What is Surround Sound Standard? 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 – Best Sound System in Details

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Do you know, What is Surround Sound Standard? Do you know the differences between 2.0, 2.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 Sound Systems? Dolby Digital, DTS, THX- Home Theatre, Speaker Everything in details.

It is very rare to find such a persons who do not like music. Our love for music has increased with the time and the process of enjoying the music has also changed. In earlier days, the people listen to the music by radio and cassette. There was no fun of enjoying the music until the music coming up as a CD in digital format. Now, the music system in digital format is available in smartphones, IPOD, Mp3 Player, TV, and Home Theatre etc. When the words digital music and speaker come, then the terms stereo, surround system have coined in front of us. If you are a movie lover, then you can watch such kind of words like Dolby Digital, DTS, THX audio etc. You can also watch some audio output options like 2.1, 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 in the sound driver program of the computer. The main theme of this article is that what is it? How does perform it? What is the value of it in high-quality music system? Today, I am so charged and definitely you too. Let’s see in details.

Surround Sound Standard


Mono: In digital audio, first of all, we are introduced to the mono sound system. Mono sound system is the single channel audio system in where you can broadcast all audios in just a single channel. But, in the mono sound system there may be so many sound speakers, but same audio broadcasts by using all speakers together. The main advantage of this sound system is that all listeners get the same sound quality because of broadcasting same audio in all speakers and the sound level is same for all listeners. For this, in the meeting, the mono sound system is used. Most of the speakers of smartphones are the mono sound system.

Surround Sound Standard

stereo sound system

Stereo: Next, the stereo sound system which has completely independent and different audio single channels. There may be different sound levels in two audio channels and these provide audio output together which come from main audio or source. You sound system also plays with stereo sound system. We also know the basic stereo sound system in 2.0 and 2.1. There are two speakers of the dual channel in 2.0 audio system and in 2.1 audio sound system, there are two speakers along with a separate subwoofer. In any music concert, the extraordinary sound quality will be provided by the stereo sound system when the sound of the musical instruments and the voice of the artist are required in a different channel. The listeners must be in middle position in 2.0 or 2.1 sound system, otherwise, the listener only listens the sound of one channel. To listen to general music, 2.1 audio systems can give extraordinary music quality. Today, headphones are also played by the stereo sound system. To get the original stereo sound system, we need to configure left/right speaker.

5.1 surround sound

5.1 Channel: 5.1 surround sound is common and popular surround sound standard or format. There is another channel along with the stereo amplifier in two channeled home theater receiver. There are total 6 channels in 5.1 sound system, among these, there are 5 full bandwidth channels which play in 3-20,000 Hz frequency and there is also a low-frequency subwoofer which creates 3-120 Hz sound. Three speakers are in front out of 5 speakers- right, left, and center and 2 surround speakers are in the back. In 5.1 sound system of the basic home theater the right and left speakers perform according to the movie screen; for example, if the train goes from the left side, then the sound will get in the left speaker and if the train goes from the right side, then the sound will get in right speaker. Centre or middle speaker is used to get the sound of the movie dialogue, music vocal, and support sound. Two back surround speaker play special sound effect as you think that you are staying virtually in the movie. Subwoofer works in low frequency and music base plays from the sound track. The example of 5.1 sound system is Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1.

6.1 Surround Sound Home Theater

6.1 Channel: 6.1 home theater system provides 1 more speaker than 5.1 sound system. There is another center speaker at the back of 6.1 sound system, 3 speakers in front, and two surround speakers at the back and there is also a dedicated subwoofer. The back center speaker does same as front center speaker. 6.1 sound system is almost like 5.1 sound system but you will get high sound quality from 6.1 sound system. Suppose, a car move into the left side on the right side of the screen, then you will get the original sound quality. You will get these special sound effects when source audio 6.1 sound system will be encoded.

Enhanced Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound System
Enhanced Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound System

7.1 Channel: 6.1 home theater system provides 1 more speaker than 5.1 sound system and there is one more speaker in 7.1 sound system than 6.1 sound system. Three channels and two surround speaker in the front and two channels and one subwoofer at the back. There is full bandwidth in these channels like 5.1, 6.1 except subwoofer. This extra back speaker will give you best sound effect. There is THX audio enhancer in 7.1 sound system receiver, it tries to provide the best sound quality by processing the audio from movie and music. But, it is very hard to set up in 7.1 sound system.

5.1, 6.1, 7.1 Channel Surround Sound


In the field of surround system market, three main players are Dolby Digital, DTS, and THX. In this case, each and every one has different characteristics. So, before buying your next home theater, you just have a look at various surround sound standards or formats.

Dolby Pro Logic


Pro Logic was very popular PC game sound system until the computer manufacturing companies make the surround soundcard in 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 etc. Truly speaking, it is not an original surround sound system it provides the virtual surround audio. In Pro logic, there are two speakers and one subwoofer but after Pro Logic II was launched and was divided into the 5 speakers. Pro Logic II do not provide surround audio and you cannot get different sound, only right and left channel provide separate sound.

Dolby Pro Logic
Dolby Pro Logic Audio Converter

Then, you must ask that, “What is the function of the Pro Logic?” look, you can enjoy ordinary music play and gaming sound in Pro Logic II than any stereo 2.1 speaker. Though, there are not separate channels in 5 speakers, but due to the more speakers a virtual surround audio is created which is far better.

But, Dolby Pro Logic IIx can process 5.1 and 7.1 audio and obviously in separate channels. Pro Logic IIz provides a feature of keeping speakers in height as a result during the time of flying the flights or during the time of breaking down the tree, you will get the special effect.

Dolby Digital


Dolby Digital Sound System with 5.1 Channel Speaker
Dolby Digital Sound System with 5.1 Channel Speaker

Dolby Digital is a successful version of the logic. Yes, it gives a true surround audio. In Dolby digital technology, audio decoder is built in which processes audio from the audio source and send 5 separate channels (3 speakers in front, 2 surround speaker in back, and a subwoofer). 5 speaker works totally in separate channels from 5.1 home theatre system in Dolby Digital format and can provide separate audio. But, 5.1 audio system is then possible when the source audio will be encoded in 5.1 system.

I have said that Dolby Digital is a lossy format. By reducing the size of the audio, it compresses the audio to store on the DVD or in any media. For reducing the size, the quality of the audio somehow reduces.

Dolby Digital Sound System Setup (with 7.1 channel speaker)
Dolby Digital Sound System Setup (with 7.1 channel speaker)

There are so many kinds of Dolby digital like Dolby digital Ex and Dolby digital Plus. But, these two kinds are almost like Dolby digital. But, it has just a difference i.e. Digital Ex is an independent channel (6.1) and there are two independent channels in Digital Plus (7.1) which supports 6.1 and 7.1 surround sound. It provides clear audio quality, clear image.

Another name of the digital standard is “Dolby True HD”, though it is TrueHD but it uses compressed audio. It uses lossy audio compression technique. In lossy Compression technique though the size of audio is compressed but the audio quality is not compressed. But, like the lossy compression, it is not possible to compress the size of the file, so it does not set in general DVD or CD. So, it is conserved in Blu-ray disk because its capacity is high. But, so many receivers does not support TrueHD.

DTS (Dedicated To Sound)


DTS Audio Decoder
DTS Audio Decoder

Like Dolby Digital, DTS sound system also supports 5.1 audio and it also uses Lossy compression. Receiver and decoder are also built-in DTS technology. But, it uses less compression than Dolby digital and it works in high bit rate. So, it gives clear, fresh sound quality. But, you can differentiate in between DTS and Dolby digital is that when you use the good quality speaker. But, now a days, most of the audio receiver supports both DTS and Dolby Digital. But, in the market, there is very few DTS audios are encoded because this technology is very new and so many companies do not support it. But, in the most of the cases, you will get the Dolby digital audio format.

THX (Sound System)


THX is not a surround standard like DTS or Dolby digital. It mainly enhances the audio and video qualities and provides the highest quality. You can watch it in high-end receivers. Like Dolby digital or DTS, it is not limited to audio, it also enhances the video quality. If the THX technology is available in your sound system, then the sound experience quality will increase.

Last Words:

I have discussed about various sound systems and surround sound standard in this article. This article may be helpful to you if you want to buy home theater or if you like to watch a movie and if you like gaming. Now, you already know that the meaning of 2.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 audio options. Hopefully, you like this topic and you must share it and you don’t forget to leave your comments.

Thank You!

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