After a reboot, or following the actions listed below, everything involving audio runs fine. I can watch and hear Youtube videos, and run audio software w/o problems.

About a week or two of constant uptime and typically 9 to 14 hours of use, Youtube videos won't play, but instead display an "Audio renderer error". This happens always for all videos, until I take one of these actions:

  • reboot (no thanks, I have several projects in progress up, with IDEs, video editors, etc)
  • pulseaudio --kill; pulseaudio --start but then all browser tabs that were playing audio (e.g. I always have defonic.com for ambient sounds running) go silent, and need to be reloaded. Audio software usually needs to restarted.
  • Quitting Chromium and restarting it usually doesn't help, but maybe sometimes works - I haven't been keeping notes.
  • Sometimes, closing pavucontrol lets chromium play video normally. I can even start playing a video then run pavucontrol and things are normal.
  • Occasionally, after monkeying around with JACK Audio, softsynths, browser settings, running alsamixer, or doing nothing at all, it might magically start working, at least for a while.

Having worked with various kinds of software for years, my (unreliable) intuition is that PulseAudio has a limited number of something, channels, audio buffers, whatever, that get used up or aren't properly garbage collected. I'm not sure it's PulseAudio or ALSA, or a problem with Chromium but other audio software seems to be affected.

I'm running Arch, generally never more than six months out of date, last upgrade only a month ago. The problem has been a bother since a few years ago. I don't remember specifically a first time.

  • Now I'm using Pipewire. It replaces JACK, Pulse and ALSA. Still getting these audio renderer errors from Chromium! Makes Chromium look guilty. Firefox always play audio w/o complaint (so far).
    – DarenW
    Jul 16, 2021 at 8:42
  • Found this to work when having the problem: sudo sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_watches=1048576 The number originally was somewhat over half a million. Now YT videos play normally in Chromium. For now...
    – DarenW
    Jul 17, 2021 at 6:54

1 Answer 1


I was able to fix this by unplugging the earphone from my system. You can try this trick or check other solutions here

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