I have the same issue, and it does seem like a cord is loose because sometimes if the sound card still works but the sound stopped working I can push the right end of the laptop down and the sound starts working again.
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At iPatch solutions, we see this problem WAY too often. I know this will sound silly but all you'll need to fix this issue is a can of compressed air (for dusting off electrical components). Is there a red light on inside the earphone jack? Usually that accompanies the muted volume but not always. Here are the steps to fixing it in about 2 minutes.
Step 1: Attach the little straw (there should be a small straw supplied with the can when you purchase it).
Step 2: Insert the opposite end of the straw inside the earphone jack. No need to jam it in there. Just so it is inside about 1/4".
Step 3: Start blowing short blasts of air into the jack. Don't worry, this will not harm the computer or void any warranty. As you do this, keep checking the volume. It WILL come back on. There was a small glitch when Apple installed the jacks (it has happened to my MacBook Air and my standard MacBook). Usually without even noticing, it happens sometime after using the jack. Not always right away and sometimes not even at all. Don't forget to vote after you try this. You're going to shocked at how fast your volume works again. Here's my email if you have further questions: i_Patch.email@example.com
Is the noise a constant hum? If it is such a noise, I suspect a faulty or poor performing power supply. Check the power supply that powers Edirol sound card for any improper ground. Another custom made power supply which is properly regulated (voltage) and at a higher ampere rate would be an idea to consider. I think your main issue is grounding because you say the case become worse when the MacBook PSU is not there. Because, you are loosing a ground path when you remove the PSU. Then it solely depends on the Edirol ground path. If that path not a good source of ground, there lies your problem.
This is a widespread hardware issue with the MacBook Air. You are not alone. See:
Some users report that replacing the Audio Board Flex Cable corrects the problem, but others report that the correction is only temporary.
If your machine is still under warranty, I would get it back to an Apple repair facility immediately. If it is not, you will still need to get it to a repair facility, but bring along the above URL and suggest that Apple treat it as a warranty extension issue.
just remove the cord from CPu...the sound cord and re-plug it and try the option line out or line in... otherwise simple way is that...check wheter there is sound installed in Control panel under the add or remove program tab.... if not,then install the driver from *********** Board CD.. simple restart the PC it is required.. and for more queries post it on.. www.vk7.weebly.com under the guest book.. i will sort it out as soon as possible..