A few days ago, my audio was fine. A little later, I noticed that trying to play video (whether through YouTube or local files through VLC or another player) would result in stuttering at points. (Each stutter is brief but clearly audible.) I've even heard the Windows Startup sound stutter occasionally in the same manner.
When running a continuous playlist of files in VLC, the stuttering seems to be fairly random -- many will play through without apparent errors, while others will have several. When playing a single video file, I've noticed that if I stop and then play from the beginning again the stutter will occur in exactly the same spot each time. If I pause, rewind, and play past that point again, it does not stutter; but if I stop and play again it's back.
In between the time when things were working fine and the time that things were not, two things changed that I am aware of (but possibly other things that I am not):
1. I removed my old RAM and installed new RAM. I think I have eliminated this as a direct cause because I tried reinstalling the old RAM by itself and the problem still persists.
2. I allowed Windows Updates to install. However I tried doing a System Restore to a time before the updates were installed and it did not resolve the problem. (I then restored forwards again.)
DPCLAT is showing red bars when I hear a stutter (there's usually one red bar, one green bar, one red bar, and then I hear the stutter).
LatencyMon appears to be pointing the finger at my graphics drivers. I have confirmed that if I set VLC to play audio only then the stutter does not occur, and if I play an affected video while the driver is not installed then the stutter does not occur. However this might be coincidental, and I have not verified with DPCLAT or LatencyMon. I have tried reinstalling an older version of the driver that I know I had running without issues and it does not resolve the problem.
I've attached the stats info from LatencyMon, in case that helps.