I have this sound issue ever since Ubuntu 10.x. I am on 11.10 now and I was hoping this would have been fixed.
I would like to use 5.1 speaker sound, so I go to the speaker icon in the top right of the screen and select sound properties, navigate to hardware tab and select 5.1 analog mode. This works wile sound is playing e.g. from Banshee music player. But each time I change a song, the sound is back to 2 channels again.
I have tried the answer from "Sound reverts to 2 channels from 5.1 + Analog", but unfortunately it did not work for me.
I am on 64 bit Ubuntu 11.10. Sound Settings:
profile = analog surround 5.1 output. I use a Acer Aspire 8930 laptop (and yes it is ridiculous but it really has a 5.1 speaker system build in).
Somehow Banshee does not remember the 5.1 hardware setting. Each time I change a song manually, it will switch to 2 speaker only, resulting in rather crappy sound.
It seems that overall the sound in my system does use 5.1 speakers.
Does anyone have any ideas?