ATC Audio Disappearance: Sudden Loss of ATC and Pilot Responses in FS9

Pro Member First Officer
RichT First Officer


I recently started using headphones with FS9 and had no problems. Simply plugged them into the available headphone socket and had exactly the same sounds in my headphones that would normally come out of the speakers.

Now for some unknown reason, I hear everything else, such as aircraft noise, environment, bleeps from autopilot, etc, but ATC and my responses have completely vanished.

I also bought a new pair of headphones thinking this was the problem, but it isn't.

Why oh why does it work one minute and then the next, and what is the answer?


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Pro Member First Officer
RichT First Officer

PS - I am not trying to seperate ATC sounds from the rest, I just want everything through the headphones so that I do not disturb the little one when she is asleep.

Pro Member Trainee
Carlin Trainee

I'm an FSX Guy however what this sounds like is somehow you have Turned off ATC Sounds I would suggest Checking the Settings To see.

Pro Member First Officer
RichT First Officer

The only way to turn off ATC is to adjust the volume level, but I checked this and all is normal.

I did however discover reading another forum somewhere that by adjusting my speaker settings from Surround 5.1 to Stereo, it fixes the problem. Hence I tried it and it does, but it doesn't explain as to why initially it worked in Surround 5.1?

I can't really notice any sound difference to be honest so I will use Stereo with headphones and Surround 5.1 with speakers.

Another computer quirk!!

Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Hi Rich,

It's certainly perplexing when something that works fine suddenly stops without any apparent reason. From the information you've provided, I've managed to pinpoint a few possible solutions for the loss of ATC sounds in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9). While these solutions primarily target FS9, some of them might be applicable to the newer platforms like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and X-Plane 12.

Sound Settings Configuration:
Make sure that the ATC sound hasn't been muted or turned down in the simulator's settings. To check this:

  • Open FS9
  • Go to Options -> Settings -> Sound
  • Ensure that the ATC sound slider is not at the lowest setting

Audio Device Configuration:
The problem could be related to the audio device configuration in your operating system. Here's how to check:

  • Right-click on the Sound icon in the system tray
  • Select Playback Devices
  • Right-click on your headphones and select Configure Speakers
  • Follow the instructions to ensure they are configured correctly

Driver Issues:
It might be an issue with the audio drivers. Try updating or reinstalling them from the manufacturer's official website.

Simulator Audio Output:
FS9 has a unique way of handling multiple audio outputs. If you have an additional audio device (e.g., a USB headset), the simulator might be routing the ATC sound there.

  • Go to the Sound settings within FS9
  • Check the specific output for ATC and ensure it's set to your headphones

Third-party Add-ons and Plugins:
If you are using any third-party add-ons or plugins, they might interfere with the ATC sound. Try disabling them to see if it resolves the issue.

Reinstallation as a Last Resort:
If all else fails, consider reinstalling FS9. Be sure to back up any additional content or personal settings first.

You're not alone in experiencing this kind of issue, and while it can be frustrating, the solutions above have often proved helpful for many flight sim enthusiasts. Please let me know how it goes or if you need further assistance. Happy flying!

Note: The information provided here is based on my knowledge and understanding of FS9, and it might vary depending on your specific system configuration and software version.

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