FIX: 5.1 channel surround sound not working on Windows 10/11

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Key notes

  • Having the wrong settings or outdated audio drivers will cause the 5.1 surround sound to stop working on Windows 10.
  • Change your audio frequency and bitrate to more appropriate values will easily fix the problem.
  • You should also update all of your audio-related drivers. Use a specialized driver updater to download the latest versions.
  • If none of these solved your problem, a future Windows 10 update will surely contain 5.1 surround sound fix.
fix 5.1 channel surround sound problems

If you like to enjoy multimedia content then you probably have a 5.1 surround speaker system.

These speakers are perfect for all fans of multimedia and it’s a big problem when 5.1 channel sound isn’t working on Windows 10, so let’s see if we can fix this.

Users report that they can only get 2.1 audio, although 5.1 audio worked fine with previous versions of their Windows.

In addition, users are getting Failed to play test tone errors when trying to test their audio device. So what can we do to fix this issue?

How do I fix the 5.1 channel surround sound on Windows 10?

1. Change the sound bit rate and frequency

  1. Right-click on the speaker icon on the right of your Windows taskbar.
  2. Select Sound, then go to Playback.
  3. Right-click on your speaker and select Properties.
  4. Click the Advanced tab.
  5. Expand the format list and change the bitrate to 24bits and frequency to 96000Hz.
  6. Click Ok. Now your 5.1 audio should work properly.

This applies if you’re using Realtek Sound. To fix this, you need to open Realtek Sound manager and set the sound bitrate to 24bits and frequency to 96000Hz for 5.1 audio to work properly.

If this option doesn’t work, you might want to try changing the bitrate and frequency until you find the one that works for your computer.

2. Update your audio driver

  1. Press the Win Key + S and search for Device Manager.
  2. In the Device Manager, go to your Audio inputs and outputs.
  3. Right-click on your speaker and select Update driver.

  4. Now, expand Sound, video and game controllers.
  5. Repeat the process for the devices you find there.

If you’re using Realtek audio, you might want to download the latest drivers or any version of drivers higher than

Some users report that this was helpful to them. If you’re not using Realtek audio, it won’t hurt that you try updating your audio driver as well.

Update drivers automatically

The process of manually updating your drivers is tedious and requires a bit of background knowledge. Installing the wrong driver or an incompatible one will make the situation worse.

Therefore, we recommend checking out a specialized tool that updates drivers automatically, so you won’t have to go through the trouble of doing it yourself.

One noteworthy tool that helps you keep your drivers in check is Outbyte Driver Updater. It is very straightforward and lightweight.

You just have to let it scan your drivers. Upon your approval, it will fix any damaged or missing drivers and install new versions for the outdated ones.

Another thing that may be of real help is that you can set it up to regularly scan and update your drivers.

It doesn’t use too many resources, so you can let it run in the background while you take care of other tasks.

Get Outbyte Driver Updater

3. Update your Windows 10

  1. Press the Win Key + S and type Settings.
  2. Go to the Update & Security.
  3. Select Windows Update, then Check for updates.
  4. Let Windows search and install the latest updates.

Microsoft constantly works at improving their Windows OS and fixing all bugs they find. If your surround sound isn’t working, it might be a problem from their end, unrelated to you.

In this case, you just have to wait for a Windows update that will automatically solve the problem, so be patient.

We hope these solutions worked for you. If none of these solutions were helpful to you, make sure that you keep your Windows 10 up to date and wait for the official solution from Microsoft.

Please leave us feedback regarding the subject or any other helpful solutions that know of in the comment section below.