How to Troubleshoot Audio or Sound Playback Issues

How to Troubleshoot Audio or Sound Playback Issues


Having trouble with audio or sound on your Dell PC? If you notice symptoms like no sound or no audio, stuttering, jarring, crackling or choppy audio, intermittent audio, distorted audio, follow the troubleshooting steps below.

Troubleshooting

Expand the sections below for more information and follow the troubleshooting steps in a sequence.

For help with microphone issues, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How to troubleshoot microphone issues

Audio performance issues may occur if there is any type of damage caused to the audio cables or the audio ports on the PC. You may experience symptoms like audio playback stops working, works intermittently, choppy or distorted audio, static noise, etc.

Audio ports are exposed to elements that may cause a build-up of dust or even physical damages. If you notice that the port or connector has dust or other contaminants, use a can of compressed air to clean the ports.

Warning: Do not use any type of cleaning solution, water or even a damp cloth. Disconnect the audio and power cable (if any) before using the can of compressed air to clean the ports.

If you do notice a physical damage, contact Dell Technical Support to learn more about repair options that are available in your region. If there is no damage, proceed to the next step.

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A simple reboot can resolve many issues almost immediately. Restarting your PC is an effective way to clear the memory (RAM) and ensure that any errant processes and services that started is shut down.

Restarting your PC closes all the applications or software running on your PC, applications running on the taskbar and dozens of other services that may be running in the background which were started by various applications.

Warning: Before restarting your PC, ensure to bookmark open web pages, save any open documents, spreadsheets, or other unsaved work.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Most desktop PCs come with 3 or more audio connectors and laptops usually come with one audio connector. Verify that the speaker cables are properly connected from your speaker to the PC. Audio connectors and plugs on the sound card are normally color-coded to help with proper connection (Figure x).

Note: Laptop PCs have built-in speakers. Use an earphone or headphone to isolate issue with the built-in speakers.
  1. Ensure that the speakers are powered using the provided AC adapter, batteries or USB cable.
    Note: Depending on the type or model, the speaker may use an AC adapter, USB power or batteries to provide power. Refer to the User Manual of your device to learn more.

  2. Connect the speaker or headphone jack directly into the 'line-out' or 'speaker-out' connector on your PC.

  3. Turn up the volume using the volume knob on the speaker. Refer to the User Manual of your device on how to control the volume.

  4. Test the sound on your PC.
    1. In the System Tray, right-click on the speaker icon and select Playback devices.
    2. Right-click on the correct playback device and click Test.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

  1. Turn on the bluetooth speaker and make it discoverable.
    Turning the discovery mode on your bluetooth speaker may vary. Check the User Manual of your device or visit the manufacturer's website to learn more.

  2. Turn on Bluetooth on your PC.

  3. Pair your bluetooth speaker with your PC.
    Note: Your bluetooth speaker and PC will usually connect anytime the two devices are in range of each other with Bluetooth turned on. Range of the bluetooth signal may vary across different bluetooth devices.
    Note: Some bluetooth speakers may require a passcode to pair and connect, check the User Manual of your device for specific instructions.

  4. Follow the on-screen instructions that might appear to complete the connection.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

The default audio playback device is the device that Microsoft Windows uses to output (play) sound. When you connect speakers, earphones or headphones, bluetooth headset, or other audio devices to your PC, you can select which device you want to use by default. Windows can play audio through the speaker port, bluetooth, HDMI or DisplayPort (DP) ports. It is essential to select the correct playback device and check the volume settings, for audio playback to work on your PC.

Note: By default, Windows does not show you devices that are disabled or disconnected. If your device is not listed in the playback devices window, right-click anywhere in the blank space and click 'Show Disabled Devices' and 'Show Disconnected Devices'.
To set a default playback device and check volume settings
  1. Right-click the Volume icon in the notification area (bottom-right corner) and select Playback devices.

  2. Select the playback device and click Set Default.
    If the device is disabled, right-click the device and select Enable and then click Set Default.

  3. Click OK.

  4. Click the Volume icon in the notification area and set the volume to your preference.
    Note: Check the volume settings on the application in use, example - Windows Media Player, VLC player, YouTube video, etc.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

Microsoft Windows includes a variety of 'troubleshooters' designed to quickly diagnose and automically resolve many PC problems. Although Windows Troubleshooter cannot fix hardware problems, they are a great place to start if you encounter a problem with your PC. Windows Troubleshooters are built into the Control Panel in Windows 10, 8.1 or 8 and 7.

How to run Windows Troubleshooter in Microsoft Windows 10?

  1. Click Start and select Settings (gear icon).
  2. Click Update & Security and select Troubleshoot.
  3. Click Playing Audio and then click Run the troubleshooter.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

How to run Windows Troubleshooter in Microsoft Windows 8.1 or 8?

  1. Right-click Start and select Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
  3. Under Hardware and Sound, click Troubleshoot audio playback.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

How to run Windows Troubleshooter in Microsoft Windows 7?

  1. Click Start and select Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
  3. Under Hardware and Sound, click Troubleshoot audio playback.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Dell recommends updating the device drivers and BIOS as part of your scheduled update cycle. Device drivers and BIOS updates may contain feature enhancements or changes that will help keep your system software current and compatible with other system modules (hardware and software) as well as increased stability.

It is essential to update the following device drivers for optimal audio or sound playback performance and to resolve common audio or sound playback related issues:

  • BIOS
  • Chipset
  • Audio driver

To learn how to download and install a device driver on your Dell PC, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How do I update the device drivers on a Dell PC?

To learn how to download and update the BIOS on your Dell PC, refer to the Dell knowledge-base How to Download or Update the BIOS on a Dell PC?

Note: If the BIOS is already updated to the latest version, reset the BIOS to factory defaults. To learn more, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How to Perform a BIOS or CMOS Reset.

Update your System Setup (BIOS) - (2:06)

Note: Audio jack devices not detected:

The primary audio jack detection software is MaxxAudio which is included in the realtek audio driver package.

In some cases the MaxxAudio software may fail to install, if an anti-virus program blocks the installation or associated service with the driver. Certain configurations of McAfee Anti-Virus for example can cause this behavior.

First confirm that MaxxAudio is installed.

Download the Realtek audio driver and extract the contents to a location on your hard drive. Navigate to the extracted files and run the Maxx Audio Installer (x64 or x86) to manually install the software.

Once installed, restart the system and make sure the antivirus is not blocking the associated service with MaxxAudio often described as Waves Audio Service in the services menu. The service's .exe (WaveSvc64.exe or WavesSysSvc64.exe for example) may need to be added to the anti-virus exception list to resolve.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Running a hardware diagnostic test can help you identify hardware related problems and provide you troubleshooting steps to help resolve the issue. To determine if your Dell PC is experiencing a hardware problem, it is recommended that you first run a hardware diagnostic test on your PC. Dell offers both built-in and online diagnostics. Dell ePSA hardware diagnostic test will help check if the hardware devices are working correctly.

Running hardware diagnostic test using Dell SupportAssist

If your PC is able to boot into Windows and has an active internet connection, run a hardware diagnostic test on the sound or audio card using Dell SupportAssist.

Running Dell Pre-boot System Assessment or enhanced Pre-boot System Assessment (Dell PSA or ePSA)
  1. Restart your Dell PC.
  2. When the Dell logo appears, press F12 key to enter One-time Boot Menu.
  3. Use the arrow keys to select Diagnostics and press Enter key on the keyboard.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts and respond appropriately to complete the diagnostics.
    If the test fails, ensure to write down the error code and validation code.

ePSA Pre-boot System Assessment (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:28) English Only

Use the Dell Interactive Support Agent (English only) to get information about ePSA or PSA diagnostic error codes.
Alternatively, you can visit the SupportAssist Pre-Boot System Performance Check page to get more information about ePSA or PSA diagnostic error codes.

To learn more about Dell ePSA or PSA diagnostics, visit the Dell knowledge-base article Resolve Hardware Issues with Built-in and Online Diagnostics (ePSA or PSA Error Codes).

If the Dell ePSA diagnostics and other troubleshooting steps has not identified the cause of USB issue, we recommend that you consider running a hardware checkup using Dell SupportAssist. Dell SupportAssist diagnostic test helps you troubleshoot a problem and get automated fixes.

Performing Hardware Scan - Dell SupportAssist - (2:11)

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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Windows updates can support your Windows operating system in many ways. Windows updates can solve specific problems, provide protection from malicious attacks, or even add new features to the operating system.

How to install Windows Updates in Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 8 or 8.1?

  1. Right-click Start and click Settings.
  2. In the Settings panel, click Update & Security.
  3. In the left panel, select Windows Update.
  4. On the right panel, click Check for updates.
  5. Restart the PC after downloading and installing the updates.

How to install Windows Updates in Microsoft Windows 7?

  1. Click Start and open Control Panel.
  2. In Control Panel, click System & Security.
  3. In the right panel, select Windows Update.
  4. On the right panel, click Check for updates.
  5. Restart the PC after downloading and installing the updates.

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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System Restore is a built-in Windows tool designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your PC, System Restore should be used prior to restoring the PC to factory defaults.

Select the Operating System installed on your PC to find more information about how to perform System Restore:

If the audio playback issue persists, proceed to the next step.

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If the diagnostic tests on the USB ports passed, it is most definitely an issue related to software installed on your PC. If the above troubleshooting steps did not resolve the issue, you can try to restore your PC to factory defaults as a last resort.

Dell PCs are built with a small amount of hard disk space reserved for reinstalling your operating system. This method is the easiest way to restore your PC to factory condition. The restoration process deletes all user data from the PC, so be sure to back up all your files prior to starting this process

Warning: Restoring your PC to factory defaults or reinstalling the operating system using any recovery media will erase all data on your PC. Ensure to backup all important data like documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos, etc. before restoring or reinstalling the operating system.

Select the Operating System installed on your PC to find more information about how to restore your PC to factory defaults:

Note: After restoring or reinstalling the operating system, it is recommended that you download and install the latest device drivers from Dell Drivers & Downloads website.

Perform a Reset in Windows 10 - (1:36) English Only

If the audio playback issue persists, contact Dell Technical Support.

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Informational videos

How to Fix Audio Problems (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (1:54) English Only

How to Fix Audio Problems in Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:14) English Only

Troubleshooting Audio Issues in Windows 8 or Windows 10 - (2:26)

Troubleshooting Audio Issues in Windows 7 - (1:31)



Audio and  Speakers site - www.dell.com/support/audio Visit our Audio and Speakers site for more information and support.

Article ID: SLN146399

Last Date Modified: 12/14/2018 05:21 PM


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