Strange problem with a 2.1 speaker set and its mute function

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  1.    20 Jun 2016 #1

    Strange problem with a 2.1 speaker set and its mute function

    Hi. I have an HP 15 laptop. The issue I'm having occured in windows 8.1 and now in windows 10 version 1511 build 10586.420 - same laptop.


    I have a new Harmon Kardon soundsticks 3 2.1 computer speaker set. This is connected into the headphone jack of laptop. The speakers work great, sound excellent.

    They have a mute function where when you touch both capacitive buttons that control volume up and down at the same time on one of the speakers, the sound is muted.

    However this mute function doesn't work when I have the laptop plugged into the wall outlet. When i unplug the laptop and the laptop goes into battery mode, it works perfect.

    I tested the soundsticks with an ipod, a netbook and another exact same model laptop plugged in (same plug as problem laptop). The muting works flawlessly on all of them.

    I can't figure out why this is happening. I've duped the settings as much as possible with the other same exact laptop and it still does not work.

    I've tried uninstalling the realtek driver and reinstalling, doesn't help.
    I've copied the power settings from the well working laptop, doesn't help.
    Everything is updated. The soundsticks seem fine as they work correctly on everything (including a same model laptop with very sim config) but my laptop.

    It does seem to be related to power somehow since the laptop unplugged has the soundsticks working right.

    Is there a driver that deals with power I could uninstall and reinstall?

    Laptop works perfectly otherwise.

    Last edited by tomseys; 20 Jun 2016 at 08:11.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    20 Jun 2016 #2

    I would suspect a grounding problem. If both the laptop AC power adapter and the speakers are in the same AC power outlet, try a different outlet for one of the units. Is the laptop power adapter AC power plug the 3 prong grounding type or just two prongs? Same with the AC power adapter for the speakers? If they are both 3 prong you could try isolating the ground on the speaker AC power plug with a 3 prong to 2 prong (no ground) adapter and see if that works.

    We encounter the ground problem many times with musical amps and effects and have to "isolate" the ground on one device for "ground loop hum" problems.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    20 Jun 2016 #3

    Hi. Thanks. The laptop has a three prong and the speakers are two prong. I have a power strip and I removed the speakers from it leaving the laptop and moved the speaker to an extension cord plugged into an adjacent wall outlet. Still no change.

    I did take my roommates laptop which is the same model and brought it to my desk and plugged it the same power cord as my laptop and plugged the speaker jack into it and it worked fine. So I think it should have affected his laptop the same since it was exact same setup if it was grounding (though his laptop was not in exact same position as mine). Maybe I'll try that adapter thing or try some other plugging arrangement. I'm so frustrated with this I feel like buying a new laptop.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    20 Jun 2016 #4

    Would it make sense to get that adapter for the computer or should it have that ground?
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  5. philc43's Avatar
    Posts : 3,694
    64bit Win 10 Pro ver 1809 Build 17763.134 and W10 Insider Build 18277
       20 Jun 2016 #5

    I would suspect your laptop might be faulty and it is leaking a signal via the ground or screen on the audio lead that is interfering with the speaker controls.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  6.    20 Jun 2016 #6

    Thanks philc43. I think you might be right. I bought a new power strip and took everything out with just trying the speakers and laptop and it doesn't work. Added: also swapped ac adpaters and that didn't help. Unplug it and it is great. I had a 2.1 set before this, a logitech z313 that gave me a lot of problems with the right speakers going out after using the headphone jack built into it. It's an issue that model is infamous for. I wonder if dealing with that may have contributed to somehow damaging something. Anyway, I guess I'll pick something up at best buy and just keep this as an extra laptop. Thanks.
    Last edited by tomseys; 20 Jun 2016 at 13:21.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    21 Jun 2016 #7

    Last edited by tomseys; 21 Jun 2016 at 21:04.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    22 Jun 2016 #8

    Okay so I sold the sound sticks to my roommate and he put them on his laptop (the soundsticks muting worked on it when we connected it by my desk/laptop) and the mute doesn't work just like on my laptop. So I'm thinking its not my laptop or the laptops (since his did work but in a slightly different position) but something to do with the desks (we have the same wood desks) or the position of the laptops on it. In any case, he doesn't care about the mute buttons not working since he can mute on windows so but still weird.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. philc43's Avatar
    Posts : 3,694
    64bit Win 10 Pro ver 1809 Build 17763.134 and W10 Insider Build 18277
       22 Jun 2016 #9

    Very weird! Do you have static problems in your area caused by low humidity and maybe the carpets and footwear that could be causing problems when you touch the mute buttons? Probably not worth spending more time on it as he seems ok with the speakers. At least you can rest assured that the laptop is not the problem.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  10.    22 Jun 2016 #10

    No there is no carpet only a wood floor. We do both wear flip flops. I really tried a lot of things. I even updated my main laptop to windows 10 from windows 8.1 (not really liking windows 10 much from previous experience on this laptop) since he has 10 on his and then did a clean Win 10 install and reinstalled everything (hours and hours and eye pain) as part of trying to isolate it. But, in the end, he's happy with them (I think they sound a little too bright for my taste) and they work great save for just one tiny thing.

    Using the capacitive buttons in any case is a pain in the ass since you have to stretch for them and its hard to finely control them. Easier to just use the laptop volume control. On the plus side Win 10 seems a little better than my last adventure with it so that's good and I think I'll stick with it. Also glad that the laptop seems okay as I did not want to buy another one since I am very happy with the one I have. No more capacitive buttoned 2.1 computer speaker sets for me though.
    Last edited by tomseys; 22 Jun 2016 at 10:16.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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