Saturday, August 23, 2008

Microphone output on Dell Inspiron (and possibly others)

This works for Windows XP.

I had to connect to male 1/8 inch speaker cords together. I don't have a dual-female connector, I decided it would be really easy to use one of my laptops to do this. I was wrong. On Linux, the audio is _way behind_ and very crackly when played (audio in being played through audio out). On Windows, apparently Dell ships with some rather crippled audio drivers that don't allow you to even see the mic input in the sound control. To fix this, you need to install the real drivers here. Once installed, reboot. Then you will be able to play through the speakers what is coming in through the mic. This worked for me on both an Inspiron 1501 and 9400.

On a side note, does anyone know why, when I record through my mic on my desktop (Intel HDA onboard), the audio is crackly. It isn't a microphone issue, as I have connected my amp up directly to the sound card and turned it almost all the way down to make sure it isn't overpowering the soundcard, and even with the tiniest amount of noise, I have crackling in Audacity. On Vista, I can't record at all, even with the mic input unmuted.


  1. In the past I had problems with my laptop's built in microphone, where it's only audible output was static. I solved them, after messing around with alsamixer.

    Right now I have the following set:
    Mic Boost: 0
    Capture 0: 52
    Digital: 50
    Input Source: Mic

    It seems like the hardware was overdriving itself.

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  3. You're gonna need to be more specific than "Intel HDA" as that can mean just about anything. What's the output of "lspci -nv | grep -A 1 0403"?

  4. bperry@w00den-gamer:~$ lspci -nv | grep -A 1 0403
    00:14.2 0403: 1002:4383
    Subsystem: 1462:7376
    01:00.1 0403: 1002:aa30
    Subsystem: 1002:aa30
    03:00.1 0403: 1002:aa30
    Subsystem: 1002:aa30

    Sorry for the late comment, I have been out of town all day.

  5. Alright that's fun. Looking at a just plain "lspci" can you tell me which of those three matches your mic (look at the 00:14.2, 01:00.1, and 03:00.1 part of the output)? I'd suggest filing a bug with that info. Nothing can really be done without knowing your subsystem ID.

  6. You know what? I've been having the same problem with my Laptop, except mine is a Toshiba. Regardless, I'm pretty sure that if the same problem occurs with my laptop, then there is for sure something we can do about it. The question is, what is it? I actually took my laptop to a computer technician and he wanted to charge me an arm and a leg Just to open and check the laptop internally. For an arm and a leg I'll be glad to check it myself!
    Dell toner