I called Dell, and after waiting 15-20 minutes, finally got to speak to someone. I explained the problem, saying that I had no sound, headphones worked fine, everything looked good in device manager, and that I could get sound, depending on the angle of my screen. For some reason he directs me to a webpage, and after opening it, it's a damn page for remote access to my machine. I'm thinking WTF, the problem I've described is clearly hardware, and they want remote access? Strangely enough though, I get disconnected . . .
Frustrated, I then try the chat support they have on their website. Much shorter wait, and after describing the problem, this person offers another link. This link is to some instructions that would let me examine the problem. I'm reluctant to follow the procedure, and point out the fact that the first step is to remove the battery, and I can't do that, seeing as how I'm chatting from the same machine that I'm complaining about. Fortunately, I'm able to remove just the hinge cover, and see the broken wires. So, after a 40 minute chat session (slightly painful), things are on their way . . .
A Dell authorized tech comes to my office last Tuesday, and he walks in with a huge box. We're both confused, and upon opening, it ends up that they sent a whole new display. I guess the speaker wires must be soldered directly to the speakers. So, I have a whole new screen on my laptop now . . . which means the $400 or so I paid for the 4 year warranty (which still has a year left on it), was totally worth it . . .