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Windows 7: sound VERY low

18 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 x64
sound VERY low

I just did a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit, and am running into a problem I've had on another machine (that also didn't get solved). It seems to be a very common problem, and I've tried all the suggestions I've found online. Nothing works.

The problem is that it seems the "WAV" (or what used to be this in XP) level is extremely low. If I click on the speaker in the system tray, the green "level" only goes up about 10%. The volume is cranked to 100% in every level in the mixer.

Things I have tried to resolve this:
- set the communications to "do nothing"
- disabled all input devices (mic, line in, etc)
- disabled exclusive mode

None of these have worked. I only have a pair of (powered) speakers installed, and am using the standard green line-out on the motherboard (Gigabyte with Realtek audio). I also have a Sound Blaster Audigy/2, and the problem is the same with the main output on that card.

The weird thing is, if I right-click on "Test" of the "Speakers" section in the Playback area of audio properties, the level is correct. It's like the WAV slider (in XP's audio properties) is down to 10% or so, but I can't find any way to increase it.

This is extremely frustrating. Hopefully somebody can shed some light on this for me.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Sep 2012   #2

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

In the Sound Panel, do you have the System Mixer set as the default recording device? If not, give that a try.

If you have two sound devices installed (e.g. the RealTek and SoundBlaster), disable one of them as they can conflict and cause problems.

Finally, since you have a Gigabyte motherboard, make sure you are using the Gigabyte supplied RealTek drivers. Non vendor sound drivers can either not work or not work correctly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2012   #3

Windows 7 x64

I tried the mixer as the default recording device, but that didn't change it.

I have now also tried disabling the on-board and only using the SB, but it still does the same thing.

I'll try pulling the SB completely and going with the on-board with the most updated drivers, and see if that does anything.

The strange thing is, right after instaling Windows, it worked fine. Then "something" (I haven't figured out what) changed or updated after the first boot, and it hasn't worked since that point. I've tried uninstalling every Windows update, and backing out every driver update, but it didn't make any difference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Sep 2012   #4

Windows 7 x64

I pulled the SB completely and updated all drivers, and this still has the same issue.

When in "test" mode (Speakers, properties), it has all the correct levels. IE: when playing the dee-doo-doo to the left speaker, then dee-doo-doo to the right speaker (I apologize for the lack of technical description to the sound; hopefully you know the spot I'm talking about). But as soon as I exit out of the properties window and click on the volume (in the system tray) to open the slider (which is at maximum), the little windows "chime" sound that it makes has the green bar only go up about 10%.

In XP, there was a way to have control over all the "options" of the sound properties. CD-AUDIO had one setting, WAV had another. All these Windows "sounds" (and many games) used the WAV level to output sounds. If there was a way to set this, I'm confident it would correct the problem.

If not, any other ideas would be appreciated. This seems like a pretty widespread bug, and frustrates a lot of users.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2012   #5

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

First this is not a "widespread bug". There's very few complaints about the specific problem you have. I used to do a lot of support on the Dell forum and NEVER saw a post about your problem.

When you first installed Windows 7, and until you installed the correct sound driver (if you ever did) the generic Windows HD Audio Code was probably installed. This is a "basic function" sound driver.

The System Mixer should be set as the default playback device. If you ever want to record streaming audio from the internet (or many other functions) it is needed.

When you reinstalled Win 7, the first thing you should have done is install all the Gigabyte supplied drivers from the installation disc (assuming you have Vista/Win 7 drivers - the XP drivers do not work). Without that some devices may not work, or work correctly. After installing the Gigabyte drivers, then you can do whatever others you needed to do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7 x64
not a widespread problem

"...this is not a widespread problem..."

Typing "windows 7 volume low" in Google nets 450 million hits. Even if only 10% of them are valid, I'd call that pretty widespread. No offence, but Dell machines are intended for 'end users', and will almost never have custom components installed in them, so once Dell sets the sound drivers, they're never again touched by the user and never have to worry about compatibility problems.

I'll try what you suggested. If I'm still stuck, I'll reinstall it again and check as I go along to see where it breaks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 sound VERY low

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