Change Audio Devices on-the-fly Depending on Application

Written by Kevin

Have your default audio device change depending on what application is active. You can also manage your audio devices via hotkeys.

There are many people, including myself, who need to switch between multiple audio devices for different programs. This can be a pain in the butt when you have to manually switch your audio settings. A great example would be if I was using surround sound speakers for watching a movie on Windows Media Player or a third party player, but then I want to use a built-in system driver for my music player when I have headphones plugged in.

A cure to this irritating drawback can be to simply open your audio properties and make the switch on your own. But if you don’t want to waste time changing it every time, than you should try the open-source app Vista Audio Changer. This is a system tray program, which can automatically change the default sound output device for numerous applications. Don’t let the name fool you; it works perfectly on Windows 7 as well as Vista!

To do fast action switching of the default audio device simply right click on the icon located in your system tray.

Within the Settings you the first tab you will see is the ‘Device Order’ tab, which allows viewing and managing the order for the active audio devices. You can also use this tab to remove a device from the list or refresh the list if you have recently connected a new device and your system will automatically find it.

A few tabs over you will find the ‘Hotkey Device Scrolling’ tab, which gives you access to setting up your hotkeys. VAC has the defaults set to CTRL+ALT+Up for the next device and CTRL+ALT+Down for the previous device but you can set custom keys to your liking.

The ‘Application Monitoring’ tab is definitely the most beneficial, providing options to configure a default audio device for a specific application. As we previously stated, it is extremely convenient to have an audio device automatically change depending what application your opening.

Vista Audio Changer is currently free and runs on both Windows Vista and Windows 7. Download it now.

About the author


Kevin is the Founder and Senior Editor of Tech Heavy. When he isn't writing about the latest tech tools he spends his days working in an IT department in Dubuque, IA. @kevincray


  • This sounded like just the trick for what I have been looking for, but it at first it doesn’t seem to work for me on W7. When I change devices, there is a flash on the screen like a dialog box was being opened and closed, but there is no change in the default sound device. In fact, if the Sound dialog is open at the time, it is then closed. Ah, but that made me wonder if the problem was something to do with the dialog. So, I looked at the sound device dialog and it showed a device which was not plugged in. So I right clicked to hide that device and now it works!