I just recently purchased the Dell Precision 7540 to replace my aging Precision M4800. The first thing I noticed is a crackling sound in the audio system, whether using headphones or directly on the speakers themselves. This appears after a minute or two of playback of audio, mainly youtube.
It looks like there are many different computers with crackling audio including several different models of Dell computers.
I tried turning off all MaxxAudio settings.
I tried updating all of the audio drivers.
I changed the default playback settings to 16-bit 44.1khz, among other settings.
The final change that I got to work is the following:
Device Manager > Sound, Video and game controllers > Realtek Audio > Driver > Update Driver > Browse my computer for driver software > Microsoft High Definition Audio Device
This has stopped all the crackling and popping with the Realtek driver. Unfortunately I cannot use the Waves MaxxAudio with this driver. I wish I could so that I could apply just a little EQ to the output.