Dell XPS420 w/ Vista: 'recording device cannot be found' / line in not connected

On a new Dell XPS 420 with Windows Vista, service tag 9sgycf1, We can hear sound in general, but we can't record sound.

Device Manager / Sound has only one device listed: SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC

When I run Sound Recorder, it says, 'An audio recording device cannot be found'

NOTE -- in Control Panel / Sound, Properties, the options to SHOW hidden and disconnected devices are ALREADY CHECKED. LINE IN is shown as NOT CONNECTED.
The Playback tab says:
-- Speaker, Headphones - SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC -- working
-- Digital Output Device (SPDIF Out) -- SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC --Working
But the Recording tab says:
-- Microphone -- SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC -- Not Plugged In
-- Line In -- SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC -- Not Plugged In

Back in XP, we used to use XP Souond Recorder, and switched between various inputs (mp3/wav, line in, etc) to record different things. But now in Vista we can't record anything, although everything looks ok to me in dev mgr.

I can't tell if it's a vista issue, or a limitation of the card hardware, or if its a bad card, or if I need a new driver for the card or chipset or motherboard.
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Jason WatkinsIT Project LeaderCommented:

Give this a try;  Go to control panel then devices and uninstalled the sigmatel driver and also checked the box to remove the software. Then I downloaded the new driver from the Dell support site for Vista. Problem fixed.

or try using Audacity to recordd from your line in. There is so many issues with Vista and audio recording.

This well worth a read
No Mixer Toolbar input sources
On Vista, recording sources such as microphone, line-in and "stereo mix" are no longer treated as sources belonging to one device as they always were in previous Windows versions, but as individual recording "devices" in their own right. As a result, the Mixer Toolbar dropdown selector will be permanently greyed out and you cannot choose recording sources there. Instead, input sources are chosen at Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O tab in the "Recording Device" dropdown. The input volume however is still adjusted using the input volume slider (by the microphone symbol) in the Mixer Toolbar.

The inputs will be shown in the Audio I/O tab as an appropriate source for each physical device. So if you have more than one physical device (e.g. inbuilt sound and an external USB soundcard), you may have more than one line-in or microphone source to choose from, as in this example:

Line-In: Realtek High Definition Device
Microphone: Realtek High Definition Device
Line-In: USB Audio
Microphone: USB Audio
Stereo Mix: USB Audio

Note that the "Recording Device" dropdown can only show devices that are enabled in the Windows Control Panel. If the input you require is not listed in the dropdown, or is not apparently recording properly, try going to the Windows Control Panel to enable and select it (see the next section).

Hope it helps you
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
MICROSOFT told my father that it was the device. The CREATIVE integrated sound card that MICROSOFT installed on this DELL XPS420 does NOT have the capacity to record such stuff, even tho it has a microphone jack on the card.

They sold him another sound card.  And now we have a "digital input device (SPDIF)" listed as a working recording device, BUT

No programs can record from it yet. We are still in the same situation, even with the new higher-powered sound card.

For example, when we go into XP All Sound Recorder, Wizard, under sound recording source, it finds nothing.

NOTE -- The name of the sound card is something specific, like "Creative Xtreme High Def Blah Blah", , but Vista Dev Mgr lists the card as "high definition audio device". The driver was loaded automatically by vista. Do I need a better driver?
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dgrrrAuthor Commented:
Trying audacity, no help. Can't tell where the levels are, if there are any. Can't tell where actual files are being saved to, if they are being saved at all. Edit Preferences Audio IO / Recording box actually DOES allow me to choose between microsoft sound mapper - input, and "digital input device (spdif)", but due to above issues can't tell if anythkng is bein recorded... (getting SO burned out  on this, sorry)
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
We've tried several sound recording programs, none of them record or can find / see the recording device, even with the new card.

The new sound card model is:
Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Audio Sound Card
But as indicated above, no where on the operating system does it list this name. Under Dev Mgr it is called "high definition audio device", and under sound props / recording devs it's called "digital input device (SPDIF)".

But updating drivers may not help -- people are complaining that while this sound card"s basic features work with Vista, the features that my father wants do not work with Vista...  Which sux, because the knucklehead at Dell sold him this card with precisely the missing features in mind...

But I have NOT determined yet if the new cards is also the cause of our inability to record internet radio, band in a box, or musicmatch
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
PS -- I did disable the onboard audio card in the bios, so there's no confusion in the OS between that and the newer pci express card.
Hi dgrrr  sorry to hear of your frustrations I agree it's not fair to customers, you buy a product trusting the retailres have knowledge and will keep you well informed.
to add to your frustration take a browse thru EE on the topic of Creative Sound Blaster drivers for Vista and that again maybe a tad late in providing the Vista certified
As we know the right drivers provide the tools with card, do you have the EAX  Console? Or the Media Source Console?
To record from a browser you would need to use stereo mix as it's actually recording from the audio card /your Speakers that is and the Creatrive Sound Blaster Media Source
Media Source
Creative Alchemy

You can test your audio recording capabilites using Audacity as well.
set the recording to stereo mix, then play an mp3 file in your media player.
To see the rcording prior to actually recording so you know Audacity is picking a signal click on the microphone icon uner the recording bars.
You will also need to install a lame.dll Most of your current media players uses this DLL Audacity will ask for it the first time you run it.
Here's a couple of good guides includes everything

dgrrrAuthor Commented:
FYI, I tried installing three older sound cards from older computers, a turtle beach santa cruz, a dell ct4760 and a dell ct5807. Vista couldn't find drivers it liked for any, and it didn't like the drivers I had for xp.  BUT one of them DID add to the Recording devices an item calleed "stereo mix", although it was disabled.

so I put the newly purchased sound card back into the vista computer (CREATIVE LABS SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCIExpress  (sb0820)), and again, vista seems happy with the driver, altho the device is not listed by that name under dev mgr but instead as "high definition audio device". And
Under Audacity, there is no recording device except
-- Microsoft Sound Mapper - Input
-- Digital Input Device (SPDIF)

Does this sound like the new hardware (again) is inadequate?

(reading thru your referred pages, thx)
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
Just to remind -- both "show disabled devices" and "show disconnected devices" are ALREADY CHECKED
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
PS - Merete, "Audacity" does not show any levels to record when I play an mp3 file as you described. Also I do NOT se anything under add/remove program under C for Creative, E for EAX or M for Mediasource... SO I went to,Kb=ww_english_add,U={B8F60310-DA4F-11D3-94F4-00500463020E},Company={CEAE216D-8719-4C00-AC9F-03BC258F7B70},d=1130251443648,VARSET=ws:,case=14186

and downloaded
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Pack 1.04.0078

But when I installed it said "unable to find a supported soundcard on your sytem"
dgrrrAuthor Commented:
Merete - I doubt this is what you were implying, but just to be thorough - I DID download and install "creative mediasource player/organizer 5.10.38", but there are no new recording devices listed under rec devices or under audacity input sources.
Hi dgrrr Don't have any ideas on the problem with your creative sound balster, maybe the version you have did not come with the eax
With Audacity I'll snapshot mine so you can see the settings,
I open audacity first open> project>new stereo track click on the mic below the recording graph, the audio levels will display in red,
for recording in and output volume are on the leftside
put the source to stereo mix.. you'll need to install the lame .dll it should ask for it the first time you run audacity

then play the file whether it is video or audio in winamp.

um I decided to check out your computer if this is it I love it looks wonderful, I'm hooked lol...
Very nice has many stars  :)
Has a brilliant video card the next level after my Nvidia gforce 6600GT
Graphics Card: 256MB nVidia GeForce 8600 GTS
looks like you have the deal though.
Intel®  7.1 channel High Definition Audio<< woo hoo might cause problems if not setup properly
Sound Blaster®  Audigy®  software (relies on CPU)
Sound Blaster®  X-FiTM  ExtremeMusic7

Might pay to have a look at the manul for the audio section since you have 7.1
choose this one>>
Latitude" Notebooks Using the System Setup Program: Dell Latitude CP
...NOTES: The System Setup program limits the options available for Audio Mode, depending on...set to ECP and the Audio Mode option is set.

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dgrrrAuthor Commented:
Yes, I also found it appears to be the sound card.  Can't confirm this info yet, but it matches yours:


2. There are many soundcards that are "Vista compatible" that don't offer the "Stereo Mix" or "What You Hear" option. The Creative SB X-Fi Extreme Audio just so happens to be one of them. ( I know... I bought that one too!) Mrs. Chase has one that does work... the creative SB x-fi Extreme Music. So that's why she's in business.
3. Here are some that I've tested this week that don't work also: Any Dynex card; Creative SB Audigy SE, LE, and Value; Creative SB X-fi Xtreme Audio
4. Here's what DOES work... The card Mrs. Chase has; and other SB X-fi cards like X-treme gamer and x-treme gamer fatality. They all run between 90-130 bucks.
Hope this helps! And good luck! I'm still tweaking input volumes trying to get a decent mix, but atleast the stupid thing "kinda" works now!

So, Merete, I'm going to buy a "creative SB x-fi Extreme Music" from ebay. Another webpage said to buy a "Creative SB Audigy SE" but the above webpage says no, so I'll stick wit hthe "music" card.

I would love to b_tch-slap the dell tech that sold my father the "Creative SB X-fi Xtreme Audio" PCI Express card in order to solve the problem, when it's got the same problem as the integrated card. (manuf limitation). But alas there's no record of the call associated with the service tag.
I think you just need to adjust the onboard sound card to use generic structures not 7.1 sorry the jargon is out of my experience as I dont have this type of advanced audio card.
Disable the high definition audio aspect.
Click on the Start Button at the bottom left of your screen
Right click on Computer
Select Properties
Choose Device Manager
Scroll down to the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers
Click on the + sign to expand the selection
Double click on "Hi Definition Audio Device"
This will open the Device Properties. Click on the Details tab to view details.
This has some good illistrations to check if the mainboard is setup correctly for the audio.

Adding software with Vista is risky at best.
Sigma does not seem to offer much support for drivers with Vista or Xp
Possible work around.

Dell XPS420 w/ Vista: 'recording device cannot be found' / line in not connected<<< have you connected an external device and see if windows detects it?

Looks like a problem for sure
Sigma tel stereo mix support

dgrrrAuthor Commented:
I just installed my new "Creative SB x-fi Extreme Music" PCI carrd, installed the vista drivers from, and I'm in business -- I now have the "what you hear" option in all the above programs, very pleased.

Merete, I am curious tho aboukt that your suggestion about "generic structures" vs 7.1 structures... I may play around with that dropdown menu in device manager -- Does it allow changing values, or only viewing them?

Your info about changing the setup of the onboard card may have fixed t hings too, I can't look into it at the moment (time investmetn), but I'll award the poiints to that response. But to those who may read this -- I solved my problem of getting the "stereo mix" option of XP to appear as "what you  hear" in Vista, by installilnlg a different, better sound card. (Creative disables this feature on many of their cards.)

Hi dgrrr
good to see your in business,
with my reference to generic structure lol simply put,
 take off the 7.1 digital and put it just 2 speakers stereo if possible.
Nice headsup on the "what you hear" funny I always refer to this feature using those words,
I'm sure a lot of Vista users will appreciate this new knowledge
 Vista is a big step up or down from xp.
Depends on the individual. In my books it's all bling bling and money orientated a really usless OS.
The control is taken away from the user and offers no choices but to pay.
I also think you have done an excellent jog installing a few audio cards without Vista throwing a fit.
Well Done.
Through your problems I learn.
Thank you
i also have same mistak i disable microphone in  recordiing device in i cannot get it back.i checked the show dissable device check box as well.but still i does not show my mic.but it show online line in device.
if anybody knows how to solve this prob,pls tell me.

(i uninstalled and re-installed audio drives ,but same )
pls help me/
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