My music and videos crack real bad when playing, it seems to do it when the hard drive is trying to do two things and once. I have reformated my computer to downloading when sound drivers and nothing is working.
That is common if you don't have plenty of extra resources when multitasking. First thing you want to look into is a RAM upgrade. Your video shares RAM with the rest of the PC and your PC is trying to use the RAM to run programs. To find out how much RAM you currently have, right click on my computer, go to properties and at the bottom of the General tab it will tell you how much you have. If you're running Windows XP, I would reccommend at least 1 GB of RAM. If you can go beyond that, that's even better.
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At this point I would suggest doing a fresh install of the windows operational system, or if you can remember when the problem started with the last download or updates that may give a clue where to look, finally try a system restore if you can back date it far enough.
Sound quailty is a function of the rip bit rate (higher = potentially better) and the transducers (earbuds (worst) >>> real speakers (best). Can you fill in the unknown piece of this and evaluate it on your own for how it affects the sound? You could also try feeding the output to other speakers.
If you drag the music files to another place, like a hard drive and play them you can determine if the distortion is inherent to the recording/rip.
most likely you have played your with either spk bad or bad wiring i have the same exact amp played it hard for more than two year and still have it sitting right now just bench test it last week still drive hard i think you make bad connection some for that to burn like that
I also have an inspiron 1525 and I once had this issue (I'm running xp pro) but I found that you need to reinstall you audio driver, here is a link to the vista driver http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&ServiceTag=&SystemID=INS_PNT_PM_1525&os=WLH&osl=en&catid=&impid=
Is there any other programs running in the background IE Anti-Virus programs, or anything that could be using quite alot of Memory other the stuff your watching? It could be either down to Lack of Memory being allocated to the Audio & Video (Probably the case if the machine has built in Shared Sound & Video Card). Try opening Task Manager and setting the Application that you use to play Music/Movies to High Priority. If it's not that try lowering the Master Volume on the Mixer Device by going into the Volume Properties in the Task Tray (By the Clock).