How to Play Music Through Speakers While Using Headphones
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Let’s say you are listening to your favorite music on your PC using a headphone. Some of your loved ones also desire to listen to simultaneously, yet they don’t want to use headphones. What can you do?

This article focuses on solving this issue by using speakers and headphones simultaneously.

Let’s see how to play music through your speakers while using headphones. 

Understanding Audio Devices

Before we get into the details of how to play music through speakers while using headphones, it worth explaining in brief how audio devices operate in advanced versions of Windows. Many people today use PCs running on Windows 7 and higher.

  • In Windows 10 and other advanced OS versions, audio devices are registered as distinct audio targets. In other words, contrary to popular opinion, other devices other than the sound card count as audio devices. So, there is no difference between your Bluetooth headphones’ audio output and your sound cards.
  • Other than that, GPU and other HDMI devices also qualify as audio devices. HDMI can transmit audio and video data. You can use one of the methods below and still fail to achieve your goal if the operating system selects the HDMI-out as the audio device. So, this is something you must look out for when adjusting your PC’s audio settings.
  • Another simple but important thing to note is that most PC monitors lack speakers (this is why you need clip on monitor speakers) or some other way to get sound from your monitor. If yours falls into this category, you will not play music through speakers until you find a suitable monitor or CPU.
  • Moreover, audio devices are so dynamic that when you plug in USB headphones or earbuds, Windows registers a new audio device in seconds. Thus, the audio won’t pass through the sound card.

Modern headphones have a small built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC). It functions as a sound card device.

If your PC has some CPU power to spare, it can independently send audio streams to each of your audio devices.

This is the ideal situation. However, in the real-world scenario, you need to take advantage of the advanced OS features.

You can assign apps to particular sound devices in OS. This way, you can enable some apps to play music through headphones, as others play through the speakers.

Remember, some apps only work with the older OS versions.

With this basic guidance, you now understand why we can play music through speakers while using headphones and the potential challenges.  

Now, let’s see how to make it happen.

Ways to Play Music through Speakers and Headphones at the Same Time

1. Adjust Sound Settings

Adjusting audio settings is a fast way to play music through speakers and headphones at the same time. The steps that you should follow depends on your device and software.Adjust Windows Audio Settings

Let’s start by seeing how you can adjust your PC’s sound settings on Windows 7, Windows. 8.1, and Windows 10. You can use the same method on other Windows, provided you are careful to notice the slight variations.

How to Adjust Windows Audio Settings

If you are using a PC, follow these steps:

  1. Connect the headphone to the PC and ensure the speakers are active. The headset and the speaker should also be correctly linked. (Otherwise, you won’t complete the setup process).
  2. Navigate to the taskbar and right-click the volume icon. On the small window of options that pop up, click Sounds to open the settings.
  3. Right-click Speakers under the Playback tab and then select “Set as Default Device.” This step only applies if the option has not been greyed. If it is, move on to the next step since the speakers have already been made the default devices.
  4. Left-click the Recording icon to find the list of services you can rely on to input sound. Right-click Stereo Mix and then Properties
  5. Navigate to the Listen icon and check the “Listen to this device” box. Select your headphones under Playback.
  6. Click Apply and start enjoying your music using headphones and the others use the speakers.

How to Adjust Mac Audio Settings

Using Mac, you can use the sample principle above to play music through speakers while using headphones.Adjust Mac Audio Settings

However, the steps vary significantly. Here is what you can do in this case:

  1. Navigate to the Audio Devices window’s bottom left and press the “+” button and select “Use this Sound System.”
  2. In the Audio System category, type the headphones you would like to use (If a wired pair is created, select the Build-in Output)
  3. Select the master device in the drop-down menu and choose Drift connection for the other device
  4. Launch System Preferences
  5. Open Sound Pane
  6. Click the Output icon and choose Multi-Output Device
  7. After creating multi-outputs for several speakers and headphones, you can start enjoying the music and share it with your loved ones without any disturbance.

Your sound drivers should be updated to help ensure the changes take effect.

Remember, this option can affect the quality of your music.

Pros

  • Can use several audio jacks
  • Quick and simple
  • Can share the music whenever you want

Cons

  • Volume control issues may arise
  • Slight delay between secondary and primary devices may be a concern

If adjusting sound settings doesn’t work for you, consider the next method.

2. Use Third-Party Audio Mixer App

The right audio mixer allows you to adjust the sound properties and guarantee better sound quality. 

Besides, it detects the audio devices you’ve connected to your personal computer, like computer speakers. Moreover, the app lets you choose the device you desire to send the sound to.

The good news is that if you are looking for quality audio mixing apps, you are spoilt for options. Some of the tops apps consider are:

CheVolume: CheVolume is ideal for users of Windows 8 and 7. Others can also use it. Designed for Windows, the older versions work perfectly well with earlier versions of the OS. CheVolume is a paid software.

CheVolume

Voicemeeter Audio mixer:  This virtual audio mixer is a free application that lets you play music through speakers while using headphones. It is best for users who cannot afford the paid apps.

Audio router: Audio router is another great solution for music lovers who would rather not spend money on an audio mixer. It works with PCs running on older Windows, given that the developer hasn’t updated it for a while.

Like anything else on earth, audio mixers have pros and cons:

Pros

  • Eliminates sound delay between devices
  • Allows users to get better sound quality
  • Easy to install and use

Cons

  • Most quality audio mixers come at a cost
  • Malware risks may affect the user’s experience

3. Use Bluetooth Adapter or Audio Y Splitter

Using an audio splitter is another option you can opt for when you want to leave your settings alone. It provides a plug-and-play solution. After plugging the splitter into your PC and plugging the headphones into a single port and speakers into another, you are set to go.

Audio Y Splitter

It’s best to avoid cheap splitters since they are low-quality. They can negatively affect the quality of the sound you get.

If you’ve no other interest other than playing music through speakers while using a pair of headphones, a Y splitter will address that. However, if you want multiple ports that let you connect several pairs of speakers or headphones, you need multi-splitters. They offer the additional benefit of allowing you to plug in a mic.

However, a Y splitter or multi-splitters can’t meet your needs if you’re using Bluetooth speakers and headphones. In this case, a Bluetooth adapter is what you need. It works as an audio splitter.

To use your Bluetooth adapter, connect it to your personal computer’s USB port.

Since Bluetooth adapters are different, ensure you read the user manual for detailed instructions. In most cases, you should first install the adapter.

Audio splitters and Bluetooth adapters have unique features that can suit you depending on your needs.

Pros

  • Easy to plug in and use
  • Can support multiple devices
  • No audio delay like adjusting audio settings

Cons

  • Must spend money on purchase
  • Needs to be connected to a PC  
  • Cheap audio splitters and Bluetooth adapters can create sound-quality issues

4. Reinstall the IDT Audio Driver

If the above methods fail, you likely need to reinstall the IDT audio driver. Sometimes, issues related to mis-configuration will cause this problem, and there can be no better way to rectify that other than doing this.

Here are the simple steps to follow:

  1. Navigate to device manager and click “Sound, video & game controllers.”
  2. Right-click “Realtek IDT High Definition Audio.”
  3. Click “Install.”
  4. Click “OK.”

After following these steps, restart your computer. That’s all you need to do for Windows to re-assemble the driver from the relevant files.

Pros

  • Solves mis-configuration issues
  • Simple

Cons

  • Can’t rectify corrupt files

5. Install Fresh IDT Audio Driver

If the audio drivers are corrupt, the above method will not help. Instead of reinstalling the driver, install a fresh file. You can find them on the device’s support page. Other than installing the right IDT Audio, you will be able to resolve mis-configuration issues as well.

Before downloading the audio driver, be sure to select the OS in the menu.

Wrap Up

Now you’ve simple methods that give answers on how to play music through your speakers while using headphones. Nothing will stop you if you follow them and understand how audio devices work.