Old 10th May 2008, 20:07   #1
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Laptop sound

I bought a laptop last night. So far the only big annoyance is the sound card. Has a lot of interference from the computer. Might only be when I connect it to my stereo with nothing playing but still. Grounding issue?

I bought it used. $200 for this computer isn't bad I think.

Dell Latitude c640
Specs:
P4-M 2.2GHZ
512MB RAM
40GB HD
24x CD-ROM
XP Pro w/SP2

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Old 10th May 2008, 21:09   #2
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try muting the various controls in the playback mixer, sometimes the MIC/LINEIN/CD inputs can be noisy.
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Old 10th May 2008, 21:23   #3
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I've got exactly the same as you, save for mine's a COMPAQ N610c with those boosted specs.
Mine has really decent sound for a laptop.

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Old 10th May 2008, 21:30   #4
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I tried muting everything but the main and wave to no effect. The sound is pretty good for onboard sound. The noise isn't noticeable while playing music. Unless the music is kind of quiet.

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Old 10th May 2008, 22:13   #5
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I have the same problem when plugging in a Compaq laptop into a stereo receiver or mixer. The noise can not be heard when I plug in normal mid-sized Harmon/Kardon computer speakers, even if I turn them all the way up. I have no idea why this is the case. It's not just the usual 60 Hz buzz from a bad ground - there's a few defined machine gunning pitches in there and a little static/white noise that is softer. When playing alternateen music that's just plain steady loud, it's not noticeable, but when playing REAL music with dynamic contrast, it's incredibly annoying.

The laptop has an Intel Celeron (/ducks away from thrown tomatoes) 2.0 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 30 GB HD, and DVD rom/CD burner.

It really sucks, because sometimes I would like to hook that laptop into other people's stereos when I want to play my music at a party. On the newer laptop, that's not a problem.

If you ever figure it out, tell me - I'd like to solve this too.

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Old 10th May 2008, 22:24   #6
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Ah, ted beat me to it. I was about to say it sounded like a grounding problem.

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Old 11th May 2008, 01:55   #7
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The first thing that came to mind is a grounding problem. But then I remember that I've had PCI sound cards that did the same thing. I was thinking of just getting a USB sound card deally. I just can't find any except for the SBLive external thing.

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Old 11th May 2008, 19:05   #8
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Where's Atmo? He probably knows a fix for this.

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Old 11th May 2008, 21:14   #9
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Give him a PM

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Old 11th May 2008, 22:11   #10
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Celery processors are terrible, you should know better, Ted! >:O

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Old 11th May 2008, 22:17   #11
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Celerons aren't too bad if you only use it for basic things.

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Old 12th May 2008, 00:04   #12
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I married into that thing. It was Renee's before I met her. She knows better now.

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Old 12th May 2008, 05:30   #13
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It's still good.

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Old 12th May 2008, 16:02   #14
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Celeron? More like CeLOLron.

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Old 12th May 2008, 18:02   #15
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got the same situation here in our church.

In a laptop, there actually isn't such a thing as 'grounding'. the transformator is outside of the laptop, providing just a 0, + and - voltage.
You might think that this 0v is your ground, but since there's no actual contact between the two sides of the coils, it's a 'floating' zero, which may differ from your amplifier's ground.
Remember, 0v isn't always the same - a voltage is always measured between two points. If you use an external psu, like in a laptop, your grounding goes all over the place. Your laptop doesn't notice it though, as it does the same.

I hope it makes any sense to somebody - electronics, speaking english and the hot weather here don't really add up too well.

// I'm running on a Celeron 1.7 GHz here. This box used to be my parent's, and my brother picked the cheaper CPU

Try removing the grounding from your stereo somehow.
I don't know about american power plugs, but here ducttape works fine

If you have one, the best solution IMO would be a DI-box with ground lift. that's what we use

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Old 13th May 2008, 02:01   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Warrior of the Light

If you have one, the best solution IMO would be a DI-box with ground lift. that's what we use
Our dell soundcard @ our church is buzzing like real bad and we put a DI-Box with ground lift and it did nothing.
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Old 13th May 2008, 02:13   #17
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desktop for the win

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Old 13th May 2008, 02:42   #18
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Nothing to see here.

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Old 13th May 2008, 02:44   #19
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In that case, nothing to see here either.

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Old 13th May 2008, 04:43   #20
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Yes indeed.
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Old 13th May 2008, 05:12   #21
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heh

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Old 13th May 2008, 05:22   #22
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Damnit, why do I always miss the good parts?

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Old 14th May 2008, 00:18   #23
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You didn't miss much.

Anybody know where to get a laptop battery besides Dell and eBay? Preferably under $75 if possible.

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Old 14th May 2008, 00:22   #24
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/pays deeder for staying quiet

I have never bought a battery before - but there is a way to restore some of the life-per-charge on an old battery. I just did it on the above mentioned laptop and I forget what I did - some kind of Windows xp utility that completely discharges it and then recharges it slowly to 100% or something like that.

It might have been under control panel>power options or something like that.

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Old 14th May 2008, 01:23   #25
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As far as I can tell, the battery isn't holding a charge. Everything says it's charging but it never goes above 0%.

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Old 15th May 2008, 04:15   #26
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Battery issue and need for DVD drive aside... Does anybody think I got ripped off or paid too much for this laptop?

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Old 15th May 2008, 12:23   #27
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I don't.
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Old 15th May 2008, 17:07   #28
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I figured it's still a good deal even if I had to get a new battery and DVD drive from Dell. I looked on eBay and these still go for $350+.

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Old 25th May 2008, 05:06   #29
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I bought an external(USB) sound card thing and it didn't do what I expected. Still has a lot of interference. Probably more so than the onboard sound.

I'm going to return it and get Battlestar Galactica season 2.0.

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Old 25th May 2008, 11:50   #30
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That really sucks that even the different sound card didn't fix the issue. I was really hoping someone had an answer for this as I have the same problem with a laptop.

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Old 25th May 2008, 15:56   #31
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I'm pretty sure that if I use the digital output it wouldn't have any noise but I don't have a DAC.

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Old 25th May 2008, 23:56   #32
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Do you have any friends that have a receiver with a digital in? If you lived near here I'd try it on mine. It wouldn't really pay to buy one unless you knew for sure that the sound would be clean with the digital out.

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Old 26th May 2008, 07:10   #33
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I don't know anybody that has a receiver at all. I think the problem was that it was USB powered. An optical digital output may eliminate the noise as it doesn't "connect"(no ground loop) to the receiver/amp. As I don't have the equipment to test I wouldn't be able to give you anything other than an educated guess. I also returned that thing this morning.

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Old 28th May 2008, 04:12   #34
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It seems that the noise is actually caused by my AC adapter when it's plugged in to the laptop. When it's running on battery the sound is as clean as if it was the desktop.

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Old 28th May 2008, 05:28   #35
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Now the question is, is it something that a new cord (the adapter part) would fix, or is it something with the motherboard? Any shops nearby where you could try a new one risk free and purchase only if it resolves the issue? Or do you know of anyone that has a power adapter that fits your computer (meaning correct size of plug and I'm guessing 18V DC)?

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Old 28th May 2008, 05:48   #36
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Meh. I'm not going to worry about it. I have my battery now. The adapter puts out 20V DC. The battery is 14.4V 4400mAH.

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