Question Dell XPS 15 9500 and Zoom / Skype call audio volume low

Jul 21, 2020
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Has anyone noticed a problem with the new Dell XPS 15 9500 and the attendees/audio volume when in Zoom or Skype meetings. My Dell dropped the volume of any music source I was playing as soon as I started either a Zoom or Skype call, only to restore the volume as soon as I exited the meeting. I needed to bring the audio level up to 100% to be able the hear meeting attendees, and even then the audio was low. Disabling Waves Max Pro from startup seemed to solve the problem but led to others. I've now returned the machine and hope that it had a fault, as I really want to reorder and get a working one. Any comments would be welcome.
 
Jul 21, 2020
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Hi Helpstar, and thanks for your comments. Yes I've been in contact with Dell Tech Support many times and via them, updated the BIOS and many of the drivers including the audio ones. Dell's own Support Assist app also reported all drivers up to date.

I've also set Zoom "Audio" to 'Enable Original Sound' from microphone, and disabled both 'Suppress Persistent Background Noise' and 'Suppress Intermittent Background Noise' from the Audio 'Advanced' tab.

None of the changes resolved the problem which makes me wonder if this could be some kind of hardware fault. Dell seemed to run out of ideas for a solution. I'd like to hear that someone else with the same machine doesn't have the same problem ;)
 
Jul 21, 2020
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Hi Helpstar,

I've returned the machine now for a refund, as Dell were reluctant to give me a replacement and I wasn't happy that the problem seemed to be unresolveable. (I also noticed that the touchpad was loose along the lower edge, which is an acknowledged problem by Dell.) However, I do really like this machine and if I knew that the sound problem could be fixed I would buy it again.

I read the article you provided the link to, and I did reinstall Windows (with support from Dell) on 23 June but that had no impact (I can't remember the version number, but I know it wasn't 2004). However, the issue highlighted in the article could have been the problem as I noticed I had no audio problems when using Google 'Duo' within the Chrome browser. Unfortunately I wasn't aware of the Sound Control Panel change that I could have tried. I did tell the Dell tech all the experiences I had had but they didn't offer that as a suggestion.

One other thing I noticed was that, when in a Zoom meeting, if I switched between
'Speakers / Headphones (Realtek Audio)' and 'Same as System' in the audio "Select a Speaker" option, the audio would be temporarily restored and then go back to being low volume again. This also happened if I switched the selection back again.

The pc BIOS was 'XPS15 9500_1.1.3' and the Audio Driver was Realtek ALC3281.
I don't know the version of Waves Max Pro, and I don't think I made any changes to the installed app.

As I've said, if I can be assured that the problem is a software one, and that a fix is available and can be applied, then I would feel better about re-ordering. I'm sure that many people who have bought this machine would also be using Zoom or Skype at this time as they are the way we are communicating with each other in these strange times, and I wonder if they experienced the same problem.

Thanks for your suggestions.



 
Aug 6, 2020
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I have the same problem. Contacted DELL support but was useless. Told them to feedback this to their higher technical team to find a permanent fix for it.

I found a temporary hack though.
Go to Sound Control Panel > Click on Speakers > Advanced tab > change to 16bit > toggle off Enable audio enhancement. Open Zoom test call while you are doing this. Once the sound increase, stop. Because i realised if i keep toggling the button on the panel, it stopped working.

However, when you restart laptop again, the issue came back. You would need to toggle on the Signal Enhancement (if it was previously off). Let me know if it works.
 
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