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Music or Sounds are Distorted (Echo, Off Pitch, Sound Effects) (Windows Vista)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop PCs with Windows Vista.
Sounds from music or the system are distorted. The steps in this support document can resolve any of the following symptoms:
  • Music sounds like it is being played in a concert hall, cave, or other environment.
  • Music skips or plays erratic.
  • Music and sounds are high or low pitched.
  • Music and sounds can be heard, but they do not sound close to the way their original form.

Step 1: Adjusting audio enhancements in Windows Media Player

Use the following steps to ensure that the sound modifications settings in Windows Media Player are set to their original default settings:
NOTE: The following steps apply to Windows Media Player version 11. If the version of Windows Media Player you are using is not version 11, the steps that follow might be similar depending on which version you have. Use the menu system within your version of Windows Media Player to find and reset playback adjustments. When you are done, if the sound quality problem persists, continue to the next section.
  1. Open Windows Media Player and play a music file or music CD.
  2. While the song is playing, right-click the menu bar in the Windows Media Player window.
  3. From the menu that opens, select View and then select Enhancements.
    Figure 1: Windows Media Player 11 Enhancements
     Windows Media Player 11 Enhancements
  4. Select Show Enhancements if it is not already selected.
  5. While the song is playing, select one of the following Enhancement settings. The setting you select appears at the bottom of the main playback window. If the setting does not match the default value, change it to the default value using the instructions below. After the setting has been verified that it is at its default value, select another Enhancement setting that was not previously chosen. Continue selecting and checking Enhancement values until all Enhancement values are at their default setting.
    • Cross-fading and Auto Volume Leveling
      Both Auto Volume Leveling and Cross-fading should be turned off by default. That is, the beginning of the links should start with "Turn on..."
    • Graphic Equalizer
      Click Default to set all adjustments to the middle value.
    • Play Speed Settings
      Click Normal to set it to the default value of 1.
    • Quiet Mode
      The link Turn on should be shown by default. Click the link Turn off to turn off Quiet Mode.
    • SRS WOW Effects
      The link Turn on should be shown by default. Click the link Turn off to turn off SRS WOW effects.
  6. After you have set all Enhancement values to their default values, listen to the music. If the music sounds fine, you are done. Otherwise, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Disabling enhancements in Windows Vista

Use the following steps to disable all sound enhancements:
  1. Click Start , and type Sound into the Search field.
  2. Under the Programs list, click Sound .
    Figure 2: Opening the Sound window
    Sound in Programs list
    The Sound window opens.
  3. On the Playback tab, click the default sound device, and then click the Properties button.
    NOTE:The default sound device has a green circle with a checkmark .
    Figure 3: Playback tab in the Sound window
    Playback tab in the Sound window
  4. Use one of the following procedures depending on the sound hardware and that tab name that is shown:
    • SoundMax: Click the Advanced tab, remove the checkmark next to Enable Audio Enhancements , and then click OK .
    • Sound Blaster/Audigy line : Click the Sound Blaster tab, select Disable Sound Blaster Enhancements , and then click OK .
    • Realtek: Click the Enhancements tab, select Disable all sound effects , and then click OK .
      Figure 4: Realtek Enhancements tab
      Realtek Enhancements tab with Disable all sound effects selected
  5. Play music or sounds to determine if the sound problem is still occurring.
    If the sound problem still exists, update the sound driver. For more information about how to download and install software, see Obtaining Software and Drivers .

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