Currently, my laptop (MS Windows 10 Home) has one playback device - named "Speakers, Realtek(R) Audio" in which accounts for both the internal speaker sound as well as the sound when headphones are plugged in.

Image 1 - Main playback device

Image. A cropped screenshot of the Windows Sound Control panel. An icon marked Speakers, Real tech Audio, Default Device is shown. The device has a green checkmark beside it, indicating the audio device is enabled

I am attempting to separate this playback devices into speaker sound and headphone sound so that I am able to disable the laptop speakers whilst using headphones, so that if the headphones were to become unplugged, no sound would play from the speakers, or so I can generally disable each when needed.

Currently, both the speakers and headphones work on the same volume level - i.e if I were to turn the speaker volume to 0 and then plug in my headphones, the headphone volume would also be 0 and vice versa. This becomes an issue if I were playing headphones sound on 50 for example and they happened to unplug, in which would then play the sound immediately from my speakers at 50 volume.

There are more playback devices currently listed on my laptop, however upon much investigation, none seem to account for when the headphones are plugged in, and sound only plays from the current active device (Image 1) regardless if the rest are disabled or enabled:

To see all available playback devices, please refer to images 2 and 3 attached.

If any more information or clarification is needed, please let me know. Thank you.

Image 2 - Playback devices

Image. A cropped screenshot of the Windows Sound Control panel. Three devices are shown. They are all marked with the title Steel Series Sonar, then a separate subtitle. The subtitles shown are Gaming, Chat, and Microphone. All the devices are marked as Steel Series Sonar Virtual Audio Devices. All three devices are Disabled

Image 3 - Playback devices

Image. A cropped screenshot of the Windows Sound Control Panel. The Speakers device is shown, enabled, and two of the Seel Series Sonar devices are shown, disabled. Two additional devices are also shown. Both are marked NVIDIA Output, NVIDIA High Definition Audio, Not plugged in. Both of these audio devices are disabled

1 Answer 1


If the Realtek audio drivers are installed, there is likely a "Realtek HD audio manager" control panel as well. You can try pressing Win+R and pasting C:\Windows\system32\RTSnMg64.cpl and see if that brings up Realtek's manager.

If that doesn't work try looking in Control Panel via File Explorer and setting the display to Small Icons or All Items (depending on windows version). Realtek HD Audio Manager in Windows Control Panel

If you still don't see it then you will likley need to download the Realtek audio driver package, which will likely be most readily available from your laptop manufacturer's website in the support section.

Once you manage to find it, there should be a gear-shaped symbol at the top right near the X to close the program. Click the gear and choose options, then check the box next to "Make front and rear output devices play back two different audio streams simultaneously". Realtek HD Audio Manager Options

After this option is enabled, if you only wish to have the headphones play audio, set them as the default device on the Playback Devices tab.

If you want to play the same output on both..

go to your Recording Devices settings (in the same dialog you have in your screenshots), and enable 'Stereo Mix'. Then edit the properties of the Stereo Mix device and check the "Listen to this device" option on the "Listen" tab, and choose your Speakers as the listening device(or whichever device you wish to have the lower volume on).

I have used these exact steps on several PCs, but I can't confirm that they are what is available on a laptop. I imagine the same option is either available as-in, or worded differently.

I will follow up this answer shortly if I am able to determine the exact registry changes the manager makes so that they may be a more direct solution.

  • I installed the 'Realtek HD Audio Driver' from the Realtek website but it doesn't seem I have the Realtek HD Audio Manager still. I went searching and found the 'RtkNGUI64' file responsible for manually opening Realtek HD Audio manager but it does not seem to open anything when clicked. Currently I have Realtek Audio Console
    – J D
    Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 12:09

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