Strange audio problem on my new Dell PC

PJTX100

Distinguished Member
I have just noticed a strange problem on my new Dell PC (9150 running Win XP Home Edition). I've been ripping my CD collection to MP3 and thankfully all is OK there. I've been checking for any issues as I go along and sound quality is clean and A1.

The PC has both DVD/RW and CD/RW drives and for the first time yesterday I tried a DVD. The pic was fine but the audio was jumpy/clicky. On trying a CD in the same player the sound was also clicky/jumpy. On trying to play a CD in the CD/RW drive - same thing. So I can rip cleanly from both drives but can't play anything "realtime" without this audio issue. As it affects both drives I'm presuming it's a s/w or settings issue. It doesn't seem to be WMPlayer specific - I've tried other players.

I've tried looking for audio settings that might make a difference but to no avail. I've also tried things like disabling the virus s/w but still no joy.

I've reported to Dell but wondering if you guys had any ideas?
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Try going into device manager, and IDE/ATAPI settings there is DMA and PIO, whatever it is on, set it to the other one and see if that helps.
 

PJTX100

Distinguished Member
Thanks for suggestion. It's set at auto detect "DMA if available" but has set itself to PIO mode.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
PJTX100 said:
Thanks for suggestion. It's set at auto detect "DMA if available" but has set itself to PIO mode.
So if you put it on DMA, does it fix the problem?
 

PJTX100

Distinguished Member
lisag said:
So if you put it on DMA, does it fix the problem?
The only two options are "DMA if available" and "PIO Only". As it's set to the former and auto detecting PIO I didn't see the point of changing it to "PIO Only".
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Ah, shame as I think this might be related to your stuttering problem. Not sure how to fix it though, but maybe someone will be along soon who does, or you could try a google search?
 

PJTX100

Distinguished Member
Lisag, you were spot on with your hunch. It was indeed a PIO/DMA issue.

I reported it to Dell, they were as useful as a chocolate teapot. "Nuke the PC back to base config" was their response. When I expressed my incredulity at this suggestion, they replied "we are hardware engineers not software support". :eek:

Anyway, I have now fixed it. This link http://www.michna.com/kb/WxDMA.htm descibes the exact issue and the wonderful little script at the top fixes it instantly (well, after a reboot anyway).

The problem is caused when you try to rip a scratched CD, in certain circumstances Windows flips the drive to PIO mode and won't let you flip it back. I'd lay money on this becoming an increasingly common issue as more people start converting their CD collections to digital. Ideally MS should release a patch which implements some sort of reset capability from device manager.
 

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