Surround Sound vs. Two-Channel Systems

July 11, 2019 5:18 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s a common occurrence for people shopping for new home audio systems in Chicago to say they want a surround sound system, but then not actually realize what a surround sound system is or whether it’s actually appropriate for their home audio needs.

Your two primary options are surround sound or two-channel stereo audio systems. There are some distinct differences between these two types of audio systems, and some situations in which the use of one might make more sense than the other.

Here’s some information about each of these options and the factors you should consider when selecting your ideal audio choice.

Surround sound

Surround sound systems in Chicago are designed to deliver sound all around you, as the name suggests—in front of you, on either side and behind you (and, in some cases, even above you). However, very little music gets recorded in surround sound—this is a sound medium primarily meant for television and film.

Surround sound systems use five speakers and a subwoofer, or, if you’re dealing with an especially long room, seven speakers and a subwoofer. Three speakers get installed along the wall with the TV (the front wall), including a center speaker (generally located immediately above or below the screen) and then speakers to the left and right. Another pair of speakers are installed either along the side or rear walls. The idea is to bring sound through from all directions to provide an immersive environment that fits in with what you’re seeing on the screen.

This type of sound is particularly beneficial for action movies, where the sound is more blatant, but there are some more subtle applications of this type of sound in dramas (think quiet background noises, park noises, traffic sounds, etc.).

Stereo sound

Stereo sound systems only require a front left and front right speaker. They create a sound field that is shaped more like a performance stage at a concert that’s right in front of you. If the listener is sitting at a relatively equal distance between the left and right speakers and about as far away from the speakers as the speakers are from each other, there will be a reproduced sound field, meaning the sounds are recreated anywhere within the boundaries of the imaginary stage that it creates. With a high-quality stereo sound system, you can pick out exactly where on this “stage” the singers and instruments are located.

Again, most music is not recorded in surround sound, so a surround sound system is not necessarily the best application you can get if your goal is to get the best music quality possible. However, there are some 5.1 systems that allow you to change the speaker output to a 2.1 or 3.1 system, which can provide you with a more ideal sound quality for music.

For more information about which option is going to be best suited for your needs, contact Quintessence Audio LTD or pay us a visit to check out some equipment for home audio systems in Chicago.

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