Surround Sound is one of the greatest and most defining features of any home theater system today. It can turn a nature show into taking a safari trip in the African Serengeti. It can also turn a living room couch into first row seats at the 50 yard line. Surround Sound uses a special speaker configuration and special amplifier inside a receiver to create an audio experience that is very close to the way we listen to sounds in nature.
Human ears are really amazing devices. They have the ability to detect binaural audio, which means they can accurately detect the location of an audio source based on the slightest timber and timing differences of sound between each ear. Our ears have a huge dynamic range of around 130 dB. As an example of what this means, if the quietest sound your ears could detect was represented by a sewing pin being dropped on a pillow then the volume of the loudest sound we can hear would be 10 trillion times that of the dropped pin. Our ears are extremely sensitive instruments. Just by using subtle audio cues from our delicate ears we create a virtual image of our world around us. The goal of Surround Sound is to create the most natural reproduction of how our ears hear sounds to immerse us into the environment we are viewing which creates more of an experience with what we are seeing rather than just observing at a distance what is on a screen. This technology finally stepped out of the movie theater and into our homes.
Surround Sound Configuration
A home theater surround sound system consists of specifically grouped speakers, a subwoofer, and the receiver. The speakers are named base on their position in the room.
The 7.1 configuration is currently the sophisticated sound system of choice for the upscale home.
In a 7.1 surround sound system there are seven speakers which are front left, center, front right, surround left, surround right, rear left, and rear right. Then of course you connect the subwoofer and the receiver.
The most popular system is the 5.1 surround sound system which is front left, center, front right, surround left, surround right. The 5.1 is the most common way to build a basic surround sound system, and can accommodate most modest sized home theater rooms, living rooms, and media rooms.
Surround Sound for Large Rooms
Now with the right equipment, a surround sound Receiver can be modified to expand and convert the 5.1 system into larger formats still using the information from the 5.1 signal. For instance, a 6.1 adds a rear center speaker for more immersive sound. The 7.1 can be created from a 5.1 signal and adds a rear left and rear right to the speaker configuration. You can add another subwoofer to the mix and make your own 7.2 system.
Growing in popularity for larger rooms is the 9.2 system that adds another set of surround left and right in the middle for an even more immersive experience. The larger the number, the more enveloping the sound will be.
However, the sound in all of these speakers is not the same. Each channel has a specific function. Your center channel(s) for instance is going to produce most of the dialog and conversation in a movie. They are also where you hear most of the lead singer and lead instruments in music. The left and right speakers are for background music, and background action sounds. The rear and surround speakers are responsible for creating depth, ambience, and other special sound effects. Even though each speaker produces different sounds, they all work together to create a seamless fully immersive experience.
Infinity HD specializes in designing custom surround sound systems to accommodate any space in your home. Think of any place to put a surround sound system for your Phoenix home audio installation, and there is a good chance we’ve done it. We use THX and industry standard calibration techniques to match the sound to any room. We also implement our own custom audio tailoring to suit your specific listening preferences.
Q: Is there any way to have surround sound without the big speakers?
A: Yes, flush mounted surround sound speakers can be discretely installed in your ceiling or walls, but still carry as much quality as the big box speakers. Call us today for a free in-home consultation!
Q: Will there be wires run across my room for all the speakers? Can’t I just use wireless?
A: All wires can be concealed in the walls and ceiling. We do offer SONOS systems that can connect to your home theater system wirelessly if wires are not feasible. Call us today for a free in-home consultation!
Q: Do I need a surround sound receiver?
A: Yes, A surround sound receiver is basically the heart and brain of your home theater system. Apart from powering all your speakers, it changes video inputs, controls other components and manages online music content.
Q: What is the difference between 5.1, 7.1. 9.2?
A: These numbers describe different surround sound configurations. The 5.1 means there are 5 full range speakers the .1 means there is 1 Subwoofer. Most recorded sound formats are in 5.1, however your receiver can convert these formats to 7.1, 9.2 (2 subwoofers) and so on. Call us today for a free in-home consultation!
Q: Do I need a center speaker?
A: Yes because the center speaker is the most important channel in any sound stage. It reproduces 90% of the dialog that happens in movies and TV shows. Call us today for a free in-home consultation!