How To Play Sounds on or Switch Between Two Devices in Windows

Are you looking for a way to play sounds on two devices or switch between them in Windows? Many users often have more than one audio output device connected to their computers. Fortunately, Windows allows them to choose which output to use.

How To Play Sounds on or Switch Between Two Devices in Windows

If you want to listen to lo-fi beats at work using headphones or have multiple output devices like stereo speakers and a gaming headset, we’ve got you covered. This article outlines how to play sounds on two devices across different versions of Windows.

Play Sounds on 2 Devices in Windows 11

Windows 11 lets you play sounds from your programs or the entire system on different devices. For example, you can allocate Windows notifications to the loudspeakers and play music through the headphones. You’ll need to manage the settings to make sure that sounds play correctly.

Here are the different methods of managing your audio devices on Windows 11.

Changing Default Audio Output on Windows 11

Changing the default audio output is a relatively simple process. Follow the next steps to find out how:

  1. Make sure that your external devices are connected to your computer.
  2. Open “Settings,” then click on “System.”
  3. Click on the “Sound” tab in the left sidebar.
  4. In the “Output” section, tap on “Choose Where to Play Sound.”
  5. Select your preferred output device.

Changing Default Output Per Application

Windows 11 allows users to isolate audio changes within its default menu. If you want to use a specific audio output per specific application, here’s how to do it:

  1. Ensure that the external devices are connected.
  2. Go to “System” in the settings menu.
  3. In the left sidebar, select the “Sound” option.
  4. Navigate to the “Advanced” section, and choose the “Volume Mixer” setting.
  5. Under “Apps,” choose the app for which you want to change the default settings.
  6. Find the output device you want in the section “Output Device.”

Pairing Audio Output Device on Windows 11

If you want to pair a new set of speakers, headphones, or a headset to Windows 11, this is the way to go:

  1. Open “Settings” and head to the “System” option.
  2. Click the “Sound” tab.
  3. Find the “Pair a new output device” setting and click on “Add device.”
  4. Choose the “Bluetooth” option.
  5. Select the “Wireless speakers” tab.

Setting the Default Sound Output Device Using Xbox Game Bar

The Xbox Game Bar is a built-in, customizable game overlay that gives you access to game capture tools and audio controls. Follow these steps to learn how to set the default sound output device for the Game Bar:

  1. Launch the “Xbox Game Bar” app.
  2. In the “Audio” window, open the “Mix” tab.
  3. Click the “Windows Default Output” drop-down menu.
  4. Select your headphones or speakers.

Keep in mind that the changes applied in Xbox Game Bar will apply system-wide.

Play Sounds on 2 Devices in Windows 10

There are a few ways to play sounds on two devices in Windows 10. Some methods use the system’s built-in settings, but one utilizes a third-party app. Keep reading to find out more about your options.

Enabling the Stereo Mix App

The Stereo Mix app is available for most Windows 10 users, but unfortunately, it’s usually disabled by default. Before changing the settings, you must ensure that it’s enabled.

  1. Right-click on the “Speaker” icon in the system tray.
  2. Select “Sounds.”
  3. Open the “Recording” tab.
  4. Right-click in the window’s empty white space.
  5. Select “Show Disabled Devices.”

Now, you should be able to see the “Stereo Mix” option. It will appear in the section for recording devices. Enable the app by right-clicking on it and clicking “Enable.”

Using Two Devices with the Stereo Mix App

  1. Select the “Stereo Mix” option and click on “Properties” to open the “Stereo Mix Properties” menu.
  2. Select the “Listen” tab.
  3. Add a check to the “Listen to This Device” option.
  4. Select the second playback device listed in the “Play this device” drop-down menu.
  5. Click the “Apply” button and then “OK” in both the “Stereo Mix Properties” and the “Sound” window.
  6. Restart your computer.

Windows will then automatically play audio from your primary audio device and the one you selected from the “Playback on this device” drop-down menu.

Playing Sounds From Specific Applications

If you want to select the audio output for specific software, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the “Audio” icon in the system tray.
  2. Select the “Open Sound Settings” option.
  3. Tap the “App Volume and Device Setting” option.
  4. Click the “Output” drop-down menu to select the connected playback device.

Switching Audio Output Device Using SoundSwitch

If the previous two options aren’t suitable for you, you can try out the SoundSwitch app. Follow these steps to find out how:

  1. Download the SoundSwitch app and follow the prompts to install it.
  2. Launch the app by clicking the “SoundSwitch” icon in the system tray or pressing the “Ctrl + Alt + F11” default shortcut.
  3. Select the “Settings” tab.
  4. Open the “Playback” tab and choose the audio devices you want to use for playback. You can also choose your “Recording” tab devices if desired.
  5. Select the “Settings” tab and choose which icons (“Playback,” “Recording,” “Default,” or “Both”) to display in the System Tray.
  6. Once everything is set, click on the “Close” button in the bottom-right section or the “X” in the top-right section.

Play Sounds on 2 Devices in Windows 7

Windows 7 doesn’t have the same settings as Windows 10 and Windows 11, so playing sounds on two devices can be a challenge. However, you can still use the “Stereo Mix” recording app to adjust your audio output.

  1. Click the “Sound” icon in the taskbar, then select the “Playback Devices” option.
  2. Select the “Demonstrator Audio Device” and set it as the “Default” device.
  3. Click the “Recording” tab and select the “Stereo Mix” option.
  4. Ensure that “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices” are checked.
  5. Click on the “Stereo Mix” option once more, then select the “Properties” tab.
  6. In the “Listen” tab, check the “Listen to This device” box.
  7. Select the audio device you want in the pop-up section.

Use SoundSwitch on Windows 7

If the first method isn’t working for you, you can try the SoundSwitch app. The simple open-source device playback management app enables users to switch between audio sources with a simple interface. Here’s how:

  1. Download the “SoundSwitch” app and install it.
  2. Open the app via the system tray icon or the default “Ctrl + Alt + F11” shortcut.
  3. Select the audio devices you want to use for playback.

Can You Hear It?

Diverting audio to two devices on Windows may seem daunting, but it’s relatively simple once you know where to look. In most cases, you can use built-in settings, whether the default audio menu or the Stereo Mix app. However, if you want to simplify the process, using a third-party app like SoundSwitch may be better.

Have you tried any of the methods from this article? Have you ever played sound on two devices on your Windows computer? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

4 thoughts on “How To Play Sounds on or Switch Between Two Devices in Windows”

David says:
so I’m trying to enable stereo mix but when I’m in recording, it isn’t there. I have disconnected and disabled devices shown. I don’t know what to do.
Carol says:
There are some manages like audioswitch and audioswitch headphone stand, which allows you to change audio sources quickly. And they are as simple as hotkey/sensing headphones.
Mira says:
You say this will help me play sounds on two bluetooth devices simultaneously, but at least in the section for Win 11, there is only an explanation how to assign my _one_ preffered output device or how to assign different devices to specific apps. I don’t see any explanation how to play all the sounds from two devices at the same time. Am I missing something? The title is misleading:-/
Steve Larner says:
Hi there. The title doesn’t say simultaneously, but I see what you are saying. Win 11 doesn’t appear to allow multi-output via Bluetooth but it does allow specific applications to use a specific Bluetooth device. So, you get sounds on 2 devices, just not the same ones like you can in Win 10.
Andrea Casagrande says:
Actually, I have found the sounds panel and the audio mix device on windows 11 too. Contact me if you need to know how, so you can update the page with the complete instructions for windows 11 too 😉
maya says:
Thank you for the detailed information!
Monica says:
Hi Andrea. Could please tell me how I can play my two USB speakers simultaneously (windows 11) ? Thank you. niceday2018 a yahoo

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