How Does Surround Sound Work?
Whether you are setting up a home theater system or just were interested in surround sound you will want to know how surround sound works. How sound comes at you will affect the realistic feeling of any media. Surround sound means just what it says, sound that surrounds you. Surround sound is supposed to make you feel that the sounds you would hear in what you see on TV are coming at you in the same way as they would in the movie, show or whatever you watch. To achieve this goal, speaker manufactures have created different types of surround sound systems with special speaker placement which can be summarized by the following formats.
- 2.1 channel surround sound systems. These systems are your most basic and include two speakers minimum. Some of manufacturers have developed other methods for making such few speakers sound the same as multiple speaker systems, BOSE is one good example.
- 3.1 channel surround sound systems. These systems are the same as 2.1 but with an added base channel for a sub-woofer. In both systems the 2 other speakers would be placed in the left and right center of the listening audience.
- 5.1 surround sound speaker systems. These speaker systems come with five different speaker channels and a sub-woofer channel. Three of the channels are for the front speakers and the remaining two speaker channels are for the sides of the theater or room. These side channels are obviously designed to project the actual surround sound, sounds that you would hear from your left and right planes of hearing if you were in the situation you were observing or listening to.
- 7.1 surround sound speaker systems. These systems extend the 5.1 systems by adding another two channels for two speakers to be placed behind the listeners. The 7.1 channels are therefor meant to imitate the noises you would hear from behind you. The 7.1 format is unfortunately not used enough, but luckily enough you can use the speakers for these channels to strengthen the sound of the 5.1 by running them off the same connection.