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Surround Sound Vs Stereo: Which Is The Best?

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Most people take delights in listening to music, others love watching movies while some love both. Most times when you listen to sounds, you may have taken cognizance of its difference in sound production from the speakers or sound systems. The difference in sound is actually as a result of different sound systems. 

However, If you are new to the sphere of home theatres, choosing the right sound system can seem like an uphill task. The most common sound systems include stereophonic and surround sound. These sound systems are distinct in many ways including how they work, their benefits and differences.

Which wrote this surround sound vs stereo sound article to help you chose which would best suit your needs.

What is the surround sound system?

The concept behind the design is to provide a sound-field in around you. 

Surround sound is a multichannel sound created by 4-7 independent speakers placed at all edges around the listener in a manner that the listener is surrounded with sounds. You can call this concept of sound a playback and mixing experience and progress. 

It has various specifications including 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 speakers or sound options. You can find this type mostly being used in home theatres and cinemas for boosting movie and gaming experience.

The major aim of having you surrounded with sound in all directions is to ensure that you are deeply engaged in the sonic environment that is suggested by what is being shown to you on screen.  However, the alternative to this type is the stereo system. 

Benefits of using a surround sound system

These days, the home has been spiced up this most famous sound system, it is becoming a necessity to have a complete home theatre. Besides, an enhanced sound quality offers considerable benefits to your home-stay, full of entertainment experience. These benefits are; 

  • You will find a more thrilling experience using surround sound. It really brings the vision to life. Also, it delivers the audio based on where it’s coming from to make entertainment more engaging to always watch.
  • The sound quality is very pleasant. With this, you will be able to adjust the audio to your preferred sound quality and tastes. There is an exciting experience with Surround sound as it keeps providing a richer tone, and customized treble and bass settings.
  • Changes can be made in the settings, just with a few dial adjustments or positioning changes. Greater sound clarity from surround sound also contributes to your entertainment experience.
  • The entertainment is fullest when it comes to the movie theatre in your own home. You will a nice experience with the quality of movie theatre you are viewing without the disturbances that go along with it.

Stereo sound system

Stereo is usually designed by two independent speakers. Stereo sound is mostly used in movies, music players, FM radio stations, and television.

In this type, the reproduced signals have a specific phase and level on how they relate to each other in a way that when the sound is played through a reproduction system, there is an image of the original sound.

However, when it comes to stereo, the sound obviously has a sense of direction since you can clearly hear the sound from different directions. The sound reproduction in the stereo of audible signals creates an illusion from numerous directions.

Finally, the audible signals in stereo, are usually routed through at least two sound channels to facilitate direction or depth perception.

Benefits of using a Stereo sound system

The provision of sound perspective is the major benefit attached to the stereo sound.

The idea of the direction from which the sound signal is emerging from is provided by Stereo, including how the sound has been recorded. When listening to music or seeing movies, It also offers a better experience when It comes to multi-task recording.

Surround sound system vs stereo system

Now, how is surround sound distinct from the stereo? However, the number of sound channels or speakers is actually the main difference between both. Stereo only has two speakers, whereas surround is three or more speakers.

In simple terms, stereo systems have two speakers, that is, a left and a right. This means that sound is only output in two channels. It is also possible to connect Stereo speakers to mixers that allow devices to vary left and right speaker output for the production of some level of dynamic sound.

On the other hand, Surround sound has three or more speakers. A basic surround sound setup would be a center channel, and a left and right. Surround sound commonly comes in 5 and 7 channel setups.

In fact, here are the summary of the difference between both systems;  

  • Surround sound has a multi-channel sound system, while the stereo is a 2 channel sound system.
  • For surround, audio is mixed into a sound field, but only into 2 tracks for a stereo.
  • 3 or more speakers (typically 5 or 7) is allowed for surround sound system whereas stereo only has 2 speakers
  • Both of them can add a subwoofer, but it’s much more seen in the surround sound.

Is surround sound better than stereo?

When setting up your home theatre, there is no doubt that you’ll definitely look for the best sound possible. However, most people don’t agree on which is the best sound system for a home theatre.

However, some base their choices on the major differences, but may not benefit from surround sound in their home theatre. Anyways, it all depends on your plans for the speakers. Nevertheless, not all audio is handled the same by speaker systems. This is eventually where the difference between surround and stereo comes is being considered.

The main differences between the systems have been covered herein, along with the applications for each. If you’re building a home theatre in your home, then the best option is probably a 5.1 surround sound system.

However, if you want to listen to songs, a good surround sound will serve you better. The audio will output through the front 2 speakers with pleasant sound quality, while some systems will add more powerful speakers for this reason.

The Difference?

Conclusively, the difference between surround sound and the stereo is pretty simple, but making a choice on the right speakers is where the problem lies.

Obviously, there are plenty of factors to consider when making your decision on which one to go for. Therefore, it’s always worth researching deeply, before picking the right speakers for your home theatre setup.

It’s always worth shopping around to see which system will suit your needs best.

Our Top Picks: Surround Sound

Our Top Pick: Stereo Sound

Read next: 10 Best Home Theater Amplifiers For 2020

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