Realtek Switch Audio Output Between Back vs Front Panel On Desktop


Realtek is the biggest audio driver provider for PC. If you have a traditional desktop tower chances are your motherboard relays on Realtek’s driver to output sound to external speakers and headphones. In Windows, Realtek considers both the Back Panel and Front Panel’s analog audio output to be the same audio stream. Meaning, when you choose the playback device from the Windows audio “Select playback device” it is under “Speaker” for one audio stream among other audio outputs depends on your device’s capabilities such as Digital Output (Optical) and HDMI Output.This begs the question if that’s one audio stream, how to switch and choose which output to play the sound without physically plugin and unplug the aux cable every time when you want to switch to a different audio playback device.2017 11 07 2129 1 - Realtek Switch Audio Output Between Back vs Front Panel On Desktop

2017 11 07 2130 - Realtek Switch Audio Output Between Back vs Front Panel On DesktopHow To Switch Between Headphone vs Desktop Speaker Audio

In the case that Windows’s speaker UI doesn’t let us choose between the back panel vs front panel’s output. Given you have both plugs connected to an output device, notice the green plug will appear not greyed out. Launch “Realtek HD Audio Manager” from the Start Menu and go to “Device advanced settings” at the top right corner.

2017 11 07 2128 600x469 - Realtek Switch Audio Output Between Back vs Front Panel On DesktopUnder the Playback Device options, you can choose between “Mute the rear output device, when a front headphone plugged in” or “Make front and rear output devices playback two different audio streams simultaneously“.

2017 11 07 2128 001 - Realtek Switch Audio Output Between Back vs Front Panel On DesktopSelect the latter, if you want the speaker from the back panel to play audio while the front headphone is also playing. Toggle between the two settings to choose which device playing which audio output all right inside the PC without physically unplug or plug-in the aux cable from the front panel of your desktop tower.


  1. Hi,

    Thank you for providing your instructions. I watched Youtube videos, read articles but could not resolve the issue ( I could not hear sound from speakers but hear sound from Headphones ) .. Your info has resolved. Many Thanks

    • Hello,

      I read that your problem resolved, can you guide me or provide me the videos which helped you resolving the problem. I too have a similar problem and hence can be solved.

  2. help! my REALTEK HD audio manager looks different and doesn’t have the “device advanced settings”. it does have like settings but the “make front and rear……..”

      • it’s OK if your Realtek audio manager looks different. It’s best to find the motherboard provider or if you are running an OEM desktop (ie. Dell) etc then go to their website to find the latest software and install the audio driver.

        • The problem is that Asus is stupid so they do not include settings to separate front- and backpanel from one another in the Asus-Realtek manager. And I mean why would they? It’s just an extremely important feature that I would like to use, so thats why I’ve been searching the web for an hour trying to find something that helps me, and now I am even ranting about them on some forum I’ve never heard of.

  3. hello, I am still unable to figure out the switching of the sound.
    So my problem is – There are 2 audio jacks in my CPU, one at back, one in front.
    – Attached speakers in back and headsets in front. therefore no microphone in back, and in front both, headset with microphone.
    – Now when sound is on, it only gives output from the back speakers and micrphone from the rear one.
    *I cannot find any playback option on windows 10, hence my issue remains at hold.*

    • Windows likely would treat them as one single source, since it was never designed to play simultaneously, your best option would go find the audio driver and run the software it comes with. Ie. Realtek HD Audio and see if there is an option shown above.

  4. i am not able see the playback device option in device advanced settings option.
    only the recording device option is seen. please help as soon as possible.

  5. Hi Jonathan!

    Thank you for this, I have realtek drivers but the interface for options is republic of gamers strix motherboard. However the exact option you described could be found after finding the options button inside their options interface 😀

    Saved me alot of time of playing around.

    Kind Regards
    Anders, Sweden


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