Get 5.1 surround sound in ubuntu with Realtek ACL662

Just switched over to Ubuntu as my primary OS and been working (hard) get to get everything working properly. Still worth it thought.

Anyway, one of the more difficult problems was getting 5.1 sound out of the sound card in Ubuntu. The motherboard has a built-in 5.1 sound card, the realtek ACL662. Some people have little trouble enabling surround sound but there seems to be an issue with this card. I managed to find a solution by merging a few ideas together.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. By default, Ubuntu is only set to run 2 sound channels (left and right). To enable 6 channels (5.1) we need to edit the sound config file. Theres an excellent tutorial for doing that here. But put simply, edit /etc/pulse/daemon.conf and uncomment the line "; default-sample-channels = 2", changing it to "default-sample-channels = 6"
  2. The most important part for this card. Edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base and add "options snd-hda-intel model=3stack-6ch-dig" to the end of the file.
  3. Restart the machine.
  4. Open sound preferences (System > Preferences > Sound)
  5. Make sure that the ALSA mixer is selected.
  6. Bring up the sound mixer.
  7. Hopefully, the “Front, Center, Surround & LFE” sliders will be available. If not try to add them by clicking on Properties.
  8. Make sure all sliders are on full.
  9. Still on the mixer, go to the ‘Options’ tab and set ‘Channel mode’ to ’6ch’.
  10. Ok everything and close the mixer.
  11. To test, at the command line try "$ speaker-test -Dplug:surround51 -c6 -l1 -twav"

Hopefully that’ll do it. If not, there are a tonne of other guides if you search for “Ubuntu 5.1 sound”. Checkout the forum post that helped me find this solution here, at the Ubuntu forums.

If options 7 and/or 9 aren’t available to you, I’d guess the fix hasn’t solved your problem.