Is there any way to play music through all of the speakers in a 5.1 (or 7.1) surround system in Sierra? I've looked at options like Soundflower, but everything I've looked into is 3+ years old.

To clarify:

I'm looking for a way to play 2.1 sound out of all speakers on a 5.1 surround sound system. I have already configured my 5.1 speakers properly, I do not need help with that. For Windows, there is a handy program called Speaker Fill, but it is not available for Mac.

Below are screenshots of my audio configuration. The 5.1 surround it connected via a USB Sound Card. I have verified that all 5 speakers are connected to the correct channels via the test in MIDI Setup.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Have you tried aggregating your audio devices into one? Have a look at apple.stackexchange.com/questions/251357/…
    – Allan
    Jan 3 '17 at 2:59
  • 1
    @Allan All five speakers are on USB audio. So I don't think that they are split between multiple devices. Jan 3 '17 at 3:28
  • @PatrickCook have you tried Allan's idea? It looks to me like each speaker ought to have its individual output recognized by the MIDI audio setup system.
    – NoahL
    Jan 3 '17 at 4:57
  • Can you post your audio details to the question? It's kinda tough not being able to look over your shoulder.
    – Allan
    Jan 3 '17 at 11:00
  • @Allan, I've updated my post with pictures of my configuration. Jan 3 '17 at 22:26

Jack and Vox is a very good combo, I found Jack a bit cumbersome to configure- especially the routing pane (and Vox runs without Jack installed) as well.

There is a very good App for loopback config: https://rogueamoeba.com/loopback/

If you find it not good enough launch the .pkg installer again or if you deleted it redownload from https://rogueamoeba.com/loopback/download.php

  • Launch the pkg, but choose the “Uninstall…” command from the menu.
  • Follow the prompts to uninstall, quit the app when finished.
  • Now, to finish removing Loopback, Trash the App and empty the bin.

Whats cool about it is the ease of use and per-application config which I found out is better then global after a short time using Jack.

You can loopback audio from 2.1/2.0 sources to 5.1, 7.1 etc- by combining channels together for subwoofer or center ;) it's not Pro Logic X- but I found it good enough.

warning: After 15 min it will add's (a very annoying solution from the dev's- need to write them about it) white noise to the output, you need to re-enable or buy it (10$) to disable this, but it will give you enough time to test. A lot can be done and re-configured with HALLab and AULab, on the other hand 10$ is fair enough for loopback, it's works well (with some UX weirdness)- but if you dont want to spend x hours- fiddling go for it. HAL/AUL can make the user angry if you dont know it.

How to config Spotify 2.0 to 5.1 for USB:

loopback setup step 1 loopback setup step 2 loopback setup step 2 loopback setup step 2

For super extra config powers you need: Apple's HLLab and AULab

hardware lab icon audio unit lab icon

Both applications are available from https://developer.apple.com, if you are already logged in, you can grab them from here directly

The dmg file is available as download for all accounts, after log-in with your apple id (works for non-developer subscriptions as well)

HALLab gives you a lot of configuration options and, for example, check the Streams tab, (after selecting Info)- you can tune the frequency upwards, and change your channel layout :)

HALLab Streams HALLab Device Info

Audio Units Lab allows even more you can build your dts mixers and add/remove them in whatever configuration you like:

Audio Units config

If you spend some time with those 2 utils you will be initially very angry, but after finding out how all of it sticks together you probably uninstall loopback before the trial is over. You need some time to read and check configs- there is a lot.

I don't have enough desktop room to add to show more, but you can do a lot with filters, enough for days to fiddle with your audio. Let me know whats working for you. Cool name btw, got the same.

Hope this can solve your problem. Best, P.

  • This worked wonderfully! Didn't need to use HLLab or AULab. It said it was a trial version and that it would have poor quality after twenty minutes, but I haven't noticed any quality drop. Thanks! Jan 11 '17 at 5:34
  • Read my post- it will add white noise to the output after 15min's and that's annoying :) at least when I did the screenshots. And If my answer is the-answer then Please upvote and accept it :)
    – PJJ
    Jan 11 '17 at 5:36
  • I've used it for about half a hour now, and I don't hear any white noise, even with my sound turned all the way up. Thanks! Jan 11 '17 at 5:43
  • Glad I could help you. Just be aware when it starts the white noise treatment. I think I had some leftovers from the previous trial and it simply (rightly) detected that my trial time is over and it started this right away after every 15 min. Hope it won't scare you when it turns this 'feature' on (I almost **** my pants when it did - was hearing loud music and I got a sensitive acoustic setup and (a tubeamp heater hehe) combo and this wasn't a great experience).
    – PJJ
    Jan 11 '17 at 5:54

Yes, you can do what you want with Vox Music Player and maybe also Jack OS X.

In terms of which option you'd be better using, it really gets down to what you want to do? If you just want to be able to play music, Vox Music Player is the easier option (it's confirmed as macOS Sierra compatible).

However, if you want to use all your speakers for other uses and/or want the ability to control which applications do and don't use your speakers, then Jack OS X provides more flexibility in that regard (however I have not used it with macOS Sierra - it does, however, do what you want on earlier systems).

Unless something has changed, both options are free to download.

If you do want to try using the Jack OS X option, use the instructions below.


I have not tested these steps in macOS Sierra, so please be sure to report back with how you go as it may help others.

  1. Download Jack OS X (be sure to download the appropriate version)
  2. Install Jack (Note: To be able to actually install the software, you may need to manually go to the download and press the Control key while clicking on the app icon and then choose Open from the shortcut menu. Then, when the message appears, click on Open.)
  3. After installation, reboot your Mac
  4. Open JackPilot from within the Jack folder (This should be located in your Applications folder)
  5. In Preferences set the Interface to match how it is your speakers are connected (e.g. USB sound card)
  6. Ensure that both the virtual inputs and outputs match the Interface you selected at Step 4
  7. Now go back to Finder and launch the Audio MIDI Setup app (This should be located in your Applications/Utilities folder)
  8. Select the properties for JackRouter (Note: If you don’t see JackRouter, make sure you have Started it in Jack)
  9. Click on Configure Speakers…
  10. Set your speaker outputs by using the drop-downs to set the output for each speaker. (Note: You can click the speaker name to do a sound test for that speaker).
  11. Click on Done
  12. Open iTunes and play some music
  13. Go to JackPilot and click on Start
  14. Click on Routing (may take a little while to appear)
  15. Choose iTunes by pressing the drop-down arrow
  16. You should see some outputs labelled as out1, out2 etc. Choose out1.
  17. In the second column, use the drop-down arrow for System and double-click on the option that applies to you (e.g. double-click on playback_2,3,6 (where 2 and 6 represent side speakers, 3 represents a subwoofer)
  18. For out2 choose the remaining playbacks. (Note: Do not choose any you didn’t select in Audio Midi Setup earlier at step 6 - 10.

NOTE: Where I refer to iTunes at steps 12 and 15, you can select other apps instead (including games etc).

  • I have looked into Jack OS X, and I wasn't able to get it to work in macOS Sierra. Instructions would be highly appreciated. Jan 9 '17 at 0:57
  • I know that Vox works in macOS Sierra, but it's not clear whether the instructions for Jack OS X to do what you want will work in Sierra (only because I'm not running Sierra myself, so haven't tested my steps). However, if you'd still like to use Jack OS X instead of Vox, I can post the instructions for you to test.
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 9 '17 at 1:01
  • I installed Vox and it works fine in macOS Sierra. If possible, I would like a solution that is an upmixer for all of my applications (i.e. play Spotify/Youtube through all 5 speakers). Sunflower was supposed to do this. Is this was Jack OS X is supposed to do? Jan 9 '17 at 1:29
  • I've just updated my answer to refine it and add instructions for Jack OS X. I think some of the steps may be obvious to you, but I wanted to make sure anyone looking for answers could follow them. Please let us know how you go on Sierra with Jack OS X as that will be useful info for other users. Thanks!
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 9 '17 at 2:13
  • I don't think it is possible to install Jack OS X on Sierra. A message that says "This package is incompatible with this version of macOS and may fail to install." pops up before the install, and after continuing the install, it just fails at the end. No files are ever created in my Applications. Jan 9 '17 at 2:22

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