Speaker Troubleshooting

Well, I must have hit a soft spot with some of you, because ever since I mentioned how to hook up a microphone and how to test your computer’s microphone, several of you have been asking about the speakers. I don’t know if you all perked up when you realized that the computer speakers are involved in the process of installing and testing the mic, but I’ve gotten many e-mails from you all telling me that you’re now having trouble with your speakers working properly. A coincidence? I think not! : )

If you are having trouble with your speakers working (aka, there is no sound coming out of them!), this tip is definitely for you, so let’s get started. There are various causes to this particular problem. One could be that your sound card isn’t working or maybe your speakers just simply aren’t connected properly. Some other causes could be that there is no power going to the speakers, the volume on the speakers could be turned down, the volume on the sound card could be turned down too low or worst case scenario, you have some bad hardware.

Well, before we delve into all of those options, let’s make sure your speaker setup is correct. Somewhere along the line, your speakers may have gotten messed up and it could be causing problems with your sound. The settings could have been tampered with when you installed another program or something similar could have caused some trouble.

So, to check the setup, go to Start, All Programs, Control Panel and click on the Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices icon (Sounds and Multimedia Properties for older versions of Windows). Now, click on the Sounds and Audio Devices link and choose the Audio tab. Under the Sound Playback section, click on the Advanced button. Next, you can choose which speaker setup is right for your computer. There’s plenty of setup options to choose from. If you’re not sure which one to use, you can always go with the default option of “Desktop Stereo Speakers.” Once you’re done, click OK twice.

Okay, if your setup was already correct, let’s take a look through the different causes we talked about above.

1.) Sound card does not work – If you think this might be your problem, try plugging another set of speakers or a pair of headphones into your computer. Don’t use a game or any other program that you use to test the card. Instead, use a CD or a sound file. If you still can’t hear anything, you may need to look into more sound card troubleshooting.

2.) Speakers are not connected properly – Locate the speaker ports on your computer tower (or wherever they plug into) and just make sure they’re connected tightly.

3.) No power to the speakers – Check the power supply and make sure the speakers are plugged in properly. Most speakers have a little LED light that will tell you if the speaker is on or not. Make sure that light is lit.

4.) Volume on the speakers is turned down – If this is your problem, you are very lucky! If you have a volume knob on one of your speakers, just make sure it is turned up loud enough for you to hear. Most have little numbers to tell you what volume you’re at. You should also see the words “Max” and “Min.” This helps you figure out which way to turn the volume knob. If your speakers don’t have a knob, go to your sound icon located in your desktop tray, double click on it and make sure the volume is turned up. Also, ensure that you don’t have the “Mute All” box selected.

5.) Volume on the sound card is turned down – You can turn the volume of the sound card up or down through the software that came with it. Open that software and just make sure the settings are set to a proper sound volume.

6.) Bad hardware – Let’s hope you’ve resolved your speaker problem by now, but if you haven’t, you may have some defective speakers. If you plugged another set of speakers or a pair of headphones into your computer and they worked, then you’ve probably already figured out that the other speakers are bad. If you have a warranty on the speakers, you can always call the manufacturer and have a new pair sent to you. Or, if you just want to buy a new set of speakers, you can surely do that as well.

Hopefully this has helped you troubleshoot your speaker problems. Once you get them all straightened out, you will once again enjoy sound while using your computer!

~ Erin