Intermittent sound problem with M14XR2

Armorgeddon

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2012
Messages
5
Hi all,

It's been a bit over a month since getting a brand new M14XR2 laptop and I'm finding that the sound just disappears every now and then after turning off the machine.

On occasion after logging in to Win7, the audio icon in the taskbar is crossed out and a mouse over reveals the message 'No speakers or headphones are plugged in'.

Right clicking the icon and going to 'Playback devices' brings up a window with 2 "Digital Audio (HDMI)" devices initially, but then 1 disappears after a few seconds after logging in. The one remaining indicates "not plugged in".

I've tried uninstalling the sound driver via Device Manager and restarting, and checking for updated drivers but that hasn't helped.

I've tried disabling all sorts of services/startup options in msconfig to try to isolate the problem but no luck.

In the end I just give up and the next morning I turn on the machine and the sound works fine!

It's been hit and miss and I'm really frustrated why sometimes the sound works and sometimes it doesn't.

I'm thinking it may be a hardware issue because when I log in and check the device properties on one of the sound devices labelled High Definition Audio Device, the device status indicates: "Currently, this hardware device is not connected to the computer (Code 45)

To fix this problem, reconnect this hardware device to the computer"

Now that just seems to scream "loose audio connection/cable" on the motherboard doesn't it?

I'd like to check with you guys if anyone has encountered this issue before, and if it really must be a hardware issue.

E.g. Is it possible for this Code 45 device error to occur where the problem isn't hardware related??

Any feedback would be much appreciated.
 

AeonSoul

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Messages
1,380
R: Intermittent sound problem with M14XR2

I never faced that kind of issue till now but you can try some trial and error and see if it's really an hardware problem or something else, since it might be either the sound card / mobo or the speakers themselves.
If you have the chance try to plug in some external speakers and see how that goes.
In the worst case scenario you might have to call tech support.
 

Maelstrom

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
698
From what is looks like with it turning the sound off and on like that I would say it's a hardware issue. A cable is probably not connected properly and it's basically a broken circuit with the speakers. Either that or the speakers are bad. You should also try to use the headphone jack to see if it's something wrong with the integrated sound card.
 

Armorgeddon

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2012
Messages
5
Thanks for the feedback guys. I have observed that when the sound is actually working, there is a "Sound Blaster Recon3Di" device installed in Device Manager under Sound, Video and Game controllers, which isn't there when the sound isn't working. In the Properties screen it says it uses Location 0, which is the same location as the duplicate High Definition Audio Device that appears temporarily before disappearing (when the sound doesn't work).

So I'm guessing that the HDMI sound driver for the audio port had somehow installed itself on the speaker/headphone device, and was causing the device to not work. The times that the sound did work was probably when the sound blaster driver got initialised before the HDMI one...almost like a race condition upon bootup. This would explain why the sound never disappeared anytime the laptop was turned on, but only when it was being started up.

So with this theory in mind, I started up the laptop, and when I noticed that the duplicate driver was appearing in Device Manager in Location 0, I quickly uninstalled it before it could disappear. So theoretically the only driver installed on Location 0 is now the Sound Blaster Recon3Di driver (i.e. the correct driver for the non-HDMI sound device).

After rebooting a few times, the sound started working consistently and up til now i've not yet lost sound....

I'm crossing my fingers that this is the last I'll ever see of this problem...

Thanks for the support guys.
 

Armorgeddon

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2012
Messages
5
Hi all,

Actually ignore my 2nd post... uninstalling the sound driver in Device Manager had no affect whatsoever, it continues to show the message "No speakers or headphones are plugged in."

I've done a crap load of research on forums and I really do not believe this is a software issue, or an IRQ conflict issue. The hardware is stuffed and the place I purchased it from is happy to provide me with a brand new laptop. Hopefully this dodgy M14XR2 won't be put back into circulation.

In summary here's what I tried that didn't work:

* Uninstalled the device from Device Manager > Sound, video and Game Controllers and rebooted
* As per above but re-installed the Alienware Sound Blaster Recon 3Di drivers from the Dell website
* As per above but installed sound driver from DVD that came with the Alienware laptop
* Flashed the Bios to version A04
* Checked the Bios for an option to disable/enable the onboard sound but there is no option to do so
* Plugged in the HDMI cable to the TV, rebooted then removed the HDMI cable
* Diagnostic start up / safe mode start up to try to identify if any Service / startup item was causing the issue
* Checked for IRQ conflicts in Device Manager
* Tried Realtek sound drivers
* Disabled the High Definition Audio Controller resource in Device Manager > Resource by Type, rebooted and enabled it again
* Full system virus / spyware scan
* Checked volume controls
* Checked Playback devices for any disabled audio devices
* Checked FN control for mute (FN+F7) was not causing the issue or the FN+F8/F9 volume
* Restarted multiple times (this is the only thing that seems to work, but is not reliable)

At this point, since the device cannot even be detected by the OS all the time, I can only assume it's an intermittent hardware issue, and since the shop is willing to provide me with a replacement laptop I can't be bothered trying to re-install the OS.

That's enough of a rant, I hope the above steps can be of assistance to anyone who might actually have a software issue.

P.S: I must say that when the sound is working, this laptop is an absolute blast. I have Skyrim set on Ultra settings and it is extremely smooth. Diablo 3 & WoW also are seamless and absolutely beautiful on max settings.

Alienware is definitely worth the money and hopefully my bad experience with the onboard sound is only a 1 off due to a bad batch or something.

-Armor
 
Last edited:

lynnrock

New Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
1
Armorgeddon, thank you for your most thorough post. It is exactly what is happening with our Alienware but ours is out of warranty. Has there been a fix figured out for this? It is highly frustrating.We have an M17XR4
 

Joseph Shults

New Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
1
I have a M14xr2 and the sound goes in and out but if the computer shut down it will not work till the labtop cools down then I can turn mine back on it works I don't know why but I just don't let it go to save mode when you come back and hit the mouse No sound I can let it set for about 1 hour and it works fine NUTS!!!!!
 
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