I'm very close to a return myself, I just can't believe that all of sudden speakers this inferior started getting thrown into Dell's higher end laptops--speakers that sound far worse than any other dell that has been in our office in a decade. This leads to the hope that it's a driver issue that can be remedied somehow, because the machine is otherwise ok.
After updating with a new audio driver, version (11/13/208, 184.108.40.20624), audio quality through my earphone is fine.
It's good, but still it has a problem with internal speaker in my E6400.
The sound quality in internal speaker is the worst I've ever heard. Should I return it?
Even 12" small laptops have better sounds.
What's the problem? speaker or driver?
I did return my machine. It is my guess that it is simply the quality of the speaker in the laptop that is the cause of the issue. I have a SB Audigy card that i tested with. Once the EQ protection was dis-engaged, using an external powered system, the onboard and SB output was quite similar so i believe the driver is not the issue, it is simply inferior quality of the onboard speaker. Really, I have heard greeting cards that sound better than this laptop!
I remail a Dell proponent, but i am waiting for a new model with acceptable multimedia performance before i upgrade my current Insp 9300 system. If it failed tomorrow, I would seriously consider an HP with the Altec Lansing designed speakers, even though i would hate to rely on an HP for my everyday machine! Hey Dell.... Go talk to Bose!!! They do amazing things with little footprints!
Even though I updated a new audio driver, I found another problem in E6400.
If I restart E6400(XP Pro) with my earphone pluged in, the audio quality becomes very bad.
I guess that the audio driver can't detect the earphone pluged in when rebooting.
Thus, everytime I reboot, I always have to unplug my earphone and pluge it in again for fine audio quality.
How funny is that? I've never seen like that. Definitely, it's a software bug in E6400 and E6500 audio driver.
Also, it has poor quality speakers as well. Everything is very very good except audio.
I hope this helps you guys! I was having issues with my audio, I had the newest version of the audio driver installed and I had an identical machine to one of my co-workers who had no issues what so ever. We reformatted and he installed his SATA driver, I didn't. I contacted dell support through chat and the technician remotely connected to my computer and we installed the Intel Matrix Storage Manager which was a driver I must have looked over. In the Fixes and Enhancements section it says "This release resolves an issue where the user may hear interruptions during Audio/Video playback." At least this solved my issues, give it a try and see if that fixes your problems.
I figured it out!!!!!
Right click on your sound in the task bar.
Click on sounds.
Go to the Playback Tab.
click on the Speakers/Headphones and click configure!
Go to the Enhancement Tab.
Select the box to disable all enhancements.
Do this while playing something in iTunes... you'll notice the change almost immediately!
I did this on a E6500 running Vista Bus. SP1.
This is certainly the basis for a solution that worked for me, but other problems persisted - I particularly had problems with the system hanging frequently and my wireless connection frequently dropping (wifi5300 AGN). After many days/week, and jsut when I was trying to be downgraded to a D830, I have figured some things out and I think I solved most, if not all of the problems. I have not been using my new configuration long enough to be sure that the system does not frequently hang.
First, there are two keys to solving the audio problem:
1. The new Intel Matrix Storage Application R218081 (consider fresh system install)
2. The new IDT 92 Audio Driver R217834
3. Do not double install the Wifi driver - they are already included in DCP communications manager. After Installing the DCP communications manager the sound is fine. After installing the separate Wifi5300 AGN drive - back to stuttering. For a while, I was getting by without DCP software and drivers, and just using the Intel provided Wifi driver, but the Wifi connection kept dropping. - so the sound problem was solved, but the I could not consistently connect via wifi to the internet - fatal flaw for a laptop.
4. Then I installed the Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 Feature Pack for Wireless - R204794 - and that helped a little, but I still had the problem.
5. Then I noticed that Dell released a new Dell Control Point System Manager Application R218880 and recalled that one of their techs told me two or three wee4ks ago that new drivers and applications were about to be released to solve system hanging problems. I also discovered that the DCP system manager or security manager driver includes the Broadcom 25XXXX(not sure of name) driver - so following the Dell driver install instructions leads to double installation of that driver, and that might cause problems - so I uninstalled the Broadcom network driver (including checking the box for uninstalling software).
Addendum to #5 - After further time consuming experimentation - it now appears clear to me that I am wrong about the Broadcom 825XX driver being in the DCP driver/application software. It needs to be left alone if present, and installed from its own software package if not yet installed, or reinstalled.
6. I then uninstalled the Intel provided Wifi5300 driver and software.
7. I kept the Vista SP1 feature pack for wireless - I think that needs to be installed before network and wifi drivers with a reinstallation.
8. After disabling anti-virus/firewall, I then installed DCP system manager application R218880.
9. Ditto for DCP Security Manager Driver R210495 - Broadcom network driver present after this installation
10. Same for System Manager XML R191548
11. Then I finally installed DCP Connection Manager v1.2 R214454 - Wifi 5300 driver present after this installation
et Voila, the system works beautifully. I am able to listen to music on Rhapsody with no stutter or crackles, watch Eastenders and Ashes to Ashes without disconnecting form the router every 2 minutes, and so far no hourly system hanging. Forget about disabling speed step and multi-core support, and disabling various items - these actions do not completely solve the problems and are unnecessary.
Incidentally, it may be helpful to download the latest Nvidia drivers from Nvidia - I was getting a Vista solution suggestion directing me to their site.
I am an extremely busy physician and family man with six children - I should not have had to spend weeks trying to solve this problem, and incidentally, prior to these new drivers/software, I don't think there was anyway to solve these problems.
I did not install the security manager application since I do not need it and I am afraid it will mess everything up.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for posting your steps Allon. I was having similar issues, and thought I'd mention that after doing a full backup I wiped my hard drive and installed Windows 7 RC1 and from the word go, I haven't had any issues with sound etc. Windows 7 detected and automatically installed just about all my devices on my E6400 without any issues, which is a good sign of things to come.
E6500 T9600 4 GB Vista Ultimate SP1 x32
All sound issues (crackling, choping, ...) are gone after upgrading to the latest (Dell) drivers for IDT audio and Intel Matrix Storage Manager (and all other drivers & control points upgraded to the latest versions).
Sound (iTunes @ 256 kbps) is now perfect (clear & sharp, good bass, well-balanced, ...) using good quality Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones (but keep all enhancements disabled in the sound control panel).
I'll probably do the same thing that you did.
Everything was fine for a while. Then the system began to hang again and I began to get a "dell.ucm has stopped" everytime I restarted the computer. I probably should have ignored it, since the wifi continued to work well, but I decided instead to install the security application, thinking that maybe there was something essential in the application. That move did not do anything good for the system and I began to try to recreate the protocol mentioned by me earleier. Then, I discovered that the Broadcom 825XX driver is probably not in the DCP software and definitely does need to be installed separately. I must not have successfully uninstalled it prior to my earlier experimentation.