Maybe you were using a soundboard and playing audio through your microphone, or perhaps there’s been a freak accident in your computer’s brain pipes causing all of your audio-related woes.
Nonetheless, all kinds of issues could result in your computer playing audio through the microphone. When you want to play sound through your computer’s built-in speakers, or through an external speaker, it can be infuriating when all audio is emitted from a microphone only.
Here are some troubleshooting methods to get your audio to play through your speakers again.
Can Audio Play Through a Microphone? Why Would I Do This?
Technically, yes, you can play audio through a microphone.
However, this is not the microphone’s intended purpose, and you will not get good audio quality while doing it. A microphone does have a diaphragm and can play sounds if used correctly, we guess.
More traditionally, people play sound through their microphones to project sound into a voice call. This can be achieved using a soundboard or digital routing.
Good examples of this being used are Hydra, Mee6, and the Rhythm discord bot (when it still worked.) These bots would route their sound through the microphone to play music into a Discord call in near-lossless quality (relative to the native quality of the recording, of course.) This is also how you get those videos of people playing in-game quotes through voice chat in games such as Overwatch.
Rarely are you going to see people playing audio through their microphones to hear the audio they are playing. It is more for people who want others to listen to what they hear.
Generally, the only time you need to play sound through your microphone is when you are using a platform or doing something that would prevent you from streaming your desktop audio to someone. Discord music bots are a perfect example of this. Since these Discord bots stream audio through their “microphone,” they do not need to open up a live stream that people need to watch to play songs from YouTube into the call.
As a rule of thumb, you probably do not need to stream your desktop audio through your microphone. Unless you try to trick people using a soundboard or play music into a platform that does not have a desktop live stream option, you will probably never encounter a situation where you absolutely must stream your audio through your microphone.
The most common reason for audio playing through a microphone, however, is when your computer just “decides” to do it on its own. Most of us aren’t trying to play music through a mic — it just starts happening and we can’t get it to stop!
Why Is My Audio Playing Through My Microphone?
There are many reasons your audio might be coming through your microphone.
If you haven’t actively set any audio to play through your microphone, you probably aren’t already equipped to troubleshoot it. So, we have compiled a list of reasons your microphone may be playing through your microphone and how to fix those.
Your audio may start coming through your microphone if your speakers are malfunctioning. Speaker malfunctions can cause the audio to start playing through your microphone as your computer tries to find an available audio device to play the sound through.
It is unusual for your computer to choose your microphone as an output device. The drivers that are natively responsible for operating your microphone are generally going to be ones designed for and that designate your microphone as an input device.
Generally, you must actively choose your microphone to be designated as an output for it to select. Still, as with anything, there are plenty of ways that your computer can accidentally set your microphone as an output device.
Additionally, if you’re experiencing an issue with your friends being able to hear your computer audio when you’re on call, you might not have your sound playing through your microphone at all. You might have an issue where your microphone is picking up your sound. We will cover how to fix that and the sounds being played through the microphone.
How to Reroute Your Sound Back Through Your Speakers on Windows 10/11
Whether your speakers are malfunctioning, or you just forgot to change your sound settings after a soundboard prank, the first thing you want to check in your troubleshooting journey is whether the computer is even recognizing your speakers.
Start by opening your settings by hitting the Windows Key and typing in “Sound Settings.” The first thing that should come up is your Sound panel.
You can also get to your sound settings by going to the shortcut in the taskbar. You must right-click on the Volume settings in the taskbar toolbar and select “Sound Settings.” This will open the sound settings from the control panel.
Once you enter the Sound Settings window, you will want to select “where to play sound” and select your speakers from the drop-down menu. You’ll need to troubleshoot if your speakers don’t appear the list. Otherwise, select a different audio device, and your sound should start playing through it.
If your speakers are not showing up in the drop-down menu, they’ve malfunctioned, and you’ll have to fix them independently. However, you should be able to reroute your sound into a set of headphones until you have done so.
How to Reroute Your Sound to Your Speakers on MacOS
MacOS is pretty much the same as doing it on Windows but getting to the options is a little bit different.
You will need to get to your sound settings like you would on Windows. But there’s an easy shortcut in your taskbar on MacOS. Click on the little speaker icon to open up your volume and sound settings.
You can also reach your sound settings by going into the Apple menu and selecting the Sound option in the bottom half of the menu.
Once you get into the Sound settings, you just want to change the “play sound through…” option to your sound device of choice! Changing that setting should reroute your audio through the selected audio device.
How to Reroute Your Audio Through Your Speakers on Linux
If you are one of those Linux enthusiasts, you probably do not need this article at all. But a little guidance might be necessary for those who are just starting with the Linux operating system since Linux systems prioritize functionality over user-friendliness.
Luckily changing your sound settings is pretty straightforward. You will not need to use the command line or any programming languages generally used in more advanced Linux customization.
You will start by opening the Activities overview, then type in “Sound” to bring up the sound settings. Open that window and find the “Output” sound settings tab. Here you will see the various output devices you choose from. Select the output device you want to use, and you should be set to play your sound through the suitable device.
Other Potential Causes
In some instances, the problem could be caused by a more rare (and hard to diagnose) problem.
If the above fixes don’t resolve the problem, there are a few more steps you can take.
First, you should consider reinstalling your audio drivers. These drivers will be dependent on your microphone and operating system, but there will likely be a step-by-step guide available for you depending on the particular products you are using.
Second, you should adjust Microphone settings, making sure that no unusual settings have been turned on. Sometimes toggling the Mute button, or adjusting noise cancellation, is the only thing required to fix the issue.
It can be hard to get used to technology, and so much of it seems to break without warning. We hope you have learned something new about your favorite devices, and we’re glad to teach you everything you need to be a technology pro.
We have covered all the primary desktop functions you need to change your audio output device to your favorite speakers. If you’re still having trouble getting your computer to route your audio through the speakers, you’ll want to hire someone that can remotely access your desktop to change the settings for you or bring your desktop into a shop to show you how to do it.
Once you have learned how to alter your computer’s settings it tends to be somewhat like riding a bike, you’ll never forget.
So, learning how to do it yourself is the best way to save yourself a boatload of money on getting your PC serviced!