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Studio 15 Sound Problems

Discussion in 'Dell Inspiron and Dell Studio' started by Retserof, Jul 26, 2008.

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  1. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    So, just got my new laptop yesterday :D ... hooray!.... except the speakers are absolutely terrible. Everything else on the laptop is perfect, touchpad is great, keys make little to no noise, minimal if any flex on the keyboard, fingerprint scanner works every time, no bottlenecking, no lag, perfect wireless connection two floors up, NO PROBLEMS... except the speakers.

    Whenever I play music, or any sound comes out of the computer, it will occasionally be distorted or crackle/pop or just plain stop for a half a second. Tried playing music in itunes, and in quicktime (in firefox), but its still the same. So I go and contact dell support over chat, and the guy was helpful and all, and at first it seemed like he fixed the problem. Little while later it starts crackling and stuff again.

    I'm a classic rock nut. I'm about to transfer 5gigs of music from my old computer to my laptop, but I dunno if it's worth it now. I updated the audio drivers and the bios, but that didn't help. Anyone have any suggestions? Worst case senario, I'm thinking of just buying the audio express card (ExpressCard Sound Blaster X-Fi® Xtreme Audio Sound Card). But I'm not sure about that either. Does the audio still channel through the integrated card? Because then the distortion would still be there. Could anyone tell me how this would work/help?

    By the way, the studio is pretty sweet. :p If anyone wants a picture of something or would like me to test/describe something, I'd be happy to do so.

    Mannnnnnn. Really wanna crack some zeppelin right now. :(
     
  2. lotta221211

    lotta221211 Notebook Evangelist

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    From what I've learned about the Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Card, the sound coming out of the laptop speakers will not change. It only effects headphones and external speakers. That is why I did not upgrade to the Sound Blaster card.
     
  3. domeden

    domeden Notebook Enthusiast

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    Crackling, popping and skipping of audio tracks is a well known problem with iTunes. I've had this problem through many different versions of iTunes...fixes include turning off crossfade, turning off the sound enhancer (Edit > Preferences > Playback)...try Google for some more fixes.

    Have you tried playing audio through Winamp/Windows Media Player?
     
  4. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I've tried playing in Windows media player, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Slightly less frequent distortion, probably because the only files I have on here are WMA.

    Anyway, the sound is still distorted when I'm playing games as well. So I'm guessing it has nothing to do with what exactly is playing it.

    And about the sound card, does the sound channel through the laptop into the card, or straight through the card? I'm gonna be using external speakers/headphones anyway, so it doesn't really matter if it plays through the internal speakers or not. Just don't want the popping/cracking be there.
     
  5. lotta221211

    lotta221211 Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm almost positive it won't be there if you use external speakers. Just plug in headphones or speakers and see...
     
  6. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    Tried it with usb speakers and earbuds, still skips n' pops. Maybe not as much, but its hard to tell really. It's not constant, but rather annoying.

    Now, granted these are absolutely crappy earbuds and speakers (10$ range) but they worked fine for my desktop.... Anything like this with your studio? Maybe my speakers are just defective.

    EDIT: Ah, right, haven't gotten yours yet.
     
  7. rafucho

    rafucho Notebook Consultant

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    I have a Creative Xmod, got it for $40 in CircuitCity, and it works great...
    Maybe you should think about it, or ask Dell for a replacement!
     
  8. lotta221211

    lotta221211 Notebook Evangelist

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    Check out this thread - it may be effecting Studios also...

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=194986
     
  9. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    I tried that, and it seems to crack less now... anyway, thats the exact same problem I'm having. I'll reference it the next time I call dell.... which is now..

    Sounds like it has something to do with the wireless N card or something. Meh.
     
  10. Sebastien

    Sebastien Notebook Geek

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    I'm a classic rock nut myself, don't you think it deserves something better than laptop speakers... I've used a lot of laptops and they all sound like crap. And the whole laptop integrated subwoofer thing is a joke.

    Re-installing the drivers over and over again is useless, it's like upgrading to the best audio receiver but keeping $20 speakers.
     
  11. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    Problem is, if I get external speakers, it still channels through the computer's speakers. And then the squeaking and cracking goes with it...

    News! After two hours of rebooting my computer, installing drivers, and being told to "test the sound again" FIVE HUNDRED TIMES, I'm stuck up the creek without a paddle. Apparently this crackling issue is one which was supposed to be solved in the second BIOS (A02) and the third BIOS (AO3), but is still a persistent problem in some laptops. When I asked for a solution, he said I either had to send for another laptop or wait for a new BIOS, which is apparently being "researched" by "higher level techs" at this time. :rolleyes:

    So, now I'm at a crossroad. Either send it back (and hope the new one doesn't have the same problem), or wait for a new BIOS (which the tech said he would e-mail me about as soon as he heard about it, which is undoutedly a lie :( ). I could just get the sound card (while waiting for a fix), and use that, as I'd like to have some better sound anyway, but I'm still not sure on this:

    Is the sound card a stand alone kind of thing, or does the sound still channel though the laptop? Anybody hook me up with an answer?

    EDIT: On second thought, If I'm gonna end up sending it back anyway, I misewell do a fresh install of vista to see if that fixes it. Maybe some of the crapware is making the sound weird. Anyone do a reformat for a Studio 15 yet?
     
  12. ChocolateCake

    ChocolateCake Notebook Geek

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    I think you got some bad speakers, or bad wiring. If every Studio had such bad sound we'd see lots of complaints about it.

    My guess is that a replacement will be your solution in the end. Good luck - it's such a nice notebook, don't want to have crackly sound.
     
  13. ChocolateCake

    ChocolateCake Notebook Geek

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  14. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I tried it. No dice. :(

    EDIT: Dell's got some kind of three day sale going on this weekend.... and it looks like I can get the same laptop, with the better processor (T9300 2.5GHz), a USB mouse, and Creative Labs T10 Speakers for around 300$ LESS than what I payed for the original Studio. ESD: Aug 4. That's not too shabby! Looks like I'll be sending this one back after all! If I can get the money in time.... hehehe. Offer expires tomorrow... maybe If I complain to customer support they'll give me the same offer after my studio is returned or something.
     
  15. ChocolateCake

    ChocolateCake Notebook Geek

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    Got a link to that deal?
     
  16. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/laptops_great_deals?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

    Deals page. Third one from the left.

    http://configure.us.dell.com/dellst...n&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=features~laptops_great_deals

    Direct link to studio.

    I was able to get my original config (one in signature) for $904 + free 2 day shipping with this deal. So I can either pocket the extra cash, or use it on a better CPU or something. Great deal, If you haven't gotten a laptop yet, pick up a studio. Aside from the audio problems (which in the end, are apparently very rare), its a great computer.
     
  17. lotta221211

    lotta221211 Notebook Evangelist

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    Yeah when I found out about that deal I cancelled my old order in a heartbeat. I was able to upgrade my processor, screen, ram, hard drive, and tag on the $15 IR remote which Dell should have in a more noticeable spot for the same exact price($10 less actually) as the old order - a plastic piece in its spot is not cool :rolleyes:
     
  18. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    For anyone who's interested in the sound problem, I've reformated the laptop for the heck of it, and just installed bare bones windows vista (no extra dell drivers) to see if that helps, and the sound still crackles. :mad: So it looks like it was a hardware problem afterall, maybe faulty wiring (or just crappy speakers).

    On a side note, I'm quite surprised the computer works, and the touch buttons on the laptop, with only two or three dell drivers installed (had to install network cards to get on the web :D). Anyway, I have no intention of installing anything else, as this puppy is going back in the morning. Let dell take care of this mess I've made! :eek:
     
  19. mgh_a1

    mgh_a1 Notebook Evangelist

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    Have you bothered to look at the various volume levels on the laptop? Sometimes over-pumped EQ settings or volume levels with distort the signal to the point of eternal crappiness.

    Usually though, the popping and cracking signals a buffer problem, PCI bus might be over-taxed, or there may be some interference getting in to the audio signal. A lot of people point to the WiFi adapter as being a culprit sometimes. I would try pulling it right out or disabling it and listening to music again.
     
  20. Retserof

    Retserof Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I tried playing music without installing the network drivers for the wireless card, and it still crackled. The M1330 had problems with bad sound card shielding or something, where the wifi adapter was causing crackling/popping. Sadly, the fixes for the M1330 don't work for the Studio. :(
     
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