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sound only plays through 2 of my speakers (5.1 surround sound)

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It doesn't matter what site (tested hulu and youtube) my sound only plays through just 2 of my speakers, the front left and right. All other programs (WMP, Winamp) work just fine.

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No one else has this issue?

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That is normal. The websites that you are going on are basically to lazy to care about supporting SS so they only code it into 2 speaker sound. So your system is only using two speakers so everything does not sound bad. That is why when you play a movie (with SS) in Windows Media Player you can here the SS. So if you play a game with it or anything like that just make sure you enable 5.1 SS settings. How ever (and ever so sadly) most online experiences will only be through two speakers. There are programs and some sound cards that will converts 2.0 into 5.1 but they only work half the time and can sound pretty bad.

Sorry Mate AJF

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Solution for most windows systems (though audiophiles may cringe)

  • Reference attached picture for a visual aid
  1. Go to: Control Panel -> Sound
  2. Select Tab: Playback
  3. Click: *your playback device* (this likely marked as default)
  4. Click: Properties (bottom right)
  5. Select Tab: Enhancements
  6. Click Checkbox: Speaker Fill
  7. Click: OK

Speaker fill does an ok but not great job of upmixing stereo sound - it uses 3D effects rather than just spreading left/right to the back channels and ignoring the middle channel, so you end up with muddier sound.


If that works for you, bravo - below this line includes info on what is going on with this problem.


Briefly: Youtube passes stereo in a channel encoded format rather than a stereo encoded format - both contain two streams of audio, but the former maps the streams to specific speakers, while the other differentiates between left/right. How the left/right streams are mapped to the systems speakers is up to the audio chipset driver.

Those not using a discrete soundcard, or XP, may run into the issue of your driver not having the spread stereo option built in since a bunch of the onboard audio chipsets have yet to release "surround stereo" for their Windows 7 drivers.

"Is there a way to spread the Youtube audio". Not easily - you could rip the video to your computer and play the file through something that offers remapping (such as Media Player Classic), but as far as just having the audio spread automatically? Not easy unless either Youtube changes their encoding for stereo files and/or Adobe includes the option to port audio through a 3rd party audio module (thus allowing remapping).

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