The Sound of Silence
September 16, 2011 9:32 AM   Subscribe

Trying to get a simple headset working with my (otherwise functional) Dell Dimension 9200 has led me to the hell I'm in now: no sound, scouring 2 year old message board posts for dodgy links to poorly labeled sigmatel drivers. Horror awaits inside!

So I've been picking up a lot of games on Steam sales lately, and I'm pleasantly surprised that my nearly-4-year-old machine (Q6600, 4GB, GF 9800GT, Vista SP2) can still play most of them on decently high settings.

What I didn't notice though, was that when I upgraded to Vista from XP, the Sigmatel 9277 drivers never installed correctly. I'd been running just fine using the MS-provided generic HD Audio Device drivers for almost 3 years, only noticing it when I tried to plug in a headset. I tried a basic Logitech USB headset first, and then a pretty solid Plantronics analog one, but both had the same result. They wouldn't show up as a valid recording device, and when you'd try to monkey around with the sound control panel, it would hang.

Tracking down the latest drivers offered by dell (, packaged as R157052.EXE) did no good, after rebooting the volume control showed "no playback devices installed" even though the driver pane under sound appeared to be populated (correct ports would show, but the "levels" pane was blank). Lots of google research showed that 1) Sigmatel support under Vista was spotty 2) Vista SP1 broke most Sigmatel drivers, but 3) SP2 seemed to resolve most issues, and 4) some people have actually gotten it to work on the 9200 using driver packages for other machines (because Dell is awful at labeling their drivers). I spent quite some time poking around dell's audio driver FTP site.

So here's where I'm at now:

Ideally, I'd like to find the mythical driver package that makes the integrated Sigmatel 9277 chip work under vista SP2. I can roll back to the last system restore point, which should put me back where I started. I can try picking up a cheap (or not so cheap ) sound card to replace what I've got now, but I'd like to be able to game this weekend, so I'd probably wind up going to Microcenter.

So... Help?
posted by Oktober to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
If a USB headset isn't working, it appears that you're having more than just sound driver issues. Have you tried installing the chipset drivers for your motherboard?
posted by wongcorgi at 10:23 AM on September 16, 2011

It's worth giving it a shot, you do have a point. I initially discounted it because all of my other USB devices (mouse, external hd, etc) work fine. Intel even provides a handy "is your chipset driver out of date" utility. I'll give this a shot before I head to Microcenter.
posted by Oktober at 11:08 AM on September 16, 2011

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