How To Set Default Audio Output To 5.1 Surround Sound In VLC Player


VLC player supports 5.1 surround sound provided you’ve got the right hardware and drivers installed. You also need your source audio/video to be compatible with 5.1 audio output. Given you have all that and VLC doesn’t automatically play audio in 5.1 and instead just defaults to your stereo speaker settings you’re not going to be able to get much benefit out of your superior speakers. The good news is that you can force VLC to always play audio in 5.1 surround sound. To set this as a default, you have to go digging a little deeper into VLC’s preferences. Here’s what to do.

We assume you have the correct hardware and drivers installed for this. This includes having the correct sound card and its respective driver installed as well.

Open VLC player’s preferences and scroll down to the very bottom. On the left you will see two options under the ‘Show settings’ section; Simple and All. Select ‘All’.

vlc pref

The Preferences window will change to show advanced preferences for VLC player. In the left column, expand the ‘Audio’ section and then expand the ‘Output modules’ section.

Select ‘DirectX’ under ‘Output Module’ and in the right pane, select your output device. It must be the device that supports 5.1 output. It can be the inline speakers or it can be speakers you’ve hooked up via Bluetooth. Select them and from the ‘Speaker configuration’ drop-down select ‘5.1’.

vlc advanced pref

Save the new preferences and you’re done. When you play audio/video in VLC player, it will play the associated audio in the 5.1 channel.

We should mention that you might not see DirectX when you expand Output module and instead see Dolby Digital. This, again, depends on your hardware and drivers. In that case, select Dolby Digital and follow the rest of the process as explained above.