Scott Hanselman

EarTrumpet 2.0 makes Windows 10's audio subsystem even better...and it's free!

June 13, 2018 Comment on this post [9] Posted in Open Source | Win10
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EarTrumpetLast week I blogged about some new audio features in Windows 10 that make switching your inputs and outputs easier, but even better, allow you to set up specific devices for specific programs. That means I can have one mic and headphones for Audition, while another for browsing, and yet another set for Skype.

However, while doing my research and talking about this on Twitter, lots of people started recommending I check out "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. Consider EarTrumpet a prosumer replacement for the little Volume icon down by the clock in Windows 10. You'll hide the default one and drag EarTrumpet over in its place and use it instead!


EarTrumpet is available for free in the Windows Store and works on all versions of Windows 10, even S! I have no affiliation with the team that built it and it's a free app, so you have literally nothing to lose by trying it out!

EarTrumpet is also open source and on GitHub. The team that built it is:

  • Rafael Rivera - a software forward/reverse engineer
  • David Golden - lead engineer on MetroTwit, the greatest WPF Twitter Client the world has never known.
  • Dave Amenta - ex-Microsoft, worked on shell and Start menu for Windows 8 and 10

It was originally built as a replacement for the Volume Control in Windows back in 2015, but EarTrumpet 2.0's recent release makes it easy to use the new audio capabilities in the Windows 10's April 2018 Update.

Looks Good

It's easy to make a crappy Windows App. Heck, it's easy to make a crappy app. But EarTrumpet is NOT just an "applet" or an app. It's a perfect example of how a Windows 10 app - not made by Microsoft - can work and look seamlessly with the operating system. You'll think it's native - and it adds functionality that probably should be built in to Windows!

It's got light/dark theme support (no one bothers to even test this, but EarTrumpet does) and a nice acrylic blur. It looks like it's built-in/in-box. There's a sample app so you can make your apps look this sharp up on Rafael's GitHub and here's the actual BlurWindowExtensions that EarTrumpet uses.

Works Good

Quickly switch outputEarTrumpet 1.x works on Windows "RS3 and below" so that's 10.0.16299 and down. But 2.0 works on the latest Windows and is also written entirely in C#. Any remaining C++ code has been removed with no missing functionality.

EarTrumpet may SEEM like a simple app but there's a lot going on to be this polished AND work with any combination of audio hardware. As a podcaster and remote workers I have a LOT of audio devices but I now have one-click control over it all.

Given how fast Windows 10 has been moving with Insiders Builds and all, it seems like there's a bunch of APIs with new functionality that lacks docs. The EarTrumpet team has reverse engineered the parts the needed.

Modern Resource Technology (MRT) Resource Manager

Internal Audio Interface: IAudioPolicyConfigFactory

  • Gets them access to new APIs (GetPersistedDefaultAudioEndpoint / SetPersistedDefaultAudioEndpoint) in RS4 that let's them 'redirect' apps to different playback devices. Same API used in modern sound settings.
      • Code here with no public API yet?

    Internal Audio Interface: IPolicyConfig

    • Gets them access to SetDefaultEndpoint API; lets us change the default playback device
    • Code here and no public API yet?

    Acrylic Blur (win32)

    From a development/devops perspective, I am told EarTrumpet's team is able to push a beta flight through the Windows 10 Store in just over 30 minutes. No waiting for days to get beta test data. They use Bugsnag for their generous OSS license to catch crashes and telemetry. So far they're getting >3000 new users a month as the word gets out with nearly 100k users so far! Hopefully +1 as you give EarTrumpet a try yourself!

    Sponsor: Check out dotMemory Unit, a free unit testing framework for fighting all kinds of memory issues in your code. Extend your unit testing with the functionality of a memory profiler.

    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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    June 13, 2018 6:24
    I'll have to give it a whirl. I used version 1.0 until I read about the other audio utility you'd suggested (can't remember the name) and switched to that, as I liked it a little more. I'll have to give version 2.0 a try. I love the fact it's a store app and auto-updates.
    June 13, 2018 11:55
    It is a great app! It is a pity though that they have to resort to WPF to do this sort of thing and are unable to do it as a 100% UWP app due to the limitations of that platform.
    June 13, 2018 12:37
    Your description of David Amenta is not what I would call a plus for him. I certainly don't find the shell in Windows 8 and 10 particularly astonishing. (Quite the opposite...) But I know Rafael Rivera closely.
    June 13, 2018 22:22
    The only feature I want out of a volume control app is this: can I control how much the overall volume goes up or down when I press the volume up/down buttons on my keyboard? 2% is too much for my ear buds, but too little for my speakers. 3rvx used to do this, but not anymore.
    June 15, 2018 7:48
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    June 15, 2018 18:36
    Interesting timing that The Verge put up a similar post. Maybe something to keep an eye on.
    June 22, 2018 15:38
    Great work thanks admin for great information!
    June 22, 2018 15:38
    Great work admin thanks for this!
    June 23, 2018 1:29
    Thanks but give us an EXE please ... Windows Store only is not a very good idea ...

    Comments are closed.

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