Audio clarity is a critical part of any functioning PC. With video streaming apps gaining traction, the need for crystal clear audio is more than ever. However, there are a lot of issues that lead to a malfunctioning audio output on Windows 11.
If you are able to identify the underlying cause behind Realtek audio issue, go with the relevant fix in the article. However, for many who are not too versed with the intricacies of technology, identifying the issue may be a task in itself. In case you are unable to identify the cause, simply execute the fixes mentioned later in the article.
What Causes Realtek Audio Issues on Windows 11?
There are a lot of things that could cause Realtek Audio Issues on Windows 11. We have listed the most common ones to help you identify the one with your system.
- Outdated or Corrupt Drivers
- Problems with the Audio Output Device itself
- Audio service is not running or has encountered a bug
- Audio output through the wrong channel
- Misconfigured Audio Settings
If looking at these issues rings a bell about some change that you made, revert them and check if the issue is resolved. If it doesn’t, we have listed the most effective fixes to resolve the Realtek audio issues.
1. Check the Connections and Peripherals
Most people spend hours looking through the system for the fault while it lies with the connection or the audio output device itself. Check if the output device receives power. Reconnect it to the system and check if it fixes the issue. If there’s a mute button on the device, check that it’s not enabled. Also, verify that the volume control on the audio output device is not set to a minimum. Increase it and check if the issue is fixed.
If the problem persists, try connecting the audio device to another system. If it now works fine, we can rule out problems with the device or damage to the cables. Now execute the other fixes mentioned here.
2. Check Audio Output
Another common issue that users encounter is incorrect selection of the audio output device. If you have multiple output devices connected to the system, Windows might play audio through one device while you expect it to be played through another. You can easily verify this through the Action Center.
To check the selected audio output device, click on the ‘Action Center’ in the Taskbar. Alternatively, you can press WINDOWS + A to launch it.
In the Action Center, click on the carrot arrow icon next to the volume level.
You will now find a list of audio devices connected to the system. Now, select the device through which you want to play the audio.
Check if this fixes the issue. In case it does, you can set the device as the default one so that Windows always play sound through it unless you select another one.
To set an audio device as default, search for ‘Change system sound’ in the Start Menu, and click on the relevant search result.
In the Sound window, navigate to the ‘Playback’ tab from the top, select the output device that you want to set as default, and click on ‘Set Default’ at the bottom. Finally, click on ‘OK’ at the bottom to save the changes and close the window.
3. Disable Audio Enhancements
Many users have reported audio enhancement as the root cause for Realtek audio issues on Windows 11. If you have enabled the enhancement, disabling them might fix the issue.
To disable audio enhancement, search for ‘Change system sounds’ in the Start Menu and click on the relevant search result to launch it.
In the ‘Sound’ panel, navigate to the ‘Playback’ tab, select the speaker you are having trouble with and click on ‘Properties’ at the bottom.
In the ‘Properties’ window, navigate to the ‘Enhancements’ tab, tick the checkbox for ‘Disable all enhancements’, and click on ‘OK’ at the bottom to save the changes and close the window.
Now, check if the error with audio output is fixed.
4. Select Another Audio Format
Many a time, it’s the audio format that’s not compatible with the hardware settings, thus leading to issues with audio output. In this case, you can test other available formats and choose the compatible one.
To change the audio format, launch the ‘Sound’ panel as you did earlier and click on navigate to the ‘Playback’ tab. Next, right-click on the audio output device you are facing trouble playing sound with and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu.
In the ‘Speakers Properties’, navigate to the ‘Advanced’ tab, click on the drop-down menu, select individual formats and click on ‘Test’. Try this until you find that one that works fine.
Finally, click on ‘OK’ at the bottom to save the changes.
In case changing audio formats didn’t work, move to the next fix.
5. Run Audio Troubleshooter
Windows offers multiple built-in troubleshooters to identify and fix most of the problems. It includes a ‘Playing Audio’ troubleshooter that may fix the Realtek audio issue. You don’t need any technical expertise to run the troubleshooter, just select the relevant options and it will do the rest.
To run the ‘Playing Audio’ troubleshooter, either right-click on the ‘Start’ icon in the Taskbar or press WINDOWS+ X to launch the Quick Access menu, and select ‘Settings’ from the list of options. Alternatively, you can press WINDOWS + I to directly launch the Settings.
In the ‘System’ tab that opens by default, scroll down on the right, and select ‘Troubleshoot’ from the list of options.
Next, click on ‘Other troubleshooters’.
Now, locate the ‘Playing Audio’ troubleshooter and click on ‘Run’ next to it.
The troubleshooter will now scan for the various audio output devices on your system and list them. Select the one you are having trouble with and click on ‘Next’ at the bottom.
Windows will now identify any issues with the device or configured settings and fix them. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose the necessary response when prompted to complete the troubleshooting process.
6. Update Driver
An outdated Realtek driver could also lead to issues while playing audio on Windows 11. Although Windows generally look up for updates and install them, you could try installing them manually when encountering an error like this one.
To update the Realtek Audio driver, either right-click on the ‘Start’ icon in the Taskbar or press WINDOWS + X to launch the Quick Access menu, and select ‘Device Manager’ from the list of options.
In the ‘Device Manager’, locate and double-click on the ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ option.
Next, right-click on the ‘Realtek Audio’ device and select ‘Update driver’ from the context menu.
You will now be presented with two options, either to let Windows search for the best drivers on your system or you can browse and install one manually. We recommend letting Windows do the job, since the other option carries considerable risk.
In many cases, you would be informed that the best driver for your device is already installed. This does not rule out the possibility that an update might be available. Many manufacturers simply upload the driver update on their official website.
Search the web for the driver update with, ‘Computer Model, ‘OS’, and ‘Driver Name’ as the keywords. Locate the manufacturer’s official website from the search results and look if there’s an update available. If there is, download it.
After you have downloaded the update, double-click on the file to launch the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process. Once the update is installed, restart the system and check if the Realtek Audio issue is fixed.
7. Reinstall Audio Device
If there’s a bug with the driver or it has gone corrupted over time, reinstalling the audio device will fix the issue.
To reinstall the audio device, launch the Device Manager as you did earlier, locate the ‘Realtek Audio’ device, right-click on it and select ‘Uninstall device’ from the context menu.
Click ‘Uninstall’ on the confirmation box that pops up. Now reboot the computer and once the system starts, Windows will automatically install a fresh version of the driver, one that’s not corrupted. Check if this fixes the issue, if not, move to the next fix.
8. Restart Audio Service
There are three services related to the audio output on Windows. If either of them is not running or has run into a bug, you might face issues. The three services are:
- Windows Audio
- Windows Audio Endpoint Builder
- Remote Procedure Call
First, we will check if these are running. If not, start them. In case the services are already running, restarting them should do the job.
To restart the audio service, search for ‘Services’ in the Start Menu and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.
The services here will be listed in alphabetical order by default. Locate the ‘Windows Audio’ service and check whether it’s running under the ‘Status’ column.
If the service is not running, select it and click on the ‘Start’ option at the left above the service description.
If the service is running, right-click on it and select ‘Restart’ from the context menu.
Follow the same steps for the other two services and check if it fixes the Realtek Audio issue. If not move to the next fix.
9. Run System Restore
If none of the above fixes have resolved the issue, your last option is to go for ‘System Restore’. With this, you can take your system back in time where the issue didn’t exist. System Restore will not delete any files on the system, however, recently installed applications, changes in settings, and driver updates may be removed.
To restore your Windows 11 PC, search for ‘Create a restore point’ in the Start Menu and click on the relevant search result to launch the ‘System Protection’ tab of ‘System Properties’.
Now, click on the ‘System Restore’ option.
The System Restore window will now launch. The recommended restore point will be selected by default but you can select another one by selecting the ‘Choose a different restore point’ option. Now, click on ‘Next’ at the bottom.
If you selected the option to choose a different restore point earlier, you will be presented with a list of restore points created on the system. Select the required restore point from the list, and click on ‘Next’ at the bottom.
Finally, verify the restore point details at the top, and if everything looks fine, click on ‘Finish’ at the bottom.
Make sure to save the data before starting the restore process since the computer will restart. After your system is restored, the Realtek Audio issue would be fixed.
The above fixes will easily help resolve the Realtek Audio issue on Windows 11. However, if you can identify the underlying cause, just execute the relevant fix instead of going for all.