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P5K SE Realtek Onboard Audio Oddities

I recently upgraded my main gaming PC and built another computer out of my old P5K SE board/Core 2 Duo E8400. Unfortunately, I cannot get the Realtek onboard audio to work properly. The problem isn't that the devices are not installed or not showing up, and it's not even that no sound comes from the device. It's that the sound that does come from the device is so quiet and so muffled that I have to max out all the volume meters and turn my speakers to the maximum level to even be able to hear a very faint sound that sounds as if somebody had put the speakers under some very heavy blankets and locked them in the back of a closet on another story of the house.

This PC is running Windows XP Professional SP3, however this problem was also present back when the board was in my main PC after upgrading from XP Pro SP2 to Vista Business x64 SP1. I had just figured it was a driver issue with Vista and paid it no attention as I had a PCIe sound card installed in the system at the time. Unfortunately, I no longer have access to that sound card as I gave it away to a friend and do not want to purchase another one.

When I first set up this PC, I initially installed the audio drivers from the motherboard's CD and then updated them with the ones found on Asus' website. The onboard audio is enabled in the BIOS and Windows is able to see the Realtek devices and they are set as the default audio devices (they're the only audio devices on the system.) I've checked that the speaker settings are set to 2ch in both the Windows audio settings and the Realtek software as I am using 2.1 speakers and ensured that the speakers were plugged into the "front speaker" (green) port on the back of the PC. They work fine on my new board as well as every other device I have tried them on, so it's not the speakers that are at fault.

I have also tried plugging the speakers into the front panel "headphone" port on my case and it too has the same quiet, muffled sound. And, for what it's worth, the front panel is connected to the board as "HD Audio" (as opposed to AC'97) and the BIOS setting is configured accordingly.

Any ideas of what may be causing this issue? I cannot tell if this is a hardware or software issue; the onboard audio worked fine about two months ago when the board was in my main machine and I was running XP Pro, so I know it wasn't like this from the beginning...

I would really like to get this resolved without buying any more hardware if possible (I am a little drained for cash after upgrading my board/CPU/RAM/Graphics card on my main PC) so any help/info would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    In the sound portion of the control panel under speaker properties
    there is a tab for enhancements.
    I didnt even realize it was there til now but on mine all options are unchecked
    and on the bottom where it says settings it says none.
    Also under advanced it is set to 24 bit 48000 and both checkboxes are filled in.

    Other than that I dont have any other real suggetions.
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