Long time reader, first time poster here and I'm writing today to request help on this rather common issue I've found.
So, the story is this. I recently put together a computer and the problem I'm having is that my on-board RealTek AC97 HD Audio device (ALC888 model) is not outputting any sound via my headphones and very quiet sound on my Speakers.
The front panel doesn't do anything for my headphones and when using speakers on the rear panel, the sound is very quiet - despite every possible Windows / Realtek manager device setting stating it's on maximum volume.
See this picture:
As you can see, with everything put to max, that is the highest the green bar will go. I've done a lot of research on this issue and it seems I am not the only one. Many people seem to be experiencing the same or similar issues. No matter what driver I use (currently running latest RealTek HD Audio driver released 02/25/2010) and the best result I've had is in Playback Properties - having the option for Speakers, Headphones or Digital output. Now next to headphones it will say not plugged in. However when plugging in headphones to front panel nothing happens. Well, correction - sometimes I will be able to hear the test sound but it is so very very faint that it is practically inaudible.
I've checked the RealTek HD Audio Manager program extensively, tried checking the 'DISABLE FRONT PANEL DETECTION' options and setting Windows to various bitrates such as the DVD Quality that some suggest with no avail. At time of writing my speakers are connected to the rear panel and have very quiet sound. With some dicking around I may be able to get the same volume of sound from my headphones but it's just a bit clearer on speakers. I have sound through the speakers right now, however if I just replace my speakers with headphones, nothing comes through.
Really, I want to use a headset as I make commentated walkthrough series on YouTube with a large following of subscribers and this absense obviously displeases my fans haha.
Just a few more things to note:
I've tried different headphones/headsets/speakers
I've tried various drivers, Vista drivers
I've tried reformatting Windows 7
The Microphone level of volume is always on maximum or near maximum regardless to me speaking. Without a microphone plugged in, it still reads Digital Input on Recording Devices.
I get no sound whatsoever on Digital Output
When I check the 'DISABLE FRONT PANEL' setting on RealTek HD Audio Manager, the front panel jacks light up as if the headset is plugged in, but it isn't.
The RealTek HD Audio Manager has the correct assigned jacks. Such as (pink = Mic in / Green = Rear Speaker out or Headphone)
I've updated BIOS, Chipset drivers and everything else.
OnBoard sound is enabled in BIOS
Windows is completely updated.
One last thing: On my case I have two groups of audio pins: HDADUIO and AC97. I'm currently using the AC97 pins and it's connected to the F_AUDIO pinset on my motherboard. The HDAUDIO ones will not reach due to the rather disappointing layout of the motherboard (requires user to stretch sound cables across one side of the board)
I even tried installing just AC97 Audio drivers but no luck.
The VERY first time I put the computer together I remember having sound. I was playing Mass Effect 2 just fine. Then literally, overnight it must have stopped because the next morning I had no sound.
I know this is a long post but I thought it would be best to provide as much detail as I can. If there's anything else I can say to help give clues, then please ask as right now - no sound on a computer as fast as this is rather underwhelming to me. Especially as this is the first time I've been able to really play games like Crysis/Mass Effect 2 and such. If anyone has any answers I'd greatly appreciate them. Would using a USB headset make a difference? I don't really want to have to buy a soundcard as I believe the issue can be fixed, it's just a case of how. Is it just a Windows 7 issue as I do have retail disks for Vista x64 but ... well, I prefer Windows 7 to be frank with you guys.