Last year I was playing around with a Dell Latitude 5580 and 5590 which had strange audio problems. With all drivers installed and updated (Dell Command | Update) it still was not playing clear audio. Searching Reddit, contacting the reseller and reaching out to Dell Support was a nice trip down the internet but I’ve managed to fix it with Dell’s ProSupport team.
The symptoms are clear as day: playing any kind of video or music will play distorted, crackle and pop. This is not per-se in some kind of logic pattern and is completely random but I have noticed that when you have many things running on the laptop it gets much worse. It also does not matter whether you are using headhpones (into the jack) or using the internal speakers.
As this was very frustrating I started with Reddit and Google first. Tried all different kinds of audio drivers, BIOS updates, Windows reinstalls and Waves Audio application versions but nothing worked. Strangely when uninstalling the Realtek driver fixed it for that session but upon rebooting it was back as the driver is then reinstalled by Windows automatically. I’ve also contacted my local reseller and they have replaced the speakers and even the mainbord just to be sure but that did not help as well.
Then I decided to contact Dell ProSupport as this was available for these Latitudes and one of the first things they ask is whether you have updated the BIOS etc. But more strange was the question whether I had AHCI enabled for my harddisk or that Intel RST was enabled (Raid on mode). As this laptop only has space for 1 drive I’ve set it to AHCI as RAID would never be used. They asked me to change it to “Raid on” mode and try again and I was seriously baffled! It worked! My audio was playing loud and clear without any stuttering, popping and cracking! Upon asking why a harddisk setting would affect sound behaviour the answer was “The technicians use it as a workaround”. So that will remain a mystery but at least it’s solved.
I’ve seen lots of topics on the internet about this problem. While some may actually be caused by faulty drivers or hardware this may be a solution as well. It has been a while since I posted something but I hope it may serve alot of people in their search of fixing their audio problems :).