This is weird, but can Sketchup Pro hijack the sound card...?

I stream audio from my Windows 10 laptop. Whenever the Sketchup window (Pro 2021) is in the foreground, the sound markedly deteriorates. Bass and treble decrease, volume drops a little. The effect is like going from FM to AM radio, so to speak. When the Sketchup window returns to the background, the audio returns to normal. It is reproducible 100% of the time.

I normally use foobar2000 for audio, but the issue is reproducible with the stock Windows audio app (Groove?) and MPV as well. Only Sketchup has that effect… Any other window (browser, email client, etc.) has no effect on sound, suggesting that the issue somehow lies with Sketchup. Which seems odd, given that Sketchup apparently has no sound functionality (that I know of).

A seemingly related issue was reported here. Has this happened to anyone else? I should add that this was not an issue in pre-2020 versions.


I have the same issue on my laptop! (Lenovo Yoga 520, Win10), but not on my desktop PC (Win10). I have the issue regardless of where the sound is coming from (VLC, YouTube, Spotify). I use SU Pro 2021.

I have a W540 Lenovo laptop. Two more observations:

  • Sketchup causes the issue but not LayOut
  • Whenever Sketchup saves a file, the audio returns to normal while the file is saving, and stays normal until the Sketchup window loses and regains focus again.


Not even reddit is trying to respond, so I guess it’s a lost cause.

You should contact Lenovo.

Check that you have the latest driver for your Nvidia graphics, and that SketchUp is set to use those in the 3D application settings of the Nvidia control panel. IMO this could be a symptom of running SketchUp with the integrated graphics that share their memory space with all the other applications. Just a hunch, though.

I would guess that the video card is competing with the sound card for some system resource, and that you notice it only with SketchUp because SketchUp makes particularly heavy use of the OpenGL library for your graphics. But I don’t have the expertise to speculate further about a fix.

I had an issue for a while but it seems not to be happening recently and it wasn’t SketchUp specific. It just appeared to happen a lot with SketchUp because I spend a lot on time listening to music while running SketchUp.

My speakers plug into an audio jack on my Dell monitor and the audio is NVIDIA HD Audio.

Every so often the audio would slow and distort for a few seconds.

I never experimented by plugging the audio into the PC audio jack

I like that idea because it makes intuitive sense, but whenever Sketchup saves a file, the audio returns to normal while the file is saving. So the I/O activity, which strains resources, actually improves the situation. And the audio also improves when the LayOut window has focus, everything else being equal, suggesting the issue is Sketchup-specific and not resource-dependent.

@Anssi My Realtek High Definition Audio and Nvidia drivers are both up to date. Sketchup and LayOut both run off my Nvidia GPU (Quadro K1100M).

Also, this is a relatively new issue, I want to say with SketchUp 2021.

Does anyone know whether SketchUp interacts with the audio driver in any way?

Just another stab in the dark: are you using both a Bluetooth mouse and speakers/headphones?

Like you, I can imagine no reason why it would.

While SketchUp is saving a file, it must suspend graphics activity because it can’t let you modify the model while it is in the middle of save. So it still makes intuitive sense that the interference would only be when SketchUp is actively talking to the graphics. In the old days, this could be competition for an interrupt, a DMA channel, memory, or something of that sort. Today, I’m not so sure…

Do you have any extensions running (Enscape, V-ray)?

@Anssi I don’t have any Bluetooth devices connected to this system

@slbaumgartner true but the audio deterioration is not tied to graphics activity. It happens just the same whether ShetchUp is working or idle. Conversely it never happens in LayOut, even when Layout chokes on a graphics operation for an extended period of time.

@MikeWayzovski I don’t have any extensions running.

after a reboot, does the order of opening apps makes a difference?

I have not noticed that the order of opening apps made a difference.

Just wanted to chime in because I have the same issue ONLY on my laptop, not desktop:

  • no bluetooth
  • all drivers updated
  • using the built in laptop speakers
  • extensions: 1001 tools, FMS_Stair, CleanUp3, Material tools
  • order of apps makes no difference

I think it still applies, some sort of hardware issue.


Normally I do not listen while I work. But I set SU to autosave every minute, opened Spotify then listened for 10 minutes watching the PC clock. I did not notice any sound variation during the time period.

Another Edit:

I am also using the sound driver by Nvidia. I have had terrible experiences with Realtek drivers.

Just to add to that, I normally stream audio through my laptop’s phone jack to the AUX input of a stereo system. But even if I play audio through the built-in speakers the issue is the same.