Difference Between 5.1 Vs 7.1 Surround Sound

In the world of audiophiles, “Extra Sound or Accurate Sound” is a new question after “To be or not to be”.

You can always amend your preferences according to what the innovation is offering you as per the trend.

Nobody wants to step out of the house for regular recreation at the stake of lavish expense when it all can be availed within four boundaries.

For sure, the idea is quite tough to implement because you may get confused amidst the process but keeping the fun accessible is always worth it.

Imagine feeling down anytime and the next moment you can plan to watch a movie or have a sudden party with your family, how can it happen without quality music?

This thread is going to kill all your doubts regarding the ideal pick of a modern surround sound system especially (5.1 vs 7.1 surround sound system) with all the fundamental knowledge to decide on which one you should go with.

Well, to fulfill your dream of building a hi-fi home theatre, carry on with this read.

5.1 VS 7.1 Surround Sound: Which One is an Ideal Sound System?

Difference Between 5.1 Vs 7.1 Surround Sound System

Basic difference:

The noticeably straightforward difference between the two sound systems is the number of speakers. 5.1 sound system entails 6 loudspeakers, having one subwoofer. Meanwhile, the 7.1 surround sound system is an upgraded setup with an expansion of two more speakers, making it a total of 8 loudspeakers out of which one is a subwoofer.

Though the 7.1 sound setup is definite to provide a deep sound experience, the 5.1 sound setup comprising 6 channels is also a substantial substitute for most households. You will not always feel the need for a grand music disposition.

What is the purpose of two additional speakers in the 7.1 surround sound system?

These two supplementary speakers are called the rear or back speakers which are specially developed to be adjusted in the back position so that the sound comes from behind. The purpose of such calibration in an alignment with the ear of the listener from the back complements the view of a fuller sound, to articulate a lifelike audio experience.

These, being the surround back speakers, strengthen the sound beats produced by surround front and surround side speakers to collectively present each sound signal equal to a living wave.

Factors that decide which 5.1 vs 7.1 sound system is ideal for you:

Size of the room:

The size of your room or living room will express whether the need is for the 5.1 sound system or 7.1. Since the 7.1 sound system requires a substantial arrangement of speakers around the entire available space, it must be selected if the size of your room is more than 30 Square meters. This is because if you assign maximum speakers to a small room, the sound will not blend perfectly in the environment. It will rather sound repressed.

On the other hand, a 5.1 sound system with a limited number of speakers would not do justice to a bigger room because the sound will not reciprocate freely in all the corners. Therefore, the 5.1 sound system is a great choice for rooms that are smaller than 30 Square meters.

To watch movies:

The majority of the people look forward to acquiring top-class home-theatre satisfaction with the assistance of the Surround Sound System. If you are one of them, you must learn that the latest viewing content produced through Blu-ray discs usually involves 7.1 channels. The formats that might back this mix are Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS-HD Master.

Therefore, at this point, only the 7.1 surround sound system will be sufficient to cater to digital accuracy. While there is a fair chance that the older movies mixed for 5.1 sound can still operate at 7.1 sound system. There is no way that the movies mixed for the 7.1 sound system can bring about the same sense and sound tendency under the administration of the 5.1 sound system. With that said, the 7.1 sound system, under the companionship of an A/V receiver programmed with Dolby Atmos can also convey the robust 3D sound.


7.1 surround sound system is way more expensive than the standard 5.1 sound system. Since the 7.1 sound system comes with two additional speakers, their cost also adds up to the total price.

Plus, the 7.1 sound system requires a lot of secondary components for the setup that is already not present in the package which means you have to spend separately for them. Because of more speakers, more wires are required and this becomes a constant cycle of repurchasing the wires off and on because they keep deteriorating with time.

Therefore, if your budget is low and also have a small room that can be assigned to the urgent sound setup, invest in a 5.1 sound system and the opportunity to upgrade to a better system is always there. However, you can also opt for a wireless setup but that will be expensive again.

5.1 Surround Sound System

5.1 Surround Sound System

These are the most commonly used speakers for arranging a home-based sound system with 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer. Masses usually start with a 2.1 sound system and then land onto a 5.1 sound system before the sense of evolution finally forces them to grab a 7.1 sound system.

In the setup of this sound system, there is no concept of rear surround speakers. So you begin with positioning a speaker in the middle (generally under your TV) after which comes two speakers in the front and then ultimately the side speakers that are fixed on both sides of the listening area.

Your average-sized room will not mind having this sound system to avail the much-needed sound fun often. However, if you try to set these up in a big room, forget the concept of atmospheric sound that can only be acknowledged with a 7.1 sound system in a reasonably wider room with the efforts of back surround speakers.

If your room is up to or lesser than 30 Square meters or 350 Square feet, you are good to go with this sound system.

In addition, the A/V receivers compatible with a 5.1 surround sound system are generally affordable.

7.1 Surround Sound System

7.1 Surround Sound System

To get proper amusement out of this sound system, there is a set of instructions that must be followed to the letter to render an on-point arrangement of all the speakers. The correct arrangement of 7 speakers and a subwoofer will eventually yield immersive sound. For instance,

  • There must be a little distance in the placement of the front speakers (side and mid speakers).
  • The side speakers should be spotted accurately in the side direction of the listener.
  • The surround back speakers must be established as per the height of the ears of the listener while he is in a sitting position.
  • It is important to maintain a considerable distance between the sitting area and the back speakers.
  • The speakers must not be placed along the wall. A distance of approximately 10 cm should be observed between a wall and the speaker.
  • The overall arrangement should be symmetrical.

Your friends who are always crazy to enjoy gaming with real yet out of the world sensation will thank you over and over again for this setup as it openly supports gaming consoles like PS3, PS4, Xbox One, etc

What is the use of an A/V receiver in a Surround Sound System?

The objective of an Audio-Visual receiver is to support a surround sound system while establishing a high-end home theatre. It performs a defined set of duties that can be carried through only via a quality receiver. It may involve channeling an active transmission from Audio to Visuals, track the performance of loudspeakers, amplify the delivery of superior sound staging, and decode DVD formats.

The execution level of the selected receiver must match with the excellence of your surround sound system because it will eventually be a part of the setup and will affect the quality of the sound provided.

In the given scenario, you are bound to opt for a receiver that can work not with 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems in case you would like to shift from the smaller system to an upgraded system someday.

If you still find yourself stuck at the decision of choosing between either of these two sound systems, make a list of the features you want in your potential sound system, and then go for the one that stands on the criteria.

Winding Up

You will observe evident sound improvement after shifting to the 7.1 surround sound system from the 5.1 sound system, given that the size of your room is also at par with the demand of the hefty sound setup. However, the difference might seem minor if you have promoted the situation from 5.1 to 7.1 in the same small room. The sound also compels for ample space to fully withdraw the bubbles of unevenness present in the surrounding. The situation worsens when the room is too small to not let the sound unfold at its best.

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