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I'm not an audio guy so it might not be the most articulate description of the problem I'm having but it seems like ever since I went to Windows 7 some video (netflix and some youtube) the background track (music sound effects etc) plays appropriately but the foreground track (i.e. the actors and/or narrator) barely comes in at all

Right now I have just a simple set of PC speakers and some times a pair of headphones that plug into the PC speakers (no fancy 5.1)

I've looked at every setting I can think of but I can't find anything that could be causing this

Ive uninstalled the driver and reinstalled and I still get the same results so I think its a software issue

any ideas?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There's a big chance that this problem has something to do with your cables.

Perform a few experiments to clearly determine what's really wrong.

  1. Try using stereo speakers or headphones directly connecting them to the sound card. What's your observation?

  2. Try connecting your 5.1 cables better (spin it around while playing something to optimize). If not fixed, then try changing cables. Also, make sure that you're connecting the right cables in the right places (front, rear, center, etc.).

Do these things and report your observations to us. =)

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headphones directly have no change. As stated above i only have a pair of stereo speakers no 5.1 setup – Crash893 Feb 9 '11 at 13:38
Did you try the other things? Connecting the cables tighter and spinning them around to see what's going on while playing something? If not, you should try it or think about replacing your cables. I still think, it's a cable related problem. – Jasper Feb 11 '11 at 3:46
@Crash893, In my experience, the problems that you describe are exactly the sort that occurs when the cables are not correctly connected, there is a short, or a cut in the cable. Try using a different cable if possible, or a different plug (do you have more than one sound device like onboard and a separate card? it could be the connector on the sound card/mobo itself is damaged) – Synetech Feb 15 '11 at 7:23
It turned out the "plug on the sound card (directly on mobo) was coming lose from its crappy solder points i got a pci sound card and the problem went away – Crash893 Mar 1 '12 at 2:31

Funny you should mention 5.1 stereo, I had a similar problem that was caused by a media player playing 5.1. Sounds likely to be a similar cause.

Is your problem always with the same media player? If so, look into audio settings and try to turn off any 5.1. I've looked at Windows Media Player (for example) and can't see a setting for this, but there must be one somewhere...

Have you tried another media player? Try GOM, VLC or Media Player Classic. If the same issue is present on all players, then the OS thinks you have 5.1. Again, I don't know how to fix this through the OS, but it can help to diagnose the issue.

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its with hulu and netflix and now Left4dead (game) and vlc all have the same issue youtube is 50/50 – Crash893 Feb 2 '11 at 5:23
Youtube is 50/50? Can you identify what other media players are open/active for each side of the 50% If Hulu (for example) is open when Youtube messes up the sound, then Hulu might be the culprit. – outsideblasts Feb 9 '11 at 6:11
negative, youtube and hulu at different times act up. It seems to me like youtube videos that are "better done" have this probelm like the sound is in 5.1 but i don't know how to trun it off – Crash893 Feb 9 '11 at 13:39

You could also try and run the MS Sound Diagnostics page. It can sometimes help in pin pointing audio problems:

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I'll give it a try but just looking at what it checks i think most of that is N/A or already checked but what do i got to lose? – Crash893 Feb 2 '11 at 20:13
just ran it and nothing found – Crash893 Feb 9 '11 at 4:12

I had the same problem and it kind of went away without my doing anything special.
However, I did not have this in VLC, only in Windows Media Player.

It might have something to do with the fact that I update regularly my codecs pack.
You might try installing the K-Lite Codec Pack and see if there is any improvement.

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It really sounds like one of your audio channels (left vs. right) is out of phase with the other. This would cause things that are panned center (the way that actors' voices usually are) to cancel, where things that are panned left or right not to cancel as much (and thus appear louder).

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