No audio using HDMI


I’m setting up RetroArch on a new Intel NUC8i3 and I’m not getting any audio output in RetroArch using HDMI. Windows system sounds and audio from other emulators (PCSX2) work fine, however.

I used remote desktop to do some testing from my desktop, and when I used that RetroArch had audio using the remote audio device it creates, so it seems to be just the HDMI audio output that is not working. I’m using xaudio for my Audio driver, although I tired dsound as well. I don’t have any more info to provide right now, looking for troubleshooting advice.

Running RetroArch in fullscreen (not windowed) at 1080p on 4k display

have you tried this?

No audio over hdmi is a frequent issue. If you search for it, you should find a bunch of threads with troubleshooting tips and solutions.


I don’t have any left/right options for Audio device. When I use the Audio device setting it brings up an on-screen keyboard, the same as this: How to choose Audio Device?

I’ve discovered 2 things:

  1. There’s no audio when I launch RetroArch from my front-end (LaunchBox) however, if I open some other Content once RetroArch is running, it will have sound when it opens. Example: Launch Super Mario World directly: ‘retroarch.exe -L core.dll Mario.smc’ - no audio. Then bring up RetroArch menu, Load Content, open ‘Mario.smc’ - then audio works.

  2. Audio works (right away) if I use Windowed Fullscreen instead of true Fullscreen. However I can’t use this config because of performance issues as described elsewhere.


Some info from logs:

[INFO] XAudio2: Requesting 64 ms latency, using 64 ms latency.
[ERROR] Failed to init XAudio2.
[ERROR] Failed to initialize audio driver. Will continue without audio.

[ERROR] failed_to_start_audio_driver
[ERROR] failed_to_start_audio_driver


Sounds like you’re missing the DirectX libs. Try running this web-installer from Microsoft:


That’s already installed. Audio works if I open content from within the RetroArch UI. It’s only when I launch content along with RetroArch (command line) that it fails. It also only fails in Fullscreen.


Ok correction to OP: dsound does in fact work, but it slows down emulation significantly and sounds awful.

Update: I have a working theory. It only fails when using fullscreen, when using HDMI for audio, and when launching content along with RetroArch. I hypothesize that the problem is that when lauching RetroArch the HDMI output is changing to a new resolution and context and at that moment the HDMI audio device is not available as a result. This would explain why it works if you open content directly from within the RA UI that audio suddenly works, because then the video output doesn’t have to go through any changes because its already in the state it needs to be in.