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  1. #1
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    Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Hi, all.

    Dell Dimension 5150; Win XP S2;

    "Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy ADVANCED HD."

    No matter what settings of which control in whatever window or panel that exists on my PC, I cannot get anything but low volume from a microphone.

    I have tried different microphones, in both front and rear jacks. Both worked fine on the old Dimension, with Win 98, and work OK on a Dell Latitude 600 laptop)

    Any suggestions?

    Associated with the sound card is some Sigmatel software which provides a simple, but adequate control interface.
    There is also a load of fancy stuff from Creative with surround sound and wave effects, and all-singing and dancing stuff that I don't use, and never intend to use.

    Is it possible to uninstall the Creative software, leaving the sound card under the simple control of the Sigmatel software? I suspect that the "Sound Blaster" device is software 'gimmick' that makes the PC appear to have a Sound Blaster sound card.
    It doesn't appear in the Add/Remove section of Control Panel.

    Regards,
    kb-r

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Welcome to the Lounge!

    Try to download and install
    Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic (D)

    According to Dell, "This file may include updates from a previous release."

    Sigmatel "simple" driver is here:
    SIGMATEL STAC 92XX C-Major HD Audio

    Note: "Dell recommends the customer review specifics about the update to determine if it applies to your system. The update contains changes that impact only certain configurations, or provides new features that may/may not apply to your environment."

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Hi.

    Thank you for your reply.

    That driver, however, is for a SB X-Fi sound card, and not the Audigy.
    Nonetheless, I downloaded it and opened it, secure(?) in the assumption that I could stop any installation along the way.
    (I am wary of all this Creative stuff, there being no note on the Dell page about being able to uninstall, nor, as I said above, no apparent means of uninstalling what is already installed.)

    The result was "No supported device...".

    I downloaded what appeared to be the equivalent for the Audigy card, from Creative, and had the same result.

    This goes a long way in confirming what I had come to suspect: there is, in fact, no Sound Blaster sound card installed in the PC, merely a set of interface and control tools that makes it look as if there is.

    Aida and Belarc show only the following multimedia 'devices' fitted:
    - SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC
    - Unimodem Half-Duplex Audio Device

    Under "Software", the following is shown by Belarc:
    - Creative Labs Licensing Service Version 2.65.10.2
    - Creative Restore Defaults Version 1.0.0.0
    - Creative Speaker Settings Version 2.0.0.0
    - Creative Surround Mixer Version 3.0.0.0
    - Creative Technology Ltd - Graphic Equalizer Version 1.0.0.0
    - Creative Technology Ltd. - EAX Console Version 2.0.0.0
    - Creative Techology, Ltd. - SFBM Application Version 3.0.1.0
    - Creative Volume Control Version 1.0.0.0
    - Creative WaveStudio Version 6.0.0.0.

    With no means of uninstalling all this pseudo-SB stuff, it seems that the only route is to clean reinstall XP and hope that the Sigmatel device functions normally without the possible Dell injected software mods. Or live with it.

    Meanwhile, I shall try speaking to Dell Support, but I don't have much faith in that system, and Sigmatel states: "SigmaTel does not support end-user products, please contact the manufacturer of your device..."

    Regards,
    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    The drivers are from Dell webpage; the first one is "recommended" and the second is "optional" for Dimension 5150.

    Try to contact Dell.

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Hi.
    Oops... Sorry. I used the Dell links and then tried the Creative source.
    None would install.
    I've emailed Dell Support - the 'phone queue seemed endless, but I'll maybe try them again tomorrow during the day.

    Cheers,
    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Did you look at the sound applet on your Control Panel? You can adjust the mic volume there. Control Panel | Sound and Audio Devices | Volume | Advanced.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Hi, Joe.
    Yes - been everywhere, done everything:
    - Control Panel | Sound and Audio Devices | Volume | Advanced.
    - Start/Programs/Accessories/Entertainment/Volume control/Options/Recording/Advanced (leads to the same place...)
    - Start/Programs/Creative/Creative Sound Mixer (a fancier version of the above)

    ...etc.

    I have found pages on the web that talk about an incompatibility between the SB software and the SigmaTel device. It seems that it might be a universal problem. I'll try asking Dell about it.

    Cheers.

    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Your suspicions are correct. Your computer is equipped with the integrated Sigmatel Stac audio chip. The "Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy ADVANCED HD" is simply a piece of software (probably installed when you received the computer) which emulates some of the "bells and whistles" of other Creative sound cards. You also probably received a CD and a product key for this software. There have been many problems reported on Dell's site regarding the Sigmatel chip (especially microphone related).

    I would suggest that you remove the audio device from Device Manager. When you reboot, Windows will rediscover the device and attempt to install a driver. If Windows installs a generic driver, do some testing and see if you have any problems. If this doesn't work, then download and install the Sigmatel Stac driver and test again.
    John
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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Hi, John.

    Thank you for that. Neatly summed up!

    I shall go that route, sometime in the next day or so, and report the results.

    Might that remove the pseudo SB software (the which I'd quite happily do without)?
    Or, perhaps, should I try to manually remove it before uninstalling the audio device in device manager?
    (I think I'll try that, just to see what happens - I do indeed have a CD for the "Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy ADVANCED HD", so I can always re-install it if things go awry without it.

    Whatever - I'll report the outcome(s).

    Regards,

    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    I agree - I'd try and uninstall the Creative software as the first step. Just remember, if you do decide to reinstall it later, you must install the Sigmatel driver first. Then install the Creative software. Good Luck, and let us know how things work out.
    John
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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    OK - I shall do a brut-force uninstallation of the Creative software as part of the exercise.

    It should be interesting, if nothing else.

    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    I did the following:

    1. Tried to uninstall the device, "SigmaTel HD Audio CODEC" in safe mode. Uninstall failed (PC hung).
    Restarted PC.

    2. Found an uninstall path for the SB Audigy software when I checked "Show updates" in Add/Remove programs.
    Uninstalled SB Audigy.
    Restart.

    Mic. level unchanged (maybe even lower, but that could be imagination...)

    3. Uninstalled device,"SigmaTel HD Audio CODEC" in normal Windows mode.
    Restart.

    4. Windows didn't suggest a generic driver, but looked for the SigmaTel software. Cancelled the process.

    5. Installed the downloaded Sigmatel driver (R114282.EXE).

    Restarted and tested the system: mic. levels still very low - again, they seem even lower that with the SB software installed. I will experiment further, perhaps installing the SB Audigy again (now that I know how to uninstall it).

    I will report anything significant .

    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Hi, again.

    I've done just about everything: removed and reinstalled all associated software, drivers, updated drivers, (including forcing Windows to select the Intel AC 97 Audio Controller...) in all variations and permutations...

    Back where I started. At least with, eg, Audacity, I can apply a level boost, but the quality is not good.

    It looks like the only thing to do is to change the sound card.

    Thank you for your interest.

    Regards,

    kbr

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    Re: Microphone Problems (Win XP S2)

    Solved...

    Uninstalled the Sigmatel device, fitted a Soundblaster Audigy card, for 16 - everything works fine, now.

    Thank you all for your interest.

    Regards,
    kb-r

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