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Music or Sounds are Distorted (Echo, Off Pitch, Sound Effects) (Windows 7)

This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop PCs with Windows 7.
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 erratically.
  • Music and sounds are high pitched or low pitched.
  • Music and sounds can be heard, but they do not sound the way they should.
Step 1: Use the audio troubleshooter
Windows 7 includes an audio troubleshooter that automatically detects issues with audio and sound devices. Follow these steps to use the audio troubleshooter.
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems.
    Figure : System and Security section of Control Panel
    System and Security section of Control Panel
  3. Under Hardware and Sound, click Troubleshoot audio playback.
    Figure : Troubleshooting
    Control Panel Troubleshooting window
  4. Click Next.
    Figure : Audio troubleshooter
    Audio troubleshooter
  5. The audio troubleshooter checks for sound problems. When the troubleshooter finishes, it displays the results.
    Figure : Troubleshooting results
    Troubleshooting results
    If the troubleshooter found a problem and the music sounds fine, you are done.
    Otherwise, proceed to the next Step.
Step 2: 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:
The following steps apply to Windows Media Player version 12. If the version of Windows Media Player you are using is not version 12, the steps that follow might be different. 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, press Alt to display the menu bar.
  3. Select View, then click Now Playing.
    Figure : Windows Media Player
    Windows Media Player
  4. Right-click anywhere inside the Now Playing window, and then select Enhancements.
    Figure : Now Playing window
    Now Playing window, showing Enhancements
  5. While the song is playing, select one of the following Enhancement settings. If the setting does not match the default value, change it to the default value using the instructions below. Continue selecting and checking Enhancement values until all Enhancement values are at their default setting.
    • Crossfading and auto volume leveling
      Both Auto Volume Leveling and Crossfading should be turned off. The beginning of the links should start with "Turn on..."
      Figure : Crossfading and auto volume leveling
      Crossfading and auto volume leveling window, with both enhancements turned off
    • Graphic equalizer
      Click Reset to set all adjustments to the middle value.
      Figure : Graphic equalizer
      Graphic equalizer
    • Play speed settings
      Click Normal to set it to the default value of 1.0.
      Figure : Play speed settings
      Play speed settings
    • Quiet mode
      If Quiet mode is turned on, click Turn off.
      Figure : Quiet mode
      Quiet mode
    • SRS WOW effects
      If SRS WOW effects are turned on, click Turn off.
      Figure : SRS WOW effects
      SRS WOW effects
    • Video settings
      Click Reset to set the video settings to default values.
      Figure : Video settings
      Video settings
    • Dolby Digital settings
      Click Reset to set the Dolby Digital settings to default value.
      Figure : Dolby Digital settings
      Dolby Digital settings
  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 3: Disabling enhancements in Windows 7
Use the following steps to disable all sound enhancements:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, and then click Sound.
  2. On the Playback tab, click the default sound device, and then click the Properties button.
    The default sound device has a green circle with a checkmark .
    Figure : Sound Playback tab
    Sound Playback tab
  3. 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 Apply.
    • Sound Blaster/Audigy line: Click the Sound Blaster tab, select Disable Sound Blaster Enhancements, and then click Apply.
    • Realtek: Click the Enhancements tab, select Disable all sound effects, and then click Apply.
      Figure : Enhancements tab for Realtek
       Enhancements tab for Realtek
  4. 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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