[Top 10] CS2 Best Audio Settings and Tips That Give You an Advantage

Hear Hear! Listen for the soundwaves of success!


Counter Strike 2 is a competitive tactical shooter that requires patience, aim and teamwork in order to achieve high ranks. Your timing with peeks and movement all depend on what information you can surmise from your surroundings and communication from your teammates. The best way to gain more information in a round of Counter Strike is to pay attention to certain audio cues that have different meanings. 

Here are the best settings to improve your hearing in Counter Strike, as well as tips on how to use audio to your advantage:


10. Bomb/Hostage Audio Settings

One of the most critical moments in Counter Strike is when the bomb timer is ticking or when a hostage has been secured. Defending players must race against time in order to prevent an explosion or a hostage getting away without losing their lives to the remaining enemies. 

When there are only 10 seconds left on the timer, a different beep than usual will start playing from the bomb and this is an extremely important audio cue that you cannot miss. Without a diffuse kit, a counter terrorist will only be able to successfully stop the bomb from exploding if they start the diffuse interaction BEFORE the 10 second warning begins.

In Counter Strike Global Offensive, this audio cue took the form of a specific music that would play. This has changed in Counter Strike 2 and the new bomb will start making high pitched  and rapid paced beeping noises that are clearly different from the usual tick of the bomb.

Make sure you can hear the distinct audio change by raising the volume of the 10 second timer in settings:

  • Go to your audio settings
  • Raise the 10 second warning volume to at least 30%


9. Jumping Noise

Jumping can be used for a variety of different situations in Counter Strike, whether you are trying to peek an angle from cover or gain higher leverage in positioning. However jumping can also be a telltale audio cue that many players tend to miss when they are first starting out. 

For those that have played FPS games before, footsteps are an obvious audio cue for the location of enemies and the amount of targets in the area. In a very quiet and still moment, many Counter Strike players will “walk” to diminish the noise they make from footsteps. But it is impossible to muffle the sound of a player landing from a high enough position or from the descent of their own jump.

When you are holding a position, lurking behind enemy lines, or searching for remaining enemies, it is essential to not only listen for footsteps but to also listen for the sounds of jumping. Some players may accidentally jump or fall off of an object, and noticing this could be a critical play for your team to win the round.

Jumping noise can inform you of:

  • Enemy location
  • Amount of enemy players
  • Possible enemy round plans


8. Crisp EQ Profile

Audio settings in Counter Strike 2 can be make or break depending on your budget for a headset. If you have a high quality audio device you may be able to get away with leaving your settings alone, but it doesn't hurt to use professionally recommended settings. 

The EQ profile in CS2 can change what type of frequencies you will hear clearly, which in turn may benefit the audio information you receive during a game. By changing your EQ profile to the setting “Crisp” you will enhance mid to high frequencies which may apply to audio cues such as flashbangs, grenades, foodsteps, or guns firing. 

You may need to turn your master volume down slightly, as enhancing those frequencies can be unpleasant in some situations. However, this will give you the edge on information because you will be able to communicate to your teammates with certainty that you heard an audio cue. 

Change your EQ profile by going to this menu in settings:

  • Go to audio settings
  • Change EQ Profile from “Natural” to “Crisp”
  • Try out each option to see which is the best fit for your audio device

Check out this tutorial on how to use CS2’s improved audio quality to your advantage:


7. Flashbangs

Those who have been playing FPS games for a long time know the pain of the flashbang grenade and how deadly its effects can be. Losing all vision and hearing for a few moments can cost your life, and in Counter Strike this can destroy your economy. However, flashbangs can actually have an extremely beneficial meaning when looked at from the perspective of audio cues.

Flashbangs can tell a Counter Terrorist where Terrorists are about to be, because the enemies are attempting to enter new territory by flashing out due to their lack of information. A smart defensive player can immediately call out a play by listening where enemies are flashing and how frequently. If only one flash is thrown, it may be a fake-out so hold the line and keep listening.

If multiple flashes are thrown the defending player can beckon their teammates for help, because it is likely that multiple enemies are on their way quickly. 

Listening to the sounds of flashbangs gives you an advantage because:

  • Turning away from a flashbang will protect you from its blinding effect
  •  Listening for the cue of the capsule hitting the ground will give you time to look away
  • Indications of a team rushing one site
  • Communication of utility use is important for team success 


6. The Sounds of the Bomb

Although it is important to know when the ten second timer has started, it is even more important to hear when the bomb is planted and where it is located. Both teams trade roles from offense to defense when the bomb is planted, as the terrorists defend their plant and the counter terrorists attempt to diffuse.

For all players, no matter where they are, the bomb’s timer will activate as an audio cue the moment it is planted. Anyone who is not already at the bomb site will need to immediately rush to join with their team members in diffusing or defending. For the counter terrorist team it is especially important to be aware of the bomb’s location by listening for the beeping noise it emits.

You can also listen carefully for the telltale sound of a terrorist actually planting the bomb, because there will be a distinct sound as if there is a person typing on a phone. Catch a terrorist off guard by waiting for them to plant, and then attacking as soon as you hear them begin to plant. This is the best case scenario in a round for counter terrorists, because now you have an enemy down and the bomb down in an inconvenient location!

  • Make sure your Bomb/Hostage Volume is set to at least 25%
  • Practice finding the bomb without looking away from enemy positions
  • Listen for the plant noise to catch enemies red handed


5. Footsteps

Everybody knows that footsteps are an important audio cue to pay attention to in Counter Strike, but there are different ways to interpret certain situations where footsteps are heard. Calling out footsteps is extremely important to the success of your team because having more information on the enemy will dictate your strategy within a round.

Hearing multiple different sets of footsteps closing in on your position is a sign to call your teammates over, because you are about to be rushed by multiple enemies. Only hearing one set of footsteps may indicate that there is a lurker, or possibly a fake-out. Discovering a solo player on one side of the map can help you predict the position of their teammates, and allow your team to prepare for them to execute one of the sites.

Footsteps can be silenced by holding the keybind for “walking”, which enables all players to move around the map extremely quietly and slowly. If you are on the terrorist team it is highly important to be aware of your own footsteps and to “walk” when you are getting closer to a bomb site. Even one loud step may alert an enemy to your position, and it can be difficult to hold out until the last moment when your team executes a plan. 

In the image above:

  • The terrorist team is walking silently towards the B bomb site on the map Mirage
  • This location is where your team should start walking, because a counter terrorist player may be listening for footsteps through the walls next to Catwalk
  • Every terrorist player must walk silently until they reach the windows in order to fool the enemy players


4. Smokes

Smoke grenades are arguably the most useful utility grenade in Counter Strike 2 because their updated graphics are extremely difficult to see through and the clouds are much larger. Smoking off a certain location allows you to focus your attention elsewhere, because it is normally unlikely that an enemy will push through a smoke screen. 

In order to use audio to your advantage when it comes to smokes, you will need to pay attention to the sound of them dropping and the timing of their arrival. Smoke grenades have a very distinct *plink* noise as they clatter to the ground, and they will make several noises depending on how many times they bounce. By listening for this telltale noise, you can alert your teammates early and give them more time to rotate towards you.

Identifying smoke grenades landing near you can allow you to predict how many enemies are going to arrive, and their locations can tell you if a full plan is being executed. If multiple smokes start bouncing around in different locations, it's time to cry for help because you are likely being rushed by the entire enemy team.

Rather than observing for smokes: 

  • Listening for them allows you to maintain your cover safely
  • You can give important information to your team without dying or revealing your position 
  • Each player can only carry one smoke grenade, so listening can determine how many enemies are approaching before they are visible


Watch this video to learn more about smokes in general:



3. The Decoy

One of the most infuriating moments in Counter Strike is when you find yourself fooled by the cheapest grenade in the game: the decoy. The decoy grenade emits the sound of gunfire for a certain period of time before exploding, which can lure players away from a bombsite or towards a trap. The gunfire will imitate the shooting noise of whichever primary weapon the thrower was holding, or the noise of their pistol if they have no weapon. 

In order to defend against a decoy, you will need to be extremely aware of any other noises around your location, as well as the timing of the weapon fire. If a decoy is thrown early in a round, it can be easy to distinguish it from actual gunfire. Most players will not randomly shoot their guns unless they see a target, meaning that if your team has not confirmed visuals on an enemy it is probably a decoy.

If a decoy is thrown, then the enemy is attempting to divert your attention away from where they are actually going. Decoys only last for 15 seconds and then explode, which means that you can discern between a decoy and real gunfire by observing and listening for player action. 

The decoy grenade is soley based on audio and:

  • It can distract or even damage enemies
  • It will divert attention by creating noise
  • It may reveal the type of weapon the thrower has equipped


2. The AWP

The most terrifying noise you will hear in Counter Strike 2 is the imposing sound of the AWP sniper rifle, which is the most powerful weapon in the game. As one of the most expensive weapons the AWP generally will not show up in a match until a few rounds have passed, but it is very dangerous once it does. A skilled player can eliminate multiple enemies in a short period of time from long distances with this rifle, so it is important to listen for its unique firing sound.

Oftentimes the only way you will know an AWP is in play is if the player holding it actually fires a shot. Unless you have an AWP of your own, hearing this noise is critical for your proceeding actions. Immediately the location that the AWP was heard from is no longer peekable without flashbangs or smoke grenades, and you must execute extreme caution in areas with long range of sight. 

Announcing the presence of an AWP to your team is extremely important, because:

  • It will dictate their movements and strategies throughout the rest of the round 
  • If the bomb is planted and a terrorist has an AWP, it is essential for the living counter terrorists to be aware of it
  • Peeking long ranges of sight can be deadly


1. Reloading

In any first person shooter reloading is an essential part of gameplay that prevents players from unfairly shooting at everything, all the time. Timing your reloads in Counter Strike 2 can be advantageous if you are able to reload behind cover, rather than out in the open where you are vulnerable. Newer players might not know it, but reloading a weapon creates noise in the environment and players can use this to capitalize on their enemies weakest moment.

When any player reloads their weapon, no matter which weapon or how many bullets are left, the weapon will make a distinct reload noise. This noise can be heard by you and your teammates, but it can also be heard by enemies. If you are in a gunfight with an enemy, you can listen for their weapon reloading and use those few seconds to push them in their weakened state.

You can also use the sound of reloading to your advantage by waiting for an enemy to reload, and then migrating positions to get a better angle. Doing this can also confuse the enemy, giving you multiple advantages in a gunfight.

  • Counting bullets is also helpful against weapons like the AWP, which only carries 5 shots in a magazine.
  • If you hear an AWPer fire 5 shots in a row, then you are clear to move safely while they reload!


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As a philosophy student I have pumped out more written projects than I can count, all the while gaming on my second monitor.
Gamer Since: 2006
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Devour
Top 3 Favorite Games:Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Bioshock Infinite

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