Scott Hanselman

Automatically change your Audio Input, Output and Volume per application in Windows 10

May 31, 2018 Comment on this post [16] Posted in Win10
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I recently blogged about an amazing little utility called AudioSwitcher that makes it two-clicks easy to switch your audio inputs and outputs. I need to switch audio devices a lot as I'm either watching video, doing a podcast, doing a conference call, playing a game, etc. That's at least three different "scenarios" for my audio setup. I've got 5 inputs and 5 outputs and I've seen PC audiophiles with even more.

  • I set up this AudioSwitcher and figured, cool, solved that silly problem.
  • Then I got "EarTrumpet" - it's an applet that lets you control the volume of classic and modern Windows Apps in one nice UI! Switching, volume, and more. Very "prosumer," which is me, so I dig it.

A little birdie said that I should also look closer at Windows 10 itself. What? I know this OS like the back of my hand! Nonsense!

Hit the Start Menu and search for either "Sound Mixer" or "App Volume"

Sound mixer options

There's a page that does double duty called App Volume and Device Preferences.

You can also get to it from the regular Settings | Audio page:

change the device or app volume

See where it says "Change the device or app volume?" Ok, now DRINK THIS IN.

You can set the volume in active apps on an app-by-app basis. Cool. NOT IMPRESSED ARE YOU? Of course not, because while that's a lovely feature it's not the hidden power I'm talking about.

You can set the Preferred Input and Output device on an App by App Basis.

App Volume and Device Preferences

You can set the Preferred Input and Output device on an App by App Basis.

Read that again. I'll wait.

Rather than me constantly using the Audio Switcher (lovely as it is) I'll just set my ins and outs for each app.

The only catch is that this list only shows the apps that are currently using the mic/speaker, so if you want to get a nice setup, you'll want to run apps in order to change the settings for your app.

  • Here I've got the system sounds running through Default (usually the main speakers and the default mic is a webcam)
  • The Speech Runtime (I use WIN+H to use Windows 10 built-in Dragon-Naturally-Style-But-Not free dictation in any app) uses the Webcam mic explicitly as it has the best recognition in my experience.
  • Skype for Business is now using the phone. You can certainly set these things in the apps themselves, but in my experience Skype for Business doesn't care about your feelings or your audio settings. ;)
  • I record my podcast with Zencastr so I've setup Chrome for my preferred/optimal settings.

I can still use the AudioSwitcher but now my defaults are contextual so I'm switching a LOT LESS.

Be sure to pick up "EarTrumpet" for even more advanced options!

What do you think? Did YOU know this existed?

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 31, 2018 4:31
This is a great little tool! I've been waiting for a per app output settings for ages!! I've only found it recently, I think it was added in the April update.
P.s. You can also access it by right clicking the sound icon in the system bar
May 31, 2018 6:13
The Sound Mixer isn't showing up on my Win10 Enterprise version 1703 machine - it was only added in a later build.
I think it was added in the April 2018 Update, which our corporate IT haven't yet approved or released.
May 31, 2018 6:33
Very handy for finding which app is making random noises (in my case it was slack notifications).
May 31, 2018 7:34
Yeah, i didn't know this was present in win10. Super cool feature
May 31, 2018 8:48
Howie - Lovely.
May 31, 2018 10:00
Hey Scott,
Thanks for the audioswitcher recommendation. But since I got it, I don't get sound from my connected monitor via hdmi. I am not saying audioswitcher caused this, the sound also disappeared at about the time I upgraded to the April 2018 update. I have tried everything but I cant get sound back. Sucks be cause external sound is louder than my laptop sound.
May 31, 2018 12:00
Now... all this needs is the ability to script this configuration, so you can apply it to machines when the OS is rebuilt... ;)
May 31, 2018 17:54
Not showing up for me, either (on my work PC). I'm still at 1607. You might want to update the post to indicate a minimum version or you're gonna get a lot more comments like this.
May 31, 2018 20:57
Oh man, this is awesome! I've been hitting some issues related to this. I'm running Ableton with ASIO drivers but it screws up anything else running. And sure can't stream while it's running with that driver. I will try it this weekend to see if this can help!
May 31, 2018 22:39
The feature has been available since Vista, but it's nice to see a clean, updated UI in 10.
June 01, 2018 7:39
Bertand - Per App *volume* has been in since Vista, but I confirmed that Per App *input/output defaults* is new in Spring Creators. That's the killer feature for me.
June 01, 2018 11:44
I'm really missing something to set the maximum volume per device. I have a headset where anything above 50% will hurt, I want to set that as the maximum. I've also got a laptop where the built in speakers distort the sound above a certain volume, and I'd like to limit it to that.
June 01, 2018 12:13
Now if only there was something like that for Network connections, VPN, proxys (i.e. one configuration for VS 2015, another for VSCode, SSMS, Chrome)...
June 04, 2018 18:59
Great tips like these are one of the many reasons I keep reading your blog, Scott. Thanks!
June 06, 2018 3:26
"Make your device easier to hear" Seriously? Actually, that would not be volume, that would be clarity, tailored frequency response, etc. But its just Volume. Sigh.
June 08, 2018 13:26
That's definitely a great addition in Windows 10.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.