1 Copper

Inspiron 15-5000, audio crackling Netflix & YouTube only


We have a new Inspiron 15-5000. The sound is fine unless watching a video online (Neflix/YouTube) or playing a game. There is then an intermittent crackling sound.

I have checked for some fixes online and none work. Please can anyone help as I'm not sure if this is a known problem with Windows 10 and or Realtek or if we need to return our laptop.

Thanks in advance

0 Kudos
3 Replies
2 Iron

RE: Audio Crackling

Are you using MAXXAUDIO PRO? I'm not sure about you configuration but I only use the windows native driver with Disable all enhancements checked off and there is no crackling, where as I had tried MaxxAudio Pro and it did create crackling. I hope this works for you.

0 Kudos
1 Copper

RE: Audio Crackling

We are using Realtek audio. If I uninstall that will the laptop then default to windows native driver? At the moment if I disable Realtek I can’t get any sound. Not sure whether to uninstall and see what happens?

0 Kudos
Jim Coates
6 Gallium

RE: Audio Crackling

I'm not sure if this is a known problem with Windows 10 and or Realtek or if we need to return our laptop.

Hello. If returning the laptop is a possibility, keeps an eye on the calendar. If you got the laptop directly from Dell, the brief return period may start from the date on the invoice, not from when you received it.

You can look at the Recent Issues FAQ to see what problems other owners have. The laptops are grouped by screen size, and within the groups by model name. I don't know the model of your laptop, but because it is an Inspiron 15 5000, look for Inspiron 55xx. If it is in the faq it will be in that group. The last 2 numbers (xx) define the exact model you have.

The faq might not fully reflect whether or not your is a known issue because I only included issues where the model name was given, accompanied by a solution or workaround. As to whether it is a Windows 10 or Realtek issue is hard to say. Noise used to be such a big issue that I had a separate faq just for noise, but then for several years we had almost zero complaints about noise. Then Dell started putting Realtek in its laptops about the same time that Windows started giving away 10, and the noise complaints came back. That's when I started the Recent Issues -- "recent" meaning in relation to the original noise faq.

I suspect that Microsoft created the problems with the way Windows handles audio, with the understanding that the audio vendors would address the issues within the audio drivers, but that Realtek, which has inordinately complex drivers, is struggling with it. To complicate matters, Win10 is not a fixed OS but is constantly evolving or devolving making it a moving target. But all of that is just idle speculation. Probably will never know for sure.

Some owners have gotten help with noise issues by installing the Windows native audio driver, as sqr278 said. To do that, completely remove the Realtek, not just uninstall.

1. Open the Device Manager (find it in the Control Panel, or type devmgmt.msc into the search box).
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.

Even if the native driver eliminates the crackling, the sound might be worse because it lacks the sophisticated Waves program that Realtek uses to enhance the audio. To get back the Realtek driver you have to download and install a fresh copy from your model's support page. I can link to the page but need to know the model.

Another thing that helped some people is to get a driver directly from Realtek's site, rather than the Dell-supplied one. To get one direct from the Realtek site,
1.Go to the Realtek downloads selection page.
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.
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 

0 Kudos