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Dell Studio XPS 16 Audio not working


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Dell Studio XPS 16 Audio not working

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Sorry If this post already exists, I just tried to post - but I don't think it worked.

Iv been having audio problems since I brought this laptop  -Dell Studio 1640- a few months ago.  At first the speakers went, so i just plugged it into another set of speakers which worked fine.  However, I don't think the speakers are broken, as sometimes when the speakers are plugged in and i close down a program, or hit 'test' in sound>playback devices sound plays from the laptops speakers.
I tried to fix this problem a while ago by installing a 'fixed IDT HD driver', but this made my laptop crash every time i tried to play any audio.  So i reinstalled the version from the DVD that came with the laptop.  I also hoped that upgrading to windows 7 might have helped - but it didn't.
However, that's not the main problem, as i have some lovely speakers.  
When I plugged in a usb microphone (/a lightsnake cable) all hell broke loose.  At first I couldn't get any playback to work until i unplugged the microphone.  Then everything worked fine for a short period, later i needed to reboot and unplug the mic in order to get sound, and finally rebooting didn't work.
Now when I can get sound to play through my speakers I consider myself lucky.

Any  one have any ideas???  Any help would be much appreciated.
Many thanks
All Replies

    The speakers working only intermittently could be a hardware problem. I would suspect a faulty sense pin in the headphone jack. This will allow external speakers to work and also the speakers will work when tested, but not otherwise. If this is the case then Dell will fix it under the warranty, but they might not if the current OS is different from the one they pre-installed.


    A possible explanation for this combination of symptoms:

        * Speakers don't work and are not muted or deselected
        * Headphone jack does work
        * Reinstalling audio driver does not help
        * Audio test in Dell Diagnostics passes
        * On models with 2 headphone jacks, one may be "checked" in the control panel as if in use

    The Dell laptops with 92HD audio utilize IDT's Universal Jacks technology, which is somewhat complicated. In addition to the usual mechanical parts, the jack also uses current & impedance-sensing techniques to trigger software configuration and switching (to send the audio signal to the speakers). So there are three areas of potential failure: mechanical, electronic, and software. Sometimes, a little very gentle wiggle of a plug in the jack will get it to resume normal functioning, at least temporarily. There is a sensing pin in the jack (Sense_A pin) that is used to detect the presence of plugs and it can be the cause of failure to trigger the software switching. Failure of the sense pin usually results in the computer behaving like there is always a plug in the jack.

    Normally the audio test in Dell Diagnostics would confirm that there is a hardware problem, but the Universal Jacks can cause a false result in Diagnostics. That is because Diagnostics operates in DOS, outside of Windows, so a Windows software misconfiguration is irrelevant to the test even though in this case it is caused by hardware. So the audio test can pass in Diagnostics, correctly signaling that software configuration is the immediate cause of the problem, but missing that a hardware problem, the bad jack or sensing pin, is the root cause. In these instances the only reliable diagnostic procedures are to try a new motherboard or to use PC Restore (called Factory Image Restore in Vista) to restore the computer to its original configuration as shipped from the factory. If the speakers still don't work after PC/Factory Image Restore then there is definitely a hardware problem even if it passes the normally infallible Dell Diagnostic audio test.

    Jim Coates -- 14th year on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

  • Hello,

       I have exactly the same symptoms for my Dell Studio XPS 1640. I upgraded to Windows 7 64 bit around December last year (2009). The problem with the audio started soon after that. I've been searching the internet for any postings about this and I've come into this and another one ( How prevalent is this problem with this systems?



    "How prevalent is this problem with this systems?"

    It depends on what exactly the problem is. If it is the failure of the sense pin as I described then I don't think it is especially worse on the Studio XPS 1640 than any other model. I discovered the problem soon after Dell started implementing HD audio with re-configurable jacks. Since then I have posted about it maybe once a month. It started with the earliest model that had these, the Inspiron 9400, and has probably occurred in every model since. So the problem is across all model lines but probably only a small percentage of them. Of course it was the same before re-configurable jacks. A certain percentage of the simple spring leaf jacks failed too.

    Jim Coates -- 14th year on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

  • I'm having a very similar issue with my XPS 1645.  It's hair-pulling frustrating.  Basically it's about a 50-50 chance that my audio will lock-up or not.  Usually what happens is, I'll try to open Itunes and it won't work, so go over to the volume adjustment icon in hte systray (Windows 7) and move the slider and locks up. 

    Basically anything that tries to use the audio crashes, including the volume control, it will crash the browser, itunes, video players, whatever touches the sound and all at random.  I usually have to try a few restarts in order to get it to work again.  I even tried updating the drivers, but the install kept crashing...arrgh!

    Anyone had any success with the crashing portion of it all?

  • Dell XPS 1645, same issue here. I can already tell when no login sound is played that i can as well just reboot again because everything trying to play sound will lock up! Dell Support told me that i'm the only one having this problem. Now it's a least two? Or more?



    Take a look at this thread. I wonder if it could be a related issue?


    Jim Coates -- 14th year on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

  • I have this issue too!! At first I thought my Win7 Upgrade went bad somehow. So I clean installed. At the very end, thinking I solved the problem, BAM it happens again. Then it hits me, it must be a driver issue.


    The driver dell provides obviously has this fault. IDT needs to fix it, but IDT won't deal with end-users. Only the OEM.  


    What we need to do is pick a day that we ALL call dell complaining of this same problem. One after another, asking to esclate again and again until we get to someone who can contact IDT and get us a fix.



    P.S. I discovered another problem like this ... with the Dell Touchpad Driver.  If you plug in a USB mouse, it will disable the touchpad no matter what the setting is. Also, hte scroll settings won't even load. Solution? Uninstall Dell Touchpad Driver.... and google "synaptics driver". That driver will solve the problem, and even give you more features like multi-touch!!!!



    Shame on you Dell for not providing your customers updates regularly, NOR even when there are obvious driver problems. 

  • Hi, I am having the same exact issue on my xps 1645.  Were you able to fix this problem?

  • I have the same issue. I'm sick of Dell not helping. All they do is push you to buy the premium service help. This is ridiculous

  • I too am having troubles with my Sound Drivers on my new XPS 1645 - ie: The usual IDT problem which has been documented by sooo many users so far. I am really quite disappointed with this Laptop so far. I have only had it for 2 weeks and have troubles with the screen (blue tinge on one side),  throttling, the sound issue and fit and finish around the screen . I find it very hard to recommend this laptop. Given that these issues have been around for a while, it is obvious that Dell's effort in resolving these issues has not been good.

    Shame on you Dell

  • I have the exact same problem on my XPS 1645; last time I had to reboot about 15 times until I got the login sound.

    I'm guessing if you log into windows without the login sound when you try to restart or shut down the computer you get the "Waiting for explorer logoff sound" error as well, am I right?

  • I haven't had these sound issues - or if I have, I am ignorant of windows default sounds and their absence/presence.

    I'm fairly sure my issue is with the jack input.  Oddly however, when a particular game loads up (Borderlands published by "2k")  my plugged in speakers stop working and my laptop speakers magically start to sound!  This effect continues until I end the game (regardless of whether the game is minimized/on screen).  Therefore I'd imagine that there might be some sort of code/program that can fix my problem (without loading the game) - but I have no idea what to look for/how to write it.  


  • Anotherangrycustomer
    I'm fairly sure my issue is with the jack input.

    I explained what is probably the issue with your jack when you posted in Feb, and since then I wrote up a faq about that issue and others. Headphone Jack Faq.

    I am not saying that your computer definitely has the sense pin issue -- only you can diagnose it. But if your laptop has the symptoms listed in the faq then it is a hardware problem that you should let Dell fix while you are still under warranty.As I explained in the faq and earlier in this thread, it is a complicated issue, really a combination hardware/software problem. Audio will come through the speakers when you run the audio tests in Dell Diagnostics, and it could be that the speakers work during the game for a similar reason. I am not familiar with how the audio is produced within the game so don't know for sure.

    code/program that can fix my problem (without loading the game) - but I have no idea what to look for/how to write it.  

    It seems to me that IDT should be able to write a patch that would disable the switching software and let the jacks function the normal way.

    Jim Coates -- 14th year on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

  • I have the same problem. And I figured out a way to fix the sound problem. For me this was not a problem that was specific to Dell Studio XPS 16 but the IDT Headphone Jack. Because of this I posted a new post in the forum to reach more users with the same problem.

    Hopefully this also helps you!

  • Jimco - I know that my audio jack is damage, causing a false positive for the presense of a plug. (On a side note, Skype defaults to using the internal speakers, so software can bypass the false presence of a jack.)

    I have tried everything with IDT software and only once for a brief period did the speakers actually work.

    Is there way, using software (BIOS, IDT, Control Panels...etc) to force the laptop to use the built-inspeakers?
    Some way to bypass the signal from the audio jack?


    Studio XPS 16