How to Enable Surround Sound on Windows 10

Are you tired of not having the best sound quality? Consider how to enable surround sound on Windows 10. Not only can it improve your listening experience, but it’s not too complicated.

Once you follow the steps, you can use surround sound whenever you want. Then, you can enjoy your favorite songs and movies on your Windows 10 computer.

But why is surround sound so important and how do you enable it?

What Is Surround Sound?

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Surround sound uses multiple audio channels to produce sound from all directions. The technology dedicates different channels to a speaker. Because it changes how the sound comes out, it affects how you perceive the sound.

Without surround sound, the audio will play from the speakers, and you can tell where the speakers are without seeing them. The sound will come from screen channels in the center or on the left or right.

However, adding surround sound can make it feel like the audio is in the same room as you. You can hear the sound from any direction on a two-dimensional plane.

Surround sound can also help with the tonal quality and dynamic range of a recording. It can work at all volumes, so you don’t have to blast your music or audio.

You can choose from true and virtual surround sound.

True vs. virtual surround sound

When you think of spatial sound, you probably think of true surround sound. It uses a lot of speakers in particular locations to make the audio feel live.

On the other hand, virtual surround sound can produce similar results with fewer speakers. Virtual surround sound can be an excellent option when using your Windows 10 computer.

Why Should You Use It?

Using surround sound can vastly improve your audio experience. If you want to watch a movie, you can feel like you’re in the movie with the characters.

When listening to music, it can be like a live concert in your home. If you want to record and edit audio, having surround sound can help you picture the final result.

You don’t need a huge audio system, so you can get similar results from a desktop or laptop. And you can use surround sound whether you want to consume audio or work with it.

If you know how to enable surround sound on Windows 10, you can do a lot with it. Depending on the system you use, you may not even need expensive speakers.

How to Enable Surround Sound on Windows 10

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Whether you want to work with music, movies, or other forms of audio, surround sound is a fantastic tool. You can alter how the audio sounds using your computer.

If you want to use true surround sound, you will need a set of speakers. That way, you can set them up to get the right audio effect.

Consider how you can enable surround sound using speakers.

Check your drivers

First, you should verify that your computer’s drivers are up-to-date. You can use a tool like DriverFix to check each of the drivers and make sure there aren’t any problems.

Once you download the file, you can scan for drivers that may cause an issue. Finally, click on Update Drivers to switch to the newest versions.

Having the newest drivers can keep your computer running smoothly as you enable surround sound. It can also keep your computer safe from some viruses and other issues.

You should also make sure you have the latest Windows 10 update. That way, you can further ensure your computer is safe and secure.

Recommended Read: The Latest Windows Update

Update Sound Card Drivers

You can also update your sound card drivers either as part of DriverFix or separately. Doing so individually can help you verify your sound card drivers are the most recent version.

Take the following steps to update your sound card drivers.

  • Push the Windows key and the R key, which will open Run.
  • Select Devmgmt.msc then click on OK, which will bring up the Device Manager.
  • Click on the option for Sound, video and game controllers.
  • Find the sound card that connects to your surround sound setup.
  • Right-click on the sound card and click on Update Driver.
  • Next, select the option to Search automatically for updated driver software.
  • If Windows needs to install them, it will do so. After you finish, you can close the Device Manager.

You can also check for updates by going to the website of the sound card manufacturer. If you still don’t find anything, odds are your sound card drivers are up-to-date.

Configure surround sound

Once you verify your sound card drivers, you can configure surround sound in your settings. Follow these steps to set it all up.

  • Go to the Windows system tray and find the speaker icon, then right-click on it.
  • Use the Sounds option to open the Sound Control Panel.
  • Open the Playback tab in the sound settings.
  • Find the sound card that uses surround sound from your list of devices.
  • Click on that device and then click Set Default.
  • Next, click on Configure then find the Audio Channels list and click on 5.1 Surround.
  • Select Next then go to the Customize your configuration window.
  • Check all of the boxes under Optional Speakers.
  • Use the Next button to keep going.
  • Check the box by the speakers in your setup.
  • Click Next to get a screen that shows the configuration is complete.

Finally, select Finish to save your changes. Then, you can close the Sound Control Panel.

Test the Surround Sound

Now, you’re ready to do a surround sound test. If you closed the Sound Control Panel, you will need to reopen it using the same steps from the previous section.

  • Go to the Playback section in the Sound Control Panel.
  • Next, click on the card you use for surround sound and select Configure.
  • Verify that your speakers are on, and check that the volume is at a good level.
  • Select Test to play sounds to check that your speakers are working. You can also choose a video or audio clip of your choice.

If you aren’t getting the sound, a few things could be the cause. Make sure you have set your audio up correctly. If not, you can change the settings and do another surround sound test.

Recommended Read: What to Do if You Can’t Hear Sound


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While the previous steps for how to enable surround sound on Windows 10 can work for some speakers, you may still have questions.

Consider the following issues and their answers.

How to enable 7.1 surround sound on Windows 10?

To enable 7.1 surround sound, you will need to have the Windows 10 Creator update. You can follow many of the same steps as with enabling general surround sound.

However, instead of going to the Playback tab, you can go to the Spatial sound tab. Find the drop-down menu and click on Windows Sonic for Headphones.

Now, you can check the box to Turn on 7.1 virtual surround sound. This is an excellent option if you don’t have an expensive speaker system.

As long as you have headphones, you can turn on the surround sound. Then, you can use Windows Sonic for headphones to get a similar effect.

How to enable surround sound for headphones on Windows 10?

You can follow the same steps as for enabling 7.1 surround sound. Doing this is a great way to take advantage of surround sound anywhere. First, make sure that you connect your headphones of choice as your main audio device.

That way, your computer can direct sound to your headphones instead of through the internal speakers. You should also do a surround sound test to make sure the headphones are working and giving you the sound you want.

If not, you may need to configure your audio settings. You can follow the same steps as before, but you may want to experiment. Then, you can find the settings that work for you.

How to enable virtual surround sound on Windows 10?

Virtual surround sound works similarly to Windows Sonic for headphones. However, you can still use virtual surround sound when listening through speakers.

Follow these steps.

  • Open the Sound Control Panel and go to the Spatial sound tab.
  • Click on the drop-down menu and select Windows Sonic for Headphones.
  • Make sure you turn on 7.1 surround sound.
  • Go back to the main menu of the control panel and head to the Playback tab.
  • Verify that your speakers are the default sound device.

Now, you can do a speaker test to see if everything works. You should be able to hear the audio as if it’s coming from throughout the room. If not, go through the steps for enabling surround sound and fix anything that isn’t right.

Do you need special speakers or headphones?

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You don’t need to use any special speakers or headphones when setting up surround sound. If you’re using speakers, you will need a few of them, and you’ll need to set them up throughout the room.

You can use wired or wireless speakers as long as you can connect them to your computer. Make sure you have enough speakers to fill the room.

When using headphones, you can also use any headphones you have. Because headphones use virtual surround sound, you don’t have to worry about having an expensive pair.

Is 7.1 surround sound better than 5.1 surround sound?

When deciding on the type of surround sound to use, you will probably come across 7.1 and 5.1. Both have unique benefits, and neither is always better than the other.

Consider the pros and cons of each to help decide which is right for you.

Using 5.1 surround sound is more common, so it can be easier to get help with issues. If you need to fix something, odds are you can find the answer online.

However, 5.1 surround sound uses fewer speakers than 7.1. If you need to fill a large room with surround sound, 7.1 is the better option.

But 7.1 surround sound can be harder to troubleshoot and fix. It’s newer than 5.1, so you may not find as many answers to your problems.

Using 7.1 surround sound will offer more sound, though, so it can be worth it. Think about your technical experience and how big your room or office is.

How do Windows Sonic and 7.1 differ?

Windows Sonic isn’t quite as clear as 7.1 surround sound. While Windows Sonic uses 7.1 technology, it can also depend on the headphones you use.

Make sure you get a good quality pair and that you connect everything correctly. That way, you can make the most of the technology.

Dolby 7.1 surround sound is also compatible with more things than Windows Sonic. You can get a richer sound quality from 7.1, and you can use it on more than just your Windows 10 computer.

Should you use headphones or speakers?

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When determining how to enable surround sound on Windows 10, you should consider both headphones and speakers. Headphones make it easy to move your setup anywhere, especially if you have a Windows 10 laptop.

You also don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone around you. But you can still get the same audio experience as with speakers.

On the other hand, speakers are great if you want to share music or audio with someone else. As long as you have a quiet space to listen, you can set up your speakers and maintain the setup over time.

Sound On

Whether you want to listen to music or watch videos, you should know how to enable surround sound on Windows 10. You can follow most of the same steps to enable different types of surround sound.

Then, you can use the technology with your speakers or headphones. Keep these steps in mind next time you want a more immersive audio experience.

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