When you have multiple audio devices connected to your computer at the same time, such as stereo speakers and a separate surround set, Windows will only send audio to a single output at a time, at least by default.
But how great would it be if you could send the audio to all connected devices simultaneously, creating your own little surround studio?
How to Use 2 Audio Outputs At The Same Time on Windows 10
Believe it or not, you can use 2 or more audio outputs at once thanks to a neat little feature called stereo mix. Stereo Mix is the name given to the output stream (presented as a virtual audio device) after all channels have been combined. It’s a combination of all of the channels mixed together and it used to be referred to as What you hear.
Because Stereo mix is a mix of all of the channels, there’s no much you have to configure. It all depends on the sounds that you want to be mixed together and to do this, you’ll have to make sure all of the sounds that you want are included in the sound adapter driver you’re using.
- Right-click on the audio icon and select Playback Devices. If it’s not visible in your tray, click the up-facing arrow and you should see it in the popup menu. Optional: You may not have to do this, but it’s better to check. Make sure that your speakers are set as the “default device,” which is denoted by a green check.
- Click to highlight Speakers and select the Set Default. This is optional because if you already know your speakers are set as the default playback device you can skip ahead Settings the speakers as the default means that any dual sounds that are connected to your speaker will all come out of the speaker.
- Select the Recording Devices option. Alternatively, if you already have the playback window open from the previous step, you can just choose the recording tab at the top of the window.
- Right-click in open space and check the Show Disabled Devices option. You should now see some new, greyed out entries in the list.
- Right-click on Stereo Mix and select Enable from the menu.
- Right-click on Stereo Mix again and choose Set as Default Device. You should now see a green check mark next to the entry.
- Double-click on the Stereo Mix entry and open the Listen tab.
- Click the box next to Listen to this device to enable it.
- In the dropdown menu under Playback through this device, select the secondary output speaker you would like to use. The secondary device will be the speakers you set as default in the optional step or the device you generally use to listen to audio. When you’re done click Apply and then OK.
The changes should take effect, but just to be sure, restart your computer. That’s it. When it comes back online play something with audio to see if you can hear it through both devices.
Select Output Devices to Play Audio from Specific Apps
Another way that you can use multiple audio outputs at the same time is to select dual audio output devices to play audio from specific apps and software
- To select the multiple audio outputs for specific software and apps, right-click the Speakers icon in the taskbar and select Open Sound settings.
- Then select App volume devices preferences to open the options that’ll allow you to select 2 audio outputs to use at the same time.
- In here, you’ll see all of the apps that you have open. From here, select the Output drop-down menu next to the software or app you need to select an output device for.
- Choose the connected output device from the drop-down menu. Once you’ve chosen the multiple audio outputs, Windows will save the chosen output audio device so that it plays audio from the output device when you open the software you selected it for.
A Windows update allowed its users to select different audio playback devices for alternative apps. This means that you can set one of your speakers to play sounds from Chrome and another speaker to play audio for the movies app. This means that you can have audio playing from 2 or more output devices for alternative types of software.
So you can play audio from two, or more, output devices at once by enabling Stereo Mix or you can select different playback devices for different apps to have audio coming out of dual speakers from alternative apps.
It’s actually a pretty quick process to get audio playing on two output device simultaneously, at least when you know how to do it — and now you do.
If you don’t want to fiddle with any of the settings there are a few third-party apps that will also allow you to enable this feature. One, for example, is Voicemeeter.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner.