Jim is having problems with his new laptop and a microphone that doesn't work. Leo says to run the Lenovo Vantage software to see what it says about the microphone. It may just be an issue that a driver update can fix. Also, check Windows privacy settings. He may have turned off the mic. Windows Key -> Privacy. Check to see if the mic is turned off. But if those don't work, Jim's laptop is still under warranty. He can also check under the BIOS settings to see if the mic is shut off. F4 (or Fn->F4) may also turn it off.
Paul wants to be able to hook up a friend's Amazon Alexa device to his CD system, so he can create a speaker system in every house. Leo says that the Amazon FireTV Cube has an IR blaster that can command your devices from anywhere in the house. But to broadcast the signal on the Echo devices may be a challenge. If they had an audio-in jack, then that would be the easiest. Doing it digitally from your computer and streaming music would be even easier. But to play physical media over an Echo system is a challenge.
When purchasing cables for your devices, one of the main driving factors is the price point for them. Some people wonder if it's worth spending extra money on an HDMI cable or a Speaker cable?
Carl transferred some podcast audio from one computer to another and it won't play on the other computer hard drive, just on the USB drive. Rich suspects a format issue. It sounds like it isn't a standard MP3 file, and as such, his Windows mp3 player is having issues playing it. Rich also says he may want to try converting the audio using VLC or Handbrake. Another possibility is that it requires some sort of "key" to play the audio. Or additional components.
Mark has an HP laptop for a backup when his other PC is busy. The internal speakers are not working now, but USB headphones work. What can he do? Leo says that if he can hear sound through the headphones, that means his sound card driver is working. And he can't really replace the hardware anyway because it's soldered to the motherboard. The miniJack, however, doesn't work. Leo says that points to the headphone jack being broken. If he's handy with a soldering iron, he could fix it. But that also doesn't solve the speaker problem.
Paul would like to know what's a good TV with on board sound. Scott says there aren't many, but Sony's OLED XBR-A1E is the best. It uses the screen itself as the speaker and it sounds surprisingly good. But at 55", 65", or 75", it's not cheap. Absent that, Paul should plan on buying a good sound bar or home theater system because most TVs have terrible on board sound.
Ryan connects his sound bar to his TV through the headphone jack and over time, it gets harder to hear. He can have it turned up to 90% and it sounds like it's barely on. Leo says that he should try changing the sound on the TV, not the sound bar. It should raise or lower it.
There may be a setting in the TV's sound settings to treat it as a line out. That could fix it. Connecting to the optical jack is the solution, if he can, because it's a fixed level.
Scott bought a Dell OptiPlex and it doesn't have a sound mixer utility for SoundForge. Leo says that it should, especially since Scott sees a microphone. It may not show up from the right click menu on the task bar, though.
Scott should check his sound and task bar settings. He can also try to install the drivers from Dell. The sound card may also need to be enabled in BIOS. Also, he should check in the Device Manager (Windows Key + X) and see if the drivers are missing. The chatroom says he may need to install ASIO drivers for SoundForge.
Paul can't decide between the Vizio and Samsung 32" HDTVs. Leo says he owns both and he thinks that Vizio has the better 'smart' software, and Scott agrees. As for audio quality, Scott says it's not that good on either TV. Leo agrees and says that none of the TV manufacturers put much thought into the speakers since they expect users to already have home theater systems.
Mike is a guest on a few podcasts, and he usually uses his Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone. He also plugs in headphones to his sound card. But he can't hear himself as he talks into the microphone. Leo suggests plugging his headphones into the mic itself. Leo says the reason the sound from the mic is disabled when he plugs into the sound card is because there's a slight delay, which can be very distracting. If he plugs into the mic directly, he'll be able to hear himself without any delay.