Why audio is not working in VLC?

VLC media player is a popular, free, and open-source media player software that is used by millions of users worldwide. It supports a wide range of audio and video formats, making it versatile and convenient to use across different platforms (wikipedia.org/VLC_Media_Player). Since being released in 2001 by the VideoLAN project, VLC has been downloaded over 3.5 billion times (videolan.org/press/videolan-20.html).

However, a common issue that many users face is audio not working properly in VLC. You may experience no audio at all or distorted, scratchy, or intermittent sound. This can occur on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. The goal of this guide is to troubleshoot the various causes and solutions for fixing audio problems in VLC media player so you can resume enjoying your media seamlessly.

Verify VLC Installation

The first step is to confirm that VLC media player is properly installed and is the latest version. An improperly installed or outdated version can cause audio issues in VLC.

Go to the VLC download page at https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-windows.html and check that you have version 3.0.18 or later installed. If you have an older version, download and install the newest version.

During installation, carefully check for any error messages that may indicate a problem with the install process. If you encounter errors, try uninstalling VLC completely using Revo Uninstaller or a similar uninstallation tool to do a full cleanup. Then reinstall VLC.

You can also open VLC and go to Tools > Preferences (set Show Settings to All) and look at the Version information to verify the install. If version information is missing, then the install was not completed properly.

Ensuring the latest VLC version is properly installed is the first troubleshooting step to resolve potential audio issues.

Check Audio Output Settings

VLC player allows you to configure audio output settings to direct sound through your desired audio device. VLC has different audio output modules that handle audio processing and output to various devices.

To access the audio output settings in VLC, go to Tools > Preferences (or press Ctrl+P). Under “Show settings”, enable “All” to see all available options. Then go to Audio > Output Modules.

Here you can see the different output modules available such as DirectSound, WaveOut, and PulseAudio. Click on the module you want to use and you can configure options like the output device. For example, with the Windows DirectSound module, you can select your headphones, speakers or other audio device under “Output device”.

The audio device can also be changed under the main Audio tab in VLC preferences. Under “Output device” you can select your desired audio output device.

If you are not getting any audio from VLC, experiment with different output modules and devices to troubleshoot the problem. The DirectX module may work better than WaveOut on some Windows systems.

Change Audio Device

One of the most common solutions for audio not working in VLC is to try changing the audio output device within VLC’s settings. VLC allows you to select different audio devices like speakers, headphones, HDMI, etc. This guide explains how to change the audio device in VLC:

Open VLC Player and go to Tools > Preferences. Under Show Settings, select All. Then go to Audio > Output modules and select the device you want VLC to output audio to. For example, you can select your speakers, headphones, HDMI port, etc. Make sure to select a device that is actually connected and working. After changing the device, close preferences and try playing audio again in VLC.

If you have multiple audio devices connected, this is an easy way to switch between them for VLC audio output. Try selecting different devices like your speakers, headphones, Bluetooth headphones, HDMI port to your TV or monitor, etc. Oftentimes just changing to another audio device will resolve the issue and allow VLC to play audio properly. Just be sure to select a connected and functioning audio device.

Check System Volume

One potential reason why audio is not working in VLC is that the system volume for VLC is muted or turned down very low.[1] To check this, open the Volume Mixer while VLC is running by right-clicking the speaker icon in the Windows taskbar and selecting Open Volume Mixer. Look for the VLC slider and make sure it is not muted and the volume is turned up.

You should also verify that the volume on your speakers or headphones is not muted. Check the volume controls on your audio device and ensure the volume is turned up. The issue may simply be that the system volume for VLC or the volume on the audio playback device is muted, so audio is not coming through even though VLC is working properly.

Reinstall Audio Drivers

Audio drivers may need to be reinstalled if they become corrupted or outdated. This can often resolve issues with no audio in VLC. Here are the general steps to uninstall and reinstall audio drivers in Windows:

1. Open the Start Menu and type “Device Manager”. Open Device Manager.

2. Expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” section.

3. Right click on your audio device and select “Uninstall device”. Confirm the uninstall.

4. Download the latest audio driver for your hardware from the manufacturer’s website.

5. Run the audio driver installer you downloaded. Follow the on-screen prompts to install the new driver.

6. Restart your computer when the installation completes. The audio driver should now be up-to-date.

Reinstalling the audio driver essentially resets the audio components and often resolves audio issues in programs like VLC. Be sure to get the driver directly from your hardware manufacturer to ensure compatibility.

Disable Audio Enhancements

Windows enables audio enhancements by default to improve the sound quality of media played through the OS. However, these enhancements can sometimes cause issues with playback in certain apps like VLC. As suggested in this Reddit thread, disabling audio enhancements may help resolve audio issues in VLC.

To disable audio enhancements in Windows 10 and 11:

  1. Go to Start > Settings > System > Sound.
  2. On the Sound settings page, scroll down and select Sound Control Panel.
  3. In the Sound dialog box, select the playback device you are using and go to the Enhancements tab.
  4. Check the “Disable all enhancements” box.

Disabling all audio enhancements prevents Windows from processing and modifying the audio, which can help apps like VLC play audio as intended without interference.

Change Audio Settings

Many of the audio issues with VLC can be addressed by adjusting the VLC advanced audio settings. The two key settings to consider tweaking are the audio buffers and the audio output modules. You can access the full audio settings menu in VLC by going to Tools > Preferences and selecting the Audio tab.

Increasing the caching/buffering for audio can help smooth out playback issues for streaming or files with variable bitrates. Just be cautious not to set the buffers too high, as that can cause lag and latency in the audio. A buffer of 300-500 ms is typically recommended. You can also try changing the audio output module from the default to a different option like DirectSound or WaveOut if you are on Windows.

While the advanced audio options allow fine tuning, don’t go changing every setting without cause. Start with tweaking the main buffers and output options first before experimenting with more niche parameters. Changing too many settings simultaneously can make it tricky to isolate what is actually improving the audio playback versus causing new issues.

For specific audio setting recommendations, check out guides like: Best Settings for VLC Media Player for Listening to Music!

Reset VLC Preferences

Corrupted preferences can sometimes cause issues with audio in VLC media player. Resetting the preferences will restore VLC to its default settings and often resolves audio problems.

To reset VLC preferences on Windows:

  1. Open VLC and click on Tools > Preferences.
  2. Click on Reset Preferences at the bottom.
  3. Confirm reset when prompted.

On Mac:

  1. Go to VLC > Preferences.
  2. Click Reset Preferences.
  3. Confirm reset.

Resetting preferences will restore VLC’s default settings and clear any corrupted prefs that may be causing audio issues. After resetting VLC prefs, try playing audio/video again to see if it’s working properly now.

For more details, refer to the VLC Wiki guide on resetting preferences: https://wiki.videolan.org/VSG:ResetPrefs/


In this article, we covered several troubleshooting steps to try when audio is not working properly in VLC media player:

  • Verifying VLC is installed correctly and up to date
  • Checking audio output settings in VLC
  • Changing the audio playback device
  • Checking system volume levels
  • Reinstalling audio drivers
  • Disabling any audio enhancements
  • Adjusting audio settings in VLC
  • Resetting VLC preferences

If you still can’t get audio working after trying these suggestions, a few additional things you can do are reinstall VLC completely, check for any software conflicts, or try a different media player such as Media Player Classic or KMPlayer.

Troubleshooting audio issues can be frustrating, but methodically going through different solutions eventually should lead to resolving the problem. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the VLC forums or community support if you need additional help.

We hope this guide gave you some ideas on how to troubleshoot and fix no audio problems in VLC player. With a bit of patience and testing, you should be able to get VLC back to playing sound as it should.

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