How to set up Windows Sonic for Headphones

If you like to watch movies or play games on your PC, especially while wearing headphones, then there’s a feature in Windows 10 that you’ll want to enable. It’s called Windows Sonic and opens up the world of spatial sound to your ears.

We show you where to find the feature and how to hear things a bit differently.

If you’re thinking of upgrading your headphones to something with superior audio quality, then be sure to also check out at our Best gaming headsets 2018 guide.

What is Spatial Sound?

Rather than just offering the standard stereo spread of sound across both ears, spatial sound adds depth and height to proceedings. Microsoft says that the feature allows developers to create objects that ‘emit audio from positions in 3D space’. These include from one of ‘17 pre-defined static channels…that can represent real or virtualised speakers’.

This improved level of audio isn’t only for gaming headsets though, as the company confirms that Windows Sonic can also output to existing speakers and home theatre receivers, plus it fully supports real-time Dolby Atmos encoding for both HDMI and stereo headphone output.

Basically, if you turn on Windows Sonic then the soundtracks, effects, and speech in games and movies will instantly take on a far more immersive quality.

Using Control Panel to enable Windows Sonic in Windows 10

To use the Windows Sonic feature, you’ll need to be running a copy of Windows 10 that has been upgraded to at least the Creators update (version 1703), which came out early in 2017.

To check if this is the case open your Start menu, click on the Settings icon (the little cog in the bottom left corner), then select System>About and scroll down until you find the Windows specifications section where the version number is displayed.

how to setup Windows Sonic for headphones

If you’re running a compatible version then it’s easy to get Windows Sonic going on your PC.

Open the Windows start menu and type in ‘control panel’. Select the top results (which should be Control Panel) then click on the Hardware and Sound section.

how to setup Windows Sonic for headphones

On the next page click on Sound then select the audio device that you want to use with Windows Sonic. At the bottom of the window you should see a button marked Properties. Click this.

How to setup Windows Sonic for headphones

Select the Spatial Sound tab from the top of the next window, then click on the drop-down menu and select Windows Sonic for Headphones.

how to setup Windows Sonic for headphones

If you have a headset that supports 7.1 virtual surround sound then make sure the tick box for this format is also checked.

Finally, click OK and your PC should sound a whole lot better.

Using the Volume icon to enable Windows Sonic

There is an even quicker way to enable spatial sound on your Windows PC. Simply right click on the Volume icon in the taskbar (the little speaker icon on the right hand side) and then go to the Spatial Sound (Windows Sonic for Headphones) option.

how to setup Windows Sonic for headphones

Now select Windows Sonic for Headphones and you’re good to go.

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