rlstrong
1 Copper

Inspiron 5547 - Microphone Array Disappeared

I have Windows 10, though my computer came with Windows 8. I'm not sure if this is a Windows Update problem or what, but I tried to use my in-built laptop microphone today for the first time in over a month and it wasn't working. I checked the "Recording Devices" screen and the only thing there was "Microphone", which I had never seen before and wasn't picking anything up. Usually it is just "microphone array" with a different symbol. I checked for any disabled devices and something called Stereo Mix (also something I had never seen before in the Recording Devices section) appeared, but no array. I checked the Device Manager in the control panel and ran diagnostics and nothing seems to be wrong with my audio except for the fact that my computer can no longer hear my voice.

How might I go about getting my microphone array to show up again? I saw another post that was about a Latitude laptop that said to install IDT drivers, but when I searched the Dell site for my particular computer, IDT yielded no results. Would love to get a working microphone again so I can Skype and record videos.

Thanks for your help!

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5 Replies
Jim Coates
5 Osmium

Re: Inspiron 5547 - Microphone Array Disappeared

Hello. The Inspiron 5547 has Realtek ALC3234CG audio hardware on the motherboard, and thus uses a Realtek audio driver, or alternatively the Windows native audio driver.  Because that model does not have IDT audio hardware, an IDT audio driver should not be installed. Anyway, the IDT company went out of the consumer audio business before the Inspiron 5547 existed.

The items that are listed on the Playback and Recording tabs of the Windows Sound applet are determined by which version of the audio driver is installed. Dell supports Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 on the Inspiron 5547, and has only released 3 Realtek drivers -- one for each of those operating systems. So there is not much choice of audio drivers. Other than one of those drivers, the only other options are the Windows native audio driver or the driver that is available on the Realtek site.

Dell does not support Windows 8 on the Inspiron 5547 and did not release a Realtek driver Win8 driver, so I'm not sure how your machine originally had Win 8 or what audio driver it might have had.

I don't remember the Realtek drivers ever displaying the words "microphone array" like the IDT drivers did. When a Realtek driver is installed, it is normal to see the 2 devices you have, on the Recording tab, Microphone and Stereo Mix.

 

When Microphone is made the default device, the operating system defers to the internal mic (the mic array in the camera), unless a headset is plugged into the audio port, at which time the mic in the headset is given priority. So make sure not to have a headset plugged in when you want to use the internal mic. (A headset is a device that has both headphones and a mic in a single unit.)

When Stereo Mix is set as the default device, internal audio is recorded. This is useful for people who have a need to capture streaming audio without having to send the signal out to an external recording device. There are some other uses for stereo mix for people who do audio production.

My suggestion is that you go through the available audio drivers again and test each one. Start by removing the Realtek driver that is currently installed.

1. Open the Device Manager.
2. Expand the "Sound, Video & Game Controllers" section.
3. Right click on "Realtek High Definition Audio" and select to uninstall.
4. Put a check mark in the option to delete the driver software, and then ok.
5. Restart the laptop.


When the laptop boots up, it will look for Realtek files. If none found then it will install the native driver. If an earlier version of a Realtek driver had been downloaded then its files could still be in the laptop and Windows would install that version of the Realtek, not the native driver. So after step 5, go back to the Device Manager and check again for a Realtek driver. Keep uninstalling & restarting until "Realtek" no longer appears under Sound...Controllers. If you see "High Definition Audio Device" that is the native driver, although in Win10 it can have a different name.

When the native driver is installed, test the mic and see if it works with that driver. Note that when the native driver is installed you will no longer see the words "Realtek High Definition Audio" in the Sound applet like you do now. Instead, you will see "High Definition Audio Device".

When you finish testing, download this Realtek audio driver, which is the only one Dell supplied for the Inspiron 5547 with Win10 64-bits, and test the mic again.

If the mic fails to work with either audio driver there is a chance that there has been hardware failure with the mic.

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If there is a chance that the laptop originally came with Win8,1 instead of 8, there is an 8.1 driver that might be the one you used to have. If you think you might have originally had 8.1, I can give you instructions on how to install the 8.1 driver using compatibility mode.

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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rlstrong
1 Copper

Re: Inspiron 5547 - Microphone Array Disappeared

I did what you told me and the microphone worked when I just used the native driver. When I tried downloading the realtek audio driver you linked me too, it went back to the same problem - the microphone couldn't pick up anything at all. So I went back to the native driver again and the microphone is working just fine.

It must have been a driver update along the way that made my microphone stop working but I'm not sure why the update would have been suggested if it wouldn't work with my computer?

Should I just keep this "High Definition Audio Device" native driver or is there something else I should try to update again? I'm not having any trouble with the sound on my computer now. Are there alternatives to Realtek that might have originally been installed on my laptop that I could try now?

Thank you for your help.

-Robyn

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Jim Coates
5 Osmium

Re: Inspiron 5547 - Microphone Array Disappeared


rlstrong wrote:

It must have been a driver update along the way that made my microphone stop working but I'm not sure why the update would have been suggested if it wouldn't work with my computer?

There aren't any updates -- there are only the 3 driver versions, one for Win 7, one for 8.1, and one for 10. It could be that Windows itself changed enough to cause the problems. Audio drivers are tricky to get right, and when Windows changes it can affect the drivers. But I don't really know if that is what happened.

Have you tried Windows System Restore? That tool can take the laptop's configuration back to an earlier date. If a date is available when you were still seeing "microphone array", try that.

Should I just keep this "High Definition Audio Device" native driver or is there something else I should try to update again? I'm not having any trouble with the sound on my computer now.

There is nothing wrong with keeping the native driver installed. It just won't have the advanced WavesMaxx enhancements that are a part of the Realtek driver. And if you ever want to use an external mic that you have to plug into the audio jack, there is a chance it won't work with the native driver.

Are there alternatives to Realtek that might have originally been installed on my laptop that I could try now?

Do you still think the laptop originally had Window 8? There aren't any Windows 8 audio drivers for the Inspiron 5547. Dell only released audio drivers for Win 7, 8.1 , and 10. If you want to experiment you can try to install the Win7 and/or the Win8.1 versions. Here is how:

1. If you currently have the Realtek audio driver installed, go through the process to get back to the native driver. If the native driver is currently installed go to step 2.

2. Download and save this Realtek audio driver for Win7 to your desktop or any convenient location on the hard drive.  [There are two "formats" on the driver's page. Scroll down to the 2nd one, named "Hard Drive" format, and download that one, not the 1st one named "Windows Update Package".]

Or download the hardware format of this Realtek driver for Win8.1.


3. Double click on the new folder to extract (unzip) the driver files.
4. The extractor wizard will create a new folder for the driver files. It will be at "c:\dell\drivers\xxxxxx". Write down the exact location that the wizard creates.
5. If the driver begins to install automatically, halt (cancel) the installation.
6. Browse to the driver files on the hard drive (the location you wrote down).
7. Find the "setup.exe" file.
8. Right click on setup.exe to open the context menu.
9. Select the Properties.
10. Select the Compatibility tab.
11. Check the box "run this program in compatibility mode for "... Win7" or for "Win8.1" depending on which driver version you are installing.

After you try one of them, assuming that it will install, if you want to try the other go back to step one and install the native driver.

=====================================================

You could also try the 10 Realtek audio driver that you can get directly from the Realtek site.

1.Go to the Realtek downloads selection page. http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/
2. On the page click on "High Definition Audio Codecs".
3. Check "I accept" and then "next".
4. (optional) In the column named "Description" find the file named README and download it. That has the instructions for installing or updating.
5. In the column named "Description" select your operating system and whether it is 32bits or 64bits from the top 2 choices in the list. I assume that your Windows 10 is the 64 bits version?
6. In the column named "Download" click on one of the server names to download the driver.

 

 

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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Jim Coates
5 Osmium

Re: Inspiron 5547 - Microphone Array Disappeared

Hello. I sent you a long reply last week but this new forum deleted it. Apparently my replies are too long and have a lot of links and such, and the forum is seeing them as **bleep**. So I can't give you all the advice that I normally would until th e bugs in ths forum are fixed. I can say that if the native driver is working okay for you then just keep it.

 

 

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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Jim Coates
5 Osmium

Re: Inspiron 5547 - Microphone Array Disappeared

Okay, the reply I posted last week just appeared. A moderator is getting my posts out of **bleep**. Sorry for the long delay.

 

 

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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