Think I've put most of it in the subject line. Had the laptop for less than 2 weeks - only just tried playing music that I transferred off old PC and it skips, loops & distorts something awful.
Bad in both Real Player and Media Player.
Not fixed by disabling wireless "a" or even switching wireless off completely.
Checked the DMA thing and all looks as it should...
Files are fine as sound distorts at random points during playback, not at a certain point in the songs, and transferring them to a different PC results in perfect playback on the other machine...
Not really what I'd call a solution, but may help someone with the same problem. For some reason the problem is by far the worst in Real Player, still bad, but not as severe, in Windows Media Player, and so far, I haven't managed to repeat the problem at all using Dell Media Direct to play the same music!
My understanding of Media Direct is that the 'direct' part means it plays media without having to load the operating system. If that is how it works then apparently the cause of your symptoms is in the OS or audio driver.
Jim Coates -- 12 year active forum member
Thanks for the reply.
It seems to work without problems when I run Media Direct from within XP, not just by pressing the button on the laptop from standby...so I don't think the OS is at fault, but I guess what you said about the driver could still apply. The Media Direct application may well still drive the on-board audio directly, rather than using the SigmaTel driver...I don't know...
I've got the most up to date sound driver available, installed, so I'm not sure why everyone with this combination doesn't see the same problem? Unless maybe there is a hardware quirk that's present in only some of these Vostros (that Dell are aware of, and have circumvented with their coding of Media Direct) but that causes issues if you happen to have hardware that's at the particularly flaky end of their tolerances and try to use the SigmaTel driver...?
Actually I think there is an issue with some of the Vostro 1500's that can be corrected with a new motherboard. But our board moderator, Chris B, knows more about this than I do, and if he sees this thread perhaps will comment. I don't know the symptoms of the 1500's that need the replacement MB, but tech support should be able to troubleshoot to see if you need it.
No, I haven't. I'll try that after I've reproduced and recorded the problem for you, as requested in PM. I agree it's unlikely to be a candidate for a replacement mobo as I tracked down several threads where that solution was proposed and none seemed similar to mine. Plus the audio quality is great with Dell Media Direct, so that does scream drivers...and the machine is working perfectly for it's main intended purpose (business) so I would certainly prefer not to ship off for repair.
I think the "distorted sound" comment might be misleading. After listening more. I think what sounded like distortion was when the song got stuck in a very tight loop, but more often the loop is seconds long and you can actually hear words/phrases being repeated, or a skip of several seconds will occur. Whichever of the 2 affected players (Real Player or Windows Media Player) I'm using becomes unresponsive while the audio is repeatedly looping (although responds ok when the track is just skipping.)
Chris & Jim,
Thanks for your help. I have a bit of good news. The problem has been completely resolved by installing XP SP3 (which I wasn't doing in relation to this issue, at all!)