Problems setting up 7.1 surround on PC


Hi everyone, first post here, I apologize in advance for any unruly conduct.
I have an Onkyo TX-NR636 AV receiver which served me well for the better part of a decade.
I recently moved and set it up in my living room with 7 speakers and a subwoofer and hooked it up to a smart TV (ARC+CEC), while the computer was set up in my den.
The whole living room setup works fine and dandy and all speakers play as they should, I checked and configured them in the speaker setup menu of the AV.
I still want to occasionally play some video games on the big screen, so I bought a long HDMI 2.0 cable to connect the home theater to the PC as an additional screen when I feel like it.
I messed around with the Windows sound settings and configured the output as 7.1, but didn't quite get the results I wanted, so I checked out the troubleshooting guide in the interactive AV manual on Onkyo's site and it told me to change the listening mode.
After an hour of trying all the modes and configurations, here are my results: all surround modes will either play 3.1 or 5.1.
"All Channel Stereo" mode will use both sets of surround speakers as redundant front speakers and all speakers will play the center channel.
"Direct" and "Multichannel" modes will use surround speakers, but not back/height speakers.
Mind you, the fact nothing plays out of the back/height speakers doesn't mean nothing plays at all, the sound is diverted to the surround speakers.
I'm beating my head against the wall trying to figure out if it's a receiver problem or a Windows problem.
If there is anyone with experience in this kind of setup, I'd love to hear your advice.

TL;DR, the 7.1 that should come out the PC actually gets converted somehow to 5.1.
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, Onkyo TX-NR636.

Thank you.


Distinguished Member
I'd not expect games to be encoded with discrete 7.1 audio and it is more likely to be Dolby Digital 5.1 in nature if it actually has a discrete multichannel soundtrack? Other than this, you ideally want the PC to bitstream the exact audio the content is encoded with as opposed to setting the PC to output 5.1 or 7.1 regardless of the original encoding. Configuring the PC and its graphics card to correctly bitstream audio isn't really a matter for this particular forum, but maybe someone more informed on such matters can interject and advise?

Use Dolby Surround Upmixing (DS)) or DTS Neural:X upmixing. THese modes will create pseudo back surround channels for audio sources devoid of discrete back surround channels. These modes will engage all your speakers regardless of the format being received or the number of discrete channels present in that audio.

If the PC is outputting 5.1 then that is either what the audio was encoded with or that is what you've configured the PC to output. It has nothing to do with the AV receiver or the mode you've set it to.

How is the PC connected to the AV receiver? Note that optical is limited to 5.1 and if passing the audio through the TV via ARC then this too will be limited to 5.1. You'd need a direct HDMI connection from the source to the AV receiver in order to convey 7.1 or you'd need an eARC enabled AVR and TV if wanting to passthrough 7.1.
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Cleer Audio speaker + HiFi Rose Streamer Reviews & Movie/TV Show talk
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom