No 7.1 surround sound


I have Roon running on a Mac Mini connected via HDMI to a Denon AVR-X7200WA surround amp. In Settings > Audio > Device Setup > Playback I use Exclusive mode, Convert to PCM, Channel Mapping Only and Channel Layout 7.1. Everything is off or disabled. With this setting I get 3.1 but not 7.1, i.e. the FL, FR and Centre speaker are all used and presumably the subwoofer also, but none of the other speakers. When I switch the Channel Layout to 5.1 all 6 speakers are used. How do I enable 7.1?

What is the material that you are sending to the Denon? If it’s stereo, then you’ll only get 2 channel playback. If it’s 5.1 multichannel, then you’ll get 5.1 multichannel playback. Is there even 7.1 multichannel source material?

I just use the 7 channel stereo setting on my Denon for stereo material to use all the channels. So it’s a setting on the Denon that I use, not in Roon…

Sorry. The material is 5.1 and this is acknowledged by Roon. But the 7.1 setting in Roon is supposed to emulate 7.1, isn’t it? Moreover, it doesn;t make sense for Roon to give me 3.1 with a 7.1 emulation and 51. source material.

No, it’s not. See the KB entry for Multichannel. In particular: “Roon matches up the channels from the source material with the channels on the output device and fills any unused channels with silence.”

Well that partly explains it, but it does not explain why I only get 3.1 when feeding it 5.1 with the setting set to 7.1. Also the Setting could be clearer, because I completely misread it. It states: Channel Layout. This setting determines how many audio channels Roon sends to your playback device and how they are arranged." This suggests strongly to me that Roon emulates a particular setting, but I guess it could also be read as a means of limiting the number of channels, but like Geoff said, who has more than 5.1? So what is the 7.1 doing here? Limiting those with 9.1 or more?

Most/all HDMI versions max out at 7.1 channel PCM. Any greater channel count must be carried by codec or synthesized via surround processing. Some multichannel content, though uncommon, may be 7.1 channel, hence the Roon setting option.

As to the 5.1 to 3.1 channel mismatch, something in your Roon settings, AVR settings, or speaker layout is the likely issue. If you use height or width channels, for example, that is not part of the standard 7.1 channel arrangement – to which Roon adheres.

Regardless, the simple answer is just set output to 5.1 channel, as that is the channel count of the content in question.


Thanks, will do. However, my setup is dead straight (no height or width channels) and works without a flaw when using JRiver MC.

This has been said, but it probably needs to be said more often – Roon is not JRiver. Many people come to Roon from JRiver and hold various assumptions on the basis of JRiver. Just because JRiver does something a certain way does not make it correct, nor that Roon should do likewise.

Take surround processing or upmixing, for example. You assumed that Roon does surround processing similar to that of JRiver. Yes, JRiver does it, but that does not mean Roon or even JRiver should do it. Roon and JRiver are not recognized experts in surround processing. And I, for one, am dubious about time and effort spent on any homespun solution. If Roon wants to add surround processing, license a known surround processing routine from Dolby, DTS, Meridian, Lexicon, et al.

That polemic aside, we want to help you get to the bottom of your issue. Others have experienced like issues with multichannel mapping. Try reading this thread and following its troubleshooting advice. Roon developers chimed in and confirmed that Roon is observing what is closest to the de facto standard for 7.1 channel mapping.


For further reading, here is another relevant thread:

The issue seems to boil down to surround versus rear channel mapping in 7.1 channel configuration.


I am sorry if I started a polemic. I had no intention of doing so, nor do I expect Roon to be like JRiver, I only mentioned it to show that it passes the various channels through my system without a hitch (not using its built-in DSP) and Roon does not using the 7.1 setting. Thanks for the thread link. I’ll have a look at it and report back.

I am not sure I understand fully what you mean here. I did check the other two threads (and responded on one) but I only find a partial answer and if I understand it correctly I am not happy with it. Let me try to rephrase one of my problems in the form of a question: What settings do I have to use so that when Roon plays original stereo material my AVR can upmix using its Dolby etc processors to surround, but when Roon sends original 5.1 material it is interpreted as such. It goes without saying that I do not want to change the settings every time I switch from stereo to multi-channel sound.

The second problem that of only outputting 3.1 when Roon is set to 7.1 is not addressed in the two threads suggested.

I’ve replied to you on the other thread. The situation described in that thread refers to an earlier build of Roon. The current situation of how Roon handles multichannel devices was changed in July 2017, and is now as described in the KB article.

Stereo material is output by Roon in 2.0 format not 3.1. So if you are seeing 3.1 behaviour from your AVR, that is some processing that your AVR is doing, not Roon.

Hi Geoff,

That is not the issue. I get 3.1 output when I set Roon to deliver 7.1 AND when the actual source has 5.1.

What about the issue I raised in my previous post, i.e “What settings do I have to use so that when Roon plays original stereo material my AVR can upmix using its Dolby etc processors to surround, but when Roon sends original 5.1 material it is interpreted as such. It goes without saying that I do not want to change the settings every time I switch from stereo to multi-channel sound.”

Well, I’m not sure what is going on with your setup, but on mine (ROCK/NUC using HDMI to a Denon 3808 AVR), playback is as described in the KB.

Stereo material is sent in 2.0 format, and 5.1 material is sent in 5.1 format. I have the Denon set to play stereo material in “7 channel stereo”, and so all stereo material is played back using all 7.1 channels. When 5.1 material is sent to the Denon, this setting is automatically disabled by the Denon, and it plays the 5.1 material natively. So I don’t need to “change the settings every time I switch from stereo to multi–channel sound”.

I have the Audio settings in Roon set to use 7.1 channels via HDMI, and convert DSD material to PCM, with a maximum sample rate of 96 KHz for PCM.

Thanks Geoff. I’ll compare my settings in somewhat more detail to yours and see how they compare. Apart from the 7.1 stereo they appear to be very similar.

I agree with Geoff,
as far as automatic switching between channel mapping, the AVR settings can do the channel alterations, not Roon. I can do the same with my Onkyo AVR.

As far as 5.1 content being down mixed to 3.1 when Roon is set to 7.1 mapping, I’ll have to check that out. I’m new to Roon and have a 7.1 surround sound system, and I have 5.1 content, but I have not listened to it through Roon yet.

Thanks to both of you. I have been experimenting a little more and now think the problem does not lie with Roon but with the Mac Mini (running High Sierra). I’ll check it again tonight and compare it the Windows (bootcamp) on the same machine with which I never had this problem.

For me, Roon just properly played 5.1 content while being set to 7.1 speaker set up.

I stop using Roon about this Problem.

I want to play 5.1 Surround DSD Files.