4 Fixes to Enable Stereo Mix in Windows 10

Stereo Mix is a virtual audio device feature that comes with almost all computers. It is very useful if you want to directly record the sound being played via your computer’s speaker. Hence, the Stereo Mix is much needed while live streaming and other activities where you need to record the audio coming from the device itself. 

Lately, many users have reported that the Stereo Mix feature often disappears. There could be many reasons behind the Stereo Mix feature going missing. Usually, it happens after you execute a major Windows OS update.

However, there are different ways to fix this problem and this article will guide you on the same. Keep reading to know why this problem comes up and all the methods you can try out to resolve the issue!

What is Realtek Stereo Mix in Windows 10?

Stereo Mix is a virtual sound recording tool that comes with almost every computer’s sound card. This is also referred to as “What you hear” since it mixes the audio channels in your Windows 10 computer.

It is used for recording the output audio streams in your computer including the speaker or microphone outputs. Moreover, it can also record live streaming audio, radio broadcast, and any other audio output coming from your computer.

Why Does Stereo Mix Go Missing on Windows 10 OS?

Windows OS constantly removes features that are redundant or unnecessary. Stereo Mix is just another feature that Windows may have considered unnecessary. However, Stereo Mix is usually linked to your audio driver and can be reinstalled. Let’s check out the different reasons why it can go missing:

  1. Inaccessible Microphone: If the microphone of your Windows computer cannot be accessed for audio recording, Stereo Mix will get disabled too. Allow apps to access the microphone in your Windows 10 settings.
  2. Stereo Mix is disabled: Sometimes, Stereo Mix can be disabled for being a virtual audio device. You can enable it from the Sounds settings to solve the issue.
  3. Audio Driver Issue: If your system’s audio drivers are outdated, then you need to update them. Stereo Mix can be used only with the drivers provided by your computer’s manufacturer and won’t work with the default Microsoft audio drivers.

How to Enable Missing Stereo Mix Option in Windows 10?

  1. Turn ON the Microphone access
  2. Enable Stereo Mix on Windows 10 From Sounds
  3. Update The Stereo Mix Driver
  4. Download Realtek Codec (64-bit or 32-bit) to Download And Install Stereo Mix

Fix 1. Turn ON the Microphone access

If your Microphone cannot be accessed, that will automatically disable the Stereo Mix device. This is the simplest solution so far and can save you hours of head-scratching over the Stereo Mix issue. So, do consider this probability while troubleshooting your Stereo Mix missing issue. Below are the steps that will assist you in turning on the microphone access:

Step 1. Press Windows + I key. This opens the Settings window.

go to windows settings

Step 2. Next, click on ‘Privacy’

Step 3. Now, you will find an App Permissions section located towards the left side of the screen. Scroll down and click on ‘Microphone’ located on the left side panel.

click on microphone from the left panel

Step 4. The Microphone access for this device settings window opens up. Check if it is turned ON or not. If it is in the OFF position, click on “Change” and toggle the slider to the ON position.

turn on microphone access for the computer

Step 5. Keep scrolling down till you find Allow desktop apps to access your microphone settings. You need to toggle this to the ON position. This will enable your stereo mix again. 

Step 6. Then, scroll down in the list of apps installed on your computer. You can toggle the slider to ON for all the apps you wish to provide access to Stereo Mix. Restart the computer to check if the problem is gone or not.

check for which apps you want to give microphone access

Fix 2. Enable Stereo Mix on Windows 10 From Sounds

The stereo mix option is usually disabled by default for almost all Windows 10 users. A certain setting in ‘Sounds’ does not display the ‘Disabled Devices’. So, you need to enable the setting to ‘Stereo Mix’.

Step 1. Navigate your mouse pointer to the ‘Speaker’ icon located in the System Tray located at the bottom-right corner.

Step 2. Right-click on the ‘Speaker’ icon located in the ‘System Tray’ at the bottom-right corner of the screen. A menu will show up, click on ‘Sounds’.

right click on volume icon and click on sound option

Step 3. Now, the ‘Sounds’ window will open up. Go to the ‘Recording’ tab located at the top. 

go to the audio recording tab

Then, right-click anywhere in the blank white space and a menu will come up. Click on ‘Show Disabled Devices’  and ‘Show Disconnected Devices’ from the menu.

click on show disabled devices and show disconnected devices

Step 4. The ‘Stereo Mix’ option will come up in the recording devices section.

stereo mix shows up as disabled

Right-click on the option and then select ‘Enable’ from the menu that comes up.

click on enable stereo mix

Step 5. Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes made. Restart the system and check if the problem is gone. 

Fix 3. Update The Stereo Mix Driver

If you couldn’t find the ‘Stereo Mix’, that means your ‘Sound’ driver is probably outdated. In that case, you need to update it. Windows is capable of downloading the driver updates on its own, but sometimes, you’ll have to install the updates manually.

Follow the steps given below to update the Stereo Mix driver:

Step 1. Go to the manufacturer’s website and search for the latest version of this driver. You can put your computer’s model, operating system, and the name of the driver as keywords in the search engine. Once found, download it to your system.

Step 2. Navigate to the Windows search box and type in Device Manager. Click on the search result that matches your query to launch the Device Manager.

Step 3. Once you are in Device Manager, look for the “Sound, video, and game controllers” option. Double-click on it.

expand the sound, video and game controllers option

Step 4. The Sound, video, and game controllers option will expand. Now, from the expanded list, right-click on the audio driver. Then, click on ‘Update driver’ from the menu.

right click on realtek audio and select update driver option

Step 5. Now, the Update Drivers window will open up. Here, you will get 2 options: Search automatically for drivers and Browse my computer for drivers. If you want to install the driver manually, click on the second option.

click on the second option to manually update audio driver

Step 6. Now, locate the driver in the computer and go through the on-screen instructions to finish the installation process.

Step 7. Once the driver has been updated, restart your computer. Then, follow the instructions given in the first method to enable the ‘Stereo Mix’ option. 

Fix 4. Download Realtek Codec (64-bit or 32-bit) to Download And Install Stereo Mix

In case the Stereo Mix is not present in the list of recording devices and it doesn’t appear even after unhiding them, it means that maybe it isn’t installed. Don’t worry, you can easily have it by installing Realtek High Definition PC Audio Codecs Software. Follow the steps given below to download and install Stereo Mix:

Step 1. Visit this page to download Realtek PC Audio Codec.

Step 2. Now, on the Realtek page, find the driver that’s fit for your Windows 10 version. For example, if your system is Windows 10 32-bit, click on the Realtek 32-bit download link.

Step 3. Then, you will be asked to agree with the terms and conditions mentioned. After that, enter your email address and the download will commence.

Note: If the download link doesn’t work or is inaccessible, do a Google search for “Realtek audio codec”. You should be able to find the download effortlessly since this is one of the most popular audio codecs in the current market. However, make sure that the download is from the official Realtek website. 

Step 4. Once the download is completed, launch the setup to install the Realtek audio codec to your computer. After the installation is finished, restart the computer. Now, you should be able to spot Stereo Mix in the list of recording devices of the Sound control panel.

Stereo Mix No Sound Detected Or Not Working

In case you have successfully installed Stereo Mix and have enabled it as well. Here, you need to ensure that Stereo Mix is selected as the default recording device in the Windows 10 OS control panel and also as the default input device in the recording software. 

Apart from that, ensure that the Stereo Mix device has its volume set to a sufficient level. For this, go to  Stereo Mix, then to Properties followed by Levels. Additionally, the volume of the speaker, headphones, or whichever you are hearing from is also important. Try increasing the internal volume of your speaker, that is, the configurable system volume of Windows 10 OS.

Alternative For Stereo Mix Windows 10

If you have tried out all the above solutions, and the Stereo Mix is still not working, it’s time for you to look into some alternatives. Here is a list of all the top sound recording software that can be used as Stereo Mix alternatives. Also, these come for free –

  • Audacity
  • WavePad
  • Adobe Audition
  • FL Studio
  • MixPad
  • Audio Highjack, and so on

Final Words

That was all from our side on how to enable Stereo Mix in Windows 10 OS. The Stereo Mix tool is a great software that allows you to record your device’s internal audio. But, if you have tried out all the above fixes but still can’t get Stereo Mix to work, then, you should resort to some alternative software. 

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.