Whenever you upgrade to the latest Windows 11 / Windows 10 version, chances are, there will be some compatibility issues and problems, usually with the drivers of the previous version since, those drivers were specially designed for the earlier version of your Windows 10. That’s when you may come across the 5.1 channel surround sound not working issue in your Windows 10 PC. In this case, you can only hear sound from the front speakers and not the rear ones. However, we have a few workarounds for you that may possibly fix the issue. Let’s see how.
Method 1: Change the Default Audio Format to 24/96
If the audio output on your PC happens through S/PDIF and if you are also having issues while trying to turn on the Dolby Direct Live, this method is specifically useful for those users. Let’s see how to fix the issue.
Step 1: Right-click on Start menu and select Run to open the Run command.
Step 2: In the Run command search box, type mmsys.cpl and hit Enter.
Step 3: It opens the Sound Control Panel. Now, under the Playback tab, right-click on the default sound device of your system and select Properties.
Step 4: In the Properties window, select the Advanced tab and go to the Default Format section.
Now, select 24 bit, 96000 Hz(Studio Quality) from the drop-down and click on Test to check if it’s working.
Once done, press Apply and then OK to save the changes and exit.
Now, restart your system and the 5.1 channel surround should be working now.
Method 2: Enable Speaker Fill
This method is applicable for those Windows 10 versions that have the Enhancement tab present in their audio device properties. This method will basically enhance the rear speakers that create a surround-sound like effect using virtualization. Let’s see how to enable the speaker fill:
Step 1: Press the Win + R shortcut key on your keyboard to open the Run command.
Step 2: Now, type mmsys.cpl in the Run command search box and press OK.
Step 3: In the Sound Control Panel, under the Playback tab, select the default audio device and click on Properties at the bottom.
Step 4: In the Speaker Properties window, go to the Enhancement tab and unmark the box next to Disable all sound effects.
Now, just below it, you can see a list of options. Scroll through and check the box next to Speaker Fill.
Note: – If it does not work, Just check Bass management option this time and try again.
Method 3: Reinstall the Default Audio Driver
Step 1: Press Win + X keys together on your keyboard and select Device Manager.
Step 2: In the Device Manager window, expand the Sound, video and game controllers section.
Right-click on the Windows default audio driver and select Uninstall device.
Step 3: In the Uninstall Device pop-up, click Uninstall again to confirm.
Step 4: Now, go to the Action tab on the top and click on Scan for hardware changes.
On doing this, the default audio driver will reinstall and re-appear again in the list.
*Note – In situations where Windows 10 does not download and install the default audio driver automatically, you would need to download the driver from the onboard sound card manufacturer website and then install it.
Now, the 5.1 surround sound channel should be working normally.
Now, restart your PC and the 5.1 surround sound feature should be working. You should now be able to hear the sound from the rear speakers.
However, if none of the above method works, the only option left would be to invest in a latest technology-based speaker (possibly based on Atmos or Sonic), or purchase a 5.1 sound card that’s compatible with Windows 10. But, if all fails, all you can do now is to rollback your Windows 10 to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 build.