Home > Gaming, Hardware and Software, Microsoft, Ventrilo, Windows Vista > USB Headsets and Vista SP1–setting the default sound device.

USB Headsets and Vista SP1–setting the default sound device.

January 18, 2008

Since installing Vista SP1, the default sound device no longer “swaps” to my USB headset when I plug it in.  This is really annoying for when I’m jumping into Ventrilo to chat or something like that and have to manually configure it in Ventrilo.

There is, however, a fix.

When you plug in your USB Headset, right-click on the Volume Mixer icon in the taskbar.  That opens a window that looks similar to the image below.  The green “checkmark” should be on your Speakers device (which is attached to your sound card).  Instead, select the Headset and click the “Set Default” button.  That will redirect sound output to the USB headset device.

What’s nice (whether by design or a bug) is that when you unplug your USB headset, it will revert back to the last “default” device, which is our speakers.  When you plug the headset back in, it will take over as the default device.  Good deal—that’s how it SHOULD work.


  1. Lev Elbert
    February 22, 2008 at 9:36 am

    tgx for the tip. worked like a charm. I wonder, what else did they broke with sp1.

  2. Sean
    March 20, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Outstanding – worked like a charm. I hate unexpected things like this

  3. dub42
    March 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Same thing happened to me last night and I stumbled on the same fix. However, my microphone output over Ventrilo apparently sounded horrible (normally sounds good). I’ve not had the chance to mess around further.

    Anyone else had that happen and found a fix?

  4. March 26, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Using the latest Ventrilo release, I’ve had to go in and turn down my Outbound to remove the excess reverb and static from my headset… that fixed it for me.

    I also use DirectSound (under settings again) for both input and output so I can dynamically control volumes and such of others… we have a few who whisper into their mics and a few who shout from megaphones…

  5. dub42
    April 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks David. The trouble is everyone else now has to turn me up manually to be able to hear!

  6. dub42
    April 3, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    To fix the microphone sounding extremely quiet & full of reverb, I had to set my headset microphone to default also. Using the same process above, only click on the recording tab and set your headset microphone to default.

  7. Chad
    June 18, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Im able to hear people in vent but it will not let anyone hear me speak, any ideas?

  8. June 21, 2008 at 9:00 am


    If using Vista, did you set your headset to the default recording device? (right-click the speaker in the taskbar, Record Devices, select the headset and click the ‘Set Default’ button).

    Did you set a press to talk button in Ventrilo Setup?

  9. June 21, 2008 at 9:01 am

    @dub42 –

    You can also use Ventrilo setup to increase the volume of both inbound and outbound sound–there are a few shell mates that I talk to that are VERY hard to hear as well and that fixed their problem. 🙂

  10. Keith
    January 27, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Setting the headset and headset microphone to default fixed my problems. Thank you all very much.

  11. taz
    August 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I’m also having an issue where vista gives a different name to my USB headset depending on the usb port I plug it into so if I plug it into a port that I hadn’t used and set to default I have to go and do it manually. I’m going to be getting about 500 of these for my company and I’m trying to figure out if this is going to be an issue for our OCS rollout.

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