recording studio control desk
Nejron Photo / Shutterstock

Windows lets you assign individual apps to different playback devices, but all your Chrome tabs are treated as a single application. Here’s how to split up your Chrome tabs and play sound from different tabs through different audio devices.

A word of caution: installing Chrome extensions is more dangerous than you’d think, so we generally advise against adding too many of them. However, this one seems okay and is open source to boot. If you’re still cautious, you can manually set it to only work on certain sites, like YouTube, in Chrome’s extension settings.

RELATED: Browser Extensions Are a Privacy Nightmare: Stop Using So Many of Them

Installing AudioPick

Click “Add to Chrome” on AudioPick’s download page, and accept the permissions. You’ll have a new icon in the menubar, which brings up the interface:

picking an output device for the current tab

By default, it’s set to use your system’s main audio output, or more specifically whatever you’ve set Chrome to use in Windows’ per-app sound settings. You can change the current tab to use any other output you have set up in Windows.

AudioPick remembers your selection for each tab. Your selection also won’t affect other tabs. Current tabs keep using whatever you set them to, and new tabs will use the System Default Device.

This works with any device, even virtual ones, which makes this extension useful if you’d like to play music through your speakers while listening to something on your headphones, like game audio.

One bug we’ve found: occasionally, when hotplugging audio devices, the extension can get stuck and mute output. If this happens, just set it back to the System Default Device, and then re-enable your preferred device.

RELATED: How to Record Your PC’s Audio With a Virtual Audio Device

Limit the Extension’s Permissions

As a general rule for all Chrome extensions, you should whitelist specific sites on which this extension can work. That ensures the extension is only running where you need it and provides some protection in case the extension goes bad and starts tracking you.

You can do this in Chrome’s extension settings. Click the menu icon in the top right corner, and select More Tools > Extensions. Scroll down to AudioPick and select “Details.”

You can change the site access permission, and add as many sites as you’d like:

whitelisting allowed sites

Alternatively, you can set it to “On Click,” which will disable permissions until you click the icon in the menubar.

RELATED: How to Control a Chrome Extension's Permissions

Profile Photo for Anthony Heddings Anthony Heddings
Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
Read Full Bio »