“Surround sound is, simply sound that completely surrounds you. It means a speaker in virtually every corner of the room, projecting high-quality digital sound at you from all angles just as though you were in a theater. It also means sound diversification, with deep, thunderous bass rumbling the floorboards as an explosion happens on screen, and subtle sound effects skittering and tapping behind you in a suspenseful scene. For music, it’s being purely enveloped by the song you’re listening to. In terms of nuts and bolts, it means a set of speakers, usually five, including the all-important “center speaker,” and a subwoofer for powerful bass. This is where the term “5.1” comes from — five speakers and a subwoofer.” (Casey, 2017)
There are different components to a 5.1 surround sound from the subwoofer to the main center speaker.
The subwoofer which represents the .1 in your 5.1 system, it is a large powered speaker designed for to make you feel those low-end frequencies in a song or in a movie when an explosion happens to give you a realistic effect that matches what’s happening on screen or helps makes a song a bit more enjoyable because everyone loves a lot of bass in music.
A satellite speaker represents any of the speakers in the left or right front and back corners. In a normal 5.1 setup, you so far have a 4.1 set up including the subwoofer, but last but not least we have the center speaker.
The center speaker is often considered the most important speaker out of the rest of your surround speakers. This speaker will be larger and more noticeable than the rest of the speakers. The reasoning for its importance is because in a movie scene that’s where all the dialogue is placed, whereas, in a studio environment, that’s where your vocal will sit or a lot of your low end sounds like kick and sub-bass, this is because you wouldn’t pan these sounds as they are meant to sit in the middle of the mix.
Altogether these components make up a 5.1 surround sound system this knowledge can be applied in home theatres or in a home studio but read my previous blog on room calibration which also applies to these areas.
Casey, M. (2017). What Is Surround Sound Audio?. [online] Lifewire. Available at: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-surround-sound-audio-2640440 [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].