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  #1  
Old October 18th, 2009, 05:51 AM
MaStAViC MaStAViC is offline
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Low Speaker Volume

Hello, I hope you are doing well.

I am not sure where to post this, as it is probably not completely a hardware issue or an operating system issue. I cannot seem to pin down what the problem is, and am hoping others can help. I have contacted Dell's official technical support, but they were of no help whatsoever, unfortunately.

My girlfriend has a Dell Vostro 1520 laptop; it came running Windows Vista Business, but she has upgraded to Windows 7 Professional, yet the problem persists. Basically, most sound is very, very low. This includes videos that are playing (e.g. sites such as Hulu and YouTube, on Windows Media Player, on VLC Media Player), music that is playing (e.g. music-streaming sites, on iTunes, on Winamp), and every single form of media that has audio. For Web sites, I have tested this problem on Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari, and the problem exists in all browsers.

The only time she notices that sounds are loud is when she plays Valve's Counter-Strike: Source, a computer game. Because of this, she doesn't think it's a speaker issue.

I personally have a Dell Vostro 1500 without any problems, and the same sites that we go to is much, much lower in volume when it's coming from her computer. Of course, I have checked her basic sound settings to make sure that the volume is set at the highest level. Any thoughts regarding this problem?

Thank you very much!
Victor

Last edited by MaStAViC; October 18th, 2009 at 05:58 AM.
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  #2  
Old October 18th, 2009, 08:18 AM
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AnnMarie AnnMarie is offline
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Hi Victor. Did you make sure that she has the latest audio driver installed. See here. There are some updates for Windows 7 but no sound driver so the Vista driver must be ok.
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  #3  
Old October 18th, 2009, 11:30 AM
MaStAViC MaStAViC is offline
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Thanks for the recommendation regarding updated drivers. I am sure she has the latest drivers for anything that would even remotely affect her speakers, and she is completely up-to-date with Windows 7 updates and such. In my novice opinion, I do not think it has to do with drivers because the computer has been like this since she first got it from Dell during the summer.

I am hesitant to send it in to Dell because it may not be a hardware issue, and they said that if it's just a software/application thing, they may charge me for shipping it. After reading around, there's also a chance that Dell may slap on other charges if the issue isn't related to the warranty that my girlfriend is covered by.

Thanks again, AnnMarie. Please let me know if you have any other thoughts.

Oh, I am not sure if this will help, but someone who tried to help me recently elsewhere stated the following, but I cannot seem to follow his recommendation. Perhaps you would have more experience with it. If you are unsure about what he is saying, please feel free to ignore the following. Thanks.
Quote:
I'm not sure about Win7, but I know Vista had a habit of changing Audio settings seemingly at random... I don;t use Vista anymore, but I seam to remember there was a setting in the Audio Control Panel with a checkbox for allowing programs/other apps to have exclusive control of the sound device... If you poke around in there, Un-check it, and see how that effects things... I'm sure someone with Vista running could explain this better, and will be along shortly.
Victor
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  #4  
Old October 18th, 2009, 08:39 PM
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AnnMarie AnnMarie is offline
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Quote:
I do not think it has to do with drivers because the computer has been like this since she first got it from Dell during the summer.
That driver was only released in April of this year and unless she installed it herself, it's very unlikely that it is installed.

Yes I do know what that person is referring to and there is another setting you can check too. Rightclick on the Speaker Icon in the notification area of your taskbar and choose Playback Devices. Select your default device and click on Properties. Click on the Advanced Tab and uncheck “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.” Click Apply and OK. Next, click on the Communications Tab and make sure that “Do nothing.” is checked. If you have changed any settings, reboot and tell me if this made any difference.
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  #5  
Old October 18th, 2009, 10:36 PM
MaStAViC MaStAViC is offline
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I do all the updates for her, and I updated her audio drivers when they first came out. Also, she has only had the laptop for several months, and she actually got it built by Dell after April, so even though I cannot remember if that driver was already installed for her by Dell, I just checked and it is installed now.

Thanks for the information regarding the "Do nothing" audio setting. I did try that for her, but it didn't do anything, unfortunately. Both her computer and my own have the setting ticked at "Reduce the volume of other sounds" by default (most likely a Windows default, but I could be wrong).

Even after rebooting and checking to make sure that the setting stayed, the audio has remained the same.

Thank you for your continued help regarding this issue!
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  #6  
Old October 19th, 2009, 12:00 AM
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AnnMarie AnnMarie is offline
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Did you have the same problem in Vista?
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  #7  
Old October 19th, 2009, 04:04 AM
MaStAViC MaStAViC is offline
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Yes, she did. I stated in the first post that the problem persisted from Vista to Windows 7. I tried to fix it months ago, and thought that perhaps it was a Vista problem, so I just ignored it for the most part and hoped that once she upgraded, the problem would be gone. Thanks.
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  #8  
Old October 19th, 2009, 08:45 AM
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AnnMarie AnnMarie is offline
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Yes, I thought that was what you meant but I just wanted to confirm that was the case. You also said you upgraded to Windows 7. Do you mean that literally or did you do a clean install? Also where did your friend obtain Windows 7 from Victor? It's not on sale yet.
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  #9  
Old October 19th, 2009, 09:03 AM
MaStAViC MaStAViC is offline
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Sorry, "upgrade" isn't the right term - I helped her do a clean installation. Both my girlfriend and I were able to get Windows 7 Professional RTM (the Release-to-Manufacturing version, but it's the final version of Windows 7) through our universities' student programs.
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  #10  
Old October 19th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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AnnMarie AnnMarie is offline
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I see. Have you, run the Sound Troubleshooting tool in Control Panel to see if it picks anything up? 90% of sound problems are fixed with an updated driver however you have tried that. I really dont see how it can be a Windows issue if it happens with two different operating systems, particularly after a clean install.
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  #11  
Old October 19th, 2009, 09:24 AM
MaStAViC MaStAViC is offline
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I ran the Sound Troubleshooting tool and it didn't detect anything.

I really have no idea what the problem may be, which is why I pointed out that "I cannot seem to pin down what the problem is, and am hoping others can help" in the first post of this thread.

If you are completely out of ideas, I'll contact Dell again and see about sending the whole laptop in, though that will be a bit of a hassle because my girlfriend only has one computer and she's using it for school.

Thanks for all the help, AnnMarie.
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  #12  
Old October 19th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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AnnMarie AnnMarie is offline
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You are welcome. Why not try posting in the Hardware Forum first and see if the experts there have any idea what the issue might be? I appreciate that you wont take it apart but you might at least get confirmation one way or the other.
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