Knowledge Base

No Sound from External Speakers on a Dell Desktop Computer

If you have No Sound from the External Speakers on a Dell Desktop Computer, this article can help with some troubleshooting steps

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Check Power and Cables
  3. Re-seat Audio Cables
  4. Check Volume Levels
  5. Reinstall or Update Audio Drivers and BIOS
  6. Run Diagnostics
  7. Reseat Sound Card

1. Introduction

If you are unable to hear any sound or audio from the external speakers when they are connected to your Dell Desktop computer, please try the different steps outlined below to try and resolve your issue.

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2. Check Power and Cables

  1. Verify the speakers are powered on and the power LED is on.

  2. If there is not a separate power button, turn the volume dial as this may also be used to power on the speakers.

  3. If the speakers are still not receiving power, reseat the power cable into the speakers.

  4. Verify the AC Adapter is securely connected to the mains power socket. If the Adapter is connected to an extension block, remove from the extension and connect directly to the mains power socket.

  5. Replace the AC Adapter with a verified working adapter of the same model and type, if available.

Note: Some speakers get power using a USB cable instead of an AC adapter. Ensure that the computer is powered on, and try a different USB port, if available. Both the USB cable and audio cable must be connected for the speakers to work properly.

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3. Re-seat Audio Cables

  1. Verify the audio cables are connected to the computer.

  2. Re-seat the audio cables going into the computer and going into the speakers.

  3. Verify if the computer has a sound card in an expansion slot, or if integrated audio is used. An add-in sound card would normally take priority.

  4. Make sure the audio cable is connected to the correct port.

Figure 1: Back Panel Connectors

Back Panel Connectors

  1. For Integrated Audio (the audio ports are connected to the Motherboard), the Audio cable going to the speakers should be connected to the Line Out port (Highlighted by the red square above), on the rear of the system.

  2. Check there are no headphones connected to the computer in both the front or rear ports, which would mute the audio going to the speakers.

  3. If available, try another set of working speakers or headphones to test if sound is coming from either port, and likewise test the speakers or headphones on another system that is known to be working.

Note: If an expansion card is in use, ensure that the cables are attached to the ports on the sound card and NOT the integrated audio.

Stereo Speakers: A single cable connects to the output jack, which is usually light green in colour.

5.1 Surround: Three cables connect to colour coded jacks; Orange / Yellow (centre and subwoofer), Green (Front left and right) and Black (Rear left and right). If the sound card does not have the corresponding jacks, a splitter cable must be used to connect all three to the stereo output jack.

7.1 Surround: Four cables connect to colour coded jacks. The cables connect the same way as 5.1 surround, with the addition of a white or grey cable to connect the side left and right channels.

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4. Check Volume Levels

  1. Verify the volume is not muted by checking the Volume Control icon on the taskbar.

System Tray

  1. Right click on the Sound icon on the taskbar and select Playback devices.

Sound Menu

  1. Make sure the Speaker/Headphones device has a green tick which indicates the device is enabled and ready for use. (A red down arrow indicates that no device is plugged in)

Sound Devices

  1. Highlight a device and select Configure to change the type of speaker setup you have installed. (You cannot configure headphones, only speakers)

  2. Right click on a device icon and select Test to test the audio on this device, a short tune is played back.

  3. Navigate to the Communications Tab and select the correct options for your device.

  4. Right click on the Speakers/Headphones icon and select Properties.

  5. Check each tab, General, Levels, Enhancements and Advanced and make sure the options are set to your desired settings.

Sound Properties

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5. Reinstall or Update Audio Drivers and BIOS

Audio Drivers and incorrect BIOS settings can often cause minor audio related issues when playing back sound on a PC. Be sure to update the drivers and BIOS regularly to ensure optimum performance.

Reinstalling a device driver

  1. Press Windows logo + R key on the keyboard.

  2. In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc and press Enter key.

  3. In Device Manager window, click the + or > next to Sound, video and game controllers section.

  4. Right-click the 'Audio controller' installed on your PC, example: Realtek High Definition Audio and click Uninstall.

  5. In the Uninstall Device window, check the box Delete the driver software for thsi device and click OK.

  6. Restart the PC and allow Microsoft Windows to automatically reinstall the drivers.
    If this does not resolve the problem, download and update the latest audio driver.

Updating Audio Driver

To learn how to download and install the latest driver on your Dell PC, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How do I download and install device driver?.

Updating BIOS

To learn how to download and install the latest BIOS update on your Dell PC, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article Dell BIOS Updates.

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6. Run Diagnostics

1. Run DirectX Diagnostics

  1. To Run the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.

  2. Select Start and enter dxdiag into the search box or type dxdiag into the search box

  3. Double click dxdiag.exe which will open the DirectX Diagnostic tool window.

  4. The tool will run a diagnostic, click Next Page which goes through each tab one by one

  5. Any errors will show in the bottom Note box.

Figure 2: DirectX Diagnostic Tool

Direct X

2. Run Dell Online Diagnostics

  1. Run the Dell Online Diagnostic tool.

  2. Refer to the Dell Support Site and run the Dell Online Diagnostics, this link will take you there: Dell Online Diagnostics.

  3. Enter your Service Tag, for a more personalised experience.

  4. Select the Choose a diagnostic test tab, scroll down and put a tick in the Sound card box

  5. Select Test Selected Devices

  6. Take a note of any errors that are returned from the diagnostics and give them to your Dell Technical Representative

Note: For more information about Dell Online Diagnostics, see the following article:
How to use the Dell Online Diagnostic Tool to troubleshoot your Dell PC

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7. Reseat Sound Card

If your system uses an expansion card for sound, this can be re-seated to make sure it is connected correctly to the system. The steps below will take you through this process, showing the same steps required.

  1. During installation or removal of any hardware always ensure all data is backed up properly.

  2. Disconnect any telephone, network, or USB cables from the computer.

  3. Disconnect the computer and all attached devices from their electrical outlets.

  4. Remove the system cover.

  5. Rotate the release tab on the card-retention latch upward

  6. Gently pull the release lever away from the PCIe x16 card until you release the securing tab from the dent in the card, and then ease the card up and out of its connector and remove it from the system.

  7. Lift the PCI expansion card up and out of its connector and remove it from the system.

  8. Reverse the procedures above to refit the Sound Card back into the system making sure it connects firmly with PCIe port on the Motherboard.

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Audio and  Speakers site - Visit our Audio and Speakers site for more information and support.

Article ID: SLN151723

Last Date Modified: 01/31/2018 07:16 AM

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