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Setup Surround Sound in Windows

Buying speakers and a good sound card is the first step to getting surround sound on your Windows PC. However, even after you place the speakers and install the drivers, you still need to set up your surround sound system.

Learn how to set up surround sound in Windows.

Surround sound and windows

Achieving surround sound on Windows PC requires certain hardware and software. First, you must invest in 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. With 5.1 surround sound you get the following speaker configuration:

  1. Front Left
  2. Front Right
  3. Front Center
  4. Left Rear
  5. rear right
  6. Subwoofer

A typical 7.1 surround sound configuration adds two more speakers, offering you:

  1. Left Front
  2. Right Front
  3. Center Front
  4. Left Rear
  5. Right Rear
  6. Side Left
  7. Side Right
  8. Subwoofer

Second, you need to install drivers for your sound card and install all drivers and software that came with your speakers. Once you’ve positioned your speakers correctly, you are now ready to set up surround sound in Windows.

Note that even if you have surround speakers, there are times when you may need to revert to stereo, mono, or some other sound configuration. Many people report that it is better to hear sound when using a stereo system when the original sound source was recorded in stereo.

It’s the same with other configurations. Knowing how to set up surround sound in Windows will allow you to quickly switch arrangements for the best sound on your PC.

How to set up surround sound in Windows

Please note that the following procedure works in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10. Start by clicking Start – Control Panel – Hardware and Sound – Sound. You can also just click Start, type sound, and press Enter.

In the Sound window, find your sound device, click it once, and then click the Configure button. Please note that you can select multiple audio devices here. Make sure the audio device you are about to configure is set as the default audio device.

In the Speaker Setup window, note the types of configurations your speakers can handle. In our example, the audio device on our test computer supports stereo and 5.1 surround. You can have more or less depending on your hardware.

Select the desired configuration in the Audio Channels field. Please note that the image on the right changes depending on your choice. For example, selecting “Stereo” will delete all but two of the displayed speakers. 5.1 adds four additional speakers and 7.1 adds five additional speakers.

Make sure your speakers are turned on and the volume is high enough for you to hear. Click the Test button and listen to Windows test each speaker in your setup.

Pay attention to the speakers that are not producing sound, and adjust the volume accordingly so that you can comfortably hear the sound coming from each speaker.

When done, click Next. Here you can further customize your speakers by telling Windows which speakers are present in your setup.

Generally, there is no need to make any changes here unless you have a specific reason to mute, turn on or off certain speakers.

When done, click Next. This window applies most of the same logic as the latter. Unless you have a specific reason to turn off these speakers, leave all checked and click Next.

The final screen informs you that the setup is complete. Click the Finish button and you are done with setting up surround sound in Windows.

Windows allows you to customize speakers when setting up surround sound. Using the built-in audio utility in Windows, you can test, enable, disable and reconfigure surround sound.

If you later decide to make changes to the surround sound system, run the utility again and make the desired changes. Enjoy!

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