No sound from Google Chrome: Adobe Flash issue and workaround

Adobe Flash has no place in the modern web.  Unfortunately there are many sites that still use it, so it can’t be ignored entirely. This weekend I found I had no sound in my browser and it turned out to be Flash-related.  This is what I found…

No sound in Google Chrome

Over the week, I tend to accumulate open browser tabs of things that look interesting but which I haven’t got time to read/watch in the working day. Written content is simple enough (it gets saved to Pocket, and then not read from there instead), videos are less straightforward.

Anyway, I’d finally got round to watching a video link I’d been sent and found that I had no sound. Strange. Windows sound was working – I could test from Control Panel and in other apps – it seemed to be a problem for YouTube in my browser (Google Chrome).

A bit of digging turned up a Google Groups post that sounded similar.  Whilst the issue was reported to affect Flash 11.3 and I’m running 11.5.31.2, I did follow a link to Adobe’s Flash Player 11.3 Audio Update, which suggested I knock my sound quality down to 16 bit 44,100Hz (CD Quality). That did the trick – and is perfectly fine for playing MP3s and YoutTube videos…

What are all of these Flash versions anyway?

As Michael Horowitz explains in a defensive computing post, Flash versioning is, to put it mildly, a mess. Added to that chrome://flash tells me that I’m using something called Pepper Flash, which I’ve never installed but it turns out is part of Google Chrome 21 and later (I’m on 23.0.1271.95) to provide better sandboxing, among other things.  You can find details of the version of Flash installed (and the latest version) on Adobe’s Flash Tester and Michael also has information at his Flash Tester site.

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