Windows 10 has spatial sound. You can enable spatial sound in Windows 10 via the built-in feature, or you can buy the Dolby Digital app to get spatial sound for your home theater. It’s a pretty impressive addition but Windows 10 has a few sound woes. Specifically, one of the recent monthly updates appears to have caused sound distortion and static in Windows 10. The static might be constant or you might occasionally hear distorted sound while media is playing. This problem effects all apps including Chrome and the Movies and TV app. The good news is, you can fix sound distortion and static in Windows 10 by tweaking your sound settings.
We should mention that, as far as we can tell, the problem only seems to occur on systems that have Realtek soundware. That said, if you’re experiencing static, random cracks and pops, or distorted sound in Windows 10, try this fix anyway. It’s simple and easily reversible.
Right-click the speaker icon in the system try and select ‘Playback devices’ from the context menu.
This will open the Sounds window with the Playback devices tab selected. You might see one or multiple devices listed in the Playback devices tab. For an immediate fix, double-click the active/default playback device. This will open the device’s properties in a new window.
On the device properties screen, select the ‘Advanced’ tab. In the ‘Exclusive Mode’ section of the Advanced tab, disable the ‘Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device’. Click Apply, and you’re done. If you use other audio devices with your Windows 10 system, repeat the above for all of them.
Cracking & Popping On Dell Systems
This will fix sound distortion and static in almost all system. If you’re using a Dell laptop/desktop, your speakers might occasionally crack. This is to do with a power management feature that is enabled by default on Dell systems. It’s possible that other manufacturers have something similar in their sound management utility. If you have, for example, an HP laptop and your speakers crack or pop at random, check the sound manager for a power management feature.
The sound manager is a manufacturer app. It is not a default option in Windows. To disable power management for audio devices in Dell, look for and open the Dell Audio app. It’s in Control Panel under Hardware and sound. Go to the Advanced tab and turn off Power Management.
This power management feature applies only to the audio device on your system. When enabled, it turns off the audio device if it isn’t in use. It will occasionally wake up to check if it’s needed hence the popping and/or cracking noise.
If you had sound distortion and static problems in Windows 10 prior to March 2017, it’s possible there’s a different cause. Consider using a different audio device to see if the problem persists. If it doesn’t, your speakers might need to be fixed or replaced.