Quick and Easy Speaker Test
This test allows you to check if your left and right speakers are connected and are working properly.
With this test, you can easily check if you can hear stereo sound from your computer speaker.
In other words, you can hear two different sound channels, one coming from the right speaker and one from the left speaker.
Now, let’s use this simple speaker test to quickly diagnose any issues.
Click the button below which will play sounds in both speakers:
What Should I Do If The Speaker Test Failed?
This section contains instructions on what to do if you are not getting any sound out of your computer speakers or laptop speakers after attempting the test.
Please note that these sections should be followed in the order it is set out because it is written in such a manner to allow you to identify your issue through a quick process of elimination.
Let’s get started:
If You Are Testing Internal Speakers
By internal speakers, we are referring to built-in speakers. This means they are built into the device.
Most laptops and modern desktop computers have internal; speakers.
When you are testing speakers, it is important to follow the proper procedure depending on the type of speaker you are testing. So, the procedure below is for internal speakers only:
If you are testing internal speakers, the first thing to do is to verify that the device is installed and configured. You can do this by following the steps below:
1. Click Start, Control Panel, and then Hardware and Sound. You can also type Control Panel in the search bar.
2. From the Control Panel, under the Hardware & Sound tab/menu, click Sound and then Manage audio devices. This will open the Sound window.
3. The first tab that will appear in the Playback tab.
On this tab, click the Speakers and Headphones icon.
Doing this will enable the Configure button.
4. Now, click on the configure button to open the Speaker Setup window.
5. Now, you should choose the option that represents your speaker setup from the Audio channels field, then click Test.
6. If a sound is audible from each speaker, or if the configuration type was changed, click Next to continue with the speaker setup.
7. The next section is for full range speakers.
8. Finally, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the speaker setup.
9. If this doesn’t work, you should test with a different headset or set of external speakers to rule out defects.
Otherwise, you should move on to the next section ‘Testing External Speakers’. Of course, you should only do those steps that apply to internal speakers
If You Are Testing External Speakers
Now, of course, external speakers refer to those speakers that you connect to your computer using a cable or some other wireless means. There are many good external speakers out there, some even have subwoofers for good bass.
So, USB speakers and Bluetooth speakers are external speakers. Now, let’s look at the vast number of issues that can affect external speakers. Also, some people use external speakers with DACs to get audiophile sound from their computers.
Please note that some of these steps apply to internal speakers as well.
1. Reboot: Whenever your speakers are not working, the first thing to do to rule out anything else is to reboot your computer or laptop.
Yes, yes, we know rebooting your computer may seem trivial, but problem-solving works best when you start with the very basics.
This is especially true if you are using Windows.
With Windows, you never know what strange problems the OS can cause itself, so just reboot it.
2. Hardware/Software Test: If the speakers are still not working, you need to determine whether it’s a hardware or software problem or both. Plug your headphones into the audio jack (very important – no USB headphones) and test again. If the headphones work, you likely have a hardware problem – remove them to continue troubleshooting. In such cases, the issue is most likely related to the speakers or the speaker cables. If they don’t work, you likely have a software problem, still, continue troubleshooting.
3. Disconnect the Headphones: The first thing to do if the headphones work is to disconnect the headphones, reconnect the speakers, and then test them again. If at this point the sound is still not audible, then replace the speaker cable or perform the test again with different speakers.
4. Power Connection: Make sure your speakers are plugged in (connected to electricity) and ensure that they are powered on. Most external speakers have a small LED light that indicates whether the speaker is on or off. Once the speaker is on, the light should be illuminated, so this should be one of your first checks for power. If there is no LED present, check the power connections, just give them a wiggle and see if they are properly seated. In addition, check to see if any cables are broken.
1. Check Mute: This is another common mistake. Some computers (especially the older ones) can be muted from an external button or slider (sometimes this button is on the laptop itself and sometimes on the keyboard).
This button can sometimes be accidentally turned on when you are moving the device or the user accidentally presses the mute key on their keyboard.
So, one of the first things to do is to check the external mute button and ensure it is off.
To easily and quickly check if mute is turned on, take a quick look in the lower right-hand side of your desktop screen (the notification tray) for a symbol resembling a speaker with a red “no” sign.
2. Check the Volume of the Operating System: Ensure the volume on the computer is not turned down.
If you are on Windows, you do this by going to the little speaker icon (volume control icon) on the lower right-hand of the screen (the notification area) and sliding the slider all the way up.
You should hear an audible “beep” (or another funny tone) when you click the control slider.
3. Check The Volume on The Computer Itself: Some computers mostly older ones) have a physical knob or slider that allows you to physically change and adjust the volume.
Search for and turn this knob until the volume changes.
If you are checking internal speakers, you can also try the volume buttons on the keyboard (desktop) or just use the Ctrl + up buttons for a laptop.
4. Check Volume in Application: The second simple check you want to perform is to make sure the sound in the program you are running is not muted.
Sometimes, you may be struggling with your computer, trying to figure out why the speakers aren’t working when the actual issue is with the application that you’re using.
In many cases, the sound may be muted or turned all the way down.
Remember, a lot of software has its own volume controls, not just media players.
For example, if you are watching a movie on Windows Media Player, VLC or similar media player, then the media player app probably has a sound control too! So you need to make sure that is turned up.
Or if say you’re watching a YouTube video, you need to turn up the volume in the YouTube player, for example.
As you can see, you can mute the volume for a video on YouTube. It won’t matter if your speakers are turned up, no sound will come through.
So again, check the volume controls and then check that nothing is muted in Windows or the application that is playing the audio.
But it’s not just media players, it could be any app that produces audio. Let’s take an example, let’s say you are using Mavis Beacon, a software that teaches you how to type. This software has a voice-enabled teacher and several sounds are played while the app is in use.
If you aren’t hearing these sounds, then the problem may very well be with the software itself.
In such a case, it won’t matter if your computer audio is working and turned all the way up, it simply won’t work. To fix this issue, go into the software settings and find the audio settings. There, you can increase the audio and see if that actually has an effect.
If you are troubleshooting laptop speakers or any other internal speakers, you can skip this step since, of course, you cannot verify the speaker connections.
However, when using external speakers or headsets, it is important that you verify that the sound cables are properly connected from the computer to the speaker.
Check Connectivity: Ensure the speakers are properly connected to your computer.
Normally, external speakers are connected by an RCA jack or USB cable. For a desktop speaker, cable connectors and plug assignments are normally color-coded to aid with properly attaching the cables.
Otherwise, if you are using Bluetooth, ensure the speakers are properly paired (connected to the computer). You can do this by checking the Bluetooth status and see which devices are connected.
For most desktop computers, the audio ports normally look something like the picture on the right.
The green port to the right is the green line out port. If you can’t hear anything through your computer speakers, it might be because you have something plugged into the line out port.
For older desktop computers, ensure that the speaker cable is properly connected to the sound card on the back of the computer.
As is illustrated in the picture below, computer sound cards have multiple audio jacks. External speakers should be plugged into the Line Out port connector of the sound card. This port is normally green and is indicated by an image of sound waves with an arrow pointing out.
Remember, even if your speakers worked OK in the past, you should still check the connection. Cables tend to slip out of place quite often. This is especially true if you are using some sort of speaker wire connector.
You can use the following procedure to properly test speaker connections:
- Disconnect all speaker cables from the computer.
- Insert the headphone jack directly into the “speaker out” connector on the computer. The connector is marked with either a speaker icon or a headphone icon.
- To test the sound on the computer, follow the steps below:
- Click Start, Control Panel, and then Hardware and Sound.
- Click Change system sounds under Sound to open the Sound window.
- From the Sounds tab, select any option under Program that has the sound icon next to it, such as Asterisk, click Test, and then OK
A Special Note About HDMI
If you are using an HDMI cable to connect from your computer to your monitor that has built-in speakers, then your audio might be lost simply because the HDMI video card is not the default audio device. You can fix this quite easily by doing the following:
Go to Control Panel and then select Sound.
Click on the Playback tab and look for a device that has the label “speaker” – it should be followed by the name of the device with the words HDMI in it.
Choose this device and then click on the Set Default button. Once you do this, it will ensure that the device will be set as default and, therefore, the sound will go through the HDMI cable to your monitor.
Since the year 2000, most computer speakers have been manufactured as powered speakers.
This means that the speakers themselves use an external power source (an adapter) to gain power instead of sourcing power from the computer itself. Some use batteries, but most use an adapter or similar power source.
These types of speakers connect to a line-out connector on the computer.
So, if you use a non-powered speaker with a line-out connector, you may have problems with the volume being much lower than usual.
Default Playback Device Setting Issues
Check Default Playback Device: First, you should Right-click the volume icon and click Open Volume Mixer. Ensure that all options are on and turned up for everyone.
Next, go back o right-clicking on the volume icon and select ‘Playback devices’. Ensure the correct playback device is selected.
The playback device is just the device through which the computer will play audio. Ensure this is connected by checking that there is a green checkmark next to the device.
If the device is not enabled, click Properties and make sure that ‘Use this device (enable)’ is selected.
If the wrong playback device is set as the default device, the computer’s sound will not be coming out of the expected device.
In other cases, your device may be connected to Bluetooth speakers that are turned off, for example. You need to ensure that the playback device is set to the device you expect.
You should note that headphones don’t show up in the Windows 7 sound dialogue box unless you’re using USB headphones.
Now for the more fun stuff!
Update Your Drivers: Speakers are hardware devices but they need software to work. These little pieces of software are called drivers. Sometimes, your speaker driver becomes outdated and fails to work.
In most cases, Microsoft will detect and install drivers for you. But for some reason, sometimes Microsoft cannot detect the latest driver or fails to install it.
In fact, most audio compatibility issues can be resolved by installing the latest updates for your audio drivers. If your audio still doesn’t work by this point, you may have a missing or corrupt driver for your audio controller. Follow the steps below to resolve:
1. Go to the official site for your laptop, e.g. Dell or Lenovo
2. Select Drivers > Sound Drivers/Audio Drivers. This will bring you to a section where you can download the latest version of all available audio drivers.
3. Download and install the driver
An easier way to do this is via the Device Manager. Follow these steps:
1. Go to Device Manager (Start, type device) and click on Sound, video, and game controllers.
2. Now, to eliminate any issue with the sound driver, the first thing we want to do is to ensure that there is no yellow or red exclamation point next to the sound devices. If any of these exist, then you might be missing your sound driver or it may be corrupted.
3. If there are no exclamation points, then you should still try to update your sound card drivers.
While these steps may be easier, it doesn’t always work. The best thing to do is to see what manufacturer and model it is in Device Manager and then go to the website and download the latest drivers for your version of Windows.
Use Generic Drivers: There is yet another method. If your computer manufacturer has not released specific, updated audio drivers for your operating system, then you will have to use the Microsoft Windows Update utility.
You can also search the Microsoft website for generic drivers for whichever operating system you use. Otherwise, you can use a general system update to refresh all your drivers.
To use Windows Update, click Start, type update into the search field, select Windows Update from the list, click Check for updates, and then install any available updates. Then, just wait for the process to complete.
Sound Card Settings Settings
Sometimes, you may end up with a computer with a separate sound card, plus built-in audio on the motherboard.
In such cases, you need to make sure that the correct output device is selected on the Playback tab.
Bad Sound Card
If you’ve updated your driver and still have no luck, then your issue is probably hardware-related. Like any other hardware device on your computer, the device that produces sound can fail.
This device is the soundcard. The truth is, this issue should have already been eliminated from the first step where you used a headphone to test the audio. If the headphones worked, then the soundcard is OK, otherwise, something is definitely wrong.
We mentioned this again because it’s important not to test your sound card through games, software, or anything like that. Games and software may have their own audio-related problems.
To test properly, use an audio file, a media player, or a smartphone. There’s a section below for sound files, you can download and use any of these to test your speakers. Of course, you could also use the test above as well.
If you have ruled out all of the above issues, then we can only conclude that you are dealing with bad speakers.
The best way to check this out is to connect the speakers to another computer or device or use another set of speakers.
If the speakers are still under warranty, contact the seller or manufacturer for a new replacement.
Otherwise, you should just buy new speakers. Here on BoomSpeker, we have reviewed a great selection of speakers from computer speakers to Bluetooth and USB speakers.
What If You Are Only Hearing One Side?
What to do if you are only hearing one side of the audio?
For External Speakers
If you are only hearing one side of the audio, this normally means that the speaker that you’re not hearing anything through is not connected to the one which is working.
For most external speakers, one speaker is connected to the computer, and the other is connected to the first speaker.
Ensure this second connection is secure and the cables are not damaged. If your laptop is connected to an amplifier, check all the connections and the amp as well.
For Internal Speakers
Internal speakers use a balance mechanism to decide what percentage of the sound should play on each side. The balance is normally a slider.
If you place the slide in the center, the sound should play equally on both sides.
Speaker Test On Linux
For Linux power users, your speaker test is a little different, especially if you want to test your speakers from the command line.
To test your speakers on Linux, you will need to use the “speaker-test” command. The speaker-test command is used to generate a tone that can be used to test your speakers.
Let’s explain a little further
The “speaker-test” command is used to test the default audio device, whatever that device is. In case you want to test another device, you will need to get a list of all the sound cards on your system and of course, the audio devices associated with those sound cards.
Why would there be multiple audio devices? Well, it is simple, there may be one device for analog sound, one for digital sound, one for RCA, one for HDMI, and so on. To get the list of all available cards and related devices, you can run the “aplay –L” command.
Let’s take an example. From the command, you will get the list of the devices and subdevices configured on your system:
In the example above, there are four audio devices listed: “null, default, front, and surround40:ICH5″. Let’s say you want to test the “Dsurround40″ device, you would run the following command:
“speaker-test -Dsurround40:ICH5 -c 6”
The –c 6 section of the command is to indicate that the six audio channels in the device need to be tested. The –c stands for channels. There are several more options:
A simpler and straightforward option is to simply use the following command:
“speaker-test -t wav -c 6”
You won’t hear any loud noises or beeps when you run this command. What you’ll hear is a voice saying “front left, front center, front right…”. This command will continue to repeat the testing until the user presses the Ctrl+Z keys. This key combination will stop testing.
5.1 Speaker Test
Now if you are using 5.1 speakers, then please note that these speakers will require a special setup.
Firstly, most 5.1 speakers deliver multichannel and mega-bit audio streams, however, the initial setup can be daunting and in some cases, there may be some incompatibilities with some versions of Windows (for example Windows 10).
Before you go ahead and test 5.1 speakers, make sure to Google how to configure 5.1 speakers in your version of Windows or Mac.
Files For Testing Speakers (Tone Files)
In this section, you will find a useful catalog of audio files that you can use to test your speakers.
These files were made with the sole intention of testing speakers, meaning they were made to test your speaker’s working condition – range and audio quality.
In fact, there are even low-frequency tones that may be used to test subwoofers. These files can be used to test speakers, subwoofers, full-blown home theatres, headphones, earplugs, or any other audio device.
Speaker Test On A MAC
There are various methods to evaluate your Mac’s speakers, including those for assessing sound quality, volume, or connection. Below are the steps for a simple speaker test on a Mac:
1. Testing System Sounds:
– Select the Apple icon located at the top-left corner of your screen.
– Navigate to “System Preferences.”
– Choose “Sound.”
– In the “Output” section, pick out your preferred speaker or audio output device.
– Set the volume slider to a suitable level.
– Go to the “Sound Effects” tab and play different system alert sounds to check your speakers.
2. Playing Back Audio Test:
– Launch an audio player or streaming platform (for example, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify).
– Begin playing a music track or video containing sound.
– Confirm that your volume settings are correctly modified both within the application and on your Mac.
– Listen closely for any unusual sound distortions or issues with sound quality.
3. Verifying Built-in Speakers:
– If your Mac has built-in speakers, test them by playing system sounds or music as described previously.
– Adjust the volume using your keyboard’s volume keys.
4. Examining External Speakers:
– If you’re using external speakers or headphones, verify they are appropriately connected to your Mac.
– Examine the volume controls on the external devices if they have any.
– Play audio to confirm they are operating correctly.
5. Audio MIDI Setup (Advanced):
– For a more detailed test and setup, you can use the “Audio MIDI Setup” tool on your Mac.
– Navigate to “Applications” > “Utilities” > “Audio MIDI Setup.”
– In this area, you can control audio devices and verify their operation.
Don’t forget to inspect the physical links and cables too, if you come across problems with your speakers. Also, ensure that your Mac’s operating system and sound drivers are up-to-date for an optimal audio experience.
Testing computer speakers or laptop speakers can be a simple and quick check lasting a few seconds or it can turn into a headache lasting for hours without any resolution.
However, if you follow the steps listed above, you should be able to solve your speaker issue quickly and easily.