Why Does WIn10 Care What Audio Device I Plugged In?

Dell / Xps 8930
April 27, 2020 at 12:19:59
Specs: Windows 10, I5-9400
What does Win 10 do with the answer I give when asked what I just plugged in?

Does it alter the output signal strength for Large External Speakers vs. Small Headphones, etc?

Perhaps it's an equalizer change?

Thanks.

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#1
April 27, 2020 at 13:23:09
I have absolutely no idea...

But playing the konspiracy card...

Perhaps it's sending the information back to supreme headquarters in M$-land... Where after due processing they (M$ and friends - if they have any) will start manufacturing and selling the same or very similar kit - and ensure that future version of windows will only work with their approved/manufactured/badged M$ versions.


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#2
April 27, 2020 at 15:39:10
For a number of years now audio ports are interchangable. When you plug in a device it might be a mic, record player, amp, powered or unpowered speaker, head phones, etc. Yes, the information you provide does set the audio program so that the device works. It is also why plugging in an audio device when the computer is off, it is not recognized until you pull it out and plug it in again.n The questions are actually probably generated by the audio driver/software in conjunction with MS guidelines.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#3
April 27, 2020 at 15:47:05
Okay, I wasn't going to post, but as long as...

I know nothing, but I can guess. The sound mixing app in
Windows (either part of Windows or part of the app that
controls the audio -- mine seems to be "DTS Studio Sound"
-- appears to have separate controls for every input and
output device that it detects. For example, the default
speakers, built into the HP laptop, are labeled "HP", so
it knows their name. It probably doesn't know anything
about the speakers themselves. But if I have something
else plugged in to play sound, the app will want to call it
by name. So your app prolly just wants a name to look
more user fiendish. friendly.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#4
April 27, 2020 at 15:49:44
Did it take me that long to write? Fingers hadn't posted
yet when I came into the thread. Or I woulda gone with
plan A.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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#5
April 27, 2020 at 18:44:58
re: "For a number of years now audio ports are interchangable. When you plug in a device it might be a mic, record player, amp, powered or unpowered speaker, head phones, etc. "

And yet, one of the front ports on my system is labeled with the headphone symbol and the pop-up questions are only related to headphones or speakers. The other port is labeled with the mic symbol and the pop-up question is "Line In or Mic in". In other words, they are not interchangeable as input/output ports.

The 3 ports on the back are labeled for Surround Sound Front L/R, Rear L/R and Sub-woofer. All questions relate to either headphone size or Surround Sound speaker size. In other words, they are not interchangeable as input/output ports.

re: "It is also why plugging in an audio device when the computer is off, it is not recognized until you pull it out and plug it in again"

And yet, that is not how my system works. If I plug a cable into the speaker port while the system is off, the speakers are available as soon as the system boots. (Unplug the cable, shut-down, boot without cable (i.e. no output device), shut down, plug in cable, boot...speakers work)

re: "Yes, the information you provide does set the audio program so that the device works."

And yet, the pop-up offers an option to not show the pop-up when a device is plugged in. If I disable the pop-up, then I wouldn't be able to provide any information. Therefore, I'm pretty sure the answers to the questions aren't used to make the device "work". That's why I asked about signal strength or perhaps equalizer settings.

I have not disabled the pop-up because I have yet to find the setting that would allow me re-enable if need be. I do not have access to the Realtek HD Audio Manager that just about every website says to use, even though my output device is set Speakers/Headphones (3- Realtek Audio)

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#6
April 28, 2020 at 05:28:56
"..... In other words, they are not interchangeable as input/output ports....."
It may be that it has as much to do with the board manufacture, the Audio chip Manufacture, and the complexity of the device as to whether the device has more 'dedicated' plugs or more flexible lay outs.
I have seen more of the more flexible lay outs but I now assume that the level of the audio chips on some boards may force it to be more rigid on those boards. Certainly Line in or Mike in does make a significant difference in how it is treated by the software so there is still decision making happening based upon your selections.
I will recommend leaving the pop up questions active, after all, it will only happen when you plug and unplug a device so it is not an annoying pop up.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#7
April 28, 2020 at 06:20:48
"I will recommend leaving the pop up questions active, after all, it will only happen when you plug and unplug a device so it is not an annoying pop up."

I agree, but I'm still curious as to what the answers actually do. I haven't tried any sort of formal testing, but just playing around with various answers hasn't seemed to make any difference in the audio quality. I'll need to find an audio file that makes it easy to hear the difference between various answers in a repeatable fashion.

Assuming I do find an optimal choice for my specific set-up, I'm still interested in what actually happens inside the hardware/software based on the answer given.


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#8
April 28, 2020 at 06:57:13
@#1 The message actually comes from Realtek HD Audio Manager, not Microsoft.

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#9
April 28, 2020 at 10:28:37
I said that I have something called "DTS Studio Sound" on
my computer. I said that because it was the first thing I found
when I went looking for Realtek HD Audio Manager, which I
knew was also in there somewhere. I don't know how those
two programs share control of audio. In any case, I also have
Realtek, and I think more than ever that my reply is the basic
answer to your question: The app just wants to know what is
connected so it can refer to it by a friendly name, as other
apps can do when they connect to devices via USB or WiFi,
and get the name and other info directly from the device.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#10
April 28, 2020 at 11:27:53
re: "@#1 The message actually comes from Realtek HD Audio Manager, not Microsoft."

Yep, that's what I have learned via the ole interweb, except that I cannot find the Realtek HD Audio Manager on my system. It's supposed to be available through the control panel, but I have yet to find it anywhere.

Every site that explains how to turn the pop-up notification on says to use the Realtek HD Audio Manager dialog. Since I can not find that on my system, I'm reluctant to disable the pop-up on the slim chance that it is actually doing something useful. I can find a dialog for Realtek Audio Properties that does not contain an option to enable/disable the pop-up.

In addition, I still haven't been able to determine what the different Headphone/Speaker choices actually cause to happen.

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#11
April 28, 2020 at 12:22:29
re: "The app just wants to know what is connected so it can refer to it by a friendly name,"

Possibly, except that the app uses the same "friendly name" for all 6 choices presented by the pop-up:

Speakers / Headphones (3- Realtek Audio)

These are the 3 devices that my system lists as Sound Output devices:

https://i.imgur.com/VeczsSi.jpg

What is interesting is that the 2 Dell U2415 entries are for my monitors, which don't even have speakers. I assume they are listed because they are connected via HDMI, so Sound assumes it's an audio-capable device.

Just for clarity, my choices for the front panel headphone-labeled port are:

Which device did you plug in?
-----------------------------------------------
Dell Devices 
         (with a blank drop down list)
-----------------------------------------------
Headphones
         Headphones Small
         Headphones Medium
         Headphones Large
-----------------------------------------------
External Speakers
         External Speakers Small
         External Speakers Medium
         External Speakers Large
-----------------------------------------------
◘ Don't show this dialog again
-----------------------------------------------
                         OK

If I unplug the cable, the Sound control panel automatically switches the Output name to the first Dell monitor, which, as I mentioned earlier, doesn't have speakers. Once I plug in the cable, choosing any of the six choices above sets the Output name to Speakers / Headphones (3- Realtek Audio)

I did a quick test using a sound wave on YouTube and I was unable to discern any difference regardless of what option I chose, so it may be nothing more than a "name thing" although using the same name regardless of what option was chosen isn't very "friendly". ;-) At least echo the words in the choice I made. (Headphones Small, Speakers Medium, etc.)

I might as well toss in the fact that it uses exact same un-friendly name for the 2 monitors, not even labeling them as 1 or 2, like the Display control panel does.

In any case, if you want to...

"Test Your Speakers"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URr...

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