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Fixing Muffled Sounds in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1  

For users of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, here's a problem you may encounter with your new PCs or when you upgrade your Windows versions.

Caveat Emptor: This tip will not solve all audio problems. It merely addresses a common one I've seen occur with several different PCs and I suspect many people will eventually encounter it.


The Problem

When playing audio (music, video, etc) you may hear the sounds as incredibly muffled or muted - as if you are hearing something in another room. 


A Note on My Hardware Setup

Look at this image of my (JBL Creature) speakers below. Notice that there are only two speakers and the subwoofer.



When the Problem Started

I've seen this occur in three separate scenarios

  • Windows 8 on a brand new PC
  • Upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1
  • Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8/8.1


In the uppgrade scenarios, the sound was working correctly before the upgrade.


How to Fix

Right-click on your Sound icon in the System tray and click Playback Devices.


The Sounds Control Panel will open. Under the Playback tab, right-click on the active speakers and click Configure Speakers.





This will launch the Speaker Setup wizard. Remember when I mentioned earlier that my speaker setup only had three components? As we see below 5.1 Surround is selected in Audio channels.



Select Stereo and click Next, Nexty, and Finish to get through the wizard.






Once the wizard is done, you should hear everything correctly in a few seconds.



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Reader Comments (16)

I was having all kinds of weird partially muffled sounds while playing a few games after I updated to Windows 8.1, and now I know why--my 2 speakers were set to 7.1 surround sound. Thanks much.

October 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMayor of Deviance

many thanks, fixed my problem!

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdazzler

muffle information is cool that is real great job that you share knowlegde is a holy job that you help people and people find this solution by you doing good job.

November 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteronlinenewspoint

thx a ton... will be prepared next time i hear that garbled mess

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommentersavedbyU

many thanks for this. it solved my issue perfectlty

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Thanks. This fixed it for me . I was really getting frustrated.

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

I took the upgrade and now my playback is muffled as with other users.
My volume is set at 25%, but when I checked the volume mixer, it showed
green up to 25%, but also showed sound peaking in the speaker/HP above the green.
What would that be? Something simple I'm overlooking, I'm sure. :)

February 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSingnSally

I tried this, but it did nothing. When I click test, it works, but when I try to do something that requires sound (EG a youtube video) it's still muffled!

November 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

didnt work

November 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternoob

Thanks - fixed my problem!

December 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Thank you for this information, I salute you :)

December 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheo

I had been switching speakers and was so frustrated. I thought I would have to replace my sound card. I can't believe it was such a simple fix. Thank you so much!

March 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPSmith

Thanks, I've been chasing this around for weeks!

July 1, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdon

i found out how to fix it, i think it because you set it to speaker mode not headphone mode, so when you plug in your headphones it comes up with that orange speaker sound, click on it and it will open up a window and look for a black dot on the top right, click on it and click headphone or headsets.

July 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMinhty

Erm, it didn't help me! ):

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSavannah Conerly

Have this exact problem - the only thing is I need to reset my speakers to stereo every time I start up my PC is there any fix to this?

Thank :)

July 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

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