Everyone dreams about buying a home theater system at home that delivers extraordinary audio quality. Your dream home theater should make you feel like you are in a concert when you are listening to music. And you are in a movie theater when you are watching a movie on your TV with your home theater connected.
That is where the concept of surround sound effects comes into play, and you have to buy a 5.1 home theater and, even better, a 7.1 home theater. Are you wondering how 7.1 surround sound is different from 5.1 surround sound? Read on to find out their differences, their advantages, and disadvantages.
What Is 5.1 Surround Sound?
A 5.1 surround sound system consists of three front speakers and one speaker each for right and left for surround sound effect as well as a subwoofer. The 5.1 surround sound is the standard surround sound and it is perfect for small to medium rooms. It even supports all types of DVDs and video games. The 5.1 surround sound was first used in theaters in 1992.
- It is easy to set up and requires fewer wires.
- It can be ideal as a standard home theater.
- The 5.1 system is widely available with different options.
- It can provide solid theater sound and comes with a basic channel configuration.
- You can use the 5.1 sound system conveniently and 5.1 based music and movies are widely available
- The right and left front channels can provide stereo music reproduction.
- Even the subwoofer channel can deliver low-frequency effects.
- It is not so powerful due to the lack of setup precision.
- For large rooms, a 5.1 surround sound system will not be sufficient.
- It comes with fewer configuration and customization options.
- With a 5.1 surround sound system, there will be less finely tuned sound.
What Is 7.1 Surround Sound?
A 7.1 surround sound system consists of three front speakers and one speaker each for right and left for surround sound effect as well as a subwoofer. The additional part is that there are two more speakers on the rear side for a computer surround sound effect. For large rooms, a 7.1 system can be the ideal choice. It works by splitting the rear channel and surrounding information into different channels. In doing so, it can provide a better listening experience. There will be spread out, specific, and well-directed sound.
- The system can provide detailed sound with maximum channels.
- It comes with additional amps for improving the audio quality.
- There will be maximum configuration and customization options.
- It lets you have more control over the sound system.
- It serves great for larger spaces and can provide enhanced sound.
- It can provide a deep sound experience along with surround sound flexibility.
- A 7.1 system can support bi-amping for re-assigning the amplifiers.
- The greatest disadvantage of a 7.1 system is that it needs more space.
- There are 7.1 systems that don’t come in a complete kit and you need to buy additional components.
- It has less online availability and there are not many 7.1 based movies and music in comparison to 5.1 surround sound.
- In small rooms, the sound effects can feel a little weird.
- A 7.1 sound system comes with less compatibility.
- It is more expensive compared to the 5.1 surround sound system.
Comparison chart of 5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound
|Parameters||5.1 Surround Sound||7.1 Surround Sound|
|Setup||5 speakers and 1 subwoofer||6 speakers and 1 subwoofer|
|Sound Quality||Standard||More depth & precision|
|Supported Format||Dolby Digital and DTS||Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD Master|
|Application||Small to medium-sized rooms||Large rooms|
|Suitable for||DVDs and video games||Blu-ray and gaming consoles|
5.1 or 7.1 – Which is Better for an A/V Receiver?
While deciding which surround sound system is perfect for an A/V receiver, you need to consider multiple factors. Keep in mind that an A/V receiver will support all the channels that are available in a surround system. However, it will be better to go for a receiver that includes all the outputs for the 7.1 system.
You need to note that a 7.1 receiver can easily be used for a 5.1 surround system. There are also AV receivers that can recognize whether it is connected to a 5.1 or 7.1 system. The advantage of a 5.1 sound system is that it comes at a relatively affordable value.
What About Availability of Audio sources for 7.1 System?
Most types of Blu-Ray don’t come with any unique soundtrack. This is due to the reason that it lacks 7.1 audio tracks and has been mixed for the 5.1 surround sound system. It should be noted that the latest movies come with high-quality sound in the form of Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus or DTS HD master.
There are many audio technology companies including DTS and Dolby that have come up with codecs for producing 7.1 sound from the 5.1 soundtracks. This makes them play 7.1 channels for movies mixed with a 5.1 sound system.
7.1 Surround Sound – Is It Really Better?
When there will be an addition of surround-back speakers, it can provide better sound. This means that upgrading to 7.1 from 5.1 is less superior compared to a soundbar with a 5.1 system. When the soundtracks are mixed with the 7.1 system, the results can be great. This means that there will be no noticeable improvement in the sound immersion.
5.1 surround sound – Is It Possible To Get 3D Sound?
If you are looking to have an immersive and realistic sound, a 7.1 surround setup can be the ideal choice. Keep in mind that to have a true 3D experience, you will require a different speaker arrangement on your audio technology. With Dolby Atmos, the sound can bounce off the ceiling. We can say that a 5.1 setup can produce 3D sound. However, it can be limited. For a true 3D experience, it will be better to combine it with Dolby Atmos.
5.1 or 7.1 System with Teufel Speakers
For a perfect home cinema experience, Teufel has come up with amazing speakers. You can easily choose from THX-certified speakers to surround systems. There are also options for column and compact speakers. It enables you to transform from a 5.1 setup to a 7.1 system. You will even find Dolby Atmos speakers. Here are some of the Teufel speakers for your home cinema arrangement.
- Cinebar Trios: This 3.1 soundbar has a center speaker and two front speakers. It features a flat subwoofer that makes it ideal for movies. Moreover, it has an aluminum build and is in a sleek design. The other advantage is that it comes in a complete set and is ideal to have true surround sound.
- Cubycon Complete: While buying the Cubycon Complete, you will bet a 5.1 speaker setup and an AV receiver. Similar to the Cinebar Trios, this also has an aluminum enclosure and is compact. The flat design of the speaker makes it perfect for sliding under a sofa. Another great thing is that it can deliver high-resolution and realistic sound with coaxial drivers combined with high-end technology.
- Definition 3 Surround: For people who love music, this one can be the ideal choice. These speakers can play all genres of music with the precision stereo image. Definition 3 Surround is also suitable for movies as well as games and it comes with a perfectly aligned center.
- LT 4: The brushed aluminum column of the LT 4 has four midrange drivers. Combined with a tweeter, it can produce high sound quality. It is ideal for small spaces and comes with the LT 4 Extension Set for upgrading 5.1 to a 7.1 system.
5.1 or 7.1: The Final Decision
The following are the factors that let you choose between a 5.1 or a 7.1 system.
- With a 5.1 system, there will be a standard surround system in small and large rooms.
- In small rooms, a lot of speakers can lead to a muddy sound. You can use a 7.1 system if the room is over 350 square feet in area.
- 1 surround sound systems need compatible A/V receivers. Also, it requires codes to upgrade to a 7.1 system from a 5.1 system.
- To create a better sense of immersion and atmospherics, 7.1 systems employ surround backs. If there is not much space behind the listening area, there will not be much difference between the sound quality.
- Soft furnishings including carpets and couches can prevent sound reflection. Whereas hard materials like flooring, tables, and desks can disintegrate the additional speakers’ effect.
Basically, if you have a small to medium room, you go for a 5.1 system. Even if you have a large room and there is a budget constraint, you can go for a 5.1 system. But we would recommend you go for a 7.1 system when you have a large room. Otherwise, the sound clarity will be lost with the 5.1 system. The 7.1 system is a thing of the future as more and more soundtracks and movies are made for the 7.1 surround system.