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?
Believe it or not, it can be done thanks to a neat little feature called stereo mix.
- 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.
- 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.
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.