Youtube states that it only supports Stereo or Stereo + 5.1.

How does this work? Does it mean that there should be two audio streams included in the container or is this a special encoding?

( I am using Premiere Pro )

3 Answers 3


It's not very clear what they mean. If you look further down on the same page it says it accepts 5.1 @ 512 kbps.

Recommended audio bitrates for uploads

Mono    128 kbps
Stereo  384 kbps
5.1     512 kbps

YouTube doesn't currently support 5.1 playback. If you upload a 5.1 audio track it gets converted to stereo.

  • The threads are all 3 years old though.
    – mmlac
    Oct 7, 2015 at 17:50
  • 2
    There are no news for the contrary either. Anyway I tried downloading a surround test YT movie in multiple formats (aac, vorbis - audio only and aac in mp4) with youtube-dl and they're all stereo. If you upload your own test file I can probe it for you. In any case stereo + 5.1 can only mean two separate audio tracks (someone even suggested binaural audio :)
    – aergistal
    Oct 7, 2015 at 18:31
  • Ok, I will try that and see how that works out. I'll keep you posted.
    – mmlac
    Oct 7, 2015 at 18:55

The two major platforms that YouTube video players use are Adobe Flash, and Adobe Air. Flash 11 only supports 2 channel audio. Adobe air 3 supports multichannel audio. Also HTML5 supports multi channel audio. most multichannel streams will be PCM no bit stream, as you need licensing from Dolby or DTS to encode/decode. Furthermore multi channel audio is only supported for TV devices, on all other devices hasMultiChannelAudio() always returns false. This is probably due to HDCP / DRM requirements by publishers. Finally many smart TVs, especially Samsungs, will only send 2 channel audio from the optical output (again HDCP/DRM reasons). So you need to be sure what player / equipment you are using. A smart TV using ARC (audio return channel) to a receiver will have multichannel YouTube audio.


if you upload in ac3 it gets converted to he-aac it wont play back from youtube in 5.1 but youtube-dl will give you back a 5.1 track

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