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Troubleshooting audio input on monitor speakers when connected via HDMI

Posted on 2012-03-24
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have an Acer D241H monitor, which has built-in speakers.  This monitor has a VGA and HDMI input as well as audio in (and audio out/mic).  I am having trouble with the audio input when connected to my tower via HDMI.

This setup has worked before when connected straight HDMI from the tower to the monitor (also audio cable).  At one point, the speakers on the monitor stopped working and Acer support had me perform a "power drain", which they claim is for eliminating "static electricity".  This did resolve the problem at that time, but it has happened again.  However, this time I'm using a different video card that only has DVI output, so where-as before I was connecting to the tower via direct HDMI->HDMI,  now I am going from DVI->HDMI.

I have contacted Acer support again and they said there is a configuration problem with the tower but would not elaborate on the details.  Here is what I know:

- Connecting via VGA allows the sound to work.  I connected the monitor to my laptop via VGA and connected the audio cable: monitor sound worked; I unplugged the audio from the laptop (VGA remained connected), plugged audio into the tower, and sound worked from the tower
- The audio cable is working as it allowed sound to work from the monitor via both the laptop and tower (as long as the monitor only had the VGA cable connected)
- Connecting a different speaker system/headphones works from the tower (both front and back audio ports), so I know the ports are supplying audio; further, the fact that the tower sound was transmitted when the laptop was connected via VGA tells me the tower is supplying audio
- Connecting the video DVI->HDMI does not work even after the "power drain" with the audio cable connected from tower to monitor

I need assistance in troubleshooting the problem either from the tower or possibly to the monitor (at least confirming the monitor is the issue).  I am still under warranty for the monitor, though Acer says they will only repair, not replace.  The monitor is great otherwise, but I do want to use the built-in speakers as it was a selling point for me instead of the headphones I have to use now.

Any suggestions to troubleshoot, or perhaps any thought as to what configuration elements need to be checked on the tower?  The audio is built-in to the motherboard and as far as I can tell, drivers are up-to-date, other than that, I don't know what to check as far as the tower is concerned.  It seems to me that it's a problem with the audio connection in conjunction with the HDMI->DIV connection, which I know that HDMI can supply audio but DVI cannot, however the answer is eluding me.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
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Question by:dageyra
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by:IanTh
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dvi doesn't carry audio hdmi does carry audio
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by:dageyra
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Hello Ian:

Can you provide more details how that will help diagnose the problem?  As I mentioned in the post, the audio cable is connected from the tower to the monitor.  I also mentioned
... HDMI->DIV connection, which I know that HDMI can supply audio but DVI cannot...
Even when I was using an HDMI-enabled video card, the audio cable was required for the built-in monitor speakers to play sound.
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by:l33tf0b
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Check control panel > sound > change sound settings / audio devices.

Is your playback device set to HDMI?  If not, please enable that.
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by:JohnnyCanuck
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It seems to me that connecting the HDMI is doing something to disable sound coming through the audio cable.  Since DVI does not carry audio, connecting it will have no effect on the source of the audio.  There is likely some mechanical or electronic switch on the monitor end that detects when HDMI is connected and disables the other audio connection.  You said it worked properly when connected via VGA - why not just stay with that configuration?
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by:dageyra
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Hello Johnny:

It worked properly when connected via VGA through my laptop.  The tower does not have a VGA connection (also, I did not buy a 23" monitor to use VGA).  The tower has 2 DVI ports, that is why I am using a HDMI->DVI cable and why I cannot stay with VGA.  Also, the HDMI worked fine before, I have never used VGA on this monitor, aside from testing the other day.  When I used HDMI->HDMI in an older card, I still had to connect the audio cable, the monitor does not receive audio from the HDMI cable (the manual and Acer chat support also says to connect the audio cable).

l33tf0b, I will look for your suggestion and report back what I find.
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by:dageyra
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@l33tf0b:

In the "Playback" tab of the "Sound" applet in the control panel, there are 3 playback devices listed:

- Speakers
- Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
- Digital Audio (HDMI)

I can set any 3 of these to the default device and test, no sound.  The S/PDIF is a separate connection on the motherboard that is not in use so I knew it would not work.  If there is something different to "enable" the device, I am not sure what is needed.

Suggestions?
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l33tf0b earned 500 total points
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Do you have another output device to test the hdmi as well as another hdmi cable?  Perhaps an HDTV? Trying to pinpoint where the failure is.  Only other thing I can think of is update drivers for gfx card, motherboard chipset to test.  Check bios for related disabled items as well.
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by:dageyra
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Thanks a lot, that reminded me that there was an update recently to the graphic card drivers and everything worked beforehand.  I did a rollback using system restore and tested the sound before and after, something in the update broke the sound.
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