Bad audio quality when game, call, or emulator is open

Copper Contributor

I'm here because this is frustrating me and I have no clue how to fix it.


Whenever I open a game, a voice channel in Discord, or my Android emulator (Bluestacks), my audio goes from clear to.... low quality. I use bluetooth headphones (Sony WH-XB700) and they're the only output and input device I have in my PC. (Dell XPS 8940)


It's like listening is fine, but once you open one of these things, it's like you put cotton inside of the headphones. It only happens when something other than my browser or usual Windows tasks are open. 

I've tried reinstalling the bluetooth drivers (multiple times), updating Windows, updating all the drivers, changing the audio enhancements -- nothing works. Is it just me? I can't find anything on this!

6 Replies
Not sure if you have done this already but in these apps there may be an audio or voice settings. See if you can adjust this to make it better. I know for games they have an audio option but not sure if others do. See if this setting can help.

@Ethan_Garfinkle Thanks for the response! Unfortunately I did try that, but nothing seems to change.

@chelsea05 disabling the hands free telephony option will improve audio quality however it will disable your mic if its built into your headset, so getting a mic seperatly is your only option


It can be frustrating when you encounter audio quality issues, but there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot and potentially resolve the problem. Here are some suggestions:

1. **Check Bluetooth Connection:**
- Make sure your Bluetooth headphones are properly connected to your PC. Sometimes, unstable connections can cause audio quality issues.
- Try disconnecting and reconnecting your headphones or pairing them again.

2. **Bluetooth Interference:**
- Other electronic devices, Wi-Fi routers, or even nearby Bluetooth devices can interfere with your Bluetooth connection. Try moving to a different location or turning off other electronic devices to see if it improves the audio quality.

3. **Update Bluetooth Drivers:**
- Ensure that you have the latest Bluetooth drivers for your PC. Visit the manufacturer's website or use Windows Update to check for updates.

4. **Audio Codec Settings:**
- Check the audio codec settings on your Bluetooth headphones. Some headphones support different audio codecs, and changing the codec might improve audio quality. Refer to your headphone's manual for instructions.

5. **Adjust Sound Settings:**
- Right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar, select "Open Sound settings," and make sure your Bluetooth headphones are set as the default output and input devices.

6. **Windows Audio Troubleshooter:**
- Run the built-in Windows Audio Troubleshooter to automatically identify and fix common audio issues. Right-click on the speaker icon, select "Troubleshoot sound problems."

7. **Disable Exclusive Mode:**
- In Sound settings, go to your Bluetooth headphones properties > Advanced tab, and uncheck "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device."

8. **Check Game/Emulator Audio Settings:**
- Some games and emulators have their audio settings. Check if there are any specific settings related to audio quality and adjust them accordingly.

9. **Check Discord Settings:**
- In Discord, go to User Settings > Voice & Video, and ensure that the input and output devices are set correctly. Also, disable "Echo Cancellation" and "Noise Reduction" to see if they impact audio quality.

10. **Power Settings:**
- Ensure that your computer is not set to power-saving mode, as this might affect Bluetooth performance. Check the power settings in your operating system and set it to a high-performance mode.

11. **Update Graphics Drivers:**
- Sometimes, graphics drivers can interfere with audio performance. Make sure your graphics drivers are up to date.

If the issue persists after trying these steps, it might be worth reaching out to the support forums of the specific games, Discord, or the Android emulator for additional assistance. Additionally, you could contact the manufacturer's support for your Bluetooth headphones for further guidance.


It sounds like you've done quite a bit of troubleshooting already. The fact that the issue only arises when specific programs are open suggests it might be related to how those programs interact with your audio settings or hardware.

Here are a few more steps you could try:

  1. Check Program Settings: Within each program (game, Discord, Bluestacks), see if there are any audio settings or options related to output quality. Sometimes, programs have their own audio processing settings that could be affecting your sound quality.

  2. Check Bluetooth Settings: Make sure your Bluetooth settings are optimized for audio quality. Sometimes there are settings related to prioritizing audio quality over stability or vice versa.

  3. Check Background Processes: Use Task Manager to see if there are any background processes consuming a lot of system resources when you open these programs. High CPU or disk usage could potentially interfere with audio performance.

  4. Test with Wired Headphones: If possible, try using a wired connection with your headphones to see if the issue persists. This could help determine if the problem is specific to Bluetooth or if it's a more general audio issue.

  5. Update Firmware: Check if there are any firmware updates available for your headphones. Sometimes, firmware updates can address compatibility issues or improve performance.

  6. Contact Support: If none of the above steps resolve the issue, it might be worth reaching out to the support teams for the specific programs (game, Discord, Bluestacks) as well as Sony support for your headphones. They may have encountered similar issues and could provide more targeted assistance.

By systematically checking these different areas, you might be able to pinpoint the source of the problem and find a solution. Let me know if you need further assistance with any of these steps!

Contact Microsoft directly for help, this is the only most effective way.