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Surface 2 Sound Issues Resurface



One of the issues with the original Surface RT Tablets from Microsoft was lousy sound. Mid-way through the Surface RT’s life, Microsoft issued an update that seemed to cure most of the problems. With the launch of the Surface 2, it looked like issues with sound would be a thing of the past for the RT based Tablets from Microsoft. But apparently that’s not quite the case.

Surface 2 users are reporting that units are now experiencing issues with sound. On the Surface 2 I own I noticed recently sound through the speakers was quieter than what it had been out of the box. Others are reporting that sound doesn’t switch appropriately back to the speakers if they remove headphones after using them awhile. There are also various reports that sound output quality changes significantly when using Apps or websites that stream video.

UPDATE: Microsoft has issued a firmware update that seems to take care of the reduction in volume issue. Read more here.

Regarding the reduction in audio levels Microsoft isn’t acknowledging the issue officially at this point, but ¬†support is offering suggestions that users keep there volume levels at 80% (which doesn’t help if things are already too quiet) and also to use headphones or external speakers if you want more volume.

My hunch is that this problem was caused by a recent slew of firmware updates issued on the last Patch Tuesday. Shortly after that I noticed the issue. An inspection of driver updates reveals two things:

First there is an issue with sound drivers reported.

Screenshot (76)

Although if you choose “No” an inspection of driver properties report that all is working fine. When running test sound through the speakers via Control Panel, there seems to be an increase in sound levels, but this doesn’t seem to stick once you’re using the device with real applications. Sound levels are affected on audio playback from video, music, and also the audible key clicks for the Touch Cover

Second the drivers were updated on November 12, the last Patch Tuesday.

Screenshot (77)

I’ve also noticed that plugging and unplugging headphones and portable speakers causes lots of static and random system hiccups that sometimes necessitate rebooting the machine to get any sound at all. Some users have taken their units back and exchanged them, but the issues still persist on the newer machines.

Hopefully Microsoft will get these Surface 2 sound issues fixed by the time the next Patch Tuesday rolls around.



  1. Bryan

    11/28/2013 at 4:47 pm

    When I updated my Toshiba lap top to windows 8.1, I lost the speaker audio after using head phones. I eventually had to disconnect speakers from the mother board and reconnected them to get them to work again. Then I purchased my Surface 2 and the same thing happened, I was able to restore the sound by rebooting. I suspect that this is a windows 8.1. issue and is not confined to the Surface 2. I have been using my Surface for a month now and I love it. Hopefully MS will address the issues soon. I remember once that Apple released and update to my IPhone 3gs and it was useless for a solid month. I also had to return 3 IPhone 4s models before I got one that worked correctly. I have an IPad 2 that has worked flawlessly for years but the Surface 2 is my go to device.

  2. David Alastair Hayden

    11/28/2013 at 6:02 pm

    It’s interesting. Every time I read a review of a tablet or ultrabook, there’s a lot of attention paid to sound. I’ve never expected much at all in this sense and I’m puzzled that others do. I expect bad sound on a mobile device, and so I use headphones or speakers when I need sound to be loud or of quality. Maybe I’m unique …

  3. Ryan

    11/29/2013 at 5:19 am

    There was a Surface 2 firmware update pushed out yesterday. Looks like the audio drivers were updated. The date on them is 11/26/2013.

  4. Warner Crocker

    11/29/2013 at 6:53 am

    Ryan, Good to know. I’ll check it out and post an update. Thanks much.

  5. carmon

    11/29/2013 at 11:44 am

    my step-dad recently got an awesome twelve month old Audi A4 from only workin part-time on a pc at home… read …….

  6. Gavin Tan

    11/29/2013 at 10:18 pm

    It’s been confirmed, the latest updates as of 28th November 2013 has resolved the issue. I updated my Surface 2 this morning, rebooted the tablet and everything’s fine.

    David, admittedly I’m with agreement with you in regards to audio on mobile devices, but for those of us with Touch covers (I have the Touch, Touch 2 and Type 2 covers) it does help give some form of feedback. Nice to hear myself tap away once again.

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