After more than several releases and perhaps a couple years, I finally solved a multitude of issues. It seems that it all came down to pulseaudio and it for some reason was really breaking my system down badly. Poor performance all around, in compositing, in games, in audio, pulseaudio was the devil on my system. A horrible cracking, hissing, popping, staticky feedback from the microphone even on low was infuriating. Games stuttered horribly in framerates, some games ran great but had terrible audio and Mumble was a huge pain in the ass to get a clear sounding microphone. I'm going over these issues because out of the box, something like audio SHOULD JUST WORK. For several releases I dealt with the fact it simply didn't and tenacity led me to figure out the problem was with pulseaudio.
I've googled this issue to death and all the usual tips and tricks, workarounds and fixes didn't fix anything for me. Here's what I did and if this works for you, I'd like to hear your feedback on it, I'd appreciate a thanks *because* if this works for you, I see no reason why they can't just add this fix to all releases going forward. Here we go.
You're gonna make a copy of a file and then you're going to open it up in your favorite editor (don't use vim if you're not comfortable with it, use another editor).
All we need to do is un-comment and change 3 directives. Below on the left of -> is what the directive is by default in 13.10. On the right of -> is what you want to change it to. If you leave the semi-colon ";" in, you might as well not change anything at all because the semicolon comments the directive out and changes won't get picked up.
sudo cp /etc/pulse/daemon.conf /etc/pulse/daemon.conf.origin
sudo vim /etc/pulse/daemon.conf
Now reboot. Hopefully, stuttering in some games is completely gone. Hopefully your microphone is clearer in Mumble. Hopefully your compositing is fresher and hopefully your audio in some games is perfect.
; daemonize = no -> daemonize = yes
; cpu-limit = no -> cpu-limit = yes
; nice-level = -11 -> nice-level = 0
Tell me if this works for you. If it doesn't work and your problems aren't going away, tell me, I did do other stuff but I'm convinced it didn't really help (maybe it did).