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HP Media Center PCs - Resolving Sound Issues with the Media Center Computer

This document pertains to HP Media Center computers using Microsoft Windows XP, Media Center Edition.
The steps inside this document fix a wide variety of sound failures. Perform steps from the following sections that apply to your particular symptom.
  note:
If there is no sound from the Media Center software after initial setup, restart the computer at least once and test for sound again from the Media Center software before attempting the steps in this document.
No sound from speakers
If you cannot hear any sound from speakers, refer to PC Has No Sound.
No sound or poor sound when recording TV (Media Center 2004 Edition)
There is no sound when recording live TV or your TV recordings do not have sound when played back. There are two things that can be done to work around this problem:
First, simply leave the Media Center interface open during the recording. Do not start a recording and then close Media Center.
Second, if leaving the Media Center interface open does not help, change the recording quality setting to a different setting. This is done from the TV Settings, as follows:
  1. Open Media Center.
  2. Click Settings, TV, and then click Recorder.
  3. Click Recorder Storage and change the Recording Quality setting to a different setting (Fair, Better, or Best).
  4. Click Save and try recording again.
For more information refer to Microsoft support article 833941 - Recorded TV may be corrupted or may have no audio when you use the "Good" recording quality option.
Center, rear, or side speakers are not working
Double-check the speaker inputs into the video input connectors on the sound card or motherboard. If the speakers still do not work as expected, try the following:
  note:
Most TV tuners for PCs are only capable of stereo sound.
  1. Click Start, and then Control Panel.
  2. Click Sounds, Speech, and Audio devices.
  3. Click Sounds and Audio devices.
  4. Click the Advanced button in Speaker settings.
  5. Select the speaker setting that matches your system from the Speaker setup drop-down list.
  6. Click OK and play music in Windows Media Player to see if the other speakers work. If not, continue using this section to change the settings for your sound hardware.
Use the information from the section below that pertains to the sound hardware that came with your PC:
On-board 5.1 sound
Computers that come with on-board 5.1 sound usually require that a 5.1 setting is set by sound managing software in Control Panel.
  • For the Sound Effect Manager, see Using Sound Effect Manager.
  • For the Multi-Channel Sound Manager, use the following steps to set the software to 5.1:
    1. Click Start, and then Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Multi-Channel Sound Manager. The Multi-channel Audio Configuration window opens.
    3. Click the Speaker Configuration tab, select 6 - Speaker Mode, and then click OK to save the setting.
    4. Make sure that the front speaker cable is connected to the speaker-out connector (usually green).
    5. Make sure that the center speaker and subwoofer cable is connected to the microphone in connector (usually pink).
    6. Make sure that rear speaker cable is connected to the line-in connector (usually blue).
      5.1 sound is now enabled. Windows sounds can now be heard in 5.1 by setting 5.1 in your advanced speaker settings in Control Panel. The DVD player that came with your computer can now be set for 5.1 sound.
SoundBlaster Audigy card
Use the following steps to make sure that you have the SoundBlaster software configured for your speaker configuration.
  1. Turn on the computer and wait for Windows XP to fully load. Make sure that the HP Media Center computer has already been set up and all software programs are closed.
  2. Click Start, All Programs, Creative, and then click Install Application for Creative Audigy if it is listed. Wait for the installation to finish, about five minutes, then restart the computer.
  3. Click Start, All Programs, Creative, and then click AudioHQ.
  4. Double-click the Speaker icon. A Surround Mixer window appears.
  5. Select the type of speaker configuration that you have from the speaker drop down list.
  6. Click the Test button. A voice comes from each speaker telling you which speaker the voice should be coming from. Use the Test button to help troubleshoot wrong connections and connections that are missing.
  7. When the voice is heard correctly from each speaker, close the Surround Mixer window.
    5.1 sound is now enabled. Windows sounds can now be heard in 5.1 by setting 5.1 in your advanced speaker settings in Control Panel. The DVD player that came with your computer can now be set for 5.1 sound.
Figure : The Surround Mixer window
Popping noise when computer is turned on
A popping or brief static sound occurs when the computer powers on, powers off, enters standby mode, or leaves standby mode.
The sound occurs when the sound hardware in the computer receives or loses power. Some of this power enters into the speaker channels. The amount of power that gets sent to the speakers depends on the type of motherboard, type of sound hardware, and what power management settings are used.
The popping sound does not harm the speakers or the computer and only occurs when power is supplied or denied to the sound hardware. HP recommends that amplified speakers simply be turned down or turned off when the computer is not in use.
For more information use the HP support document Popping Sound When Computer is Turned On.
Can't hear Secondary Language or Secondary Audio Program (SAP)
A Secondary Audio Program (SAP) is a separate background audio track that can contain commentary or an alternative language. You need to turn on SAP to hear commentary or a second language.
If you are having difficulty setting up or hearing SAP through the Media Center computer, ensure you have feature enabled correctly in the Media Center software.
Additionally, if you use a set-top box, satellite box, or cable box with Media Center, you need to enable SAP in both the Media Center software and in your box.
  • For instructions on setting up SAP on the Media Center, refer to the Microsoft article: Change the TV audio settings
  • For instructions on setting up SAP on your set-top box, satellite box, or cable box, you need to consult the manual or instructions provided with the box.

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