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Possible Unique Sound Problem with Dell Studio XPS 16 (1640)

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by Odibil, Oct 22, 2009.

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  1. Odibil

    Odibil Notebook Enthusiast

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    Long story short:

    My sound does not play through my on-board speakers, but does play through external speakers or headphones. It is not a hardware issue, as I can replicate a way to make sound play through the on-board speakers temporarily, but I cannot figure out a permanent solution without doing a fresh install, and I'd rather not resort to that.

    Long story:

    About a month ago, my original hard drive failed. I was able to request a replacement hard drive under my warranty, which came with a self-installing image of Vista (and other Dell software). I was using Windows 7 beta on my old hard drive and decided to go with the release candidate for my new one. I bring this up because it seems I made a mistake in upgrading from Vista to Windows 7, instead of just using a clean install. On my old hard drive, I did a clean install of the beta and had to do some tinkering to make it all work, so I was hoping I wouldn't have any issues with drivers by just upgrading then removing the excess bloatware.

    Well, everything seemed to go according to plan. I installed a bunch of programs, copied a lot of stuff from an old PC, and didn't suspect anything until, one day, I didn't have my external speaker jack plugged in. I wasn't hearing any sound, but knew that my on-board speakers should at least be working. I first thought I may have disconnected something when installing the hard drive somehow, but the hardware checked out just fine. I uninstalled, reinstalled, upgraded and did a number on my drivers, but nothing seemed to work.

    I know that it is not a hardware issue, because I can replicate a way to make sound play through the on-board speakers temporarily. If I open up the sound options from the control panel and "test" both of the enabled devices while listening to music, my on-board speakers will temporarily play whatever music I'm listening to, and my external speakers will play the test sounds. It seems to be a weird issue where all sound is being directed externally, unless a test in progress, then the sounds that are already playing will be projected by the on-board speakers. To make it simple: the on-board speakers work if I run a test while listening to music, but only for the duration of the test (3 seconds), then the problem returns.

    As of now, everything is exactly how I want it to be on my machine, and I don't want to have to do a fresh install just to fix this minor-yet-annoying issue.

    Relevant information:

    OS: Windows 7 Release Candidate 1

    Drivers on Device Manager:
    ATI High Definition Audio Device
    IDT High Definition Audio CODEC
    (tried all of the latest IDT drivers, also tried Windows automatic drivers)

    Sound Devices from Control Panel:
    "Speakers / Headphones" enabled as Default Device
    "Independent Headphones" enabled as Default Communication Device
    (I have tried switching their roles, enabling, disabling and testing them all)

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Odibil

    Odibil Notebook Enthusiast

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    Bumping this for the weekend.

    Here's to hoping that someone may have already run into a similar problem and found a solution. *crosses fingers*

    Thanks in advance.
     
  3. Mechanized Menace

    Mechanized Menace Lost in the MYST

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    just back up everything and reinstall os and get it back the way you like it is it really that big of a deal
     
  4. Odibil

    Odibil Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes, it really is that big of a deal, or I wouldn't have asked.

    The process of recovering my old files, transferring files from my old disassembled computer, and then installing and updating all my software was a very tedious process; I don't wish to repeat it unless I have to. I have no means of easily backing up my data (at least 250 gigs), and I don't want to fork over money for an external hard drive at the moment, so that's a last resort for me.

    I'm hoping for someone that may understand this computer better than me to lead me in the right direction for a possible solution, without resorting to the typical PEBKAC responses.
     
  5. chewyeong90

    chewyeong90 Notebook Evangelist

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    Do you mean your laptop speakers play no sound at all but when you click the Test in Sound Devices, it will play the ding ding ding sound ?
     
  6. Odibil

    Odibil Notebook Enthusiast

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    Pretty much, except slightly opposite. If I'm playing music or a game with sound already, and I perform the test, the sound already playing will play through my on-board speakers, while the test sounds will play through whatever external device is attached. So, let's say, If I'm listening to a song and I run the test, the song will play through the on-board speakers and the test noises will play through my external speakers.

    I can replicate this every time by opening the Sound panel and going to my playback devices. The devices are listed as "Speakers / Headphones" (default device) and "Independent (R.T.C.) Headphones." My default device shows the sound being recognized while it plays, and the second device shows nothing. If I run a sound test from the secondary device, the above phenomenon occurs. If I run a sound test from the default device, the test sounds play through the same external speakers as the music, and nothing comes from the on-board speakers.

    I'll admit, it's very odd. I've tried uninstalling, disabling, reinstalling, updating, and downgrading all sorts of driver combinations, but I never get them to work. I'm sure it's something very simple, but I just don't know how to make it work.
     
  7. chewyeong90

    chewyeong90 Notebook Evangelist

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    I still couldn't get the exact problem of yours. So in conclusion, your on-board speakers on themselves are not working, but when you plug in the external speakers, and you run the test, your on-board speakers work ?
     
  8. m1n05_4

    m1n05_4 Notebook Consultant

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    If you think your problem could be solved by re-installing your SO. You can re-install windows 7 and when installing it will ask if you want to back up your documents to C:\Windows.old
     
  9. Odibil

    Odibil Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes, you are correct. The on-board speakers will play sound only during the testing process. However, as the test only lasts for about 3 seconds, the sound only plays from the on-board speakers for the duration of the test. So for 3 seconds, I can hear audio perfectly out of my on-board speakers, then it goes back to being stubborn. This is an infinitely repeatable process.

    I'm considering this as an option if I can't manage to find a solution with this thread.
     
  10. Zlog

    Zlog Notebook Deity

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    long answer short, RC1 was not perfect. RC1 had the same issues on my asus. You're running a pre-release OS, and if you do a clean install of RTM you'll probably be fine like i was.. Might need different drivers.
     
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