What makes the surround sound system different from others? How does surround sound work?

These are some frequently asked questions as surround sounds have become so popular these days. From cinemas to clubs and theatres to home theatres, surround sounds have replaced the old stereo everywhere. In the past, we have observed sounds coming from only one direction. Speakers were usually positioned behind the big screens.

However, speakers are arranged in various positions within a room, and sound comes from multiple directions in surround sound setups. It has entirely changed the environment of the cinemas and home theatres. Surround sound systems produce detailed and enhanced sounds, giving you a far better experience than traditional soundtracks.

How Surround Sound Works?

The basic phenomena of the surround sound system are that two to three speakers are positioned in front of the listener, while the other two to three are placed behind or left and the listener’s right side. The sound system is divided into multiple signals that travel through various channels. If you plan to set up a surround sound system in your home, you must know how it actually works. It’s essential to understand the role of each speaker and channel in this system. Only then you can get the optimum level of sound quality. Mounting speakers could help in getting a perfect surround sound setup.

Surround Sound 5.1

Surround sound 5.1 is the common setup that is found in home-based there and sound systems. It consists of six speakers that are arranged at various positions. Every speaker has their own job, and its placement in the correct position is critical.

Six speakers included in surround sound are center, front right, front left, surround right, and surround left.

Centre Speaker

The center speaker is the most critical part of the system. It is responsible for producing the main dialogue sounds from movies and soundtracks. Therefore the center speaker is entirely different from other surround speakers in the setup. As it produces the essential part of the content, it may contain tweeters and subwoofers. These parts will help it dissipate the sound signals in all directions and expand the sound field.

Any standard speaker can be used as a center speaker. But its positioning would be critical in surround sound setup. It either sits under or above the screen right in the center. Therefore you must consider the design that can easily fit these positions. For example, a flatter or wider design is relatively easy to place above or below the screen. In short, you will need a speaker with a broad soundstage for this position.

Frequency response is another critical factor one must consider for the center speakers. Wider frequency response can reproduce dialogues and center sound effects with more details and richness. In short, you will get all the dialogues and sound effects coming from the center of the screen if you palace the speakers in the correct position.

Front Right & Front Left

Front left, and front right speakers produce the most prominent sounds coming from the front. The sound signal splits and travels through various channels to produce multi-directional sound effects. The underlying phenomena of these speakers are that if an object on the right side of the screen is producing sound, you will hear it from the right speakers and vice versa. The sound signals also shift from the right speaker to the left as the object moves on the screen from left to right. These speakers produce sounds in various frequency ranges and are of critical importance.

If high-quality music, instrumental details, and bass is your main concern, you should go for high-quality front speakers. However, if you are just watching movies and drama on your TV, inexpensive speakers having normal sound quality will also do the job. It is recommended to buy all the front speakers of the same brand; they would blend nicely and sound better. However, if all the speakers belong to different brands, you will need to equalize the AV receiver’s sound.

Surround Left & Surround Right

Surround left and surround right speakers produce surround sound effects movies and all music genres. You can use any speakers as surround sound speakers. If you can afford and have space, you should go for high-quality speakers like floor-standing speakers as surround speakers. However, you can safely make a compromise in these speaker’s quality. The overall quality of sound depends much on surround speakers.

The only thing that matters for surround speakers is their position. Ideally, they should be placed right and left sides of the listening position. They should aim exactly towards the listener. You will either need shelves or speaker stands for surround speakers. Makes sure that the speakers should be at least two feet above your ears in a sitting position. You can also place surround speakers a few feet behind your listening position. In this position, they should face forward.

Surround Sound 7.1

Surround 7.1 is almost the same as surround sound 5.1. The only difference is they have two extra surround speakers. The positioning of the front speaker is the same as in the 5.1 surround system. In 7.1 surround sound, there are four surround speakers. Two speakers are placed on the left and right of your listening position as in 5.1. The other two are placed behind and beside the listening position. These speakers should be at least 1 foot away from the listener and should face forward.


A subwoofer is another critical part of the sound system. The subwoofers play a significant role in improving the overall sound quality. Subwoofers play a critical role as they deal with bass. Subwoofers produce the low end and can play the low frequencies.

Subwoofers significantly improve the bass response, making them a critical part of the home-theatre. Subwoofers should be placed near a wall or in a room corner. If you have a wired connection, you will have limited options. However, in wireless connections, you will have the freedom to place the subwoofers at ideal positions. Lastly, here you can get some cool home theater subwoofers of 2021.


Can you use any speakers for surround sound?

Yes, any speakers can be used for surround sound. The factors that matter are the position of speakers and proper connection. Make sure that the receiver has a matching impedance and all the equipment connected is compatible with each other.

Can I use floor-standing speakers for surround sound?

Yes, you can. Floor standing speakers are probably the most suitable option for surround sound. This is because these speakers have a wide frequency response, rich bass, pleasing aesthetics, and a wider soundstage. Moreover, these speakers easily pair with other speakers in the surround, have multiple drivers. It is recommended to use these speakers as front speakers in the surround system.

What is the most important speaker in surround sound?

The Centre speaker is the most important in surround sound. These speakers produce significant sound effects of the content, conversations, and dialogues. As the most important part of the content generally happens in the center of the screen, therefore center speaker channel is more critical in surround sound.

Are rear speakers necessary?

For a home theatre system, rear speakers are not necessary. However, their presence makes a significant difference. It also depends upon your need and the space available. Conversely, in a cinema, rear speakers are necessary. These speakers are behind the audience, anchoring with left and right speakers and working in the same frequency range as the front speaker.

How loud should rear surround speakers be?

Rear speakers should be equally loud as the front speakers and other surround speakers in the setup. These speakers also anchor the front and left speakers and produce the same sound effects as front speakers.

What is the best way to set up a 5.1 surround sound?

In a 5.1 surround sound setup, three speakers are placed on the front, one in the center and the other on left and right. The ideal position for surround speakers is at the lift and right side of listeners. These speakers should face precisely towards the listener’s ears for a better experience. If this placement is not possible, place the speaker behind the listener facing forward.

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