For months now, I’d been reading about a new Windows Store app called the Realtek Audio Console. The earliest mention I can find online is in April, 2018, when it shows up in Dell’s Driver pages as an exe file. I’ve seen some discussion of this on TenForums on and off for months, and read about a beta version in May. But only recently has one been able to visit the Microsoft Store and get a response when searching for this item. When I found myself able to grab it earlier this week, I glommed onto it. Just now, I had trouble getting to it in the Store but was able to use the afore-linked Dell download to get to the page.
Finding this UWP program can be tricky, but here’s proof positive that it’s there for the downloading. It’s also free.
A Few Hurdles Before Putting Realtek Audio Console to Work
Once I found the UWP app and got it to my PC, I wasn’t immediately able to get it to install. And once I got it installed, I couldn’t get it working right away, either. There are some complications that must be resolved beforehand.
Problem 1: Realtek Audio Console Won’t Install
Turns out there are two kinds of Realtek audio drivers. First and most common there are Realtek HD Audio Drivers, which can show up as generic “High Definition Audio Device” or as “Realtek High Definition Audio” in Device Manager. Unless you see “Realtek(R) Audio” in Device Manager, in fact, you’ve most likely got the HD Audio Drivers installed. They don’t work with the Realtek Audio Console, so they must be uninstalled and a good set of compatible drivers installed in their place. These compatible drivers are called UAD, short for Universal Audio Drivers, and they’re the second, less common kind of Realtek audio drivers. Fortunately, the Realtek installer removes the old drivers before it installs the new ones — WARNING! Requires two reboots to complete — so I provide a link to a known, good working set at the excellent French driver repository Station-Drivers.com.
Solution 1: Install the Realtek HD Audio UAD Drivers
Follow the preceding link, and click the Download button on that page to download the drivers. Run the installer and wait through the lengthy process as it removes the old drivers, reboots, installs the new drivers, and reboots again. Normally, I don’t bother with this time-wasting procedure but this time we need to flush all evidence of the old drivers before installing the new ones. Why not let the installer do what it was built to do, for once? It works! You will have to navigate into the directory where you unpack the driver files and run Setup.exe, though.
Problem 2: Realtek Audio Console Says “RPC can’t connect”
On one of my PCs after I was able to install the Realtek Audio Console, when I tried to launch it the program never ran. Instead I got the spinning balls and a message that read “RPC can’t connect.” Further research indicated that the program wasn’t able to communicate with certain key system services using Remote Procedure Call (RPC) technology. But the Console can’t work without the proper (UAD) drivers in place, it seems, so that problem should take care of itself once the right drivers are in place.
Solution 2: Takes Care of Itself
After another reboot following the successful install of the UAD drivers, however, I got a post-bootup pop-up from the Notification Center saying “Realtek Audio Console installed.” And then, of course, the Realtek Audio Console (RAC) launched properly from the Start menu (type “real” into the Cortana search box and it should come right up).
I’ve not yet mastered all the ins and outs that this console offers, but it has already audibly boosted my audio quality.
I’m a bit of a device enthusiast, especially for audio stuff. It may go back to my first job after college when I worked in a US Government recording studio, transcribing captured German audio recordings from antique media (rubber records, anyone?) onto tape. I’m always glad to get more tools to help me work with sound on my PC, and this one seems like a pretty good one. It’s certainly more capable than the audio controls that the High Definition Audio drivers of all flavors support. I’ve done some sound shaping on my speaker’s output and have boosted the sampling rate for digital audio on my desktop system to the max. Result: much cleaner, more vibrant and listenable sound in my office. Good stuff. Check it out!
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.