Quick Audio Switching

I’ve got a semi complicated desktop setup, with multiple monitors, lots of USB stuff, and a few ways to record and listen to sound. I hadn’t thought of things as complex, especially with regards to audio, but between recording podcasts, having regular video conferences, and the speakers I added to my machine, I found the need to control where my audio goes in and out of.

The other day I was waiting for a conference call to start on Skype and was listening to an interview through my computer. I’d plugged in a USB headset for the call, but the interview (Flash-based web page), came through the speakers. I’ve gotten used to redirecting audio easily from the speakers to headphones to Bluetooth devices, but I wasn’t sure how to do this in Windows. I messed with the audio mixer a bit, but didn’t see anything.

I did a bit of searching and ran across this post on Superuser. I decided to blog briefly in the hopes that I’ll remember this process for next time.

The long and short of it was that I needed to right click the audio speaker icon.


I could then select Playback devices. This allows me to see the setup, not just the volume. I got the Control Panel app, with all my devices listed. I can also see the recording devices.


From here, if I right click a device, in this case, the USB headset, I can select "Set as Default".


Once I did this, the audio for the interview came through on the headset. I could listen and when my Skype call came in, it cut out and I could continue on with work.

This is especially handy for recording, as I’ve had the wrong device setup for recording at times because I’ve expected the default to be used.

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