I Can't Get Any Sound
Unless you are getting error messages in Windows relating
to sound, the only two things that could be wrong are 1) the speakers aren't
working, or 2) sound has been turned off.
To check whether the speakers are working, try plugging them into something
else that plays sound such as a portable radio/cassette/CD player or a
stereo system with a 1/8" headphone jack. Also, you could try your
stereo headphones plugged into the computer (be sure to plug them where
the speakers go into your sound card, NOT into the CD-ROM drive, for example).
If the speakers don't work on something else, or if the headphones do work
in the computer, you need to check the speakers. Otherwise, check the sound
settings on your computer.
To check the speakers
First of all, make sure all the speaker wires are plugged into the proper
places. If your speaker has its own power adapter plug, make sure that's
plugged into a working outlet. Speakers come in three basic types: those
that are powered by the sound card, those that require their own power
source, the those that can be switched for either one.
If the speaker can only powered by the sound card, make sure your sound
card is capable of amplifying the sound! Some sound cards will provide
two out jacks, one which provides power to the speakers (usually called
SPK or SPKR) and one which doesn't (usually called LINE OUT). Make sure
this type of speaker is plugged into the SPK jack.
If the speaker requires its own power, make sure the A/C adapter is
plugged in and working (you can check whether it's working by feeling the
transformer; it should be slightly warmer than room temperature), or if
the speaker uses batteries, make sure the batteries are fresh and inserted
the right way.
If the speaker can be switched, make sure the setting is appropriate
for the type of power you are using. Usually the switches will be marked
AMP, or it may simply be the ON/OFF button. The switches should only be
ON if the speakers are powered by a battery or A/C adapter; if your speakers
are powered by the computer, the switches must be turned OFF and the speakers
plugged into the LINE OUT jack of the sound card.
To check the sound settings
If you aren't getting sound from a DOS program, or if sound is missing
from one Windows program but all others are ok, check the manual for that
program's sound settings.
In Windows, there are several places to check the sound. For the system
beeps and the start/exit music, go into the Control Panel, then go to Sounds,
and make sure sounds have been enabled and that a .WAV file is selected
for each event. Also, most sound card software will include a sound mixer
program. Check the settings there (consult the sound card's manual for
directions) to make sure the sound hasn't been muted and that the volume
is turned up for .WAV sounds.
If it's MIDI songs you are missing, again check the sound mixer, then
go to Control Panel and look at the MIDI Mapper. The mapper should be configured
to use the FM Synthesizer (maybe Base or Extended). You can double-check
the configuration for each MIDI channel by pressing the Edit button. If
the mapper is set to the MIDI port, you aren't going to get any MIDI music
at all unless you have a piano keyboard (or other MIDI instrument) attached
to the computer.
For users of Windows 95, things have been fairly standardized so it's
easier to tell you where to look. On the taskbar, next to the clock, should
be a picture of a speaker. If that has a
on it, guess what that means? Click the
left mouse button on the speaker icon to check the mute control and the
master volume. Double-click the
left mouse button on the speaker to check the individual mute, volume,
and balance settings for WAV sounds, MIDI songs, CD music, etc.
If you get no sound from audio CD's, but you
can hear program CD's
There are two possible causes for this, one of which is that the volume
control for the CD has been turned down (see the preceding paragraph).
The other is that the audio cable going from the CD drive to the sound
card is either broken or not plugged in at all.
The latter problem most often occurs after installing or replacing the
sound card and/or CD drive. However, if that is not the case and you have
already checked everything else, it couldn't hurt to check this too. You
will have to open up the computer case to check this wire.
Look at the back of the CD drive. There should be three groups of wires
plugged into it: a flat ribbon cable which carries digital data from the
drive (including sound on program CD's), a set of four colored wires --
two black, red, and yellow -- for power, and a small set of two or three
wires for audio. The other end of this last set of wires needs to be plugged
into your sound card; the connector for it will usually be labeled "CD"
or "CDAUDIO" or something like that. If the cable is plugged
in properly at both ends, check the length of the cable for any broken