How to Get Surround Sound Working on Kodi (5.1/7.1)

I did a tutorial recently on how to get Plex installed on Kodi, but the one issue I had was getting surround sound output to work. I did some research and found a method that works on every device I’ve tested it on, so I’ll walk you through that.

First, makes sure your device is connected to your surround sound receiver using an HDMI cable. If you happen to have an older receiver that only has optical audio input, this will still likely work, but it’s not guaranteed as older receivers may not support the surround sound audio file.

  1. With Kodi opened, go over to the “System” tab and open “Settings”
  2. Open “System”
  3. Go down to “Audio output” and go into that
  4. You want to make sure the “Number of channels” says 2.0. This is important.
  5. Check “Enable passthrough”.
  6. If your device is capable of Dolby Digital and DTS, enable both of those.
  7. Back out of the settings to the Kodi homescreen so you can test it out.
  8. Open up a show or movie that has surround sound.
  9. To make sure that your receiver is getting that signal passed through, use your cursor and select the sound icon.
  10. Make sure “Enable passthrough” is selected.

If you have audio coming through the surround sound receiver, you are all set. If you don’t, try another video with a different type of surround sound. If it’s still not working for you, head over to our forums.

Shane Paris

Shane Paris

​Shane is the founder and Technical Editor-in-Chief here at That’s It Guys. He enjoys Star Trek, 80s and 90s action movies, and everything tech related. Shane is highly skilled with computer hardware, software, and electronics.

  • Terry Clevinger

    I have followed all of the tutorials, and most say the same thing about 2.0, passthrough, etc. I have a top of the line Denon AV receiver and get surround using my Fire Stick with Amazon, Netflix, etc., but Kodi only gives me PLII. That goes for everything on Kodi. Unless there is some little trick that no one is posting, I find it hard to believe that anyone is actually getting Dolby Digital 5.1, 7.1, etc.

    • I get Dolby & DTS passthrough from both Android boxes I have. A quick Google shows this issue is common with the Fire Stick, so that’s most likely your issue. I had problems way back with my 1st gen Fire TV and XBMC (old Kodi) with getting surround sound to actually pass the DTS/Dolby to the receiver, but I was able to get it working with the settings shown above, plus turning on Digital Plus over HDMI.

      Post #8 on this thread shows their working settings on their Fire TV, so maybe that will help:

      • The Argentinean

        i get DD and DTS 5.1 through optical but no DD+ 5.1., only stereo. Any fix?

        old reciever has no HDMI

        • DD+ won’t be supported on older receivers. Just uncheck that box on the Fire TV.

    • Haizum74

      Change audio output settings to WASAPI HDMI Denon (it should show your Denon amp) . Speakers to 5.1. Scroll to ‘allow pass through’, select that then below it change ‘pass through output device’ to WASAPI HDMI DENON and now any video in 5.1 will work. 2.0 vids are just that, 2.0.

      Also select the ‘DTS capable’ etc whichever is relevant.

  • Mike Rastenis

    I have two Raspberry Pi’s– both running the same (latest) Kodi versions. 5.1 surround sound works fine on one but not the other. I’ve swapped them between 5.1 systems and the one just doesn’t work. I just tried the above with no luck. Any ideas?

    • I would reinstall Kodi and re-input the settings work here. If that doesn’t work, try resetting the OS back to factory and reload everything back on the unit. Maybe something got corrupted on an SD card or it’s just a fluke.

  • Ae Tee

    Once again, excellent tutorial. Short and to the point. Subbed to your youtube channel.