So Why Does My Audio Sound Muffled on Windows 11
This is normally due to drivers getting corrupted or out of date. To fix this, ensure that your audio drivers are current. Check them through the device manager of Windows. Right-click the audio object, select properties and check the driver version is the latest available.
It’s frustrating when you’ve just bought a new piece of hardware be it desktop or laptop and it’s just not performing as it should. Or maybe you’ve managed to finally upgrade your existing kit to Windows 11. Don’t delay in getting a fix for your machine. Read on to find some of the answers to your audio woes.
There seems to be a myriad of issues facing new Windows 11 users, especially around audio problems, from distortion and crackling, to Bluetooth audio niggles and generally low sound levels.
I take a look below into the reasons why the sounds coming from your PC/laptop running Windows 11 are not always the best they could be.
One point to note here is that I know that you would have tried quite a few things before searching on the internet for answers. So I’m not dumbing down and going through all the little checks like making sure your equipment is plugged in or that the sound level on your PC/laptop is turned up.
Below are the intermediate level fixes that need a little understanding of what’s under the hood of your Windows 11 box.
Enhance Audio Settings
Some people have reported good results with flipping the Enhanced Audio Settings of Windows 11. Complete the following to try this fix – click Windows+x go to System, then Sound, All Sound Devices, then Properties.
If Enhance Audio is on, then turn it off and then back on. If it is off, then turn it on then back off.
At face value, this doesn’t seem to make any sense. However, many have reported good results following this. Perhaps this is a minor bug. More success has been noticed when leaving this off.
Restart the Realtek Audio Service
The Realtek equipment in your machine is so important, it seems, that it’s worthy of having its own service. You can make sure it’s behaving itself by restarting it.
In the Windows Search box type in services.msc and hit Return.
In the list that’s presented to you find the entry Realtek Audio Service.
Right-click it and select Restart. If it was already stopped then start it.
Realtek High Definition Fix
The Realtek driver is prevalent among Windows machines these days, and has been for a number of years. So this fix could be relevant for numerous people.
Open Device Manager. Click Windows+x then select Device Manager. Expand the section Sound, Video and Game Controllers.
Right-click the entry Realtek High Definition Audio and select Update Driver.
On the screen that follows, select the second entry, Browse my computer for drivers.
On the next screen click on Let me pick from a list of available drivers…
Check the box, Show compatible hardware.
Select the entry High Definition Audio Device. Note: do not select any of the Realtek entries.
Click Next, then click Yes on the Update driver warning dialogue box that appears.
This will install the new driver and now it’s time to restart the PC/laptop for the changes just made to take effect.
Hopefully, when the machine reboots you can once again enjoy crystal clear sounds from your machine’s hardware.
Reinstalling Outdated or Corrupted Drivers
I’ve found that when most of the fixes above just don’t work it’s time for the Hail Mary pass. You can completely remove and reinstall your audio driver.
Open Device Manager by clicking Windows+x then selecting Device Manager.
Expand the section Sound, Video and Game Controllers.
Highlight the item that corresponds to your Audio equipment and remove it by right-clicking it and selecting Uninstall device. Click Uninstall on the warning that appears.
Reboot your machine and the operating system will reinstall a fresh set of drivers for you.
Restarting Generic Windows Audio Services
Just as we did with the Realtek Audio service above, we can now look into restarting the generic audio services.
Once again you can open the services application by typing in services.msc into the Windows search box.
Now we can restart the following services by right-clicking them and choosing Restart, or Start if they are stopped.
The services to do this to are
- Windows Audio Service
- Windows Audio Endpoint Builder
Running a Scan at the System Level
With this option, we’re going to tell WIndows to start analysing all your system files and replace any corrupted ones with fresh clean versions.
Open a command prompt by typing in cmd in the Windows search box.
In the window that appears after running that command run the following sfc /scannow.
Once complete Windows will let you know if it found any damaged files and replaced them. If it did, now would be a good time to reboot your machine.
Running the Audio Troubleshooter
If the steps previous to this haven’t worked for you then Microsoft has one last trick up its sleeve. The audio troubleshooter.
To start this little beauty right-click the sound icon in the task tray on the bottom right hand side of your display.
Select Troubleshoot sound problems. Simply follow the troubleshooter’s lead until the process is complete.
If you try all the above solutions one by one you should find the answer to why your audio sounds muffled on Windows 11.
If nothing worked but you noticed the issue occurred after installing a particular application then try uninstalling that app.
Alternatively, you could try restoring to a System Restore point. You do make those before major system changes don’t you?