Windows Sonic for Headphones: better on or off?


Jul 25, 2005
I just noticed this option in Windows 10. By right clicking on the sound icon in the lower right corner of the screen the following options are displayed from the 3rd menu item down:
Windows Sonic for Headphones
Dolby Access
DTS Sound Unbound

The last 2 options seem to be only available after purchasing in the Windows store.

1. Are the options for Windows Sonic, Dolby Access, and DTS just versions of simulated surround for headphones?
2. Windows Sonic being free, I assume it is not as high quality audio vs Dolby Access and DTS, correct?
3. Are the Windows Sonic and other sound enhancements mainly for video games, music, movies, or all of the above? Do people here find the enhancements increase or decrease the audio quality?

By the way, I discovered these because plugging in a USB-C headset did not allow the mic to work without turning on Windows Sonic first. So, if you are having trouble with the mic on a USB-C headset in Windows 10, try that!


Sep 21, 2008
Only if the game allows you to change the speaker setting from stereo to surround/5.1 or higher. Or if you watch movies you can use the mixer inside video players to force output to 5.1 or 7.1. In those situations Windows Sonic (and Dolby Atmos) can convert that signal meant for multiple speakers to surround sound with headphones with accurate(ish) ques for sounds coming from behind you. Simulated binaural audio.

Unfortunately great majority games rely on the Windows speaker settings when determining what kind of audio they should output and Microsoft in their infinite stupidity force you to use stereo speakers setting when you turn on Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos for Headphones.

If the game is outputting stereo then Windows Sonic does absolutely nothing but ruin the sound quality. Dolby Atmos is slightly more useful as more and more games come with built in Atmos support. For those Dolby Atmos for Headphones can do its magic without caring for the windows speaker setting.


Aug 31, 2009
I too am curious as to how good Windows Sonic is. The Razer Surround seems to work fairly well. But as others have said, if anything pins the game to stereo, it's game over.


Apr 30, 2021
"Sonic Sound is a spatial sound technology developed by Microsoft for Windows 10 and Xbox consoles. "Audio objects" placed in a virtual sound space by app and game developers are mixed into the output sound via an interface, just like with Dolby Atmos."

I turned it off, cause i'm using an external soundblaster for my beyerdynamicsheadphone. I will try Windows sonic to get an comparsion and then i will let you know the differences