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Solved Sound is messed up, but no voices.

February 1, 2013 at 18:52:05
Specs: Windows 7 64, I3/4GIG

I was watching a movie streaming today and suddenly the voices were gone. I tried another and another, but no voices. I get sound like cars, audiences laughing, and music, but no conversations can be heard. I popped in several dvd's including a sermon by a Rabbai friend, and still no voices. I have updated all drivers since then and everything is current. I have fiddled in the device menus and done several google searches, but to no avail. This is really important to fix as I am a singer/songwriter, and if I cannot playback the music I record then I am sunk.

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#1
February 1, 2013 at 19:33:35
✔ Best Answer

Wow, I unplugged everything, plugged it back in and restarted and sound is back. Does that mean my soundcard is bad, or just the plug.

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#2
February 2, 2013 at 02:31:27

It sure sounds like it was just a poor contact in a connector.
But it could possibly be a broken wire in a cable. It could
also be any of a bunch of less-likely possibilities.

If your sound is connected with 1/8" plugs and jacks, or RCA
connectors, then you could test to see if unplugging the main
speakers (lime green-colored jack on your computer) has
exactly the same effect as your problem. If so, then check
that cable to be sure it doesn't have a break and that the
plugs fit the jacks solidly. If it is okay, it may simply have not
been plugged in tightly. I just had a picture fall off my wall that
had been hanging there for at least 15 years. I think the air
is so dry from heating that the picture warped and popped
off the mount. Things can appear to be fine for a long time
before something causes them to fail.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#3
February 2, 2013 at 09:16:05

I've been pondering as to why "all sounds except voices". One thing that comes to mind is that if the the recorded voice happens to be out of phase left-right (ie reversed on one of the channels) then if your plug or connecting cables are shorting out then this would cause the voice to be cancelled and therefore vanish or reduce considerably. For this to be true you should find other situations where the sound is quite normal (unless your cabling is reversed on one channel).

So, as said, cables, plugs or sockets. If the voice comes and goes when you wiggle a plug or cable that would give you a clue where the problem lies.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#4
February 2, 2013 at 12:35:24

In my reply above I was forgetting that the original poster said
that the material he was listening to was being streamed over
the Internet. I was thinking that he has a fancy sound system
with multiple speakers, and the main, front pair of speakers
cut out while the others were unaffected. But I doubt that video
streamed over the Internet has multiple channels like that.
And I doubt that all the sound sources he tried would have
multiple channels, allowing background and effects sounds
but not the primary sounds in all cases.

Talitim, what kind of cable(s) are you using? 1/8" plugs?
HDMI? Something else?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#5
February 2, 2013 at 12:51:59

Jeff
Ooops - looks like I followed along the same lines.

talitim
Laptop or PC?
If it's a laptop, does the symptom show with internal speakers?
Is it the same on headphones?
Is it only when using external speakers?
Is it only when plugged into a stereo?

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#6
February 11, 2013 at 06:53:47

It was on a Desktop PC. The speakers are cerwin Vega. 2 speakers only. Connected by RCA to 3.5. I am not sure what happened, but sound still works fine. I did change out the connecter yesterday, but was having no problems with the old one. The sound problem was not only streaming, but DVD and CD as well. I am not having the trouble any longer. Not sure what the problem was.

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#7
February 11, 2013 at 10:20:16

Very weird but it is surprising how many computer ills vanish without anyone really knowing why (often on restarting the computer).

Whatever, glad to hear things are OK now and hope they stay that way. Thx for popping back to let us know.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#8
February 11, 2013 at 10:30:18

The reason it happens is what Derek was describing, phase cancellation.

It happens when only the positive signal from each channel is used. When the plug isn't inserted all the way, one connection from the plug gets the signal from the positive connection from the left channel of the jack. The negative connection on the plug gets the positive signal from the right connection of the jack.

What you end up with is a signal that is the sum of everything that is in stereo, anything recorded in mono (which is usually voices) is cancelled out.


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#9
February 11, 2013 at 16:20:54

THX 1138,

I hope your explanation is right, because I'm going to make it
an important part of my understanding of how things work!

After Derek posted I was thinking more and more that it must
be due to phase cancellation somehow, but it didn't make sense
to me that only the voices would go out. Voices being recorded
in mono, effects in stereo makes sense, and I understand how
mono in reversed phase reduces the volume.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#10
February 11, 2013 at 16:57:06

I agree with the general premise that the voice is usually central (effectively mono). However, I have run into some tracks where the singer was displaced to the right or left of center. In these instances a phase cancelling effect could go unnoticed - hence my suggestion that some audio would sound OK.

My thinking was based on the days when I used to build amplifiers and used stereo record pickups. If you had a reversed channel at the pickup, then linked the channels at the amplifier by switching to mono [they had mono switches in those days] the singer sounded as if he/she was at the end of a very long tube.

In fact to this very day if I want to record an old 78 rpm record (lateral variations only) shorting the stereo pickup input will at least cancel the vertical hiss due to record wear or damage. I have a plug-in cable arrangement to do this. Vertical variations are only necessary for stereo records or some obscure and very ancient "hill and dale" records - including laterally tracked clockwork phonograph cylinders.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#11
February 11, 2013 at 17:12:29

Long before the days of Dolby pro logic synthesized surround, you could actually buy devices that would do exactly what I described. It created somewhat of a rear surround effect.

Here's an experiment you can try, take a speaker and connect it to the positive terminal of the left and right channel of your stereo/receiver/amplifier. You will hear what the OP is describing. It will be everything that is the difference between the left and right channel. Everything that is equally common (mono) in both channels will be canceled out.

Derek, you must dabble in audio quite a bit. Your description of reducing hiss in mono recordings and 78's is a common method known to audio engineers, but not known by most people.


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#12
February 11, 2013 at 17:18:02

We've strayed a bit but I'm of the opinion that some of the things you learn over the years, which you subsequently deem too outdated to matter, can suddenly have some current value. Principles never change - take Ohms Law for instance.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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