Improve the audio quality of your Windows PC

How does your PC sound? Does music have rich bass and crisp and clear output, or does it sound muddy and ill-defined? There are ways in which you can improve the quality of audio from your computer.

True audiophiles would no doubt be horrified at the thought of listening to music from their computer’s speakers, but for most people, the extremes to which audiophiles go to in their pursuit of the ultimate sound is just as bizarre.

Most people are somewhere in the middle when it comes to music and games sound effects, they will not put up with poor sound, but spending hundreds or even thousands on audio equipment is out of the question.

If the music and games effects coming out of your computer sound less than perfect, there are some simple techniques to improve it.

Configure the audio playback device

Right click the speaker icon at the right side of the taskbar and select Playback devices from the menu that is displayed. Select the Playback tab in the Sound window and speakers and possibly headphones too, are listed. Select Speakers and two buttons are then enabled at the bottom. Click Configure.

 Audio configuration

The next window enables you to select the speaker setup. The features that are listed depend on the computer and this one has just two speakers. Some computers have 5.1 sound output and have many more options.

 Select the speaker setup

There is just one option above, but you may have more. Clicking the Test button plays a sound first in the left speaker and then in the right one, so you can check that they are both working.

The options vary, so your computer might be different to these screen shots. Next there is an option to set the speakers as satellite speakers or full-range speakers. If you don’t know which setting is best, tick the box and play some music afterwards. Return here, clear the box and play the same music. This should tell you which setting sounds the best.

 Speaker setup

Audio playback device properties

Back at the Sound window (first screen shot), select the speakers and click the Properties button. Select the Levels tab and you can see the current audio volume setting. What is interesting here is the Balance facility. You can adjust the left and right speaker volume independently. This could be useful if you sit nearer to one speaker than the other, or if, for whatever reason, they don’t have equal loudness.

 Audio properties in Windows

Select the Tone Controls tab and the bass and treble can be adjusted using the slider controls. If the speakers are weak on bass for example, you can drag the slider to the top to give it a boost.

 Set the treble and bass

Other audio technologies

Your computer may have other audio technologies installed and the place to find them is the pop-up icon tray at the right side of the taskbar. Click the little triangle to open the notifications tray and mouse-over each icon.

This computer, an HP Envy laptop has Beats Audio. Right clicking the Beats icon in the notification area and selecting Open audio control panel displays this.

 Beats Audio control panel

On the Listening experience tab is this array of sliders and options. The audio can be set to music, voice or 3D movie, and there is a graphic equalizer with an array of sliders for adjusting the frequencies.

The best way to adjust these settings is to start playing some music. Then drag the sliders to hear the difference and just find the right settings through experimentation. After dragging a slider, it usually takes a few seconds to hear the difference, so move it a little, wait, move it some more and wait.

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