Skip (audio playback)

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A skip occurs when a phonograph (gramophone), cassette tape or Compact Disc player malfunctions or is disturbed so as to play incorrectly, causing a break in sound or a jump to another part of the recording.

Vinyl gramophone records[edit]

Vinyl records are easily scratched and vinyl readily acquires a static charge, attracting dust that is difficult to remove completely. Dust and scratches cause audio clicks and pops and, in extreme cases, they can cause the needle (stylus) to skip over a series of grooves, or worse yet, cause the needle to skip backwards, creating an unintentional locked groove that repeats the same 1.8 seconds of track (at 33⅓ rpm) over and over again. Locked grooves are not uncommon and are even heard occasionally in broadcasts. The locked groove gave rise to the expression "broken record" referring to someone who continually repeats the same statement with little if any variation.

Compact Discs[edit]

A "skip" or "jump" is when laser of a Compact Disc player cannot read the faulty groove or block of data. Skips are usually caused by marks blocking the path of the beam to the disc, e.g. a finger mark, hair, dirt in general, or a scratch. As a result, a Compact Disc player without electronic skip protection, depending on the player's instruction codes, may do one of the following:

  1. Repeat the previous block of audio
  2. Skip the faulty block
  3. Try and retry to read it causing a stopping and starting of the music
  4. Make a series of chirping noises.

In a computer, the CD-ROM drive is governed by the program playing it. The drive itself has very little instruction, apart from direct instructions, such as spin up, read data etc. Normally, in a computer, if a media player is playing a Compact Disc and there is a fault on the disc, because the player reads ahead, the player will already be performing a checksum, to verify the data read is correct. If it is wrong, the audio is usually stopped depending on the player.

Cassette tapes[edit]

Cassette tape players can cause skips when the tape being played is worn or in some other way damaged.

Computer Audio[edit]

Electronic media on a computer such as mp3, ogg, or mpeg, can often skip. This is likely due to a lack of computer resources like RAM or processing power, or a corrupted, incomplete or damaged audio file.

Skipping as a musical component[edit]

Compact Disc skipping is prevalent in glitch music.

See also[edit]

References[edit]