Updating Sound Device Drivers

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Updating the Sound Device Drivers to obtain correct recording

If problems recording or selecting the correct input are not resolved, the drivers for your sound device need updating. The drivers are the piece of software that tells your computer how to talk to the specific hardware you have installed or connected to your computer. The drivers must be specific to your computer or sound device model, and are usually produced by the card or motherboard manufacturer. To find out about your sound device you can use Device Manager on Windows, System Profiler on a Mac or lspci/lsusb on Linux to find information on your sound device. Armed with this information, you can then seek updated ones specific to your hardware from the internet. If you have a PCI or external soundcard you would go to the website of the soundcard manufacturer. If your sound is integrated into the motherboard, you'd try first at the website of the stated manufacturer of the sound device. Some device manufacturers such as Sigmatel and Soundmax however do not provide any support to end users, so in that case you would go to the website of the motherboard manufacturer. Use Google or Yahoo to search for the manufacturer's website.


Extra help for Windows Vista users

All Windows users are strongly recommended to try updating their drivers via Device Manager in the first instance, before looking for drivers on the internet. To access Device Manager on Vista with its default view: click Start > Control Panel > System and Maintenance, then scroll down and click on Device Manager. With Vista "Classic View", there is a direct link to Device Manager in the Control Panel.

Then expand "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" by clicking on the + sign, right-click on the sound device and click "update driver".

After the update (even if more recent drivers cannot be found), right-click on the device again, click Properties and then on the Driver tab to check who the current "Driver Provider" is. You don't want drivers from Microsoft - in most cases these are only generic drivers, not specifically matched to your hardware. This leads to many problems with not being able to select the correct input, or recordings not being made correctly. These must be replaced with drivers made by the manufacturer of your hardware, that are correctly matched to your hardware.

If Device Manager has updated the drivers and the Driver Provider is not Microsoft, you could see if the new drivers cure the problem. Otherwise, note the name of the Driver Provider (if it's Microsoft, note the name instead of the sound device you right-clicked over), and visit the manufacturer's website. If you have integrated motherboard sound and the Driver Provider or stated manufacturer does not offer downloads, go to the site of the motherboard manufacturer for assistance. Most will offer driver downloads. In this case you may need to know details of your motherboard. If you don't have details to hand, the CPU-Z utility should help. Always look for a driver update which is specific to your computer model and version of Windows.

To get reliable operation it is essential that the drivers are specifically intended for Vista, because the drivers much communicate intimately with both the operating system and the hardware for correct operation.

Extra help for Windows XP (an earlier) users

On XP and earlier, click Start > (Settings) > Control Panel > System, click on the Hardware tab, then on the "Device Manager" button on the Device Manager panel.

Next expand "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" by clicking on the + sign, right-click on the sound device and click "update driver".

After the update (even if more recent drivers cannot be found), right-click on the device again, click Properties and then on the Driver tab to check who the current "Driver Provider" is. You don't want drivers from Microsoft - in most cases these are only generic drivers, not specifically matched to your hardware. This leads to many problems with not being able to select the correct input, or recordings not being made correctly. These must be replaced with drivers made by the manufacturer of your hardware, that are correctly matched to your hardware.

If Device Manager has updated the drivers and the Driver Provider is not Microsoft, you could see if the new drivers cure the problem. Otherwise, note the name of the Driver Provider (if it's Microsoft, note the name instead of the sound device you right-clicked over), and visit the manufacturer's website. If you have integrated motherboard sound and the Driver Provider or stated manufacturer does not offer downloads, go to the site of the motherboard manufacturer for assistance. Most will offer driver downloads. In this case you may need to know details of your motherboard. If you don't have details to hand, the CPU-Z utility should help. Always look for a driver update which is specific to your computer model and version of Windows.

To get reliable operation it is essential that the drivers are specifically intended for Vista, because the drivers much communicate intimately with both the operating system and the hardware for correct operation.