How to Convert Stereo to 5.1

Written by mike wallace
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How to Convert Stereo to 5.1
Stereo systems with multiple speakers surround you in sound. (Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Home-theatre systems use an audio format called "surround sound" to immerse the audience in a three-dimensional soundscape. This is usually accomplished with five or more speakers, plus one subwoofer. Such a system is referred to as a 5.1-speaker system. To get the most out of such a system, the audio source should have 5.1-audio tracks, but this isn't the only way to get surround sound. A normal, two-speaker stereo source can be converted to surround sound using Dolby Pro Logic, a decoding method built in to surround-sound systems.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Stereo RCA cables
  • Stereo audio source
  • Surround-sound receiver with 5.1 speakers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug the stereo RCA cables into the stereo audio source "Audio Output" ports. These ports are colour-coded white and red, and so are the RCA cables. Plug the white plug into the white port and the red plug into the red port.

  2. 2

    Plug the other ends of the RCA cables into the surround-sound receiver's "Audio Input" ports. There are multiple sets of audio inputs, with each set containing the name of a component (e.g., DVD player, cable box, CD player). You can choose any set of free inputs you like; just remember the name of the set. Like before, plug the white plug into the white port and the red plug into the red port.

  3. 3

    Press the "Input" button on the receiver remote to cycle through the sets of inputs. The LCD screen changes to reflect which input is active. When you see the input into which you have plugged your stereo source, proceed to the next step.

  4. 4

    Press the "Program" or "Surround Sound" mode to cycle through the surround-sound processing programs. Select "Dolby Pro Logic" or "Dolby Pro Logic II" to convert the stereo sound into surround sound.

  5. 5

    Press "Play" on your stereo source.

Tips and warnings

  • Your receiver might have multiple types of Dolby Pro Logic. For example, you might have Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic Sci-Fi and Dolby Pro Logic Game. They all convert a stereo source into surround sound, but each sounds slightly different. Try them all and choose the one you like best.

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