Dell XPS 13 laptop and sound icon

FIx Dell audio crackling

One of the issues dell XPS laptop users have at times is the crackling audio.

It messes up the listening experience.

I have had the XPS 13 9560 version for a while now. Its a great laptop and does a lot of heavy lifting despite its size.

Unfortunately for regular computer users they may face issue like heating up which I was able to fix with thermal paste on mine and the audio issue I mentioned above.

If you hit the forums there are hundreds of people complaining on the same issue.

Fortunately for me I tweak around, change settings here and there experiment with this and that.

If you facing the audio issue here are a couple of things I found out will help.

First would be to try Realtek High Definition

Enable Realtek High Definition Drivers

Enable High definition audio drivers
Enable High definition audio drivers

For some reason the default drivers are the generic Realtek Drivers and not the Realtek High Definition ones. Probably some compatibility issue thing.

You can switch to the High definition drivers in Device Manager.

  • Open Device Manager, search for devmgmt.msc in the windows search box
  • Click the first result that appears which will take you to Device Manager
  • Now look for sound and video controllers, and expand the category
  • Right click on Realtek audio
  • Select update
  • Click on Browse my computer for driver software
  • Then select the second option which says “Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer”
  • Tick the checkbox show compatible drivers
  • On the list of drivers select High Definition Audio device.

Test your audio and see if the crackling is still there. Test it with different sounds at high volume.

Update BIOS and Drivers

Another option you can try is to update your BIOS and drivers.

These machines sometimes come with ancient drivers.

You had be surprised that a $2000 dollar laptop comes with outdated drivers.

You can read her on updating BIOS.

Get your dell service tag and head over to the dell website. Click on the drivers and support section.

It will attempt to identify your computer model, you can enter the service tag or browse the list of laptops to identify your XPS.

Identify dell computer model
Identify dell computer model

After your system has been identified look for the latest version of the BIOS drivers download and install.

Connect the laptop to power when updating BIOS to prevent it from switching of during the update.

Do the same with the Realtek drivers. I experimented with both drivers from the realtek website and from the Dell website.

Not much difference.

I ended up going with the ones from the Dell website.

Restart the computer and test if the audio still has the popping sound or the crackling sound

Disable audio enhancements

Dell audio enhancements
Disable Dell audio enhancements, MaxxSense Pro

Revert audio drivers to the native Microsoft audio drivers.

Dell computers come with a bunch of bloatware, I usually uninstall or perform a clean windows install on my laptops to wipe away the bloatware.

Check if you have MaxxSense audio, or other audio enhancing software. Uninstall it or disable it.

I know it changes the feel of the audio. You can always download it again from Dell if you feel you want it again.

Do the same for other audio enhancing applications

Disable and enable audio device

Unfortunately after testing this seems to be a temporary solution. I will just include it here just in case it helps someone.

I thought i had found an easy one but after restarting the computer and playing music the popping sound returned annoying right.

Anyway if you want to know what am talking about.

  • Right click on the sound icon in the system tray
  • Select sound settings
  • Then click on Manage sound devices
  • Right click on the sound device you are using Realtek Audio in my case
  • Disable then right click again and select enable.

Hardware speaker check

One of the computer i fixed the issue was physical as in the hardware itself. I had tried everything under the moon my tech experience had to no avail.

I decided to open up the laptop and played the music with 100% volume. That’s when I noticed the the speaker was not tightly screwed.

It was loose.

The higher the volume the more the movement and the more the increase of the funny size.

A philips screwdriver tightening 2 screws is all it took and bam it was fixed.

If you comfortable opening up the laptop, check if everything is tied down as it should.

Carefully test playing with the sound with the laptop open and observe for any anomalies.

Also check our other article on sound issues fix


This issue has been around for a long time and still not official solution from Dell as far as I know.

Frank Azor from the Alienware team reported on this tweet that Dell was working on it.

If you were able to solve the issue a different way let us know in the comment section below

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