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Sound Coming Out of the Wrong Speaker on Your PC? Try This Quick Fix

(Image: Getty)

You fire up your computer and crank the tunes, but instead of the music blasting from your speakers, it’s playing very quietly from your Bluetooth headphones across the room. If your PC isn’t playing sound from the correct speakers, there’s a quick fix—and a way to prevent it from happening in the future.

Quickly Change Your Output Device

device output

When you have multiple sound devices plugged into your computer at once, Windows has to pick one from which to play sound—and it doesn’t always pick the most obvious choice. For example, if you have a set of speakers hooked up to your computer and you plug in a new monitor over HDMI or DisplayPort, it may start playing audio from the monitor’s dinky built-in speakers, rather than the desktop speakers you have plugged in.

Thankfully, switching output devices is much easier in Windows 10 than it was in the old days. Just click on the sound icon in the bottom-right corner, click the text at the top of the pop-up that appears, and you should be greeted with a list of available output devices. Select the one you want, or—if you aren’t sure which listing corresponds to what set of speakers or headphones—try different options until the right one works. 

If you’re on Windows 7 (you shouldn’t be), you’ll need to skip to the next section on setting your default speakers, since it doesn’t have this quick-select icon.

If you’re on a Mac, you can hold the Option key and click the sound icon in the menu bar to reveal a list of plugged-in output devices. Select the one you want, or try different options until sound comes out of the correct speakers.

Set Default Speakers, Disable Those You Don’t Use

default speakers

If you have multiple output devices connected to your PC but don’t plan on using some of them—like the speakers built in to your monitor—you can disable them in software so Windows doesn’t automatically switch to them. 

Right-click on the sound icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen, then select Sound Options (or, if you’re on Windows 7, search for Sound in the Start menu). In the Playback tab, you’ll see a list of all connected sound devices. You can set your default speakers by selecting them from this list and clicking the Set Default button.

Then, to remove any device you don’t want, right-click on it and choose Disable. Windows shouldn’t switch to that output anymore, and it won’t appear in the Sound menu on the taskbar. If, at any time, you decide you want to use that device, you can return to this menu, right-click it, and re-enable it.

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