How to Fix: Asus Xonar Won't Play 5.1 Surround Sound (Win10)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Fred W. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Thanks for your article on how to play games in 5.1 surround sound. I own the Asus Xonar DX (same as you) and when I first set it up, I could play games in 5.1 surround sound using my optical (toslink) cable. I knew this was true because my Harmon Kardon 144 receiver would say 'Dolby Digital' along with each speaker box activated on the display. This meant the receiver was receiving a true 5.1 signal. Recently, Windows 10 updated and now the only sound signal I get on my receiver is Dolby Pro Logic, which is a 2 channel signal up-converted to a virtual 5.1 surround sound. While it still sounds good, it is not true 5.1 surround sound, especially when playing games on the PC. I have done everything I can think of to make this work but my Asus Xonar sound card won't play in 5.1 surround sound. Can you please help? This is driving me insane! "

My response:

I have had this issue before and from what I've read online, it has to do with the Asus drivers being quirky.

I asked Fred if he would like me to connect to his system using my remote support service, and he agreed. Below I'll describe what I did to make it work.

How to Fix: Asus Xonar Won't Play 5.1 Surround Sound (Win10)

The Asus Xonar drivers are built on the C-Media sound chipset. As many users have pointed out in forums, the Asus drivers for the Xonar DX (and similar family) are very out of date and incredibly buggy.

The folks over at maxedtech.com have a more recent driver that is developed by C-Media, and compatible with the Asus Xonar hardware. These drivers have been modified to make it work with the Asus sound cards and are referred to as the "Uni Xonar Drivers". I personally use these drivers and haven't had any issues.

To force your Asus Xonar card into 5.1 surround sound in Windows 10, do the following:

  1. First, you must uninstall the current Asus Xonar drivers on your system. To do so: click Start, then go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features, then locate the Asus Xonar drivers and uninstall. Optionally you can download the Asus Xonar Drivers for Windows 10, run the installer again and then choose "Uninstall" during the setup. You will likely have to reboot the machine; as such, I suggest you bookmark this page (press CTRL + D on your browser now) so that you can come back to it after the reboot.
     
  2. Next, download the C-Media compatible drivers (also known as the "Uni Xonar Drivers") from maxedtech.com and run the installer.

    At the time of writing, I am using Windows 10 Version 1803 (Build 17134.407) and installed the "UNi Xonar W10 1825 v1.81a r2" package and it works great.
     
  3. When the Uni Xonar Drivers Setup window appears, choose the type of installation you want. I opted to go with the "C-Media Panel with GX Enabled" because I found the Asus Audio Center would not let me set 5.1 surround sound properly. Moving forward, this guide will explain the settings to use in the C-Media Panel.
     
  4. Once the Uni Xonar Drivers are installed, click the up arrow near the clock to expand the active tasks running on the system. Locate the blue @ symbol which is representative of the "C-Media Panel - Uni Xonar Audio", then double click that icon to bring up the main window for the sound card settings.
     
  5. The "C-Media Panel - Uni Xonar Audio" window will appear. Under "System Input" (near the top), specify 8 channel audio. Under the heading "S/PDIF Output" (near the bottom), select "Dolby Digital Live", then click "OK".
     
  6. Next, right click your speaker icon near the system clock, then select "Open Volume Mixer". The "Volume Mixer" window will appear; under the "Device" heading, select "Speakers (Asus Xondar DX Audio)". IMPORTANT: Do not select "S/PDIF Passthrough Device" or your audio will NOT be in 5.1 surround sound! The 5.1 Dolby Digital signal is actually mapped through the C-Media Panel interface (which redirects to S/PDIF, also known as "toslink" or "optical cable").
     
  7. Next, click Start -> Control Panel -> Sound. The "Sound" window will appear; on the "Playback" tab, right click "Speakers" and select "Configure Speakers". On the first page, select "7.1 Surround Sound" as your speaker setup (even if you have a 5.1 surround setup), then click "Next".
     
  8. On the "Customize your configuration" screen, un-check mark the "Side pair" setting (which would then technically downgrade the 7.1 surround sound to 5.1), then click "Next". On the "Select full range" page, ensure that "Front left and right" and "Surround speakers" are check marked. Click "Next", then "Finish".
     
  9. Go back to the "Sound" window (as described in Step #7), then right click the "Speakers" section and select "Test". You should hear a chime in different speakers that represent your 5.1 surround sound setup.
     
  10. Go play a game and enjoy true 5.1 surround sound!

I hope that helps!

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if you need help setting up your Asus Xonar audio card into true 5.1 surround sound, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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