palverp
1 Nickel

XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

I recently got an xps 15 9560 and immediately started experiencing audio problems.

There will be a crackling sound whenever I use the F11/F12 keys (screen brightness controls). Also these sound will come up pretty much on their own although the only reliable way to reproduce the issue I've found so far is to press the F11 F12 buttons.

I contacted dell support and they told me it probably is a software problem and that it was the first time they had heard of anything similar happening.

The crackling sound will come up whether I am using the integrated speakers, external speakers or a connected headset, so I'd say too it is something wrong with the drivers. Also on connected devices I will hear a kind of tap (static sound) every five seconds or so when connected. I have tried reinstalling pretty much every driver including BIOS (up to 24th feb '17 updates) and that didn't solve anything.

If in my music player (MusicBee) I switch audio decoding from DirectSound to WASAPI or ASIO the problem disappears. However I am not able to switch the system default to WASAPI so on videos and other music player the issue persists. I have read somewhere of a Dell Audio app or options menu where you can supposedly change there audio settings but all I have is the default windows audio menu (I have also read of users having this dell audio app disappearing completely after reinstalling the audio drivers so it might have been that ?).

Since this thing is very annoying (having to manually switch between audio profiles etc.) will a system wipe and restore solve this or there is no point in even trying?

Is this a known problem with the default Dell MaxxAudio Driver and if it is is there a fix or update somewhere?

Is there a way to set WASAPI as the default sound processor?

13 Replies
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Jim Coates
6 Gallium

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

recently

Hello. My regular advice to owners of new laptops with audio noise issues is to consider returning it while still in the return period, because fixing those kind of issues has historically been a very very low priority with Dell, imo.

it was the first time they had heard of anything similar

It is the first time I have heard of your specific symptoms too. However there are plenty of complaints of crackling from owners of Dell laptops with Realtek & Win10. I don't try to keep track of all of them, but the ones where at least one owner posts a fix, I put in the Recent Issues FAQ.

I'd say too it is something wrong with the drivers.

The usual test that I suggest is to switch from the Realtek driver to the Windows native audio driver. If the issue is absent with the native driver, then the Realtek driver is causing it. My speculation is that Realtek doesn't allow enough buffering for all of the processing it does, resulting in the noise. Just guessing. Your tests with ASIO and WASPAPI are suggestive because those bypass the Realtek processing. The Realtek driver download is 267 Mb, which is an awful lot of code for an audio driver. By comparison, the IDT audio driver for my Latitude is 27 MB -- but I don't get Waves with it.

Dell Audio app o

The program is a variation of the Realtek Audio Manager program, and it should download with the driver. If it isn't in the Control Panel I guess it is not included with that version of the driver package.

Is this a known problem with the default Dell MaxxAudio Driver and if it is is there a fix or update somewhere?

MaxxAudio is included with the Realtek driver package, and there is only the initial release version of it so far. You could try going into the Speaker properties, Enhancements tab, and check Disable all enhancements. Also try changing the default format settings on the Advanced tab.

will a system wipe and restore solve this

It could be instructive to use the Factory Image to return the laptop to the exact factory configuration, then test immediately before going online and updating. If the noise is gone after the recovery, but returns after using Windows Updates, that would narrow it down.

Is there a way to set WASAPI as the default sound processor?

To the best of my knowledge, that protocol must be set within the individual programs, if the program supports that option.

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

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palverp
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

UPDATE (02 mar 17)

As dell support suggested I reset the laptop. As soon as the audio driver were reinstalled the audio crackling began again. Called them again, this time they told me they thought the windows installation (and also the recovery file) were corrupted to begin with. As per their suggestion I used a usb drive to restore the system using the factory image they provide in the support section for my laptop. Didn't work.

So after having lost hours of my time resetting the pc twice the audio noise was not solved.

Also I tried resetting the audio device to use the windows hd audio codec but it seems the realtek driver erased it during installation and consequently if I go to the device manager -> right click on sound card -> update -> choose from pc... the only driver I am presented with is the realtek one.

Also during testing I discovered that the audio crackling emerges also during the default windows sound test, so the culprit here is certainly not  my music player or browser (tested with chrome, firefox, edge).

Interestingly the audio in Groove Music is perfect and even more interesting I think it uses the default audio driver as it doesn't seem to be exclusive (eg. I can open chrome and listen to something else at the same time while on musicBee with wasapi this is not possible).

Could this mean there is some issue with Flash maybe?

Also does anyone know of some other way to restore windows to the native audio driver possibly without me having to wipe my pc for the third time in a week?

Also heads up to anyone wanting to buy one...the guy at the dell prosupport said this year's model seems to be particularly problematic with issues popping up everywhere so do it at your own risk (my own unit arrived with a broken fan).

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Saltgrass
4 Ruthenium

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

since this is a new system, I suppose it is running Win 10?

After you reset, have you tried running the system for a while without loading any third party music players, maybe just Windows Media Player, for testing?

Google seems to take quite of chunk of system resources.  You might check the Task Manager and see it that is happening on your system.  If the system is busy doing other things it may not have the resources to reproduce the music clearly.

I have a very hard time keeping straight what a particular model number may have for a system configuration.  Does that system have the 4K display and how much memory and processor?

There was one poster who reported a Dell utility running was partially responsible for static on his system.  So system capability and workload may be involved.  Some third party utilities may install components which could also interfere with the operation.

Your comment about Grove Music is interesting.  If you look at the playback devices from the speaker icon on the Taskbar, there is a Configuration button which does have options for Exclusive control.  You could try changing some of those settings.

What volume levels are you running your sound?  Remember, there may be two or three different volume level adjustments in players or devices which can be adjusted.  Over driving audio output can distort the final output.

And lastly, does being plugged or unplugged make any difference?  Does the static happen no matter where your physical location?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


XPS 2720, Inspiron 17 7779, Inspiron 15 7567, XPS 13 9365, Inspiron 1545, TB16 Dock

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Jim Coates
6 Gallium

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

Got to go to work, but just wanted to say to try this to get the Windows native driver to install:

Un-install the Realtek driver in Device Manager, and check the box to delete the driver software. After re-boot, check again. If Realtek is still there, that means after Windows removed the driver, it found the files for an older version on the hard drive, and installed it. When the files for all older versions have been been removed, Windows should build the native driver. I think that should work, but if doesn't because the native driver files are really gone, you would have to install the Realtek driver again.

A lot of owners (of other models) have posted that using the native driver helps with the crackling.

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

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palverp
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

Sound levels are default I have made sure not to exceed the speaker's capabilities also the audio crackling is present in every audio output (internal / external speakers, speakers).

Also I doubt resources are a problem. I am running on the top configuration

- 4k display

- ram 32 gb

- i7 2.8/3.8 GHz processor

Also the crackling is the same using chrome edge firefox and also in the windows sound manager and being plugged or unplugged doesn't make any difference.

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palverp
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

I was not able to set a different audio driver. It seems the default one that came with the system image is the realtek one

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Saltgrass
4 Ruthenium

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

If you are online, the system will try to replace the Windows driver, especially if the Dell Update is involved.

You may be running a higher performance system, but something such as a 4K display may also be involved.  Do you have the option to run your system on an external monitor and turn off the 4K on the laptop display?

Just trying to work through some possibilities to narrow the problem to one area.  If the Grove music does not exhibit the problem it may be a good place to start.  The ASIO utility has warnings about overdriving the sound system.  I don't seem to need my speakers turned higher than around 35% volume level...

One poster mentioned a Bios update had caused problems for his system and the 32 GBs of RAM.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


XPS 2720, Inspiron 17 7779, Inspiron 15 7567, XPS 13 9365, Inspiron 1545, TB16 Dock

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Jim Coates
6 Gallium

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

It seems the default one that came with the system image is the realtek one

The files for the Windows native audio driver are a part of all the Windows. I can't think of why Dell would have removed them from the image. As per Saltgrass suggestion, perhaps if you did the un-install process while off the internet, or with Windows Update disabled.

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

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thanhlq
1 Copper

RE: XPS 15 96560 Audio Crackling

I got the same problem on both Ubuntu and Windows 10 Pro (only the right speaker). Tried a lot of way (i.e. update BIOS, reinstall driver,...) but still cannot resolve the problem... crazy!!!

Please see the video here of my laptop: 

Can I claim Dell to get a new one? (I bough on Mar 2017)

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