Surface sound, volume, and audio accessories


Use the built-in stereo speakers and mic or your favorite audio accessories to listen to music, make phone calls, record audio, and more.

If you're not sure where the speaker and mic openings and volume button are located, see Surface features.

Use your favorite audio accessories

The stereo speakers and microphones built into your Surface let you listen to music and videos, make phone calls, and record audio. Or, you can connect your favorite USB and Bluetooth® accessories like speakers, a mic, or a headset.

Adjust the volume

You can control the volume on your Surface in several places:

  • Volume button: Press the volume button on your Surface to adjust the volume up or down.
  • Keyboard: If your Surface Typing Cover or other keyboard has volume keys, press the volume-down, volume-up, or mute keys.
  • Desktop taskbar: In the desktop taskbar, select Speakers 
    Speakers icon
    and adjust the volume up or down.
  • Audio accessories: Adjust the volume on the headset, speakers, phone, or other audio accessory, or in the software included with the accessory. To learn more, check the info that came with your accessory or visit the manufacturer's website.
  • Apps: Some apps have a volume control within the app.

How volume controls work together

If you raise, lower, or mute the volume using one of the following volume controls, the volume level in the others will also change:

  • The volume button on your Surface
  • Desktop volume setting in the taskbar

Volume controls in apps and on accessories such as headphones and external speakers may work independently of the controls built into your Surface. You may need to adjust volume levels in more than one place.

Adjust microphone settings

Here’s how to adjust your mic settings:

  1. Go to Start , and then select Settings > System > Sound > Sound control panel.
  2. Select the Recording tab, select the mic you want, and select Properties.
    Be sure to select a mic that's enabled and connected to your Surface.
  3. Select the Levels tab. You’ll see two sliders:
    • Microphone or Microphone Array: Controls the mic’s volume.
    • Microphone Boost: Controls the strength of the mic's signal.
  4. Adjust the sliders until your mic is recording at the levels you want.
    The levels you'll use will vary depending on the amount of background noise and on whether you're using the mic that’s built into your Surface or an external mic. A good starting point is to set Microphone to 50 and Microphone Boost to +24.0 dB.

Use USB or Bluetooth audio accessories

You can connect external USB speakers, headphones, or a headset to a full-size USB port.

You can go wireless by using Bluetooth headphones or speakers with your Surface.

To get the best sound from USB or Bluetooth speakers, turn up the volume on your Surface and in the app (if it has its own sound control), and then adjust the volume on the external USB or Bluetooth speakers.

If you’re having problems with Bluetooh, go to Troubleshoot Bluetooth devices.

Set the default audio device

  1. Go to Start , and then select Settings > System > Sound.
  2. Do either or both of the following:
    • In the Sound section, select the device you want to use for playback (for example, the built-in speakers on your Surface, external speakers, or a headset), as your output device. When you select this device, you’re also setting it as the default.
    • In the Input section, select the device you want to use for recording (for example, the built-in mic or an external mic), as your input device. When you select this device, you’re also setting it as the default.

If you are using a communications app, like Skype, you may want to set your communications device separately when using speakers or a headset. Here’s how to set a communications device:

  1. Go to Start  , and then select Settings > System > Sound > Sound control panel.
  2. Do either or both of the following:
    • Select the Playback tab, select the device you want to use for communications playback (for example, the built-in speakers on your Surface, external speakers, or a headset), and then select Set Default Communication Device.
    • Select the Recording tab, select the device you want to use for communications recording (for example, the built-in mic or an external mic), and then select Set Default Communication Device.

Record audio

You can use the Voice Recorder app to record audio. To open the Voice Recorder app:

  • Go to Start , and then select Voice Recorder.

Change which sounds play

You can choose which sounds play for notifications and system events (for example, the sound that plays when you get a new message). Here's how:

  1. Go to Start , and then select Settings > System > Sound > Sound control panel.
  2. Select the Sounds tab, and under Program Events, select an event (for example, Calendar Reminder).
  3. Under Sounds, choose the sound you want to play for that event.
  4. To hear the sound you've picked, select Test.
  5. Select Apply to change the sound for the event, and select OK.

Turn typing sounds on or off

The Touch Cover can play key sounds as you press the keys. (If you aren’t sure which Surface keyboard you are using, see Find out which Surface keyboard you have.) Here’s how to turn the key sounds on or off:

  1. Go to Start and select Settings  > Devices > Typing
  2. Under Touch keyboard, set Play key sounds as I type to On or Off.

Audio problems

If the sound quality coming from your speakers or an audio accessory isn't good, it's possible the audio recording itself isn't of good quality. Try listening to the same recording on a different device.

For help with audio problems, see Troubleshoot Surface sound and audio accessories.

If you have trouble with audio while your Surface is connected to another screen, see Connect Surface to a TV, monitor, or projector.