Surround sound brings a deeper, richer audio listening experience to your computer. It's more immersive, much like the difference between going to a movie theater and watching a movie on a TV at home. You can test and configure your surround sound speakers on Windows to ensure that you have the most optimal listening experience.
Test Surround Sound in Windows 7
Windows 7 supports surround sound in either 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. The 5.1 speakers have a six-speaker configuration which includes the left, center and right front, the subwoofer and the left and right rear. The 7.1 speakers have all the speakers that 5.1 speakers do plus a side left and side right speaker. Turn your speakers on and adjust volume on them to a midrange setting before beginning the test.
You can set up and test surround sound in Windows 7 by clicking the "Start" button and then selecting "Control Panel" followed by "Hardware and Sound." Choose "Sound" and then click the "Playback" tab. Select your surround-sound speakers and then click the "Configure" button below them. Click the 5.1 or 7.1 surround option and then click the "Test" button to test your surround sound. Listen closely while testing the sounds to make sure that sound is coming from every speaker. Take note of any speakers that sound distorted or have no sound at all. Click the "Next" button and follow the on-screen prompts from Windows to configure each individual speaker.
Test Surround Sound in Windows 8/10
Windows 8 and 10 also support surround sound from 5.1 and 7.1 speakers. You can configure and test surround sound in Windows 8 and 10 by clicking the "Start" button and then typing "Sound" into the search bar. Click "Sound Control Panel" and then choose the "Playback" tab. Right-click your surround sound device and then select the "Properties" option. Click the 5.1 or 7.1 surround-sound option – depending on what speakers you have hooked up – and then hit the "Test Sound" button to begin playing sound through your 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. Listen closely to every speaker to make sure the sound isn't distorted, and then click the "Next" button to proceed with setup. Follow the Windows on-screen directions for configuring your surround-sound speakers, and then open the "Properties" section again to test your sound.
Test With Other Software
The Windows 7, 8 and 10 built-in surround-sound testing software works pretty well, but it's limited. You can download other programs to test your surround sound more thoroughly and also set advanced settings. There are a variety of surround-sound testing software options available including PassMark SoundCheck, AAC Multichannel Playback Test and Dolby Test Tones. You can download and use several of these to ensure that your surround sound is set up optimally across a variety of sound situations, including playback of music, movies and video games.