AC3 5.1 Digital Surround Sound - Which Package, Script, or Driver enables this Functionality?

So I’ve used EndeavourOS on & off for a couple of years now and overall I like it.

One feature I particularly like about it is how it is the ONLY Linux Distribution I’ve ever used that comes with 5.1 Digital Surround Sound support, which means that it allows for 5.1 Surround Sound via my S/PDIF port, something that as far as I can tell or find out no other distribution does.

Now, what I want to know, if anybody out there knows this, is what Arch Linux Package/AUR Package, or, What Script, or What Driver, enables support for this functionality?

Where can I find this package or driver in code form in my EndeavourOS installation?

I’ve only seen someone briefly mention that it might be linked to something called “DTS” or “Dolby Digital Surround”, but I didn’t understand fully what was meant by that so it’s all I have to go on unfortunately.

Also, Would it be possible to transfer this package or driver over to other Linux Distributions so I can use it inside of my Virtual Machines which run a variety of different non-Arch Linux Distributions (Fedora, Mint, Debian, Etc.)?

I am a newbie to this subject matter so please bare that in mind.
I just about understand that PulseAudio used to be the Default Audio Backend back when I started trying Linux in 2018 and that PipeWire has replaced it, and, that other solutions like “JACK” exist but that as far as I understand it EndeavourOS doesn’t use JACK by default and instead relies fully on PipeWire for it’s Audio needs.

Thank you to anyone that chimes in for taking the time to help out a fellow in need, it is greatly appreciated!

I have never been able to get Dolby DTS 5.1 to work on any motherboards S/PDIF port. The only working solution I have ever found and that I use myself right now is the Sound Blaster X4 by Creative. This device fully supports the proprietary codec, and I honestly think it’s the only way you can achieve your solution.

I have no issues with kernel support from neither Debian nor Arch.

Well, while you didn’t answer any of my questions I can provide you with some feedback.

My motherboard “Gigabyte Designare-EX X399” has a Realtek on-board Audio chip and S/PDIF output that is fully supported by EndeavourOS for full 5.1 Digital Surround Sound.
Additionally I have a sound card, the “Creative Sound Blaster AE-5” and that also has a S/PDIF output which is fully supported by EndeavourOS.

What “I” (Me) want to know is,

How is this support achieved?
What package or driver is used?

Because I want to port this support across to other distributions that don’t currently offer it for my hardware. (So that I can use it with my VM’s & other Linux computers.)

Having an S/PDIF port on your motherboard doesn’t necessarily mean 5.1 DTS will work on it. Motherboards usually don’t have the proper codec support, regardless of what the OS supports. Hardware is the primary factor that matters here, and the only hardware you have that is capable is your Sound Blaster card.

As for enabling it on the OS? I am unaware of such a necessity because for me, it works right out of the box.

I’ve clearly just stated that it works with my motherboard AND separately with my sound card when using a default KDE Plasma 5 EndeavourOS install.

I don’t need any more hardware, I don’t even need the soundblaster, I can use my motherboards built-in S/PDIF port and get full 5.1 Digital Surround Sound support, but for reasons unknown to me this support only works in;
• Windows 10
• Windows 11
• EndeavourOS

I have tried numerous other Linux Distributions such as;
• Pop_OS!
• Debian
• Ubuntu
• Fedora
• Fedora Kinoite (KDE Silverblue)
• PeppermintOS
• Deepin Linux
None if these other distributions I’ve just listed other than EndeavourOS support 5.1 Digital Surround Sound with ANY of my hardware regardless of if I use the motherboards built in RTL1220 equipped S/PDIF port, OR, if I used the Sound Blaster AE-5 S/PDIF port, it doesn’t come up as an option in the sound settings for those distributions.

I’m trying to work out;
• Why doesn’t the option appear in other Distributions?
• What is EndeavourOS DOING/CHANGING that the other Distributions are NOT doing in order to get 5.1 Digital Surround Sound working with MY hardware?

Clearly EndeavourOS is doing SOMETHING, otherwise my hardware would be unsupported in EndeavourOS just like it seems to be in all these other Distributions.

Did you try other arch based distros? You just pointed fedora/debian based ones…
So you can be sure it is a EnOS thing or Archlinux related

Sorry, my bad.

I should also mention that I have tried;
• Manjaro KDE
• Garuda Linux

And neither of those two distributions supported 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, or at least they didn’t when I last tried them 3-Years ago back in the year 2020.

I wish I could help you, but all I know about 5.1 DTS is what I mentioned. I’m actually surprised your motherboard supports that because about three years ago when I went down this same road, only Sound Blasters were capable of Dolby DTS. I guess this is a good thing to hear that has started to change.

If EndeavourOS supports it and other distros don’t, it would be a simple driver/kernel support packaged into the distro.


I did a lot of research into exactly what is allowing my motherboard to fully support the entire range of Digital Surround Sound options but the only information I could find was that Wendell from Level1Techs mentioning that the motherboard I have was very well developed compared with it’s contemporaries from the X399 series, and as he rates it highly it must be a pretty good board which is why I chose it over other options.

My hope is that whatever is making g it work is something that I can get access to so I can port support to other distributions so that their is SOME feature parity in that regard and others can then benefit.

I’ve been trying to find answers by myself for around 6 months now and I finally decide I would post my question to the forums in the hope that someone close with the project might know the answer.

I’m thinking back to when I went through this and how it all played out.

At the time, I was mostly using Windows 10/11, and I recall having an Asus X570 Motherboard. I had just bought a ‘Sonos ARC Soundbar’ and wanted to use it in my desktop experience. I plugged one end of the S/PDIF cable into the motherboard and the other end into my new Sonos speaker. No matter what I tried, I could not get any sound to come through on the speakers.

Then someone on the Sonos forum explained that the reason it isn’t working is because the Sonos speaker uses Dolby DTS codec and my motherboard doesn’t support it. That’s when I started to learn about this codec and that it’s proprietary etc. So I did some research and everything led me to the ‘Sound Blaster X4’ device.

Now I remember more clearly. The Sound Blaster did what the motherboard couldn’t do, which provided me the ability to produce sound on the speaker from the computer. The only thing is without the official ‘Creative’ software which is only available on Windows and Mac, I would get sound like I do now on Linux, but it wouldn’t be in the Dolby DTS format. In order to take advantage of the Dolby codec, I have to use the official ‘creative’ software.

Again, this isn’t an answer to your question, but I am sharing in case someway somehow it helps you connect a dot for something on your end. Good luck!

It’s currently early morning now for me so I cannot test it straight away…

I have started the download for the latest version of Manjaro KDE and I’m going to boot into that as a Live ISO in the morning just to DOUBLE-CHECK that some package somewhere hasn’t been added to default Arch between the period of me not using Manjaro and me starting to use EndeavourOS, which was a timespan of about 3 days back in 2020.

If the Live ISO shows no change then I’ll wipe my current EndeavourOS install which is BRAND NEW and temporarily install Manjaro KDE just to make sure that I don’t see any changes there.

Assuming (as I expect will be the case) that I don’t see any changes and Manjaro still doesn’t offer support I will then reinstall EndeavourOS.
If Manjaro does (by some literal miracle) support 5.1 Digital Surround Sound with my hardware out of the box then I will proceed to wipe the system and check Garuda Linux for clarification.

I highly doubt trying Manjaro KDE will do anything other than make me want to shoot myself, but I guess we shall see in about 8-Hours once I’ve woken up.

Well I stumbled across this webpage just now,
And I think you might want to read it, some interesting stuff in it about how DTS works with it’s Codec…

Not sure how relevant it is to my situation but it’s something I guess.


Enjoy the read!

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I’ve got an update on this…

So I just booted into a Live ISO of Manjaro KDE, and, to my surprise, it now ALSO supports 5.1 Digital Surround Sound!
Meaning that it must be that Arch Linux offers support and other Distribution TYPES do not.

To he exact in the support that it offers, it is NOT “DTS” nor is it “Dolby Digital”, instead it is listed as “AC3”.

So my question has now changed to;
" What Package , Script, Or, Driver, adds support for AC3 Digital Surround Sound to Arch Linux?"

The kernel. There were a lot of audio and sound changes in 6.4, most likely you are enjoying improvements made with some of those changes.

everything that Manjaro does different from Arch is in here:

Good Luck

My 2¢ :slight_smile:
I also think it’s the Kernel. It’s very advanced in EndeavourOS compared to other distributions. A lot of recent hardware just work. 6.6.3 → drivers for a ton of new electronic chips.
Take care,


I’ve had access to this feature since 2020, WAY before Kernel 6.0 even was a thing.

So it isn’t the upgrades that you’ve shared a link to as they were added MUCH much later on.

I need to find a way of searching through comparing Arch Linux against other Linux Distributions like Fedora/Fedora Kinoite, because Fedora/Fedora Kinoite don’t have this support out of the box when I install them on my system so clearly Arch Linux, that is, bare bones Arch Linux, includes packages which offer support for the AC3 encoding scheme for Audio.

The AC3 Encoding Scheme is for use over S/PDIF and only S/PDIF, it is intended to be used exclusively as an alternative method to solutions by Dolby or by DTS where they encode a 5.1 Surround Sound signal through a connector & cable type only originally designed for a Stereo 2.0 Audio output.

What the AC3 Encoding Scheme does is compresses the 5.1 Surround Sound Signal in a lossy fashion and the transmits that signal to the equipment connected via the Optical Audio output.

So what I need to know is the EXACT package that bakes in AC3 support into base bone stock Arch Linux, that is my target.

It may be the Kernel, but then in which case EndeavourOS and Manjaro KDE must be using the same identical Kernel, which as I understand they don’t.

Also I’ve had access to this feature before Linux Kernel 6.0 was even a thing.

But I’m not entirely sure this is relevant, because unless EndeavourOS is copy Manjaro (it isn’t) theirs no way that both Manjaro & EndeavourOS could both support this feature by just copying from ONLY the Manjaro changes.

I’m pretty sure this is a Arch Linux feature at this stage rather than a EndeavourOS or Manjaro Linux feature.

Either way I’m still no closer to.understanding what is adding the AC3 support which makes all of this possible.

I still would guess the kernel. I’m not sure why you don’t want to hear that, but that is where most driver support is added.

:man_shrugging: So that specific kernel maintenance event was not the one where these drivers were added. It was probably a different one.

No, most kernels have a lot of modules in common without being identical. I could install twenty different kernels on my laptop and I’d bet on most of them all the hardware would work.

Did you actually try Arch? If it works on a base Arch install then it’s very likely provided by the kernel; Arch has essentially nothing installed off the bat.