I have an audio file recorded in 5.1 surround sound. I'd like to play this from my Android Device.

The issue I have is the various Android devices I have (tablets/phones) all contain the standard 3.5mm jack, which I think means stereo only! I'm not after a simulated surround sound, I need access to the outputs! Maybe it's possible via the USB?

My exact requirement (if it helps) is to end up with 4 outputs. Front left and Front right as a stereo pair and Back left and Back right as a stereo pair (I don't need the sub channel). However, being able to some how split the signal so each goes it's own speaker is also fine, I can worry about the rest. The focus is how the Android device can provide this signal(s).

The device I want to connect to is http://www.myxlshop.co.uk/j-s-external-sound-card-with-usb-51.html?id=50345220&gclid=CjwKEAjw1qHABRDU9qaXs4rtiS0SJADNzJis52lt2Cd65VkwFDc-wj4r9nsE6FUmd-g0prtGSYITjRoCz3fw_wcB (note it's USB input). Maybe with the new USB DAC input?


There are many ways you can get the audio out.

Through wire:

  1. Head phone jack - you clearly said it can deliver only two channel audio.
  2. USB - You can use an OTG adapter and plug in a 5 channel USB sound card and get the 5 channel audio out.
  3. USB Type C may have this support native.


  1. Bluetooth - if the A2DP profile is supported (will be supported from v2.0 onwards) you can stream audio in stereo - again not good enough for you.
  2. Screencast protocols like Miracast or DLNA might support as it can be considered as a HDMI connection over Wi-Fi. These should support 5 channel audio.

Of course for all these you have to have a player which has appropriate codec support (usually AC3).

  • 2.USB - You can use an OTG adapter and plug in a 5 channel USB sound card and get the 5 channel audio out. That seems like the answer... Can you confirm it means I can get 5 channels out and not 5 virtual channels? Oct 20 '16 at 9:48
  • I am sorry, I cannot confirm as I have not tried myself.
    – Narayanan
    Oct 20 '16 at 10:14
  • As I have written in my answer, it will be only virtual. Android can only use 2 channels over USB Oct 20 '16 at 10:36
  • Then this answer might not deserve the 'accepted' status unless the OP accepts the wireless based solution.
    – Narayanan
    Oct 21 '16 at 6:18

In stock Android it's not possible to have more than two audio channels (stereo) via USB as documented here.

The 3.5mm jack as well as Bluetooth do not support more than 2 channels either (although enhanced aptX (bluetooth) does support 5.1 surround sound, it's not yet supported by android).

[edit] You can connect an external sound card, it may even work but you won't have 5.1 output through your Android's USB port which means you could only have virtual surround sound on an external sound card.


You could try this app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.extreamsd.usbaudioplayerpro&rdid=com.extreamsd.usbaudioplayerpro

The developer claims to have built its own USB audio driver and thus support multi-channel streams: https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/technology/usb-audio-driver


Others have suggested that USB audio only supports stereo (2-channel) audio streams, and that 5.1 could be achieved using 3rd party applications. The reference to it only supporting stereo is outdated (Android 5.0, 2014). This limitation is no longer present. The Android USB Audio HAL supports up to 8 channels (7.1).

  • Please add references or links to support your answer
    – Gokul NC
    Jan 10 '18 at 8:19
  • This could be very interesting. The answer for me in the end was buy a Windows 10 tablet as it just works with surround sound. However, I'm still very keen to know more about this, especially as source.android.com/devices/audio doesn't show any information to confirm this (at least that I could see) Jan 10 '18 at 11:42

Multichannel support exists, but from what I can tell, it's not necessarily standardized. I still can't confirm to what extent it is supported, but my limited understanding suggests that only external devices designed with Android in mind would be able to work with multi-channel support, and would otherwise either not recognize the extra channels, or just duplicate it over to those channels.

It's a shame that Android doesn't have a way to actually manage audio streams or channels, but it seems that has more to do with the way external sound devices are implemented more than anything.



Via normal miniplug stereo output you should be able to feed into a Dolby-enabled system which separates the encoded extra channels from the stereo output. that's not true discreet multichannel, but sounds OK to me on my home stereo. I"m also looking to try to get this from an Android in outdoor portable music situation, hopefully via bluetooth.

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