Question Speakers and headphones are not recognized as separate devices, and sound plays in both.

Apr 9, 2020
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Hi!

Currently, on my PC, I have my speakers plugged into the back(green) jack port, and my headphones into the front(green) jack port. But, instead of recognizing the speakers and the headphones as 2 separate playback devices, it only shows one device, labelled as "speakers". However, sound does come out of both simultaneously. Also, if both are connected, in random intervals (can range from seconds to tens of minutes) I get messages from Realtek HD Audio Manager that in the front audio jack something(obviously the headphone, which is in reality plugged in the whole time) was plugged in/unplugged. Regadless whether the application recognizes it as plugged in or not at a given time, sound do actually always play in both speakers and headphones, and in neither state are they recognized as different devices by the OS. The only change is, that in the Realtek HD Audio Manager I can see the front green jack's symbol being shown as active.

My motherboard: ASUS A88XM-PLUS

I think its worth to mention that I have the ASUS style Realtek manager, and even if I download the driver from the Microsoft Update Catalogue, it always ends up as the ASUS style version.

If the headphone is plugged in either the front or rear audio jacks, while the speakers are unplugged, it works perfectly, but it is always recognised as "speaker" even in the front jack, which is supposed to be for headphones. It doesn't help, if in the realtek's pop-up window, I choose that I connected a headphone. The speakers, when plugged in alone do recognise as "speakers".

I checked quite a few similar topics on different forums, and I did actually find people with the same problems, but they either managed to solve it with a solution that did not work for me, or it was left unsolved. The most promising thing I kept finding is, that in Realtek HD Audio Manager, amongst the options, under "Playback Device" you can choose the option to make the front and rear devices playback two different streams. The thing is, that in my audio manager the entire "playback device" section is missing (the "recording device" section is there, and the others as well). I first thought that this could be solved by using the latest version of the manager, but it did not help, even when i used the latest, it was all the same.

Here is what I tried until now (neither worked). Since the post ended up being excessively long in the end, I compressed this into a spoiler:
  • uninstalling the realtek audio drivers, and installing the latest from Windows Update Catalogues ( 6.0.1.8419 from 2018). I can't find a newer one, but the search function works weirdly, so there might be...
  • Uninstalling the realtek audio drivers, and installing the one suggested by ASUS for my motherboard (6.0.1.7796, from 2016).
  • Uninstalling the realtek audio drivers, and installing the last version which can be found on Realtek's website (a version from 2017). This didn't even install the Audio Manager application.
  • Changing the "Connector settings" to AC97 Front Panel. This DO actually solve the switching between plugged in/unplugged states, so i don't get messages, but everything else remains the same.
  • I did also check whether my motherboard support front jack or not, and it does. Or, to my best knowledge does, since I'm very far from being a tech expert, so I might misinterpret the manual. But it obviously should support, since they are connected to the motherboard at the right place, and if I only use the front jack, it works.

The one thing I think should solve this, is using an external sound card, and plugging the headphones into that, while using the speakers with the on-board card. If nothing helps, I will do exactly this, but I would much prefer to solve this without buying more stuff.

Now for the question of why do i need this function at all (if you are not interested, no need to read this part, I think it doesn't contain relevant information on the topic, so I compressed this into to a spoiler as well):
I usually use headphones, for everything, but I do need to use speakers from time to time. I had an old set of speakers until now, but it had so many problems, I grew tired of it. So i randomly bought a cheap, new pair of USB powered speakers, which should suffive for the weekly roughly 2x30 minutes I need speakers for. Only after buying it I realized that it doesnt have an on/off button (it can be muted completely, but can't be unpowered). The problem was, that because of this, I need to unplug/plug in the jack and USB everytime I would switch between the headphones an the speakers, which results in a loud popping sound from the speakers even when the PC is shut down (the speakers still gets power from the PC). If I unpower the PC completely while changing devices, the same popping sound happens when I start the PC up. Since the speakers are brand new, I don't want to ruin it with this, so I thought OK, then I leave both plugged in all the time... which resulted in the problem explained above. I'm pretty sure if i would have bought slightly better speakers, I wouldnt have this issue(since I could shut them down).


If someone could help me with this problem it would be great.
 
Other than the message about the headphones being unplugged you don't actually say what the problem is. You could just turn the speakers off when you want to use the headphones and unplug the phones when you want the speakers only.
You could use a 3.5mm stereo input selector that would allow you to connect both to the rear output and chose which receives signal.
https://www.amazon.com/STEREO-Manual-Speaker-selector-available/dp/B073GWCRP3
 
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