Playing 5.1 sound on basic 2-channel stereo

Hi everyone! This is my first post here, but I’ve come here in the past for A/V solutions…and the info I’ve found here has been very helpful :slight_smile:

So here’s my question. I’ve been backing up my DVD’s (have two 6yo boys ;)) to keep them protected, but a co-worker just mentioned that I may be short changing myself a bit. When I back up my DVD’s, I only record the 5.1 channel track and not the 2 channel track as most times, we watch them at home.

But on trips, when we play them back on our portable DVD player in my car (your basic 2 speaker system), will we hear all the sounds that were recorded? I don’t expect to get surround sound, but will all 5 channels burned on the DVD get “merged” so I can still hear all the sounds thru the basic two speakers? Or will I only hear 2 of the 5 channels?

I’ve been searching the internet for an answer to this, but coming up short.



Welcome to posting on CD Freaks, Jeriberi :slight_smile:

Try looking in your car DVD player settings for an option to “down-mix” the 5.1 to 2.1 (ie stereo). That’s basically combining all the channels to two.

Usually the playback hardware (be it a set-top DVD or portable DVD player) will normally down convert the 5.1 to 2 channel sound. You usually have to force output in 5.1 sound as most people usually listen to DVD in stereo (I did say most, audiophiles and those with more interest will have a 5.1 setup, me included).

5.1 is usually output from optical ports or (in rare cases) multiple audio outputs (as you usually find on the back of a PC) and needs to be enabled manually.

Most new commercial DVD do not bother with stereo track for main movie any more.
It is used for extras and director comments.
They all play on portable players.
If you doubt, just burn one with 5.1 sound and play it on your portable to see.

Thanks for all the responses. I, personally, never noticed any missing sound when playing a 5.1 audio track on our portable DVD player, but wanted to be sure. The manufacturer of the player hasn’t responded yet, but I expect that they’ll say it mixes them into the two channels automatically.

Again, thanks.