How to Enable 5.1 Surround Audio on VLC

If you enjoy quality audio while watching movies and shows with VLC media player, you can enable 5.1 surround audio on VLC.

VLC is one of our favorite free and open-source media players. In addition to playing virtually all media file types, the app includes advanced options, and you can enable 5.1 surround audio on VLC.

And VLC supports multiple audio outputs you may not be aware of. So, if you have a compatible sound card and speakers, and your OS is configured to play 5.1 surround sound, you’ll want to set VLC to play audio accordingly.

Surround sound is especially enjoyable while watching movies and shows. If you haven’t configured VLC on your computer to play surround audio yet, here’s how to do it.

How to Enable 5.1 Surround Audio on VLC

To enjoy the benefits of 5.1 surround sound from VLC, you need a compatible sound card with updated drivers and a 5.1 speaker setup. You must dig into settings to enable surround sound, but we’ll guide you. In addition, we’ll explain how to configure Windows to play surround audio so you have the best experience.

Note: We’re using VLC on Windows for this article, but the steps to enable 5.1 audio in VLC on other desktop platforms are virtually the same.

To enable 5.1 audio on VLC:

  1. Launch the VLC app on your desktop.
  2. Select Tools > Preferences from the top toolbar. Alternatively, press the Ctrl + P keyboard shortcut to open Preferences directly.5.1 Surround Audio on VLC
  3. Under the Show settings section in the bottom right corner of the screen, select the All option.
  4. Click to expand the Audio section from the left panel.
  5. Double-click the Output modules option in the Audio section in the menu.
  6. Select the DirectX option from the Output modules list.5.1 Surround Audio on VLC
  7. Choose your output device (sound card) in the DirectX audio output configuration screen.
  8. Click the dropdown next to Speaker configuration and select the 5.1 option.5.1 Surround Audio on VLC
  9. Click the Save button to confirm the audio configuration changes are enabled.

Once you have configured 5.1 surround audio on VLC, launch a movie, show, or 5.1 surround sound music to verify the new audio settings work. You may need to restart VLC to ensure some systems’ surround sound settings work. Also, ensure your sound card and OS are configured for 5.1 surround audio.

It’s also important to mention that VLC also supports 7.1 speaker configurations. The steps are the same; only you select the 7.1 option from the Speaker configuration section instead.

Enable 5.1 Surround Audio on Windows

You need to ensure your system’s audio is set to play surround audio to get a benefit from VLC doing it. So, for example, on Windows enabling or verifying the system audio is straightforward.

To enable 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound on Windows:

  1. Right-click the Speaker icon in the notification section on the taskbar and select Sounds from the menu.
  2. Select the Playback tab at the top, choose your audio device, and click the Configure button.
  3. The Speaker Setup wizard will launch. Choose 5.1 (or 7.1) Surround under the Audio channels section. Click the Test button to play a tone in each connected speaker. Note that you can click any speaker on this screen to test it.
  4. After verifying your speakers are correctly connected and have the proper placement, click Next.5.1 Surround Audio on VLC
  5. Customize your speaker configuration to ensure they are correctly placed in your location.
  6. Choose full-range speakers if present in your speaker setup, and click the speakers you want to test. If everything sounds good, click Next to complete the Speaker Setup wizard.5.1 Surround Audio on VLC
  7. After you complete the Speaker Setup wizard, click Finish to apply any changes you made to the connected speaker configuration.
  8. Windows 11 also includes the Speaker Setup wizard, but getting to it is slightly different.
  9. Press the Windows key, type Sounds, and select the Change system sounds top result.
  10. Select the Playback tab, choose your output device, and click Configure to work through the Speaker Setup wizard.5.1 Surround Audio on VLC

Once you set up or verify the 5.1 surround audio speaker configuration, open a movie or show with VLC to confirm it works correctly.

Also, it’s important to note that your speaker setup needs to be compatible with surround audio. For instance, you need a left, right, center, surround-left, surround-right, and subwoofer for 5.1 audio.

Managing Audio Configurations

If you want more from your movie and other audio experience on VLC, enabling 5.1 surround sound using the above steps will get you going. Using surround sound with VLC and proper speaker setup makes viewing content more immersive and enjoyable.

You can do more with VLC than watch movies or listen to music. For example, check out how to trim videos for clips or move a video frame-by-frame with VLC. Or, you might want to use VLC to convert a video file to an MP3 for audio-only files.

You might also want to learn to manage system sounds on Windows 11, or if you make too many changes, you can reset audio settings and start over. Also, in addition to using surround sound on your PC, you can enable Spatial Audio on Windows for enhanced quality.

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