Tin box maker Dell has been accused of blaming the damage of its "poor quality speakers" on a popular open sauce media outfit.
Dell customer support pages issued a warning over the weekend claiming that if you installed the VLC player your warranty would be voided. They claimed that the software was blowing up Dell's speakers.
VLC has a feature that can make the audio go to 11 and much louder than other players, Dell claimed. VLC achieves this by using a process that creates hard which can damage small speakers. Dell has tested VLC and verified that the speakers can be damaged after several hours of using VLC.
However, an unnamed lead developer for VLC, said here that the story is just rubbish and this is just Dell putting crap components on their machine and blaming others. In fact VLC uses the same standards as the official APIs.
VLC just uses the Windows APIs (DirectSound), and sends signed integers of 16 bits to the Windows Kernel and it allows amplification of the INPUT above the sound that was decoded.
But this is exactly the same if you put your mp3 file through Audacity and increase it and play with WMP, or if you put a DirectShow filter that amplifies the volume after your codec output. For example, for a long time, VLC ac3 and mp3 codecs were too low (-6dB) compared to the reference output.
The worse thing that will happen is that it will reduce the dynamics and saturate a lot, but this is not going to break your hardware.
The developer said that VLC does not modify the OUTPUT volume to destroy the speakers. VLC is software using the OFFICIAL platforms APIs.
He claimed that Dell sound cards output power that Dell speakers cannot handle. Dell's sound card outputs at max 10W, and the speakers only can take 6W in, and neither their BIOS or drivers block this.
The developer said that it would be more logical for Dell to void warranties for anyone who listens to heavy metal. Dell should insist that people only listen to Céline Dion music, because Metal saturates more.
What is interesting is that Dell has been providing users with a BIO update to fix the problem, which seems to suggest that VLC is not to blame. It is just they are using speakers which are too low power.