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Dell XPS 15 (9560) digital (S/PDIF) audio output via 3.5mm jack?

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I cannot find documentation that clearly states whether or not the Dell XPS 15 (9560) supports digital (S/PDIF) audio output via the 3.5mm jack that is present on the left side of the machine. Does it?

I'm currently running Ubuntu 16.04.4 and have made a post over at AskUbuntu about it and am also going to live boot into Windows to see if it's a Linux issue or not but wanted to ask here as well in case I'm just wasting time and it isn't supported.

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Re: Dell XPS 15 (9560) digital (S/PDIF) audio output via 3.5mm jack?

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I doubt it.  The only time I've seen SPDIF support on Dell laptops has been via docks or breakout dongles, and even those were a long time ago.  And even back then, SPDIF was always offered as an RCA connector (digital coax), not as an Toslink/optical output within the 3.5mm jack.  But again, I've never seen SPDIF output available directly from the laptop's built-in connectors.

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Re: Dell XPS 15 (9560) digital (S/PDIF) audio output via 3.5mm jack?

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I doubt it.  The only time I've seen SPDIF support on Dell laptops has been via docks or breakout dongles, and even those were a long time ago.  And even back then, SPDIF was always offered as an RCA connector (digital coax), not as an Toslink/optical output within the 3.5mm jack.  But again, I've never seen SPDIF output available directly from the laptop's built-in connectors.

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Re: Dell XPS 15 (9560) digital (S/PDIF) audio output via 3.5mm jack?

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@dotarp"I cannot find documentation that clearly states whether or not the Dell XPS 15 (9560) supports digital (S/PDIF) audio output via the 3.5mm jack"

Hello. The XPS 9560 Setup and Specifications "ports & connectors" Audio/Video section just lists  the HDMI port and the headset port. It further defines a headset as a combination of a headphones with a microphone, so it is fairly specific as to the purpose of the port. Having read through Dell's skimpy audio documentation for so many years that's about as good as it gets, unfortunately.

But another sign that S/pdif is not supported is if there is no separate listing for it in the Windows Sound control dialog, under Playback devices. The laptop models that did have a s/pdif port always listed it as a separate device, because it is separate from the integrated DAC on the motherboard. Those older models would show it as either S/pdif or just Digital audio.

 

The documentation is only going to say what functions the machine has -- it won't state what is lacks which causes a lot of disappointment when one buys a Dell thinking it has some function that a previous model had.

 

Jim Coates -- 16 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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Re: Dell XPS 15 (9560) digital (S/PDIF) audio output via 3.5mm jack?

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@Jim Coates, I appreciate your response. Given that @jphughan answered a bit before you, I went ahead and marked his as the solution but both of you were extremely helpful. Please let me know if there's a certain etiquette around here that makes that inappropriate/incorrect.

My own follow up: I was finally able to boot it into Windows (via live usb drive, I'm normally in Ubuntu) and confirm that, as you two suggested, it is L/R analog only (even after installing the RealTek drivers Dell provides...just in case).

Thanks again for both of your responses!

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Re: Dell XPS 15 (9560) digital (S/PDIF) audio output via 3.5mm jack?

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@dotarp"I went ahead and marked his as the solution"

No that's fine, but I thought yours was the definitive answer because you physically checked it out and were able to confirm our suppositions.

@jphughan"The only time I've seen SPDIF support on Dell laptops has been via docks or breakout dongles, and even those were a long time ago. "

That was the S-video dongles? That was really a long time ago. But during the era of the XPS "L" series (example XPS L 501x) the XPS's had 3 audio ports -- 2 headphone jacks and a mic jack. The middle jack (headphones) had the letters"S/PDIF" molded into the case under the jack -- if you inserted a mini-Toslink adapter you got digital output from it.

The 3 jacks were highly functional in other ways. Besides normal stereo output they could be configured for 5.1 surround output, where each jack outputted 2 of the 6 channels. And I think the mic jack could be configured as a stereo line-in port too.

Goes to show that Dell once took audio seriously. Big contrast with the present time when the audio port is a cell phone jack and all of the audio forums have been eliminated.

 

Jim Coates -- 16 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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