*** EDITED 05/16/2022 5:22 pm U.S. EST ***
Problem resolved. Just after I made this post Apple released macOS 12.4 and and Studio Display update. These installed in about 30 minutes (a new record, for me at least). Brief tests with changing the sound output in System Settings reveal no audio problems!
It appears that Apple engineers monitor the MacPowerUsers forum and solve user’s problems in less than an hour!! Either that or a very timely coincidence.
Feel free to ignore the rest of this post
*** END EDIT ***
For the last few days I have experienced audio trouble with one of my two Studio Display monitors connected to a Mac Studio. Video is fine but the audio cuts out momentarily on Display #2 every 30 seconds or so, usually with an audible “click” sound. This occurs with any sound source - playing music, streaming video, etc.
Troubleshooting steps revealed that the problem occurs only under the following condition: System sound output is directed to Studio Display #2. When sound is directed to Studio Display #1 or to the internal Mac Studio speakers, the audio is normal - no dropouts. See screenshot of Display Settings below.
An obvious work-around is to switch the sound output to the selection for Studio Display #1. The problem with that is that Studio Display #1 is actually the “Extended Display” in Display Settings, positioned to my right and not centered on my preferred sitting position. The “Main Display” is Studio Display #2 on the left and centered at my sitting position. See screenshots and photo below showing the configuration.
Switching the “Main Display” vs “Extended Display” designations does not change the problem. The audio still cuts out on Display #2. Switching the cables to different Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Studio does not change the problem.
Before further testing to determine if this is a hardware problem with Display #2, has anyone else experienced an audio problem with repeated momentary audio cutouts in a Studio Display? Could this be a software problem with macOS or with the Studio Display software/firmware?
(Note: An easy temporary fix would be to move Display #1 to the left side and move Display #2 to the right position. That would require taking down and reworking my cable management because of the non-removable power cables. Both power cables would have to be re-routed through the respective monitor arms. And this would require moving the desk out from the wall … and so on. While I love the Studio Displays, I despise the design of the non-removable power cables.)