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  1. #1
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    Microphone volume too low or microphones not recording at all

    I've recently reinstalled Windows 7 on a 5/6-year-old Dell XPS M1530 and then updated drivers. People can now hardly hear me on Skype calls and messages using the Skype Test Service are recording at very low level indeed. Windows Sound Recorder is not recording anything at all.

    Setting the microphone recording level to 100% makes no difference. I use the laptop's pair of built-in stereo microphones.

    Any ideas as to whether the microphone(s) has/have developed a fault (the rotary connection between the screen and the computer has been giving intermittent trouble (screen fading then coming back when you move it) for some time, so not sure whether this problem has spread to the microphones, or whether I simply have an incorrect software setting)?

  2. #2
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    Where did you get the updated drivers?

    Did you check the Dell support site for updates?

    Joe

  3. #3
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    It's possible that the Inverter cable could have become damaged as well as other cables over time with opening and closing the lid or the connectors have moved.

    The following article is for how to replace the Inverter but will get you inside the laptop to inspect the cables/connectors if you feel comfortable in stripping it down http://blog.parts-people.com/2011/09...-installation/

  4. #4
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    Sometimes the earphone jack/plug is the problem. Earphone jack/plug is the most inferior design ever made, IMO. But its use is the most widely spread and longest lasting.

    Some solutions:
    1. Twist once or twice on the earphone type connector.
    This may break the thin oxide/intermetalic junction and re-establish electrical contact.
    2. Pull out and re-insert.
    May need to do it twice to several times. No joke. See note below.
    When push in, try to feel the 'click' that the center contact is engaged. Do not push all the way in until it stops. Or, not pushing in enough. I know. It's frustrating.
    3. ONLY after confirming good electrical contact should you do software adjust.
    In Skype, go to Options-Audio to adjust how to setup microphone, as follows:
    3a. First, disable 'Let Skype auto set the mic. volume'
    3b. On the mic. slider, slide the marker to about middle.
    3c. Speak into mic. normally. Watch the green bar moving, indicating mic. volume that changes with how loud you speak. Note the highest point (max point). Move the slider to that highest point. Now you establish the max. volume for the microphone input. Just like audio recording. The max point establishes non-distorted, non-clipping max input level.
    3d. You may now elect to re-enble auto volume adjust by Skype. I prefer non-auto. Less problem.
    3e. If the green bar is not moving or does not appear, there maybe contact problem, or microphone problem. Or, you may select the wrong input for mic. Try select 'default device'. On some PCs, like mine, has several inputs: the built-in mic., then my USB plug-in HiFi mic., then another that is integrated into the external USB webcam.
    Make sure select the correct device.

    Note:
    Earphone jack and plug suffer from weak contact spring, and sloppy length specification/manufacturing, poor metal type, and poor plating.
    A good electrical contact actually fuses the two metals into metal alloy at the point of contact, by mechanical pressure. Once the point is fused, it is air tight. No air can penetrate, no oxidation, hence preserving the good electrical contact. There are many this tiny fused contacts on the contact surface.
    Over time, the metal-metal contact points maybe loosen by physical means (tiny movements). Proper spring pressure will constantly reestablish the fused contacts.

    When the spring is weak, the fused contact point is shallow. Air may penetrate and oxidize it. This forms a very leaky capacitor. You may then experience slow loss of low frequency over time, because capacitor passes high frequency and blocks low frequency.

    It is well know that different metals will form tiny voltage at the contact. We use this voltage to detect temperature (thermal couple) or make battery. In earphone connector, it hinders electrical flow.
    First the mechanic spring fuses the 2 metals at the pressure point to form good true electrical contact. Eventually, this voltage takes over over time. You need high enough spring pressure to prevent this from happening. That is why soft metal, such as gold and silver helps. The high conductivity and wide area of it around the contact point simply bypasses this 'voltage' ( short circuits it). On the other hand, gold color or silver color plating does not mean it is gold or silver. The next best thing is to match metals, say, chrome plated to chrome plated.

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