Setting your sound card and speaker properties in Windows 7

Your sound card may or may not have its own configuration applet, but Windows 7 has its own audio configuration interface.

You can invoke it in a couple of ways: First, Click on Start button from the taskbar and then Control Panel and then click on Audio Devices and Sound Themes. You can also invoke that window by right-clicking the Speaker icon in the system tray and clicking Audio Devices.

The Audio Devices window shows what Windows 7 knows about the sound cards and their various features. Because at this point you are not as interested in this window as in the sound cardís Properties dialog box, click once on the Audio Output (playback) Device listed, and then click Properties. The dialog box will appears.

Here, you can tell Windows about your speakers and set other audio options. Click the Configuration tab. This tab shows your speaker configuration. Click the Speaker Configuration drop-down menu and select the number of speakers you currently have around you. You can then click Test to hear a sound from each speaker while you watch the diagram, to ensure that each speaker is properly placed.

The rest of the tabs contain other settings. The Tone tab offers bass and treble controls. The Other tab may have an option to enable digital input/output, if your audio device has such capability. The Levels tab allows you to adjust the gains for your audio deviceís various output and input ports.

The Options tab is important because it allows you to select the sample rate and bit depth of your sound cardís audio output. It defaults to 16/44,100, but if you have a 24-bit, 96,000Hz sound card such as a SoundBlaster Audigy or X-Fi, you need to set this option properly. Click the Default Format drop-down menu and select the highest sample rate and bit depth of which your sound card is capable. Then, click Test to be sure it works.