Dear readers, I also have an altec lansing 5.1 setup which caused me headaches. It is true that while running 5.1 speakers on stereo content not all of the speakers aer used, this is normal. on films and games there is support for these. My motherboards on board sound chip, basic realtek affair, has options to use dolby style surround to force 5.1 usage in all scenarios. However whilst using this I needed to use the bass amp function and turn the speaker subwoofer up a great deal after changing the settings. I cant explain why it just needed it. Finally I have found that even tho I have 5.1 sound WITH BASS, I have to have my rear speakers in front, and my front speakers to the side, in order for windows to play the test properly, otherwise games are very unusual. I believe you may have to swap bass and centre channels if you think it sounds wrong. In short, love the speakers, took far too much effort to make them work right. Hope this helps someone.