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Stuttering/Staggering Video Playback in Premiere Pro - Audio Settings

Written on September 2, 2021 by Chad Warmenhoven

Something in Adobe's software has changed recently and a number of our users are reporting an issue cause by the default audio device. If you are experiencing choppy or staggering playback, adjusting the audio hardware is likely the answer. As unlikely as it seems.


It might seem unnecessary but restarting can be tremendously helpful. Especially if ANYTHING has changed recently, such as:

  • Windows updates
  • Default audio device
  • New hardware plugged in
  • Adobe pushed an update
  • Heck, chrome crashed

Seriously, so many things can change and cause a problem in Adobe software.

Simply closing and reopening the program can often alleviate issues because the program “flushes” the processes it may be hung on and then initializes them again. And if a program restart doesn’t do the job, a full system restart just might and is always a useful troubleshooting step.


Simply changing the default input device to another device, then changing back somehow fixes the issue.

1. In Premiere go to Edit>Preferences>Audio Hardware

2. Switch from whatever the current Default Input is to a different one

3. Close out the application (restarting computer couldn't hurt, as described above)

4. Open Premiere Pro and navigate to Edit>Preferences>Audio Hardware

5. Change the Default Input device to your desired input

Done. Now attempt to replicate the issue. If the staggering is still present, move onto the next solution.


1. In Premiere go to Edit>Preferences>Audio Hardware

2. Change the Default Input to None

Interestingly, this seems to solve the problem and unless you plan to add a voiceover with your USB headsets crappy mic, it's unlikely you want this enabled at all.


For some users this hasn't worked so the following will likely solve the problem.

1. In Premiere Pro navigate to Edit>Preference>Audio Hardware

2. Change the Latency to 200

It sounds strange but surprisingly it works for some users and the staggering goes away.

What's happening

The reasons behind this issue could be unrelated but one theory I was able to reproduce was:

Windows is causing the problem.

Microsoft likes to control as much as they can, even when it's not necessary. The issue lies in a security 'feature' that blocks microphone access.

Several affected users that encountered a similar issue have confirmed that they managed to fix it by accessing the privacy settings on Windows 10 and modifying the default behavior for the active microphone so that it’s able to access the device it’s on.

To do this:

1. Right click the Start Button in the bottom left and click Settings

2. Select Privacy

3. Select Microphone on the left pane

4. Locate and select the Change option then toggle it ON


There are a number of potential causes of stuttering, staggering, and lag in Premiere Pro Video playback but a common thread we are seeing recently is related to the audio device. We aren't certain if Adobe released an update that broke something or if this has just flown under the radar until recently. Interestingly, some of our users have reported working with Adobe Technicians and their recommendation is some of the above. Hopefully they address the issue in a future update but we aren't holding our breath.

As for the security changes, the consensus seems to be: Windows controls all. That's not such a terrible thing when it helps or makes our lives easier but in some cases it can cause problems. Adjusting the microphone settings to allow access can often fix a stuttering issue which is nice.

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