Default Audio Track VLC Player Changing – 2 Ways

Why Change Default Audio Track in VLC

If you have 20 video files with 3 different audio tracks you can change default audio track in VLC. Example: you want the second to be default each time you open the file or you will need to switch it manually. There are two possible example cases.

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Track naming example 1

Some studio translation 1 - [Italian]
Some other studio translation 545 - [English]
2 voice LP - [Narrator]

The first track is Italian language, the second is English language and the third track is two-voice narrator, while “LP” letters are initials of the main narrator. The default audio track that always will be played is “Italian” (since it is the first one), but you want to watch the video with “English” language track.

Track naming example 2

Track 1
Track 2
Track 3

There are only Track numbers without description, but you know that the first one is Italian, the second one is English and the third is Narrator.

The difference between both examples

The first example has string description of each audio track with the language in the brackets and the second does not. Meaning that VLC will use the default track naming of Track 1, Track 2, etc. for the second case.

Checking Audio Track Naming in VLC

1. Open the video file in VLC.
2. Follow the steps:

Right click inside VLC window => Audio => Audio Track => <Track Names>

Change Default Audio Track in VLC – String Language Track

We will change default audio track in VLC for the first case, when there is a string description for each track including language in brackets. In our case it will be “English”. Take a note of the brackets “[]” – there should be language written, like “[English]”. This is what you will need to write as a string. The words before the brackets are a description of a track and are not needed for the setting.

1. Open VLC
2. Follow the steps:

[Tools] => [Preferences] => [Audio]
        Preferred audio language: English

It does not matter if you write it lower or upper case (english / English) – it will work the same.
Since the second audio track has string description of “Some other studio translation 545 – [English]” of all the 20 video files, it means that each time you play a video like that it will play the audio track with “[English]” in its description. Does not matter which number of a track is it: Could be fourth or seventh. Same will apply if you open any other video file and there will be “[English]” in its audio tracks. For example, the third audio track is: BlaBlaBla – [English]. Will be played as default.

You do not have to write the full “English” string, you can use as little as 2 characters from the beginning of the string, like: en. Writing only “e” will not work. More than 2 characters are also working well: “eng”.

On the other hand, if you want to play the third track that has a string description of “2 voice LP – [Narrator]”, you will need to put the preferred language string of “Narrator” or as little as “na”.

If you have several audio tracks with the same languages, but different voice actors like:

Jess - [Italian]
Sean - [English]
Alexis - [English]
2 voice - [Narrator]

Putting “English” as your preferred language will play the second audio track by default: “Sean – [English]”. If you want to play the third track by default “Alexis – [English]”, you will need to follow the steps in the next section.

Change Default Audio Track in VLC – Track ID Number

Update: In current versions of VLC, this method no longer works

If you have Track numbers in VLC instead of language names in brackets or you have several audio tracks of the same language, you will have to change the default audio track ID.

1. Open VLC.
2. Follow the steps:

[Tools] => [Preferences]
    "Show settings" in the left bottom corner
        (*) All
On the left pane select [Input / Codecs]
On the right pane you will see => Audio track: -1

Description of the “Audio track” setting numbers:
“-1”: VLC default setting – when you open a video file, VLC will play the first audio track.
“0”: VLC will play audio “Track 1” by default.
“1”: VLC will play audio “Track 2” by default.

7 thoughts on “Default Audio Track VLC Player Changing – 2 Ways”

  1. This method does not work on the latest version of vlc 3.017.4 ( win7) as on 06/07/2022.
    I have tried :
    Preferred audio language: en
    also tried:
    input/codecs> audio track : 1
    also tried:
    input/codecs> Audio Track ID: 2
    Restarted vlc after every single setting change (to take effect), but none work.
    When changed “input/codecs> audio track : 1” and “Audio Track ID: 2” , the vlc audio track became “disabled” hence no sound after restart vlc.
    Nothing works!
    Or Why the programmer of vlc can’t just let it resume whatever track used from previous file played?

  2. oh ya. i missed out this:
    My mp4 files come with 3 audio tracks,
    audio menu > audio track > Disable, Track1-[Chinese], Track2-[English], Track3-[mul]

    I tried all available method from internet to change the audio track to either English or multi language track, but exhausted all way, nothing work.

  3. Yes, looks like you’re right. Setting Audio Track ID doesn’t work anymore. Though setting track by matching a string does. Currently, don’t have any other solution.

  4. I tried wikiHow website first, they only had the first example, I needed the second one shown above, well worth the read, cheers! 🙂

  5. Using the first method daily on the latest VLC version.
    Not all the video files has string description of audio tracks.
    If you see: “Track 1”, “Track 2”, then your files does not and you’re out of luck.
    On other cases, recheck your settings.

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