Taking Care Of Your Electronics

The Differences Between Various Home Theater Speaker Setups

by Aiden Knight

Looking into adding a sound system to your home theater, but feeling overwhelmed by all the different setups available to you? It will help to know more about the following speaker setups.

2.0 Stereo

The most basic setup that you'll find for a home theater is a 2.0 stereo system. This has two front speakers that have a left and right channel, and it gives you the bare minimum these days for what a TV would have in terms of audio. You can hear the sound pan from left to right as it moves across the screen, but that's about it.

2.1 Stereo

The additional 1 in 2.1 stereo represents the low-frequency channel. This is for those bass effects that cause your windows to vibrate when they get really loud. It uses the same stereo setup as previously mentioned, but simply adds the subwoofer. Keep in mind that you can have multiple subwoofers in a 2.1 stereo setup since the 1 just represents the number of unique audio channels supplied to your speakers.

5.1 Surround Sound

A 5.1 surround sound setup adds three additional channels to the mix. This includes a rear left and right speaker that are positioned behind you, so you can hear the things going on that are off-screen and behind the point of view you are watching. There is also a central audio channel, which is mainly used for dialogue and other spoken words to make it sound clear to the viewer. With these 5 speakers, it's possible to create an experience where you can hear a sound go around you, which is where the name surround sound comes from.

7.1 Surround Sound

The additional sound channels with a 7.1 surround channel are known as the surround left and right speaker. These are placed directly to the left and right of the sitting position, and they fill in those sounds to complete a full circle around you. 

7.1.2 Surround Sound

When you see three numbers describing a home theater audio system, the last number represents the number of overhead channels. This gives you the ability to hear sound that is positioned directly above you to both the left and the right. What makes a 7.1.2 surround sound system unique is that you don't necessarily need to have speakers above you to get the same effect. You can have other speakers in your home theater that fire the sound upward so that it bounces off the ceiling, creating the effect of a ceiling-mounted speaker.

For more information on a home theatre sound system, contact a company near you.