Yesterday my onboard sound card died. Now rather than installing a PCI express sound card I opted for a simpler solution: Using an USB headset. However, the problem thus far: Audio headsets are incredibly loud on Windows 7,8 and 10

The Issue: USB Audio Recognized As Speaker

The problem is simple. Windows recognizes most USB audio headsets as regular speakers. Speakers are intended to be loud. The only workaround that I knew of was lowering the system volume to 2-4%. However, this also means when a program resets your volume you may severely hurt your ears. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend some money/time than hurt my ears irreversibly.

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Easiest Solution: (For the more reliable solution skip this paragraph, click here.)

In your system tray, use the audio button (right-click, select Open Volume Mixer) and you can lower the overall audio volume levels.

To lower the USB audio volume levels install the USB driver from your headset manufacturer. Many headsets have their own drivers and tools which you can either download online or find on the CD in the original package. However, even after installing the proper USB drivers there are no guarantees that Windows recognizes the USB headset as a headset.

The USB audio headset I am using is called Medusa 7.1 by Speedlink. Drivers can be found here . Sidenote: Speedlinks made some decent headsets in the past, but I wouldn’t buy from them again, their products can’t compete with Sennheiser and are usually just as expensive.

1 Reliable Solution: Using Equalizer To Adjust Volume Properly

There is a nifty tool called APO equalizer that you can install for specific playback devices such as your headset.

When you’re installing the program, make sure you select the correct playback device. It should be specifically say USB PnP Sound Device. (Lautsprecher means Speaker in English)

Speaker Usb Too Loud Install Equalizer.png


1. Step Reboot (not optional, it needs to detect your sound cards and add them to the config file)

2. Step Open C:\Program Files\EqualizerAPO\config

3. Step Open the config.txt and change the Preamp value from -8db to something lower like -40db.

Please note the db depends on your headset, for my Medusa headset I had to lower it significantly, but others may only need a reduction to -20db.

If this does not work for you, make sure to reboot! If you don’t reboot it wont work. As soon as you change the db in config.txt and hit CTRL + S it will lower the volume.

There is no GUI for this but it works very reliably and you don’t have to fear that a program will be too loud for your ears.

2 Alternative: Buy Cheap PCI Soundcard

If you can install PCI cards (very easy) in your PC, go to Amazon and order a sound card for $10 from Creative. Those cards are very nice, the only downside is the wait time and that it occupies a slot that you may need now or in the future.

#3 Temporary Workaround: Other Solutions?

Obviously you can lower the volume for the playback device in the system tray but as mentioned some programs can reset it.

1. Step In the system tray (right-bottom corner) right-click on the audio button and select Open Volume Mixer.

2. Step You can control the system and application volume levels this way

There are also scenarios where this is not the best way to adjust the volume levels.

Let us know in the comments if you found any other workarounds.