Activate spatial 7.1 audio in your stereo headphones in Windows 10

Do you want to use 7.1 spatial audio with all stereo headphones in Windows 10? The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes the new Windows Sonic audio system that simulates spatial 7.1 audio, even up and down the listener, with any surround source.
1: What is spatial sound, and why is it fashionable?
Since Windows has stopped being an operating system to become a service, each update is a surprise box. Windows 10 has released many hidden novelties that not everyone knows, such as spatial sound, which allows you to simulate spatial 7.1 sound in all stereo headphones.

In the Windows 10 Creators Update update last spring, Microsoft released a new sound system called Windows Sonic. But it was with the recent Windows 10 Fall Creators Update when he implemented the final version that has already been integrated into the sound options. We are talking about a function that is also available for Xbox One, although in this case we will focus on the PCs.

Windows Sonic resembles spatial 7.1 audio or Dolby Atmos in any stereo headphone system, although it is advisable to use surround headphones (hardware, not simulated) to take advantage of it. It also works with speakers. With Windows Sonic you convert 5.1 or 7.1 audio into 7.1 spatially playable in any sound system, even stereo.

And what is spatial sound?
It is a new audio system, used by new formats such as Dolby Atmos, which not only places the sound around us, but also up and down:

Activate spatial 7.1 audio with Sonic Wi-Fi on your stereo headphones in Windows 10
As you are imagining, this sound technology allows you to enjoy a much more immersive experience especially when playing on the PC. We’re going to show you how to activate Windows Sonic to get 7.1 spatial audio with stereo headphones.

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2: Disable the surround of your hardware
The first thing we have to do is make sure we have the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

We connect the headphones that we have, so that Windows activates the sound through headphones. As we have said it also works with speakers, but it is designed for headphones.

For Windows Sonic to do its job, you have to disable any surround emulation system from the headphones or the computer’s sound chip.

In the case of headphones, they usually have a surround button or 5.1 / .7.1. Turn it off. In the case of Windows, many motherboards come with Realtek HD or Sound Cinema integrated audio. Right-click on the speaker icon in the Windows taskbar and select Sound Manager. The Realtek window or the hardware we have will open. We make sure that there is no active surround emulation:

Activate spatial 7.1 audio with Sonic Wi-Fi on your stereo headphones in Windows 10
3: We activate 7.1 spatial audio with Windows Sonic
We can use Windows Sonic occasionally, or leave it activated permanently.

To use it only with some games or music, it is as simple as looking for the loudspeaker icon in the lower right corner of the Windows desktop, and pressing the right mouse button to bring up the menu. Here we will see a new option called Spatial Sound (Windows Sonic for headphones). We mark it:

Activate spatial 7.1 audio with Sonic Wi-Fi on your stereo headphones in Windows 10
When we want to stop using it, we simply select Deactivated.

To activate Windows Sonic permanently and get 7.1 spatial audio with stereo headphones, in this same menu we choose Playback devices. In the window that opens, we mark the headphones and click on the Properties icon:

Activate spatial 7.1 audio with Sonic Wi-Fi on your stereo headphones in Windows 10
We played in the new Spatial Sound tab, and we selected Windows Sonic for headphones. We also make sure to check the box Activate virtual surround sound 7.1:

Activate spatial 7.1 audio with Sonic Wi-Fi on your stereo headphones in Windows 10
Remember, this can also be done with the speakers, although it is optimized for headphones.

In addition, Windows Sonic is present in the Xbox One X console. It works in the same way: we enter the configuration of the console, and in the Audio Output section we choose Windows Sonic:

Activate spatial 7.1 audio with Sonic Wi-Fi on your stereo headphones in Windows 10
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4: What type of audio is compatible with Windows Sonic?
In order to enjoy 7.1 spatial sound, it is necessary that the sound source (the game, the movie or the music) have 5.1 or 7.1 audio. Therefore a simple song in stereo does not work.

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