Get to know Windows Control Panel: Using the Sounds settings

By June 27, 2016 July 9th, 2018 Business Productivity

Sometimes you’ll have a problem with your computer’s audio playback, or wonder why your sound is recording at too low a volume. This tip will show you how to find the Sounds options in Windows Control Panel, where you can check your settings and make adjustments.

  1. Go to Control Panel. (What is Control Panel? How do you find it?)
  2. If you’re viewing by Category, go to Hardware and Sound > Sound.
    If you’re viewing by icons, go to Sounds.

The Sound window will appear. There are four tabs across the top (Playback, Recording, Sounds, and Communication).

Playback: Setting default speakers for playback

Playback is the audio that comes out of your computer. If you have more than one playback device, you can switch between them or set one as the Default Device (for general playback) or Default Communications Device (primarily for telephone calls on a computer).

sound-window

To make a playback device the default:

  1. Click on the device in the list under the Playback tab.
  2. Click Set Default at the bottom.
  3. Choose “Default Device”.

Note: If “Default Device” is grayed out, that means no device is selected, or the selected device is already the default.

To change the audio output level:

This is the same as changing your speaker volume.

  1. Right click on the device in the list under the Playback tab.
  2. Choose Properties.playback-properties

     

  3. Click the Levels tab.playback-level

     

  4. Drag the slide to the left to decrease or the right to increase, or manually increase the number.
  5. Click OK when done.

Recording: Setting default microphone for recording

Under the Recording tab, you can see and select the available recording devices. Recording devices take audio input, such as when recording sound or a video, or when you need a microphone for a call or video call. When more than one device is available, you can set one as the default.

If you have an external microphone plugged into your machine, and you set it as the default, it will remain so even when you unplug it. When your external microphone is unavailable, the system should fall back to another default device, such as the built-in microphone.

To make a recording device the default:

  1. Click on the device in the list under the Recording tab.
  2. Click Set Default at the bottom.
  3. Choose “Default Device”.

Note: If “Default Device” is grayed out, that means no device is selected, or the selected device is already the default.

Boosting or changing recording volume

If your recording volume seems too weak, check to see if the recording volume can be increased. To check the recording volume of a recording device:

  1. Right click on the device in the list under the Recording tab.
  2. Go to the Levels
  3. Drag the slide to the left to decrease or the right to increase, or manually increase the number.recording-level

     

  4. Click OK when done.

Sounds: Modifying your system’s sound theme

Under the Sounds tab, you can change the sound “theme” of your Windows setup or the sounds that play for individual events and actions.

sound-scheme

Under Sound Scheme, you can select another set of sounds for your machine.

Under Program Events, you can see the list of events and their associated sounds (such as the sound your machine makes when you disconnect a thumb drive or other device). You can click on one of these events, then go to the Sounds drop-down list below it to select a different sound to associate with the event.

change-sounds

When you are done making any changes, click OK.

Communications: Settings for telephone calls on your machine

The Communications tab primarily lets you adjust your system’s sounds when it detects a “communications activity” – such as a phone call.

communications-sounds

You can choose to mute all sounds except your call, reduce the volume of sounds by a certain amount, or not make any adjustments.

After making any changes, click OK.

That’s how to make quick sound changes

Now you can adjust your default playback and recording devices, sound levels, and more!


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