Having problems with your Dell ADA745 Computer Speakers ?

Limited volume on speakers. Worked well previously.

\015 The Altec Lansing ADA745 speakers and subwoofer on my Dell system worked well for many months. Now all audio files play at about half volume, if that. \015\012\015\012Speakers got very limited, gentle use. Nothing was moved. Connections undone and redone. Subwoofer unplugged and connections checked. Replaced fuse. No change.\015\012I use AdAware SE and AdWatch and Norton AntiVirus. Never any evidence of viruses or spyware.\015\012\015\012However, the first audio problem happened when I tried to play a .rm video clip. The sound would drop out and fluctuate, dropping to barely audible. Other audio files did the same thing sometimes. Then then some weeks later, the audio level was consistent, just about half-volume. Has never been loud again. I am able to play the same "suspect" .rm file at a consistent volume level.\015\012\015\012I am not able to plug speakers into another device to test them. This would be less confusing if they just didn't work at all! \015\012\015\012Have maxed all possible volume settings, of course. Dell tech support spent 1.5 hours, remotely going through many settings. [I recognize some of the steps from troubleshooting UI at Dell support.] Device appears to be working properly, and all four speakers operate at same volume level.\015\012\015\012Finally reinstalled the SoundBlaster driver from install CD. No change.\015\012\015\012Would be most grateful for clues, or even just to know that anyone has ever heard of this.\015\012\015\012Thank you!\015

Answers :

Guys,
\015\012
\015\012In case my nickname does not show, this is treefarmer. I had the same problem and decided to fix it myself over this Christmas. I was successful, and here is what I found.
\015\012
\015\012In my case, the problem lies with the volume control chip ( it has a voltage controlled amplifier, or VCA in it) on the main amplifier board. The voltage which controls the volume for all channels comes from the right front speaker. There is an issue with the I.C., in that it has some abnormal loading (leakage) of the volume control signal at the I.C. pin. You need about 5.2 volts for full volume output, and on my system, I can only get about 1 volt. You can find the IC data sheet (Mitsubishi M51132L) here:
\015\012
\015\012datasheet
We bought the ADA745 system with our Dell computer six years ago. The last few years the sound has faded down to nothing. Yesterday I started to look for something to identify the problem -- best suggestions were those above on FixYa. A sound card voltage problem -- ICM? -- was suggested; overheating was another possible problem. I started to see if I could rip the main volume adjustment (right, front) speaker apart to figure out where this one review said you had to stick in an electronic do-hickey (capacitor, resistor, transister, babysitter?) to get your tunes back -- welded shut, harder to enter than Ft. Knox. Like all things for American consumers, not intended for repair -- planned obselescence. I decided not to go there.

One recommendation above had a far more low-tech solution (just my speed): Plug the right front speaker plug into the subwoofer only part way. And hey, hey, I am hearing "Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles loud and clear even as I type this. Push it in, but not too far, wiggle to the right (oh just the woofer has volume), wiggle to left (heard the sound, but now it's gone), a little back to the right and pull it out a smidge and I'm good to go. Maybe, Monster Cable's 24k gold contacts ain't all hype...

Now, how do I fix the right rear speaker cord the dog chewed up (or was it the rabbit before he singed his whiskers chowing down on the washer's cord -- brought an electrician in to fix that one)?

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