Does a 3.5 AUX Cable Carry a 5.1 Surround Sound Signal?

Norvan Martin
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If you have a 5.1 channel surround sound system but don’t have an HDMI or optical (Toslink or mini-optical) cable, you may be wondering if a 3.5 AUX cable can carry a 5.1 surround sound signal. 

No, a 3.5 AUX cable cannot carry a 5.1 surround sound signal, unless you use 3 of them to get matrix surround sound or use Pro Logic. A 3.5 AUX cable only carries only 2 channels – analog left and right signals (stereo audio). This means you will get stereo sound from your 5.1-channel system because the two channels will play across all five speakers.

Can You Play 5.1 Through AUX?

There are a few options that you have to get somewhat 5.1 surround sound from your 3.5 AUX cables. Here they are:

Use three 3.5 Cables

One of the easiest ways to get 5.1 surround using AUX cables is to split the signal using multiple connectors.

three 3.5 Cables play 5.1 through aux

In this case, you can use three AUX cables. You would use one for the front two speakers, one for the rear two speakers, and another one for the center speaker and subwoofer. You can also opt to use an additional cable and give the subwoofer and center separate connectors.

Use Pro Logic or Matrix Sound

Pro Logic or Matrix sound is an analog approach to surround sound. With this system, third and sometimes fourth channels of sound are combined into the two front stereo channels. After that, this combined sound is then partially decoded. Examples are SQ, QS, and Dolby Surround.

dolby pro logic matrix sound

In other words, this system uses smart encoding to convert a 2 channel system to produce front left, right, and center channels.

In this case, you will not have a dedicated subwoofer and both rear speakers actually produce the same sound. 

So remember, a 3.5 AUX cable can carry a Dolby surround, which is a matrix surround.  Remember, the cable is designed to carry analog left and right signals. So, you need three 3.5mm AUX to be able to get sound from the five channels.

One AUX cable for the front left and right and the other for the rear left and right. The last one should take care of the center speaker and the subwoofer.

In short, since a 3.5 AUX carries a matrix surround, it can add some practical value to surround your stereo recording.

What is Matrix Surround Sound?

When we say you get matrix surround by playing 5.1 through AUX, we mean the cable can fold about five channels of sound into the two stereo channels. It can also partially decode the sound in a reverse operation.

It’s important to note that since the sounds are folded in a few cables, some music enthusiasts may prefer a digital surround to a matrix surround.

Can You Get Surround Sound Through 3.5mm Jack?

This is the same as using a 3.5mm cable. No, you cannot directly get surround sound through a 3.5mm jack unless you use 3 of them or use Pro Logic. You can do the same if you use White, Black, and Green 3.5mm jacks. Alternatively, you can use optical digital.

How Do I Get Surround through AUX?

As you know, a 3.5mm plug only outputs stereo sound. So, suppose you want to get surround sound through your personal computer, smartphone, or any other similar device. In that case, you should connect multiple 3.5 AUX cables to 2x RCA from the device to the amplifier or use a coaxial cable or optical cable.

You can also split the AUX cable without reducing the sound quality. A quality AUX splitter will split the analog sound signal and allow you to get better-quality surround sound.

How Do I Connect A Mobile’s 3.5mm Jack and 5.1 Channel Speakers?

The simplest way to do this is to use a ‘Stereo to RCA‘ connection. You can connect the TV’s ‘headphones out’ to the audio system’s red/white AUX jack with this. That’s all. You’ve enabled your amp to split the two audio channels into 5.1 channels.

On the other hand, if you simply want to connect up speakers with speaker wires, we have a guide on how to connect black and red speaker wires to a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Which is the Best, Matrix or Digital Surround?

You can see that 3.5 AUX gives you the rare opportunity to enjoy matrix surround. So, if you want true Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround, you have to consider HDMI, digital coax, or Optical.

To choose which of these options suits your needs, you should consider the types of cables you have and your entertainment taste. Try to experiment with each of these surrounds to choose one that perfectly meets your entertainment needs.

Does Aux Support 5.1 Surround Sound?

Unfortunately, aux is designed only to carry data left and right, so the output from your mobile devices will be two-channel using it, with no provision for surround sound technology.

Can An AUX Cable Do Surround Sound?

The fact is that Aux can’t carry the data required for dissimilar types of proprietary digital processing, such as Dolby Surround. So, if you want to accomplish surround sound with aux, you will be required to channel several aux cables to the various speakers, and as you will realize, it is not a walk in the park but an impractical and messy undertaking.

Can You Connect Two Speakers With An AUX Cord?

An Aux Cord, also known as a “y” splitter, allows you to segregate an audio signal between two devices, and it is not tricky to install and launch. It classically comes with two 3.5mm outputs that permit you to connect speakers or headphones to the jack that your device is attached to.

Why Won’t My AUX Cable Work on My Stereo?

If your AUX cable isn’t working on your stereo, check if the AUX cord is connected to both devices.

If you have two rings and your cord will not work, then it is not compatible.

If you find that there are three rings, replace the cord that is plugged into the phone.

If this does not work, the problem is most likely with the auxiliary cord jack and you will need to replace it.

Is an AUX Cable the Same as an Audio Cable?

You’d answer yes if you took them at face value. However, you’re unlikely to have realized that they are two separate cables with several parallels.

Aux connectors look the same as headphones connectors, but they have a different plug. They share a 3.5mm (1/8”) TRS plug and are a cable for universal audio.

Aux stands for auxiliary which means that it is not the main sound, but it supports it.

An AUX cable is simply what it sounds like. It’s a standard connector that allows an aux device to plug into another auxiliary source, such as your car stereo or home entertainment system.

Is RCA and AUX the Same?

If you have an RCA line-level audio output, it should work with any auxiliary input.

If the aux input is a 3.5mm stereo mini jack, you’ll need a two-RCA to one stereo mini-plug connection.

If you don’t, they will also make adapters so that you may connect your device to a device with an appropriate port.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin