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dmang24
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Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

This has been happening for 2 years, but as of earlier this month, my audio has been acting up MUCH more than it used to. Now, whenever I listen to any sound (music, watch videos, etc.) my speakers make this crackling/buzzing/stutter/lag sound every few seconds which makes me never want to use my audio because it is so annoying. I looked up this problem and many people mentioned that by using earphones the buzzing stops, but not for me. Also, I installed and uninstalled a bunch of the drivers that Dell told me to update (IDT Audio, Quickset64, and the BIOS) but this hasn't made any difference. I feel like this is a software problem but I wanted to hear professional opinions to see if it actually is. Thanks for any help you can provide.
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14 Replies

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

Hi dmang24,

I appreciate for the drivers update. I suggest that you run diagnostics on hardware components, since both speaker and headphones are having crackling noise even after drivers update.

To run diagnostics restart the system and at the Dell logo tap the F12 key every two seconds. This will start the One-time boot menu. Using arrow keys select ‘Diagnostics’ and hit enter. This will run diagnostics on the hardware components of the system which may take around 5 minutes. Please reply to this post in case of any error message.

You may also go through this link for assistance.

http://dell.to/OUGnqT

Please reply with the status to assist you further.

Thanks and Regards,
DELL-Sujatha K
Dell Social Media and Community Professional
#iwork4Dell
Order Status
Download Drivers

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dmang24
1 Nickel

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

Oh yeah, and also when I was trying to figure out what was wrong I did a diagnostic test from the Dell splash screen and it said that nothing was wrong. I also did it again and the same thing happened.

Also, the link you posted "http://dell.to/OUGnqT" does not link to a valid article.

Thanks for the quick response, but do you have any other ideas for how to diagnose or help me fix this problem?

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8 Krypton

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

I feel like this is a software problem but I wanted to hear professional opinions to see if it actually is.

Hard to form an opinion without knowing the name of your model and operating system but usually noise problems are software related. See the Choppy/Skipping Audio FAQ for solutions that worked for other Dell laptop owners.

As far as running diagnostics, I have never heard of one that could find the source of a noise problem, but one that can distinguish between a software or hardware issue is the Dell Diagnostics audio tests. Those tests are self contained in a dedicated operating system. The flaw in the other tests is that they run in Windows and use too much of the software in the computer to be sure of accurate results. To use Dell Diagnostics audio tests for this, you run the tests and while the audio of the tests is playing if you hear the crackling then it is in the hardware. If no crackle in the tests then it is caused by software that runs in Windows. Note that not all models have the Dell Diagnostics tests.

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

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Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

Hi dmang24,

Thank you for  the update about the diagnostics.

Please click on the link below to check the warranty of the system. In case the system is under warranty, send me a private message with the system service tag to assist you further.  Please click on my name and click Start Conversation to send me a private message.

http://dell.to/Mbe3zg

Please contact the Out of warranty department If the system is not under warranty,  the number is 800-288-4410 if you are in US region, for UK region the number is 844-338-1000 and for Canada the number is 1-800-847-4096  .  If you belong to a different region, let me know the region you belong to give you the contact information.

Thanks and Regards,
DELL-Sujatha K
Dell Social Media and Community Professional
#iwork4Dell
Order Status
Download Drivers

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dmang24
1 Nickel

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

So I looked at that Choppy/Skipping Audio FAQ but sadly none of those solutions worked for me.

Also, when I follow the directions of the Dell Diagnostics audio tests, I am unable to go farther than the PSA test. It might be due to the faulty hard drive that came with this computer that I ended up getting replaced while under warranty, so I might not be able to run Dell Diagnostics. Also, since I am currently away from home at college I don't have a Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD to run it manually.

And also, this computer is no longer under warranty because it expired 2 months ago, sadly.

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8 Krypton

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

It might be due to the faulty hard drive that came with this computer that I ended up getting replaced while under warranty, so I might not be able to run Dell Diagnostics.

Dell Diagnostics is not on replacement hard drives.

I am unable to go farther than the PSA test.

The link that Sujatha K gave you that you said was to an invalid article was to instructions to run the PSA tests, so apparently that was what he wanted you to do. The kind of hardware issues that might cause noise but have no other symptoms would be something like faulty shielding that would not show up on the PSA tests or any other tests that I know of. Another set of tests you can run if you want to is the Dell PC Diagnostics.

The Dell Diagnostics audio tests also would not find a fault like poor shielding, but if the noise were heard during the tests then you would know that the noise is in the hardware and not software. Another way to do the same thing is to restore the laptop to the original factory configuration using Dell's Factory Image Restore. If the noise did not exist when the laptop was first turned on then it will not exist after the restoration if the noise was caused by software, because after restoration the laptop will be exactly as it was when first out of the box. If on the other hand the noise persists after restoration, and if it did not exist when the laptop was new, then a hardware fault is causing the noise. However you cannot perform a Factory Image Restore with a replacement hard drive. If you used Dell DataSafe Local Backup to create the system recovery media when the laptop was new that would do the same thing. If neither of those methods is available then one could re-install Windows from installation discs, however the results would be inconclusive because the laptop's configuration would be way altered from its factory configuration.

Still don't know the model name and operating system of your laptop.

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

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dmang24
1 Nickel

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

Oh sorry, my model name is the Inspiron N5110 running Windows 7 64-bit.

For some reason when I try running the Dell PC Diagnostics for the "Sound card" component, the test does not run. It pops up with a window that shows a couch on the right side with all these faded images and the right side has options for Speakers, 3D Sound, MIDI Playback. The "Test" button for all of these options are grayed out so I can't test them. Also, I tried using the Dell Support Center's version which is already on my computer and it has the same problem

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dmang24
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Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

Does anybody know why both the online Dell PC Diagnostics test for the Sound card and the offline one doesn't work and could help me out? I described the issue that comes up above.

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8 Krypton

Re: Crackling noise in audio on both speakers and headphones

The only reason I can think of for the PC Diagnostics to fail to run audio is not having the driver installed, but you said earlier that you have updated the driver so that is not it. Unlike Dell Diagnostics audio tests, PC Diagnostics is not self contained and requires the audio driver. I don't know of another reason the test won't run.

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

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