OSX El Capitan USB Audio Issue

So I recently upgraded to OSX El Capitan on my main Macbook Pro. While there were many improvements and some minor bug fixes that were annoying to me but I could live with there was an issue.

See I really like high-quality audio, it’s one of my vices. So I have a fancy Woo Audio WA7 DAC headphone amp to power my stupid expensive headphones. These were part of my Christmas presents to myself a year or so ago when I spiffed up my office a little bit.

The WA7 is a USB audio device and after upgrading I found a TON of things online about how to fix this particular issue on OSX, but none of them worked. Well, I take that back. Rebooting worked, but only for a few hours/sleeps and then it was back again. I can’t waste time rebooting randomly a couple of times during the work day so I dove in looking for a more permanent solution.

It turns out this is an issue with OSX USB Audio and Thunderbolt together. In my setup I had the WA7 USB DAC plugged into a USB port on a Thunderbolt monitor, moving it from there to a simple USB 2 hub that I typically just use for a back up drive and a scanner did the trick. No more audio stopping and no need to reboot.

Sadly this answer was pretty hard to find, so hopefully this post is easier for people to search for and find a quicker solution to this annoying problem.

Posted 14 April 2016