SteelSeries Arena 9 Surround 5.1 not working

This may well be a “feature” of the product. I had to install their proprietary audio management software and log into their server to get the speakers to function properly in Windows 11.

In the Audio widget of Plasma System Settings, my SteelSeries Arena 9 speakers are shown as an option, but when I test them, only the left front and right front buttons work. Sound is emitted from both the corresponding front and rear speakers. The center speakers and subwoofer produce no sound.

Any suggestions on how to get these speakers working?

Apparently SteelSeries is providing their own USB sound controller. There is no option to plug into the onboard Intel Sound controller.

~> sudo hwinfo --sound
21: PCI 1f.3: 0403 Audio device                                 
  [Created at pci.386]
  Unique ID: nS1_.PAO0hrsU1_2
  SysFS ID: /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1f.3
  SysFS BusID: 0000:00:1f.3
  Hardware Class: sound
  Device Name: "Intel HD Audio"
  Model: "Intel Audio device"
  Vendor: pci 0x8086 "Intel Corporation"
  Device: pci 0x7a50 
  SubVendor: pci 0x1043 "ASUSTeK Computer Inc."
  SubDevice: pci 0x8694 
  Revision: 0x11
  Driver: "snd_hda_intel"
  Driver Modules: "snd_hda_intel"
  Memory Range: 0x604f220000-0x604f223fff (rw,non-prefetchable)
  Memory Range: 0x604f000000-0x604f0fffff (rw,non-prefetchable)
  IRQ: 211 (1741 events)
  Module Alias: "pci:v00008086d00007A50sv00001043sd00008694bc04sc03i00"
  Driver Info #0:
    Driver Status: snd_hda_intel is active
    Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe snd_hda_intel"
  Driver Info #1:
    Driver Status: snd_sof_pci_intel_tgl is active
    Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe snd_sof_pci_intel_tgl"
  Config Status: cfg=yes, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown

54: USB 00.2: 0401 Multimedia audio controller
  [Created at usb.122]
  Unique ID: YWmN.2yXFDI3Ydp5
  Parent ID: X7GA.8V6_77ho4l5
  SysFS ID: /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-7/1-7.2/1-7.2:1.2
  SysFS BusID: 1-7.2:1.2
  Hardware Class: sound
  Model: "SteelSeries ApS SteelSeries Arena 9"
  Hotplug: USB
  Vendor: usb 0x1038 "SteelSeries ApS"
  Device: usb 0x1a05 "SteelSeries Arena 9"
  Revision: "0.07"
  Driver: "snd-usb-audio"
  Driver Modules: "snd_usb_audio"
  Speed: 12 Mbps
  Module Alias: "usb:v1038p1A05d0007dc00dsc00dp00ic01isc02ip00in02"
  Config Status: cfg=no, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown
  Attached to: #63 (Hub)
hattons@USS-Liberty:~> 

What profiles are available? You can check that using pavucontrol (graphical volume control for PulseAudio).

From a terminal you can do

pactl list cards

and this will show the sound card devices and associated profiles (currently active and available. You can share that captured information here, using the pre-formatted text (refer to the </> editor button).


Card #0
        Name: alsa_card.usb-Generic_USB_Audio-00
        Driver: module-alsa-card.c
        Owner Module: 6
        Properties:
                alsa.card = "1"
                alsa.card_name = "USB Audio"
                alsa.long_card_name = "Generic USB Audio at usb-0000:00:14.0-6, high speed"
                alsa.driver_name = "snd_usb_audio"
                device.bus_path = "pci-0000:00:14.0-usb-0:6:1.0"
                sysfs.path = "/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-6/1-6:1.0/sound/card1"
                udev.id = "usb-Generic_USB_Audio-00"
                device.bus = "usb"
                device.vendor.id = "0b05"
                device.vendor.name = "ASUSTek Computer, Inc."
                device.product.id = "1a98"
                device.product.name = "USB Audio"
                device.serial = "Generic_USB_Audio"
                device.string = "1"
                device.description = "USB Audio"
                module-udev-detect.discovered = "1"
                device.icon_name = "audio-card-usb"
        Profiles:
                input:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 0, sources: 1, priority: 65, available: no)
                input:iec958-stereo: Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 0, sources: 1, priority: 32823, available: yes)
                output:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 6500, available: no)
                output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Duplex (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 6565, available: no)
                output:analog-stereo+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Stereo Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 6555, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-21: Analog Surround 2.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1300, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 2.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1365, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-21+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 2.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1355, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-40: Analog Surround 4.0 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1200, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-40+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 4.0 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1265, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-40+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 4.0 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1255, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-41: Analog Surround 4.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1300, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 4.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1365, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-41+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 4.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1355, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-50: Analog Surround 5.0 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1200, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 5.0 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1265, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-50+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 5.0 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1255, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-51: Analog Surround 5.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1300, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 5.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1365, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 5.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1355, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-71: Analog Surround 7.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1200, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-71+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 7.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1265, available: no)
                output:analog-surround-71+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 7.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1255, available: yes)
                output:iec958-stereo: Digital Stereo (IEC958) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 38268, available: yes)
                output:iec958-stereo+input:analog-stereo: Digital Stereo (IEC958) Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 5565, available: yes)
                output:iec958-stereo+input:iec958-stereo: Digital Stereo Duplex (IEC958) (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 38323, available: yes)
                off: Off (sinks: 0, sources: 0, priority: 0, available: yes)
        Active Profile: output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo
        Ports:
                analog-input-mic: Microphone (type: Mic, priority: 8700, latency offset: 0 usec, not available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "audio-input-microphone"
                        Part of profile(s): input:analog-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-40+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-71+input:analog-stereo, output:iec958-stereo+input:analog-stereo
                analog-input-linein: Line In (type: Line, priority: 8100, latency offset: 0 usec, not available)
                        Part of profile(s): input:analog-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-40+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-71+input:analog-stereo, output:iec958-stereo+input:analog-stereo
                iec958-stereo-input: Digital Input (S/PDIF) (type: SPDIF, priority: 0, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Part of profile(s): input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-40+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-71+input:iec958-stereo, output:iec958-stereo+input:iec958-stereo
                analog-output-speaker: Speakers (type: Speaker, priority: 10000, latency offset: 0 usec, not available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "audio-speakers"
                        Part of profile(s): output:analog-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-21, output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-40, output:analog-surround-40+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-40+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-41, output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-50, output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-51, output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-71, output:analog-surround-71+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-71+input:iec958-stereo
                analog-output-headphones: Headphones (type: Headphones, priority: 9900, latency offset: 0 usec, not available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "audio-headphones"
                        Part of profile(s): output:analog-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-stereo+input:iec958-stereo
                iec958-stereo-output: Digital Output (S/PDIF) (type: SPDIF, priority: 0, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Part of profile(s): output:iec958-stereo, output:iec958-stereo+input:analog-stereo, output:iec958-stereo+input:iec958-stereo

Card #1
        Name: alsa_card.usb-046d_HD_Pro_Webcam_C920_8E69577F-02
        Driver: module-alsa-card.c
        Owner Module: 7
        Properties:
                alsa.card = "2"
                alsa.card_name = "HD Pro Webcam C920"
                alsa.long_card_name = "HD Pro Webcam C920 at usb-0000:00:14.0-7.1, high speed"
                alsa.driver_name = "snd_usb_audio"
                device.bus_path = "pci-0000:00:14.0-usb-0:7.1:1.2"
                sysfs.path = "/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-7/1-7.1/1-7.1:1.2/sound/card2"
                udev.id = "usb-046d_HD_Pro_Webcam_C920_8E69577F-02"
                device.bus = "usb"
                device.vendor.id = "046d"
                device.vendor.name = "Logitech, Inc."
                device.product.id = "082d"
                device.product.name = "HD Pro Webcam C920"
                device.serial = "046d_HD_Pro_Webcam_C920_8E69577F"
                device.form_factor = "webcam"
                device.string = "2"
                device.description = "HD Pro Webcam C920"
                module-udev-detect.discovered = "1"
                device.icon_name = "camera-web-usb"
        Profiles:
                input:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 0, sources: 1, priority: 65, available: yes)
                input:iec958-stereo: Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 0, sources: 1, priority: 55, available: yes)
                off: Off (sinks: 0, sources: 0, priority: 0, available: yes)
        Active Profile: input:analog-stereo
        Ports:
                analog-input-mic: Microphone (type: Mic, priority: 8700, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "audio-input-microphone"
                        Part of profile(s): input:analog-stereo
                iec958-stereo-input: Digital Input (S/PDIF) (type: SPDIF, priority: 0, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Part of profile(s): input:iec958-stereo

Card #2
        Name: alsa_card.usb-SteelSeries_SteelSeries_Arena_9-00
        Driver: module-alsa-card.c
        Owner Module: 8
        Properties:
                alsa.card = "3"
                alsa.card_name = "SteelSeries Arena 9"
                alsa.long_card_name = "SteelSeries SteelSeries Arena 9 at usb-0000:00:14.0-7.2, full speed"
                alsa.driver_name = "snd_usb_audio"
                device.bus_path = "pci-0000:00:14.0-usb-0:7.2:1.0"
                sysfs.path = "/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-7/1-7.2/1-7.2:1.0/sound/card3"
                udev.id = "usb-SteelSeries_SteelSeries_Arena_9-00"
                device.bus = "usb"
                device.vendor.id = "1038"
                device.vendor.name = "SteelSeries ApS"
                device.product.id = "1a05"
                device.product.name = "SteelSeries Arena 9"
                device.serial = "SteelSeries_SteelSeries_Arena_9"
                device.string = "3"
                device.description = "SteelSeries Arena 9"
                module-udev-detect.discovered = "1"
                device.icon_name = "audio-card-usb"
        Profiles:
                input:analog-stereo: Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 0, sources: 1, priority: 65, available: yes)
                input:iec958-stereo: Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 0, sources: 1, priority: 55, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-21: Analog Surround 2.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1300, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 2.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1365, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-21+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 2.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1355, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-41: Analog Surround 4.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1300, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 4.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1365, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-41+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 4.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1355, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-50: Analog Surround 5.0 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1200, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 5.0 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1265, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-50+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 5.0 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1255, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-51: Analog Surround 5.1 Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 1300, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo: Analog Surround 5.1 Output + Analog Stereo Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1365, available: yes)
                output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo: Analog Surround 5.1 Output + Digital Stereo (IEC958) Input (sinks: 1, sources: 1, priority: 1355, available: yes)
                off: Off (sinks: 0, sources: 0, priority: 0, available: yes)
        Active Profile: output:analog-surround-51
        Ports:
                analog-input-mic: Microphone (type: Mic, priority: 8700, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "audio-input-microphone"
                        Part of profile(s): input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo
                iec958-stereo-input: Digital Input (S/PDIF) (type: SPDIF, priority: 0, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Part of profile(s): input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo
                analog-output: Analog Output (type: Analog, priority: 9900, latency offset: 0 usec, availability unknown)
                        Part of profile(s): output:analog-surround-21, output:analog-surround-21+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-21+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-41, output:analog-surround-41+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-41+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-50, output:analog-surround-50+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-50+input:iec958-stereo, output:analog-surround-51, output:analog-surround-51+input:analog-stereo, output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo

Card #3
        Name: alsa_card.pci-0000_00_1f.3
        Driver: module-alsa-card.c
        Owner Module: 9
        Properties:
                alsa.card = "0"
                alsa.card_name = "HDA Intel PCH"
                alsa.long_card_name = "HDA Intel PCH at 0x604f220000 irq 211"
                alsa.driver_name = "snd_hda_intel"
                device.bus_path = "pci-0000:00:1f.3"
                sysfs.path = "/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1f.3/sound/card0"
                device.bus = "pci"
                device.vendor.id = "8086"
                device.vendor.name = "Intel Corporation"
                device.product.id = "7a50"
                device.product.name = "Raptor Lake High Definition Audio Controller"
                device.form_factor = "internal"
                device.string = "0"
                device.description = "Built-in Audio"
                module-udev-detect.discovered = "1"
                device.icon_name = "audio-card-pci"
        Profiles:
                output:hdmi-stereo: Digital Stereo (HDMI) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 38668, available: yes)
                output:hdmi-stereo-extra1: Digital Stereo (HDMI 2) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 38468, available: yes)
                output:hdmi-surround-extra1: Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI 2) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 33368, available: yes)
                output:hdmi-surround71-extra1: Digital Surround 7.1 (HDMI 2) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 33368, available: yes)
                output:hdmi-stereo-extra2: Digital Stereo (HDMI 3) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 5700, available: no)
                output:hdmi-surround-extra2: Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI 3) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 600, available: no)
                output:hdmi-surround71-extra2: Digital Surround 7.1 (HDMI 3) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 600, available: no)
                output:hdmi-stereo-extra3: Digital Stereo (HDMI 4) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 5700, available: no)
                output:hdmi-surround-extra3: Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI 4) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 600, available: no)
                output:hdmi-surround71-extra3: Digital Surround 7.1 (HDMI 4) Output (sinks: 1, sources: 0, priority: 600, available: no)
                off: Off (sinks: 0, sources: 0, priority: 0, available: yes)
        Active Profile: output:hdmi-stereo
        Ports:
                hdmi-output-0: HDMI / DisplayPort (type: HDMI, priority: 5900, latency offset: 0 usec, available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "video-display"
                                device.product.name = "ARZOPA"
                        Part of profile(s): output:hdmi-stereo
                hdmi-output-1: HDMI / DisplayPort 2 (type: HDMI, priority: 5800, latency offset: 0 usec, available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "video-display"
                                device.product.name = "LG TV SSCR2"
                        Part of profile(s): output:hdmi-stereo-extra1, output:hdmi-surround-extra1, output:hdmi-surround71-extra1
                hdmi-output-2: HDMI / DisplayPort 3 (type: HDMI, priority: 5700, latency offset: 0 usec, not available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "video-display"
                        Part of profile(s): output:hdmi-stereo-extra2, output:hdmi-surround-extra2, output:hdmi-surround71-extra2
                hdmi-output-3: HDMI / DisplayPort 4 (type: HDMI, priority: 5600, latency offset: 0 usec, not available)
                        Properties:
                                device.icon_name = "video-display"
                        Part of profile(s): output:hdmi-stereo-extra3, output:hdmi-surround-extra3, output:hdmi-surround71-extra3

Active Profile: output:analog-surround-51+input:iec958-stereo

So the active profile for the USB device is configured as expected.

Oops, I was examining card #0. Looking at card #2 (pertaining to the
SteelSeries Arena 9 device), it is set as expected

You mentioned that you tested via the audio widget, but have you tried playing some surround sound tracks specifically?

Apparently I am getting surround sound, but it’s a bit difficult to be certain since I don’t have any specific channel control other than left and right. I would expect there to be some way of sending sounds to specific speakers. I’ll play with some of the sound software to see what I come up with.

Thanks for clarifying further. I don’t have anything more than basic stereo sound on my laptop, but perhaps EasyEffects might provide more control?

https://software.opensuse.org/package/easyeffects

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