Troubleshooting with Windows Sound Cards

Should you or your students ever hear strange playback from SmartMusic – perhaps sounding like the music is playing back at the wrong speed – and you’re using a Windows computer, this week’s blog is for you.

The first response should be to update your system’s sound card drivers. Downloading the latest drivers – regardless of the associated hardware – is always an excellent first step as updated drivers are typically created specifically to address the problems customers have experienced. Think of it as “good computer hygiene.”

If you’ve purchased your sound card separately, you’ll want to look to that sound card’s website for driver updates. In most cases, however, you’ll want to go to the website of the company that built your computer. Look for a “Drivers,” “Download,” or “Support” section where you can enter your computer’s model number and your operating system, and then scan the associated updates. Look specifically for audio updates. While you’re at this site you might also review all applicable updates – even those that don’t pertain to audio – as they may save you some grief further down the road. Once you’ve installed applicable updates, restart your computer and check SmartMusic again.

If updating drivers doesn’t eliminate your problem, find your sound card’s control panel software. This might be in your “Programs” menu (underneath the Start Menu) or in your Windows Control Panel. It should say “Realtek,” “Sigmatel” or a similar brand name. Inside this software, look for “Sound Enhancements” and disable any that are listed. Note that “Sound Enhancements” might be hiding in an “Advanced Settings” area. While you’re here, look for a “sample rate” or “quality” setting. Not all computers will have this shown. If you see it, make sure it’s set to 44.1KHz or “CD Quality.” After making these changes, reboot your computer and try SmartMusic again.

Should you experience the rare scenario that the above steps don’t address, or have questions about any of the above, our support staff is glad to help. Contact them at:

As a final thought, you might also make sure that the strange playback sound isn’t simply a recording of a beginning trombone, which can produce a very unique sonic footprint, not unlike the mournful lamentations of a homesick moose.

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