How to Troubleshoot Audio or Sound Playback Issues

Summary: Learn how to troubleshoot audio or sound playback issues on your Dell PC. Troubleshoot and resolve audio or sound playback issues like no audio, no sound, choppy or noisy audio, etc.

Article Content


Symptoms

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

Cause

Troubleshooting

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

For help with microphone issues, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, "How to troubleshoot microphone issues."

Audio performance issues may occur if there is any type of damage that is 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 damage. 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 and software running on your PC. This includes applications running on the taskbar and services that run in the background.

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. Most laptops 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 color-coded to help with proper connection (Figure x).

SLN146399_en_US__1icon Note: Laptop PCs have built-in speakers. Use an earphone or headphone to isolate the issue with the built-in speakers.
  1. Ensure that the speakers are powered using the provided AC adapter, batteries, or USB cable.
    SLN146399_en_US__1icon 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.
 
  • Connect the speaker or headphone jack directly into the 'line-out' or 'speaker-out' connector on your PC.
 
  • 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.
 

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

  • 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.
  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.
   
  • Pair your Bluetooth speaker with your PC.
    SLN146399_en_US__1icon Note: Your Bluetooth speaker and PC should connect anytime the two devices are in the range of each other with Bluetooth activated. The range of the Bluetooth signal may vary across different Bluetooth devices.
     
    SLN146399_en_US__1icon Note: Some Bluetooth speakers may require a passcode to pair and connect, check the User Manual of your device for specific instructions.
 

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

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

The default audio playback device is the device that Microsoft Windows uses to output (play) sound. You can select which device to use by default when connecting speakers, earphones or headphones, Bluetooth headset, or other audio devices to your PC. 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.

SLN146399_en_US__1icon 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'.
 
SLN146399_en_US__1icon Note: Only one device can be set as a default sound or audio playback device.
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.
 
  • 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.
 
  • Click OK.
 

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

  • Click the Volume icon in the notification area and set the volume to your preference.
    SLN146399_en_US__1icon Note: Check the volume settings on the application in use, for example - Windows Media Player, VLC player, YouTube video, etc.

Microsoft Windows includes various 'troubleshooters' designed to quickly diagnose and automatically 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.

How to run Windows Troubleshooter in Microsoft Windows 10?

  1. Click Start, then 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, then 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 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

All drivers are found on the Dell Support Site - Drivers and Downloads.   Navigate here to download for your specific system.
To learn how to download and install a device driver on your Dell computer, refer to 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 computer, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, "How to Download or Update the BIOS on a Dell PC?"

SLN146399_en_US__1icon 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)

SLN146399_en_US__1icon Note: Audio jack devices not detected:

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

Sometimes 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 MaxxAudio Installer (x64 or x86) to manually install the software.

Once installed, restart the system and make sure the anti-virus 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 with 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 helps check if the hardware devices are working correctly.

Running hardware diagnostic test using Dell SupportAssist

If your PC can 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 Preboot System Assessment or enhanced Preboot 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 Preboot 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 (SupportAssist ePSA, ePSA or PSA Error Codes) .

If the Dell ePSA diagnostics and other troubleshooting steps have 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.

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

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System Restore is a built-in Windows tool that is designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your PC, System Restore should be used before 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 that is 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 that is 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 before beginning this process.

Warning: Restoring your PC to factory defaults or reinstalling the operating system using any recovery media erases all data on your PC. Be sure to back up all important data like documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos 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:

SLN146399_en_US__1icon 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)

Resolution

SLN146399_en_US__11image(13480)  Out of warranty? No problem! Click here, enter your Service Tag, and view our offers. 

SLN146399_en_US__12icon Note: Currently, offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, Germany and France PC Customers. Server and Storage are not applicable.

SLN146399_en_US__13Audio(1)   Visit our Audio and Speakers site for more information and support.

Article Properties


Affected Product

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OptiPlex 3050, Latitude 7202 Rugged Tablet, Latitude 3390 2-in-1, Inspiron 15 7572, OptiPlex 5060, Latitude 3590, OptiPlex 3060, Latitude 3490, OptiPlex 7760 All In One, Dell G5 5000, Dell G5 5090, Inspiron 1000, Inspiron 3137, Inspiron 3138, Inspiron 3147, Inspiron 3148, Inspiron 3152 2-in-1, Inspiron 3153 2-in-1, Inspiron 3157 2-in-1, Inspiron 3158 2-in-1, Inspiron 11 3162/3164, Inspiron 11 3168, Inspiron 11 3169, Inspiron 11 3179, Inspiron 11 3180, Inspiron 11 3185 2-in-1, Inspiron 3195 2-in-1, Inspiron 1100, Inspiron 10z 1120, Inspiron 11z 1121, Inspiron 1150, Inspiron 11z 1110, Inspiron 11z 1120, Inspiron 5280 2-in-1, Inspiron 1200, Inspiron 1210, Inspiron 13 N3010, Inspiron 5300, Inspiron 5301, Inspiron 13 5368 2-in-1, Inspiron 5370, Inspiron 13 5378 2-in-1, Inspiron 13 5379 2-in-1, Inspiron 5390, Inspiron 5391, Inspiron 7300 2-in-1, Inspiron 7300, Inspiron 7306 2-in-1, Inspiron 7347, Inspiron 7348 2-in-1, Inspiron 7352, Inspiron 7353 2-in-1, Inspiron 7359 2-in-1, Inspiron 13 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Inspiron Chromebook 11 3181, Inspiron Chromebook 11 3181 2-in-1, Inspiron Chromebook 7486, Inspiron Mini Duo 1090, Inspiron E1405, Inspiron E1505, Inspiron E1705, Inspiron 1122 M102z, Inspiron M301Z, Inspiron M411R, Inspiron M421R, Inspiron M431R, Inspiron M501R, Inspiron M511R, Inspiron M521R, Inspiron M531R, Inspiron M731R, Inspiron Mini 10 1010, Inspiron Mini 10 1012, Inspiron Mini 10v 1018, Inspiron Mini 10v 1011, Inspiron Mini 12 1210, Inspiron Mini 9 910, Inspiron 13z N311z, Inspiron 14z N411z, Inspiron X200, Inspiron XPS, Inspiron XPS Gen 2, Latitude 10e ST2E, Latitude 10, Latitude 100L, Latitude 3120, Latitude 3180, Latitude 3189, Latitude 3190 2-in-1, Latitude 3190, Latitude 110L, Latitude 5280/5288, Latitude 5285 2-in-1, Latitude 5289 2-in-1, Latitude 5290 2-in-1, Latitude 5290, Latitude 7200 2-in-1, Latitude 7210 2-in-1, Latitude 7214 Rugged Extreme, Latitude 7280, Latitude 7285 2-in-1, Latitude 7290, Latitude 120L, Latitude 13, Latitude 3300, Latitude 3301, Latitude 3310 2-in-1, Latitude 3310, Latitude 13 3379 2-in-1, Latitude 13 3380, Latitude 3390 2-in-1, Latitude 5300 2-in-1 Chromebook Enterprise, Latitude 5300 2-in-1, Latitude 5300, Latitude 5310 2-in-1, Latitude 5310, Latitude 5320, Latitude 7300, Latitude 7310, Latitude 7320, Latitude 7350 2-in-1, Latitude 7370, Latitude 7380, Latitude 7389 2-in-1, Latitude 7390 2-in-1, Latitude 7390, Latitude 131L, Latitude 3400, Latitude 3410, Dell Latitude 3480/3488, Latitude 3490, Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise, Latitude 5400, Latitude 5401, Latitude 5410, Latitude 5411, Latitude 5414 Rugged, Latitude 5420 Rugged, Latitude 5424 Rugged, Latitude 5480/5488, Latitude 5490, Latitude 5491, Latitude 5495, Latitude 7400 2-in-1, Latitude 7400, Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise, Latitude 7410, Latitude 7414 Rugged, Latitude 7420, Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme, Latitude 7480, Latitude 7490, Latitude 9410, Latitude 3500, Latitude 3510, Dell Latitude 3580/3588, Latitude 3590, Latitude 5500, Latitude 5501, Latitude 5510, Latitude 5511, Latitude 5520, Latitude 5580, Latitude 5590, Latitude 5591, Latitude 7520, Latitude 9510, Latitude 2100, Latitude 2110, Latitude 2120, Latitude 3150, Latitude 3160, Latitude 3330, Latitude 3340, Latitude 3350, Latitude 3440, Latitude 3450, Latitude 3460, Latitude 3470, Latitude 3540, Latitude 3550, Latitude 3560, Latitude 3570, Latitude 5175 2-in-1, Latitude 5179 2-in-1, Latitude 5404 Rugged, Latitude 5420, Latitude 6430u, Latitude 7204 Rugged, Latitude 7275, Latitude 7404 Rugged, Latitude C400, Latitude C500, Latitude C510, Latitude C540, Latitude C600, Latitude C610, Latitude C640, Latitude C800, Latitude C810, Latitude C840, C/Dock Expansion Station, C/Dock II Expansion Station, Latitude CP, Latitude Cpi, Latitude CPi A, Latitude CPi R, C/Port APR, C/Port II APR, Latitude CPt, Latitude CPt S, Latitude CPt V, Latitude CPx H, Latitude CPx J, Latitude CS R, Latitude CSx H, Latitude D400, Latitude D410, Latitude D420, Latitude D430, Latitude D500, Latitude D505, Latitude D510, Latitude D520, Latitude D530, Latitude D531, Latitude D600, Latitude D610, Latitude D620, Latitude D620 ATG, Latitude D630, Latitude D630 ATG, Latitude D630 XFR, Latitude D630C, Latitude D631, Latitude D800, Latitude D810, Latitude D820, Latitude D830, Latitude E4200, Latitude E4300, Latitude E4310, Latitude E5250/5250, Latitude E5270, Latitude E5400, Latitude E5410, Latitude E5420, Latitude E5420M, Latitude E5430, Latitude E5440, Latitude E5450/5450, Latitude E5470, Latitude E5500, Latitude E5510, Latitude E5520, Latitude E5520M, Latitude E5530, Latitude E5540, Latitude E5550/5550, Latitude E5570, Latitude E6220, Latitude E6230, Latitude E6320, Latitude E6330, Latitude E6400, Latitude E6400 ATG, Latitude E6400 XFR, Latitude E6410, Latitude E6410 ATG, Latitude E6420, Latitude E6420 ATG, Latitude E6420 XFR, Latitude E6430, Latitude E6430 ATG, Latitude E6430s, Latitude E6440, Latitude E6500, Latitude E6510, Latitude E6520, Latitude E6530, Latitude E6540, Latitude E7240 Ultrabook, Latitude E7250/7250, Latitude E7270, Latitude E7440, Latitude E7450, Latitude E7470, Latitude L400, Latitude LM, Latitude LS, Latitude LT, Latitude LX 4 D, Latitude LX 4 DT, Latitude LX 4100D T, Latitude MMC, Latitude ST, Latitude SX 4, Latitude V700, Latitude V710, Latitude V740, Latitude X1, Latitude X200, Latitude X300, Latitude XP4, Latitude Xpi, Latitude Xpi CD, Latitude Xpi CD MMX, Latitude XT, Latitude XT2, Latitude XT2 XFR, Latitude XT3, Latitude Z, Latitude E7270 mobile thin client, Latitude 3460 mobile thin client, Latitude 3480 mobile thin client, Latitude 5280 mobile thin client, Dell G3 15 3500, Dell G3 3579, Dell G3 15 3590, Dell G5 15 5500, Dell G5 SE 5505, Dell G5 15 5587, Dell G5 15 5590, Dell G7 15 7500, Dell G7 15 7588, Dell G7 15 7590, Dell G3 3779, Dell G7 17 7700, Dell G7 17 7790, XPS 11 9P33, XPS 12 9250, XPS 12 9Q33, XPS 12 9Q23, XPS 13 7390 2-in-1, XPS 13 7390, XPS 13 9300, XPS 13 9310 2-in-1, XPS 13 9310, XPS 13 9333, XPS 13 9343, XPS 13 9350, XPS 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Last Published Date

07 Jan 2021

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4

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Solution

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