Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


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.


Use your favorite accessories

The stereo speakers and microphones built into 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 headset. For more info on connecting accessories, see Connect a USB mouse, printer, and more and Add a Bluetooth device.

Adjust the volume

You can control the volume in many ways on your Surface:

  • Volume button. Press the volume button on your Surface to adjust the volume down or up.
  • Keyboard. If your Surface Typing Cover or other keyboard has volume keys, press the volume-down, volume-up, or mute keys.
  • Settings. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings. Next, tap or click the speaker icon and adjust the slider down or up, or tap the small speaker icon to mute.
  • Desktop. From the Start screen, tap Desktop, and then tap the speaker icon on the taskbar (lower right corner.) Adjust the volume control down or up.
  • Audio accessories. Adjust the volume on the headset, speakers, phone, or other audio accessory, or in the software included with the accessory. For more info about adjusting volume levels, refer to the instructions 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 in one of the following places, the volume level in the others will change, too:

  • The volume button on the side of Surface
  • Surface Cover or other keyboard volume-up/down keys
  • The Settings charm
  • Desktop volume settings

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

Adjust microphone settings

To adjust your microphone settings:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
Step 2: Tap or click the arrow above the search box, and then tap or click Settings.
Step 3: In the search box, enter adjust sound, and in the search results, tap or click Manage audio devices.
Step 4: Tap or click the Recording tab, tap or click the microphone you want and then tap or click Properties. Be sure to select a microphone that is enabled and connected to Surface.
Step 5:

Tap or click the Levels tab. Depending on which Surface model you have, you'll see either one or two sliders:

  • Microphone: Controls the microphone volume (all Surface models)
  • Microphone Boost: Controls the strength of the mic's signal (Surface Pro models only)
Step 6: Adjust the sliders until your microphone 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 Surface's built-in mic 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 the full-size USB port. To find out how, see Connect a USB mouse, printer, and more.

Or go wireless by using Bluetooth headphones or speakers with your Surface. To find out how, see Add a Bluetooth device.

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

Set the default audio device

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Search.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.)
Step 2: Tap or click the arrow above the search box, and then tap or click Settings.
Step 3: In the search box, enter adjust sound, and in the search results, tap or click Manage audio devices.
Step 4:

Next, do either or both of the following:

  • Tap or click the Playback tab, tap or click the device you want to use for playback (for example, the built-in speakers on Surface, external speakers, or a headset), and then tap or click Set Default.
  • Tap or click the Recording tab, tap or click the device you want to use for recording (for example, the built-in microphone, or an external microphone), and then tap or click Set Default.
Step 5: After you've selected your default devices, tap or click OK.

Record audio

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

  • Swipe up from the middle of the Start screen, or click the arrow Down arrow near the lower-left corner of the Start screen, and then tap or click Sound Recorder.

For more info on the Sound Recorder app, see Sound Recorder app for Windows: FAQ.

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:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen and move your mouse down, and then click Search.)
Step 2: Tap or click the arrow above the search box, and then tap or click Settings.
Step 3: In the search box, enter system sounds, and in the search results, tap or click Change system sounds.
Step 4: Tap or click the Sounds tab, and under Program Events, tap or click an event (for example, Calendar Reminder) and under Sounds, tap or click to select the sound you want to play for that event.
Step 5: To hear the sound you've selected to play for an event, tap or click Test.
Step 6: Tap or click Apply to change the sound for the event, and then tap or click OK.

Turn typing sounds on or off

To find out how to turn off the sound that plays when you type, see Touch Cover.

Audio problems

If the sound quality coming from your speakers or from 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’re having audio problems when Surface is connected to another screen, see one of the following topics:

Note

VGA adapters and cables do not transfer audio. Audio will play from the Surface speakers unless you’ve connected external USB or Bluetooth speakers.