The Problem: You have integrated audio on your motherboard, and it doesn’t come with ASIO drivers.  So you select WDM as the driver in Premiere, Soundbooth, or Audition.  It works fine, that is until you try and output 5.1 audio.

The Solution: ASIO4ALL

I haven’t see any info specifically mentioning how to get surround sound working out of Premiere without an expensive sound card, so here is a successful method.

Note:  I’ll focus on Premiere, because that is where I originally troubleshooted this, but the same goes for the other Adobe products that use sound.


I have a high end motherboard from EVGA, and it comes with Realtek HD audio.  It features 7.1 surround sound (8 Channel), sampling rates up to 192 khz, and 32 Bit output up to 192 khz.  Not Bad, but not great because it only seems to sample at 16 bit.  Remember when 16 Bit CD quality sound was the standard…..those were the days.

If you create a 5.1 audio project in Premiere, mix all your tracks, use the surround sound mixer to place the “puck” where you want the sound coming from, and play it, you only get 2 channels out.  Even if you have a surround sound system attached to your computer.  By the way,  I highly recommend the Logitech Z-5500 system.  A bit pricey, but the quality is awesome.  The problem is, Premiere Pro doesn’t find any ASIO drivers, so you’re stuck with WDM.  Well, WDM only gives stereo output.

The beauty of ASIO4ALL is that it doesn’t change any drivers in your system, it only launches when you start an application that has ASIO4ALL set as the driver.  Moreover, It bypasses all the windows gobblygook, and improves latency so you can get rid of the “latency-echo” if you’re playing and recording at the same time.  It also lets you adjust “Latency Compensation” in it’s pop-up settings window.  The only drawback I can see is, because it latches right on to the hardware, ignoring windows, it won’t let multiple applications use the audio hardware at the same time.  But that is by design. It’s really a feature.

After you install ASIO4ALL, go to Premiere > Edit > Preferences> Audio Hardware, and select ASIO4ALL as the default device.  Then click on “ASIO Settings”, and ASIO4ALL will launch and show you what audio hardware you have available.  If you have surround sound you should see something like “Out: 8x 44.1-192khz, 32bit.”  Just make sure it is enabled.

Now go to Premiere > Edit > Preferences> Audio Output Mapping, and you should magically see all your available output channels.  Mine shows 8.

Premiere by default seems to use the L,R,LS,RS,C,LFE arrangement output order.  This isn’t really standard, so you’ll probably need to change it to L,R,C,LFE,LS,RS to get the sound to play on your audio hardware correctly.  Just re-arrange the speaker assignment squares to the correct order.

If you use this technique, you may notice that the Capture window is black while you’re using ASIO4ALL as a hardware driver.  If you’re like me, and you only need ASIO4ALL while you are working with 5.1 audio, there’s no need leave it as the default driver all the time.  Select WDM if you’re only doing 2 channel audio, or if you’re capturing.  That way you won’t have ASIO4ALL big-footing your other sound programs when you don’t need it.  You can switch back and forth between the two drivers on the fly without restarting Premiere.

To facilitate your surround testing, I’ve attached an audio file that plays 5.1 audio.
You should hear a voice coming from each speaker, one at a time, in the following order: LB, LF, C, RF, LB, and LFE.
It is in .ac3 format, and should play in Premiere Pro, and the VLC media player.
Download it here: Surround Test
Hope it works for you.