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Most likely what happened is one of the capacitors went bad. When a capacitors goes bad it produces a popping sound. This could be an easy and cheap fix if you find the bad capacitor or capacitors. The bad capacitor will have a bulging top most likely on the power board but could be anywhere.
Check the cable between the monitor and the box for damage.
Try a new cable.
It may be a problem with the input board but it sounds like a cable problem.
Let me know what you find and please rate this solution. Lone99star
I bought two sets at the same time and the sound has gone out on both, So far no luck with Dell or a soloution. The post on attaching a surround system sounds like a good idea, but I can't get this to work. With a little feed back I'll create a site to log how many have this problem, a few can be understood, but from what I'm reading the sets were defective when shipped and Dell must know of the problem,
Your problem is due to intermittent power in the backlighting circuit. This is usually caused by swelling of electrolytic capacitors in the power board. If you can find an honest electronics technician it is about a $40.00 fix.
These are the answers straight from the dell manual.
Ensure that the audio cables are firmly connected to both the audio input connectors on your LCD TV and audio output connectors on your PC or Video player.
If on certain TV channels you receive a picture but no sound, this means that you do not have the correct TV system. Modify the SYSTEM setting.
Check if TV volume is turn off of muted
Connect the audio cable securely
Audio cable is connected incorrectly
Verify that the audio source is selected correctly in the OSD