I just bought a 5.1 surround sound speaker set for my computer in my bedroom. The rear speakers are next to me in bed while the front speakers are at the other end of the bed at my feet. While I enjoy the surround sound during movies that support 5.1 sound, I would like to have my rear speakers working when listening to podcasts, or other 2.1 channel sound. How can I do this? When I enable "Speaker Fill" in the Realtek Hd Audio manager the sound only comes out of the front and center speakers with a few background noises that come out the rear ones. But since my ears are closer to the rear speakers, I'd rather have the sound come out of them.

Let me know of any ideas!

Hmm seems like the only option is to set the rear speakers to "Front Speakers" and change it to stereo in the Realtek HD audio. But still that take alot of steps and it doesnt not use the center speaker Thanks


15 Answers 15


This might not be exactly what you're after, but there is a Winamp plugin for Windows Vista/7 that provides various options for upmixing stereo signals to 5.1 (and higher), you might just be able to make out the configuration options from this blurry screenshot:

VL Sound 5.1 Setup

  • Kewl plugin, it did exactly what I wanted!! I'm going to wait and see if some one has a more universal solution, if not you will definitely get the bounty. THanks! Feb 3, 2010 at 4:58
  • Glad it helped, it does seem like there should be a broader solution, I'll keep looking Feb 3, 2010 at 12:27
  • @bobobobo It’s not the function of driver, but the app. Performing such functions in the driver would make playing 5.1 sound impossible.
    – kinokijuf
    Mar 2, 2012 at 22:54
  • FYI that plugin link is broken. Got an alternate link?
    – Daniel
    Dec 19, 2015 at 16:26

In my case, I was having the same problem, my music and most videos were on 2.1 and I only heard 2 of the 5 speakers. Videogames and some videos had 5.1 so no problem.

If you're running Win7 and you have no other than the default sound driver, there is an option "Speaker Fill" that solves all problems!

First, right click on the sound icon in the task bar (right lower corner), choose "Playback Devices".

If you have only one sound output, it'll be the only one on the list. If you have more than one then, while playing some music, you'll notice one of the device's volume bar moving, that's the one you should select.

Select your audio input and click on "Properties". Then go to "Enhacements" tab. There should be a checkbox with the "Speaker Fill" in the middle. Select it and press apply.

Worked for me perfectly, 5.1 sound on 2.1 music =D

  • This worked for me. Uninstall the realtek driver and use the windows default.
    – Gerbus
    Sep 8, 2014 at 4:39
  • This does get some audio playing on my rear speakers but it's too "tinny/compressed" it doesn't seem to be doing a 1:1 mirror of the left front channel to the left rear channel that I'm looking for. I imagine it's applying some "effect" to the audio or giving it an echo.
    – CTS_AE
    Apr 21, 2018 at 6:43
  • My device had a property "environment" at the same place and I had to change it's setting to "Room"
    – dube
    Oct 27, 2018 at 10:36

Usually with a 5.1 speaker system on the Realtek HD,
you should get an upmix of your stereo and 2.1 audio.
Check this AVSForum discussion on Disable stereo upmix on Realtek HD Audio?

The Reaktek control app has options to select the Audio I/O for various number of channels. Maybe you need to change this to 5.1?

If you are using Windows Vista, i came across this weird discussion on
Vista and Realtek HD audio cannot provide surround sound

  • I have "speaker Configuration" set to 5.1 Speaker. I do not see any options for "upmix", can you point me in the right direction? thanks! Jan 19, 2010 at 5:08

It's completely non-software, but what about getting an audio source switch from a place like Radio Shack and have the front and rear speakers go through it between the computer and you, so that when you're doing a non-5.1 sound activity, you can manually just switch the speakers to put the "front" near you?


If you use the realtek, download the realtek Driver http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsCheck.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=14&PFid=24&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

From the Audio Manager/Control Select the speaker tab. On the right hand side, there are six icons of connector Right click on pink connect icon. Select connection configuration. Select Rear Speaker Right click on black connect icon. Select connection configuration. Select Front Speaker Front Rear Sound will be switched


Intro: I spent several hours over the last couple days trying to figure out why there is no sound coming from the REAR speakers when playing 2.1 sources and such (streaming videos or music from online). 5.1 sound works in video games and DVD/Bluray, etc. There was no SPEAKER FILL option in the most recent REALTEK drivers.

Quick rundown of my problem: 5.1 audio only worked for 5.1 output sources, not for everything.

Interesting details: CONTROL PANEL > HARDWARE AND SOUND > SOUND, click Speakers (typical output source.... where the sound comes from), then the Configure button.. By default, it's set to Stereo (I just built a new computer, so this is where I was sitting). Set it to 5.1 Surround and it WORKS.... for only one source (I would steam a channel on DI.fm and if I reopened that stream, it would revert back). If I reopen anything or change a sound setting, it'll completely stop or it'll revert back to stereo sound. VERY clear difference, as with stereo, the volume out the front and center speakers is way louder than on 5.1, even on the same volume setting (I was using 50%).

I would change it from 5.1, open a source, change it to Stereo, open a source. There was a clear difference, and as said before though, it only works for ONE source. Keep in mind, Windows has an audio driver that has the SPEAKER FILL option, but as you're all probably aware, it's garbage. VERY quiet!

SOLUTION: CONTROL PANEL > HARDWARE AND SOUND > SOUND, click Speakers, then the Properties button, click the Enhancements tab (by default, Immediate mode is selected.... I left it checked, default position). Scroll down to the bottom of the list and check DTS Connect. Apply.

You can even use the Room Correction enhancement to further produce a more desired volume from your speakers based on your configuration!

Fixed the issue. I can now restart my computer, play multiple sources, etc, without having to change anything in the sound options ever again!

MOTHERBOARD: Asus Maximus VI Hero w/onboard Realtek HD audio.


If you are using a Creative sound card you can turn on the CMSS Technology. http://www.creative.com/soundblaster/technology/cmss-3d/

It claims to upmix stereo into 5.1 sound, and can be enabled in their creative audio control panel. Once I enabled it, I got output from all speakers for all my MP3s.

It disables itself automatically, if the input itself is 5.1.

  • link doesn't work
    – Cold_Class
    Mar 25, 2019 at 22:34

If you use ffdshow audio decoder for another programs, I found the easy way to expand. Just use custom matrix and choose 3/0/2 - 5channel -> custom matrix and write 1 to all rows and columns 1 only BackL BackR's. I use this watching tv on my dvb card software. Really works!

screenshot of mixer settings


I had a different problem where speaker fill WAS working for all windows sources like iTunes, Media Player, Winamp, etc however Pandora via Chrome was not filling for some reason.

I found this solution: https://plus.google.com/+UweTrottmann/posts/NkJtxz7iHMP

  1. Go to chrome://plugins/
  2. Expand the "Details" [+] button
  3. Disable the flash plugin that is NOT installed in your windows directory
  4. Restart chrome and enjoy speaker fill from Pandora

enter image description here


IF you want total control over Windows Audio Mixer I recommend to use free open-source Equalizer APO (with Peace GUI). With this app you will be able to equalize audio and upscale stereo to 5.1, 7.1 and what ever you want. You can just copy one channel to another with scripting (yup! this soft can script audio channels! BRILLIANT!) Link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/

  • This was the only solution that worked for me in Windows 10 with almost all the apps (Firefox, Windows Media Player, ecc.); but sometimes VLC refuses to open a stereo output for MP3, while it does for videos.
    – virtualdj
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:12

The freeware audio player foobar2000 has an add-in that allows you to upmix to up to 18 channels called MatrixMixer.

MatrixMixer also has a more general package, but it appears to not have been updated in quite some time, so your mileage may vary.

  • There's a newer foobar plugin called Channel mixer which does the same
    – nixda
    Dec 24, 2013 at 4:31

If you have a creative audigy soundcard, in CMSS 3D/ CMSS Modes on audio console application see if you have "Stereo Surround" option available https://i.sstatic.net/fKaj4.png(i have it on audigy support pack 4.0 drivers from daniel_K), this is better than those CMSS modes, in the way that it actually duplicates the channels on the rear speakers, instead of doing some funky stuff that the CMSS modes do, which i find doesn't sound too good, sound get distorted and is like, .. metallic.

The good thing of this it applies to all programs on windows. And real 5.1 sources aren't affected. The realtek "speaker fill" option i have found (at least on my motherboard) it doesn't sound too good, like the cmss modes, so i would prefer to do it manually on each application(or try other solutions like enhancements tab mentioned on other posts):

If you use media player classic (MPC is also included on CCCP and other codec packs) you can also edit the matrix in options, it's easy https://i.sstatic.net/YVDvD.png , and doesn't affect 5 channel sources.

On foobar, on preferences/playback/dspmanager there is a "convert stereo to 4 channels", just activate it and it just works (i don't think it uses center speakertough , you may need to download a matrix dsp if you need that one).


There are lots of various ways. I've tried too many to remember and found most of them lacking greatly in the accurate reproduction department. If you're looking for "more noise" almost any of the above will work fine. I you're looking for more of an audiophile solution to using those speakers, it can be done but isn't exactly for the faint of heart.

To scare you off right up front, take a look at the screenshots below. Those are my mixer and patchbay setups. Yes, the mixer is playing two channel stereo at the moment, although it is impossible to tell. Anyway, start with 3rd order Ambisonics (jackd, ambdec, and a mitt full of plugins). Setup for a 7.1 system, even if you only have 5.1. You can try to figure it out from the pictures, but it's just all too much to describe here.

What's all this get you? Well, stereo. That's the point. You end up with decoupled speakers, and a wider, deeper, and far better integrated image with a much bigger "sweet spot". I find it much less tiring.

Non-Mixer strips and Patchage patchbay.


I need to recommend Voicemeeter. Visit this site and use it to clone front speakers to side/rear speakers. It works as virtual audio device, so it works for every audio players.

  • 1
    It works, but needs to keep the Voicemeeter app loaded; EqualizerAPO is better.
    – virtualdj
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:14
  • EqualizerAPO was the Solution for me maxedtech.com/… Copy: MIX=0.5*L+0.5*R C=MIX SUB=MIX SL=L SR=R Dec 10, 2020 at 14:29

THE cheapest solution (albeit most probably not the best one):


  • this will make the 5.1 audio source, become a 2.1 audio source. bad suggestion Feb 3, 2010 at 21:12
  • This is merely a splitter for a standard stereo source. Feb 3, 2010 at 22:15
  • Thinking out of the box is not a bad idea.
    – andySF
    Jan 15, 2013 at 16:44
  • Actually this could be used to upmix 2-channel source to 4-channel. Most probably amplifier will add those center/low-freq channels internally, still depends on amplifier. However, there should be more than just a link... Dec 24, 2013 at 2:15

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