Dell Inspiron 700m Sound Input Design Flaw?

700m Recall Information

Most of you that read this blog know that I have and love a Dell Inspiron 700m laptop (here’s my review of the unit).

Being a podcaster, one aspect of the laptop that I tried out pretty thoroughly was the audio input, both mic and line in. It wasn’t able to provide enough amplification to an unpowered microphone to be usable, which is why I most often use my T40 to record the show. There was also an awful lot of noise whenever I recorded anything from the mic/line input.

Up until now, I just figured the sound hardware wasn’t the greatest, but apparently, this is a common (universal?) problem with the Dell Inspiron 700m. I was contacted by the person who has launched, in an effort to raise awareness of the problem, and hopefully get Dell to do something to fix the problem.

So, I’m linking to him, to boost his Google juice, and the likelyhood of potential buyers stumbling across the issue while doing pre-purchase research. To be fair, Dell has escalated the issue to their level 3 support, and seem to be willing to look at the problem. Hopefully they’re on the Cluetrain, and will do the right thing to keep us, their customers, happy. If anyone at Dell is reading this, and is wondering why it matters, realize that if we (networked customers) wanted to, we could make this issue the #1 hit when someone googles for “inspiron 700m”.

Anyone else with a 700m have this problem?


85 thoughts on “Dell Inspiron 700m Sound Input Design Flaw?

  1. Just found this site because I tried to record some audio on my wife’s new 700m system and the quality was bad so thought I would see if this was a known issue.

    Sounds like it is.

    I would like to make some comments to anyone reading this. Due to notebook architecture there is not a good way to shield the mic input from all the other electrical components inside the system and this is why the mic in sounds bad. This could happen on ANY notebook and is likely not just any issue with Dell systems. I worked at Dell several years ago and I took similar calls on inspirion 7000 and other models of notebooks. Every computer has places where sacrifices must be made and in order to make a system so small and so cheap you are going to lose out on something. Sure a $1500 Apple probably doesn’t exhibit this type of issue.

    Many people do not ever use the mic in so it’s only a problem for some people. With new services and programs though like google talk, it does become a much more important feature to have working.

    I might call them and try and get them to compensate me for the cost of a USB mic or external sound card as others have mentioned but I’m not that good or patient when it comes to arguing a case like that over the phone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was having a similar problem with my new 700m, although I am not sure it is exactly the problem that all of you are experiencing.

    I chatted with a Dell representative and was able to solve the problem by installing a driver update: Sigmatel STAC 9750 AC97 WDM Audio Driver. This update is available at

    I hope others find this as helpful as I did. At least it’s worth a try.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I bought the 700m and it was shipped on Sept 15 2005, one of the main things I use them for is video conferencing, I have always used sony’s which never had any problems. This is sickening to read this after I just bought one, I will let you know if the problem still exists and if it does its going back real fast.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Previous Anonymous ^, did the problem exist in your 700m which was shipped on the 15th of Sept (this month)?

    I too am deciding on this machine and am wondering if it in fact exists. As well, is there a known problem with listening to music via external speakers or headphones on this machine?

  5. Anonymous says:

    We have many D600 and D610 laptops at work. Have just recieved a new product that our sales team are to demo to customers. It requires a microphone connected to the laptop. I am unable to get it working to a stage that the sales team will accept. Will be intouch with Dell rep tomorrow…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hello? Anyone still here? What exactly is a ‘blogger site’? And did the previous person 2 msgs ago try out the mic-in yet? Hello?!

  7. Clive says:

    Hi, I have a Dell 6000 and when I try to use a webcam (currently Logitech) with a built in mic it works fine with low background noise for a minute or so and then goes inot full volume static noise for a random period (10 secs) and then dops back to normal working. I have tried everything I can and afetr contacting Dell support got a reply to download dell notebook system software which I have done but the problem still persists. Oddly enough when I use a seprate mic and headset throught the standard jack/socket points on the laptop no problems.

  8. Rich-Technican- says:

    First I am a technican and have worked and built so many laptops and I have never had such an audio problem as we are having with this Dell LATITUDE 110L. We cannot even get the audio play back to work. On any other system if you plug in a mic and talk you can hear it through the speakers. This plain will not work on this laptop. We tested it on a few other laptops and it worked fine as well as on desktop systems with all working results. Any laptop we plugged in that was Dell and had a ‘pre-installed’ OS would give us this issues. We even tryed different mics. Another thing I thought was horrible was that in the sound properties you could not even show the MIC and the Stereo in the list. How dumb is that. And trying to enable them both would not work as you had to have either stereo or mic checked but could not have them both checked at same time. I work for the local government and this laptop was issued to us by the state of CA. I am going to call Dell and see what I can do.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i am planning on buying a 700m and have heard about the audio problem. This problem is with the mic and not with the speakers, right, because i am going to be listening to a bunch of music and i don’t want it to be real staticy.

  10. Anonymous says:


    I own a 700m shipped in Aug. 05 which has the same mic static issue. I tried the “Sigmatel STAC 9750 AC97 WDM Audio Driver” posted by anonymous above but minor to no improvement in static:

    However, the “Intel 97 AC audio controller” posted by queshy on the link below as a substitute for the original sigmatel driver has decreased the noise static/distortion considerably however it is only a partial solution:

    Does choosing a USB mic or an adapter to a USB port for a conventional mic / headphone input jacks solve the problem; if so, is there a preference to buying a mic with a USB jack vs. buying an adapter for the USB port for a mic with a conventional input?? The answers in the blog so far are not convincing…any input would be appreciated 🙂

  11. Since a USB headset/mic becomes a seperate audio device in Windows, it’s completely independent of the onboard sound. So, it should be free of the design flaw that causes recording static on the 700m.

    I’ve recorded using an iMuc USB audio device, and haven’t had the static issue.

  12. betina says:

    i bought and own two laptops from dell the xps and my imspirion 9300 when im chatting with friends all i head is tornadoes..i mean the sound of wind is so bad. I just had a tech here who replaced my mother board because the jacks became loose..however we had ordered the latitude and the same wind problem was there. is there no way to reduce just at a loss.

  13. Jeffrey Wang says:

    I had the same problem when I bought my inspiron 700m a year ago, then I bought a Logitech web cam which has a built in mic. the mic uses the usb port, not the audio input jack, and the problem is resolved like magic. And I have been using skype for a yeah without any problem. So as long as you use a usb mic instead of the audio input jack, you won’t have this pain. If you don’t want to through your existing mic away, I gus you can buy those cheap usb to audio converters.

  14. JAKKK says:

    I have a big problem with my dell inspiron 1150 laptop.
    The problem occured after I connected speakers on my computer. Theire is no sound, completly no more. But All thing simse to be OK All options are well configured But even with the laptop speakers theire is no sound.
    So please is theire some one that can help me?
    If any solution please contact me at


  15. Morcego says:

    hi i have same problem with my dell insprion 1150 laptop, It simse that on my laptop all options are configured corectly but theire is no sound at all? i check conection with mainbord and speakers and simse that is ok?
    can some one help me? thx

  16. Dan says:

    I bought my dell Inspiron 700m last year brand new. This year in October my left speaker stoped working. I checked into the problem online and found out it was due to design flaw. And just right now my right speaker stoped working. I dont know what to do know, since my warranty is over. Did anyone else have the same problem? Or have a Fix?

  17. Dan says:

    I am never going to buy anything from Dell ever again. I thought it was a good company, but the reality is they suck! Piece of $hit DELL!!!

  18. Mark says:

    Anyone complaining about mic levels being too low might want to take a look at this. If its a normal PC mic you’re using, the levels from these should (in theory) be satisfactory. But if you are using a dynamic microphone (a proper mic with professional sound quality) you need a seperate preamplifier, as these are not built into your laptop. You can pick one of these up for about 20GBP. I’m using a B-Tech BT26 with my Inspiron 640m, and the sound is crystal

  19. Cecilia says:

    The speakers on my Inspiron 700m recently stopped working properly, sometimes there’s sound output through the speakers, other times there isn’t. However, I have no problem with the sound output when I use my headphones so I suspected “loose” or worn out wires going into the speakers. I opened up the chasis and sure enough, the wires right at the hinge of the laptop are worn out! Not a very smart design in my opinion to have the wires RIGHT at the hinge-duh!!! Does anyone have any suggestions where I can get replacement parts (speakers) for good price?

  20. Javeed says:

    My dell inspiron 700m has no sound. On through diagnostic testing with system.
    Dell Extended Test (CTRL+F12):All test passed except sound as follows,

    1. Intel ICH4 Audio-Analog Sound Playback Test – Error Code:1B22:061B
    2. Intel ICH4 Audio-Record and Playback Test – Error Code:1B22:071B

    Could you pls let me know whether i can fix the sound card alone withouth changing the motherboard.


  21. maggie says:

    Can anyone out there please help this computer dummy. I got a new Dell desktop last week and all I want to do is play music in Yahoo Chat through my soundcard. This was no problem with my old monster but i’m finding it impossible on this computer (Dell c521). My speakers are working fine, as is my mic but when i mute my mic i cant play in chat. Its so annoying to listen to the tap tap of my keyboard or my dog barking while I’m playing music. If anyone has an answer please don’t be too technical as I truly am a tech dummy……………….Thanks

  22. alex says:

    I have an inspiron 9300, and the sound card on it is also pretty much useless for anything except for the onboard speakers. That’s really the bottom line with, it seems, the 700m, 9300, and their XPS counterparts; They hiss like snakes. (if you get too close to their audio circuits)

  23. Pitri says:

    Hey, I have Inspiron 640m and I am also a podcaster(I just started so unknown). I have Creative SB Audigy Sound Card, but I have noise issues.
    Then I found what was the problem! The Power Cable! If you remove power cable from your Laptop, no more noise! Dang, the problem is my battery would not stay long enough!
    Good Luck(I’m just a High-Schooler -> Student)

  24. Nandakumar says:

    I bought the Dell Inspiration E5015 on 03-2007 , I am trying to record the streaming audio from internet. I can’t record it. The recording is only possible through microphone. It is not possible by AUX, mono out, wave out mix which is commonly available in all computer. One of the Dell supportive has claimed that nun of their lap top have streaming audio recording capability.!!.
    But I gon through the
    It is not useful
    I am really fed up if anybody have any solution, greatly appreciable.

  25. Nandakumar says:

    I bought the Dell Inspiration E1505 (the prodect is wrongly mensioned in abow post) on 03-2007 , I am trying to record the streaming audio from internet. I can’t record it. The recording is only possible through microphone. It is not possible by AUX, mono out, wave out mix which is commonly available in all computer. One of the Dell supportive has claimed that nun of their lap top have streaming audio recording capability.!!.
    But I gone through the
    It is not useful
    I am really fed up if anybody have any solution, greatly appreciable.

  26. Annie says:

    I too have an Inspiron 700m. The first and only time I plugged my headphones into the external port, the external speakers quit working. Of course, I have had the computer for two years and am being told by Dell that I need to purchase new internal speakers.

    I’m not very happy since this seems to be a standard problem with Dell computers in general. Any help offered would be greatly appreciated!!


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  28. Chris says:

    I had problems with my sound on my Dell Inspiron 700m. The sounds was dead in the speakers but worked fine in the headphones. I did the diagnostic test on dell’s website and it told me to error in the PSA test for the LCD Screen to see if the a sound would come out. Here’s the wizard fr the dell inspiron 700m that helped me out.
    the sound didn’t come out and I called dell to tell them my results, they send me a box and I sent it away 2 weeks later. I’t been 8 Business days since I sent it out and so I gave them a call. I had to ask about my computer before they told me that they needed more for fixing my computer. If I hadn’t asked I wouldn’t have known and my computer bing lost ratio to being found would have increased. Regardless, instead of calling me up and saying we need to replace the entire LCD screen and it’s going to cost you this, even though you paid for the speakers replacement I had to call them up. It’s bad CS if the customer needs to check up on the device and then finds out that they need to do more, if I found out earlier I may have my laptop now. instead, I have been charged extra and I have to wait 3-5 days.

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  30. ks says:

    I have the 700m and have had the same problem with the audio input unit. Also with the dvd/cd player not working. Please let me know if you get any help. Thanks

  31. anu252 says:

    Hello guys,
    I have a DELL Inspiron E1505. I need to figure out, what settings can be done or which microphone shall I buy, so I can make my voice to be heard by them. I tried 3 different mics and none of them made the party on other side hear my voice. I want to know which microphone has worked for you, so i stop spending on doing trial and error on microphones.
    PLease help me solving this problem.

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