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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3rd hand laptop - Dell Latitude D400 - running Windows XP - Version 2002 Service Pack 2.
Mozilla version 5.0
Audio is set to the one option - Sigma Tel Audio.
Using a headset that is a Jack Headset (not USB) as I only have one USB port that is used for my webcam.

Sorry for long post!

I'm in London, in the UK, and use my Googlemail voice chat system, and MSN voice chat with a lot with my friends from all over the world. I use a cheap jack, supermarket, own brand, headset, so nothing fancy, but it does what it said on the box. For the most part it is ok. The sound is clear and everything is fine.

Then a week, or so, ago it changed. I speak with a Dutch friend, and when we call each other, the noise of static is so loud, I can barely hear my friend. It only started a few weeks ago, and I assumed the problem was his end.

However, he has trouble with hearing intermitant static too, and assumed the problem is my end. As If I take my laptop, tip it over and bring it up to head height, and balance it so that the keyboard is vertical, on the edge, on my chest, and the screen rests on my head (like a canopy around my head), he says the sound is clear... change position and he says its back and it's unbearably loud. Its so strange. Changing sliders on any of the volume tabs in 'Sounds and Devices' makes no difference.

I've tried wiggling the jacks and the cabling, and there is no change. I've tried moving the power cable to the laptop, both crossing the headset wire and uncrossing. Nothing. The only change where he has perfect sound is if I have it tipped up with my nose a centimetre away from my nose. I have also unplugged the headset in case it was an issue with that. The Static was still there coming through the speakers 2 mins later, so I re-plugged and carried on talking to my friend.

For me - when we first connect, there is a loud 'plink' sound and a pause, and another 'plink' and then the static starts, and then my friend and I can start talking over the hiss.

The other thing, which is why he thought its a problem my end, is that whenever we both talk to others, in whatever country, we both have crystal clear sound - its literally only when we talk to each other. And while the static is quieter on MSN, its still there, only on MSN both our mics cut out when you aren't talking, so you end up saying "hello?" just to make sure the other person is still there.

I've tried using a different jack headset but to no avail.


I just ran a hardware test. Actually, he might be right about it being my end.

I went through the Sounds And Devices to the voice tab. I ran a hardware test. On the Speaker test, the playback is accompanied by a very loud buzzing, exactly as he described he hears! And if I don't make speak then the sound goes dead in this testing mode, regardless of background noise.

I also updated the drivers, and restarted and re-tested, problem still there. Re-started again, and tested without the headset and the problem is painfully loud "whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh" type sound.

At the beginning of August I had a Trojan Horse Virus, which I cured with help from other people, but the problem occurred after the virus was cured, and I had spoken to this person before and after with no problems.

The sound is greatly improved albeit 'tinny' sounding and still keeps cutting out, IF I have removed the power cable, unfortunately, my laptop is so old, and probably has been abused, that it only runs on battery for like 45 mins, and I can't find another battery for it.

Anything I can try to allieviate the issue?
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