How to Set Up Headphones on Realtek HD Audio Manager

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Updated February 11, 2023

When you purchase a new headset, you’ll want to learn how to set up headphones on Realtek HD Audio Manager to optimize your audio quality. However, the name of the audio manager may change based on your window version and audio driver software. You can start the process by downloading the audio manager and any drivers listed on your best headphones brand’s website.


  • Download the Realtek application and audio drivers from your headphone brand before starting the process.
  • You will be able to select the environment and equalization options for your new device.
  • Check to ensure that your headphones are selected as your default audio device.

Realtek HD Audio Manager provides a user-friendly interface for managing their audio devices. You can usually find these drivers by looking at your specific model. If you are new to wired headphones or wireless headphones, check out how to put headphones on. Plus, if you want to play audio out of the speakers and headphones, that’s a different guide altogether.

Insider Tip

Play around with your environment and equalizer settings to determine what sounds the best to you.

How to Use Realtek HD Audio Manager with Headphones

Selecting and using different settings with your Realtek Audio Manager may improve the sound quality of your headphones. This program enables you to choose your preferred sound environment and equalization. If you are having trouble establishing your wired headphones because of a Bluetooth device, learn how to unpair Bluetooth headphones,



Download the Realtek HD audio driver from the Realtek website. You might want to check for drivers on the headset manufacturer’s website since they sometimes have their own systems instead of Realtek HD.


Double-click the Realtek HD icon in the lower right area of your screen. This action should enable the audio manager and prompt a pop-up window that shows your settings.


Plug your headset in. By inserting the audio cable into the headphone jack, you should spur the program to open a pop-up window with a list of device types. If you don’t plug the device in after opening the audio manager, your headset may be assigned the wrong type.


Select your device type as “Headphone.” If you want to use your headphones as audio out with a microphone, select “Mic In” and “Headphone.” You should see a new tab for your wired headphones or wireless headphones that provides access to all of the settings for the device. If your headphones are giving you problems, try comparing the Audio Technica M50 vs M50x to see which ones work better for you.


Click on the tab for your headphones in the audio settings area. Ensure an orange checkmark on the tab’s icon, indicating that the device is the default for your audio output. If you don’t see a check, you will need to right-click on the tab and choose “Set as default device.”


Click on the “Sound Effects” tab within the device’s menu. You should see several options, including “Environment” and “Equalizer.” Each of these options may help optimize your sound quality from the device.


Select your desired environment based on your preference or location. Some of these environments may immerse you more fully in your content. You might want to play around with the different settings to determine which sounds the best to you.


Play around with the equalizer settings. Many of these modes are designed for use with a specific type of music or content, but you can still use them. They provide boosts for bass and treble to improve audio quality. You probably can find a “Custom” option, allowing you to control your audio mix more completely.


If you don’t plug your headphones in after opening the audio manager to select the type of device, it might be misassigned.


What does the Realtek HD Audio Manager do?

This program provides greater control over your headphones’ quality and environmental sounds, providing an improved gaming experience and audio quality. Additionally, it can reduce noise interference when using a headset.

How do I enable headphones on Windows 10?

You can enable your headphones through the sound menu (through the speaker icon) or Realtek HD Audio Manager on Windows 10.

Will USB adapters or dongles work in a USB hub?

We don’t recommend using a USB dongle or adapter through a USB hub because the computer may not recognize them as headphones.

STAT: Five popular environmental settings are “Stone Room,” “Sewer pipe,” “Arena,” “Bathroom,” and “Auditorium.” (source)

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