I can confirm the same or similar problem happens using Bose Companion 5 USB speakers on Vista-SP1 32bit edition.
The problem is best described as intermittent stuttering, from mostly minor but always present, to sometimes strong 'dropouts', a few times loosing the USB connection alltogether. Sounds a bit like my tapedeck sounded many years ago with a dirty tape.
I tried to find any offending driver or anything that could interfere with the audio driver to no avail. The Vista installation is clean and up-to-date w. regard Microsoft updates. Disabled the built-in AC97 soundchip in the Bios, removed all sound related drivers. Removed all special codecs. The speakers are connected directly to a USB 2.0 port without a hub.
I then tried the Companion 5 speakers under Windows-XP SP2 and Ubuntu Linux on the same PC hardware (multiboot). Under both these Operating Systems the Companion 5 speakers perform flawless USB audio, no installation problems of any kind, no stuttering of any kind, just very perfect sound.
Next I tried an external Soundblaster Audigy 2 NX USB card on Vista, connecting it with stereo cable to the line input on the Bose speakers. No stuttering whatsoever occured. Only this way you loose the 5.1 audio, and it is not so nice looking, since the line input is on the desktop volume control hockey puck. So the Audigy USB card was able to do good non stuttering USB audio on Vista!
As far as I can tell the stuttering really is a Vista / Bose specific USB Audio driver problem.
It seems that the API for the USB audio driver has changed slightly under Vista as compared to XP, and the driver must actively request / configure realtime performance from the MSWMM subsystem.
Hoping Bose or Microsoft will release a USB audio driver fix very soon now.
Originally Posted by Pomle
I have a Bose Companion 5 USB Sound System. Very often there is a barely noticable stutter. Almost like the sound is timestretched. I can not reproduce it by either intense disk or CPU usage it just happens intermittently.
Sometimes the stutter becomes very intense for a few seconds and then all computer sound shuts of entirely without any message from my system. Applications continue playback like normal.
Doesn't seem to be a problem with the Bose hardware since it works fine on other computers (iMac/Dell XP Laptop).
I'm running Vista x64 and have all the latest updates.
Any ideas what could cause this annoyance?