How to Change the Audio Output Device for Different Programs [Windows or Mac]
Most people know it’s possible to choose an audio output device on a computer. However, many aren’t aware they can customize the audio output for each program and app. That way, you can choose what sound comes through your headphones, external speakers, monitor speakers, etc.
If you want to learn more about changing the audio output device for different programs, you’ve come to the right place. This article will show you how to do it on Windows and Mac.
How to Change the Audio Output Device for Different Programs on Windows PC
Windows users will be happy to know they can customize the audio output device for every program and app they’re using. For example, you can customize your Spotify music to come out of the computer’s built-in speakers and chat sounds out of headphones.
It’s important to note this free, built-in feature didn’t exist up until Windows 10. If you don’t have this option, it may be time to update your operating system.
Here’s how to select the audio output device for different programs on your Windows PC:
- Right-click the speaker icon (the megaphone) at the bottom-right corner of your desktop.
- Press “Open Sound settings.”
- Scroll down and press “App volume and device preferences” under “Advanced sound options.”
- Find the program or app for which you want to customize the audio output device and press the lower arrow on the right.
- Select the desired audio output device.
- Repeat the process for other apps if necessary.
Tip: You can also customize the sound volume for every app in the same settings. Simply move the sliders on the right of the apps.
How to Change the Audio Output Device for Different Programs on a Mac
Unlike Windows, Mac doesn’t offer a free, built-in option that enables you to change the audio output device for different programs and apps. But, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to do it for free.
If you want to customize audio output devices for different programs on your Mac, you’ll need to use a third-party app. One of the most popular apps that offer such an option is Audio Hijack. It’s designed for Mac computers and offers plenty of interesting features for managing audio.
The app offers a free trial which enables you to sample all the features. However, the audio quality degrades after 10 minutes of capturing, so the free version isn’t for full-time use. The license key currently costs $59 and can be bought on the app’s website.
Here’s how to use Audio Hijack to configure audio output devices for different apps:
- Launch Audio Hijack on your Mac.
- Press “New session.”
- Select “New Blank Session.”
- Find “Application” under the “Sources” tab on the right and drag it to the screen.
- Choose the app for which you want to change the audio output device.
- Locate “Output Device” under “Outputs” and drag it to the screen. Place it on the right of the “Application” window.
- Choose the audio output device.
- Press the red icon at the bottom-left corner to stream the audio through the desired device.
- Repeat the process for other apps if you wish.
If you’re running an older version of Audio Hijack, here’s how to customize audio output devices for different apps:
- Open Audio Hijack.
- Press “Select a Source” on the left.
- Open the “Input” tab. It’s the first tab of the five you’ll see in the middle of the screen.
- Ensure “Application” is selected under “Source Type.” Choose the app for which you want to customize the audio input device under “Application.”
- Go to the “Effects” tab. It’s the last tab of the five.
- Click in the field and choose “4FX Effect.”
- Select “Auxiliary Device Output” and choose the output device you want for that app.
- Press “Hijack.”
- Repeat the process if necessary.
Example: Suppose you want to configure the audio from Safari to come out of your headphones. You’ve completed all the above steps, but the sound is coming from both your Mac and the headphones. Here’s what you need to do in that case:
- Open Audio Hijack.
- Select “Safari” on the left.
- Press “Mute.”
Now, the sound will only come out of your headphones.
Can I have multiple output devices for audio playback in Windows 10?
Windows 10 enables you to play the same audio on multiple output devices. The easiest way to do it is to enable “Stereo Mix.” Here are the instructions:
1. Right-click on the sound volume icon at the bottom-right (the megaphone) and choose “Sounds.”
2. Open the “Playback” tab, choose the primary audio device, and press “Set as Default.”
3. Go to the “Recording” tab, right-click on any blank space, and choose “Show Disabled Devices.”
4. “Stereo Mix” will show up in the list of devices. Right-click on it and press “Enable.”
5. Right-click on “Stereo Mix” again and choose “Set as Default Device.”
6. Right-click on it once more and select “Properties.”
7. Open the “Listen” tab and check the “Listen to this device” box.
8. Select the drop-down menu under “Playback through this device” and choose the secondary output device.
9. Press “Apply” and “Ok” in the “Properties” and “Sound” windows and restart your computer.
Enjoy the Sound
Both Windows and Mac offer plenty of options for managing audio. While Windows 10 has a built-in option for changing the audio output device for particular apps, Mac users need to use a third-party app. Although this feature isn’t essential, it makes multitasking much more convenient.
We hope this article helped you learn more about customizing audio output devices for different programs.
What sound options on your computer do you like best? In what situations could changing audio output devices for certain apps help you? Tell us in the comments section below.