and launch a playlist, the audio quality is fine. The problem only occurs through the Pandora skill.
UPDATE - If I manually launch Pianobar from the CLI without “sudo” I still have audio issues. If I manually launch Pianobar from CLI with “sudo” I do not have any audio issues.
UPDATE2 - aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav = audio issue. sudo aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav = no audio issue. I think I am getting somewhere…

Any help would be very much appreciated!