5.1 Channel Surround Sound not Working Fix in Windows 10 / 11

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.


Desktop Start Right Click Run


Step 2: In the Run command search box, type mmsys.cpl and hit Enter.


Run Command Mmsys.cpl Ok


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.


Sound Control Panel Playback Tab Default Speaker Right Click 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.


Speaker Properties Advanced Default Format 24bit 96000 Hz Quality Apply Ok


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.


Run Command Search Mmsys.cpl Ok


Step 3: In the Sound Control Panel, under the Playback tab, select the default audio device and click on Properties at the bottom.


Sound Control Panel Playback Tab Default Speaker Properties


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.

Speaker Fill 1 Min

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.


Win + X 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.


Device Manager Sound, Video And Game Controllers Realtek Audio Right Click Uninstall


Step 3: In the Uninstall Device pop-up, click Uninstall again to confirm.


Uninstall Device Uninstall


Step 4: Now, go to the Action tab on the top and click on Scan for hardware changes.


Device Manager Action 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.

1 thought on “5.1 Channel Surround Sound not Working Fix in Windows 10 / 11”

  1. It’s an issue with Chrome, Firefox and Edge. They are newer browsers. The only solution that was easy was to reload I.E, 11. I listen to Radio Paradise. So I was able to use their legacy website. The other option was to load the url into Media Player. I also got 5:1, but no song info. 

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