Roon 1.8 - 5.1 Downmix or Channel Map?

Maybe this has been asked before but could not find a relevant thread or maybe i did not search enough.

If, you only have a 5.1 source file, what is best? Downmix or Channel Map? THis within Roon 1.8, which would be more relevant than previous threads about it before that version.

I would say Downmix, but don´t know if Roon’s engine would just make things worse as opposed to plain channel mapping.


I played with this recently and not sure if this answers your question…

Channel mapping presented a 7.1 or 5.1 DTS bitstream to my HT processor which locked it in DTS with sound coming from 2 speakers. Downmix properly sent a 44.1khz (or whatever) 2-channel LPCM stream to the processor which then let me decide how to process that bitstream in the processor. I’d say, if you want 2-channel stereo use Downmix.

1 Like

Thanks for your response. I know it will work either downmix or channel map, but, regarding sound quality what would be the best?

Oh, yeah, guess I didn’t answer this.

For my set-up it was better to downmix as I didn’t like sending the 2-ch audio as DTS encoded to my processor. I preferred sending via LPCM. YMMV and may be dependent on your processor. If you’re using a 2-channel DAC I’d downmix. But, nothing stops you from trying both ways and listening for yourself. It may very well be environment dependent on what sounds better.

1 Like

Just did that and downmix sounds better to my ears. I guess it will be dependent on how the 5.1 mastering is done. I used XTC’s Skylarking Steven Wilson mix

I assume you have a two channel setup and a multi-channel source file.

Most likely downmix is is going to have ‘all the music’.

With channel mapping you may miss some of the mix, some mixes put vocals on the center, which would get dropped. Roon explanation of multichannel is here.

Another option is to do your own mix, making a combination of the above. For example map the left & right channels to their normal speaker, center & LFE to both left & right and drop the surrounds. Don’t forget to add some headroom (or adjust each speaker level accordingly). Here is a screenshot of that using DSP procedural EQ and Mix:

As @ipeverywhere mentioned, do some experimentation & listening to see what you like.

1 Like

Yes, I have a 2 ch setup in my main room. And a 5.1 in the TV Room.

And, downmix just seems to work fine for most of my 5.1 albums on my 2ch gear.

Thanks for the info about doing a custom mix. I didn´t realize that was available. Will try.

Still, it all comes to how every 5.1 album has been mastered (and even for each song), so you need to have a permanent optimal setup and that seems to be downmix.


1 Like