5.1 vs 5.2 Surround Sound: What’s The Difference?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links it means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More

When researching on the world wide web, you will notice that speakers don’t only mean good sound quality, but also, you may find some confusing content when it comes to speakers in general.

When I first started this route, the most confusing thing to me was the surround sound. I couldn’t quite find out what is it besides noticing that in a way the music surrounds you. However, once one gets it, it is the simplest thing that a person can clearly realize.

In this article, you will find some more information regarding the 5.1 and 5.2 surround sound, and you will be able to find the differences and the similarities between them.

Is 5.1 better than 5.2 or vice versa? Well, let’s see which one is the winner!

Surround Sound

Without understanding what surround sound is, no one can notice the differences between a 5.1 surround sound and a 5.2 surround sound, right? That’s why I would firstly like to start by answering the question “What is the surround sound?”

A surround sound, simply put is a system, that is created by three or more speakers all combined together. That combination of speakers creates an interesting field in which you (the person) are at the center part, and all the sounds that come from those components surround you in the best way possible.

You may have noticed that in movie theaters the sound comes in all directions, and that’s because every movie theater uses surround sound systems.

What are the numbers added to surround sound systems?

Whenever you search for a surround sound system, you will encounter some numbers in front of the main name. Those numbers are basically the ones that show us what the surround sound includes.

The first number in surround sound tells the number of speakers that are included, meanwhile, the second number that is added shows how many subwoofers the system works with.

5.1 Surround Sound

Before starting to explain in detail what a 5.1 surround sound system is, I would like to mention that 5.1 is the most commonly used surround sound system in many home theaters. Another thing that is important to be mentioned is that 5.1 is also the most commonly used system in different home theater speakers that you may need for your houses.

A 5.1 surround sound is a system that includes six components within and they are three speakers that are placed on the left, right, and the center, and there are two surround sound speakers at the back part of the environment where you locate them. Those two speakers are also placed on both sides, left and right. The other important component is the subwoofer which is 1 in number.

Benefits of Using a 5.1 Surround Sound

Being used by lots of people the 5.1 surround sound systems have many benefits, but the most important ones and the greatest things that they are known for are:

  • Easy Setup
  • A Perfect Match for Small Environments
  • Very Simple Arrangement of the Components

Drawbacks of Using a 5.1 Surround Sound

Since the good part is clear enough, I guess there are some important drawbacks or cons that definitely should be mentioned. Here go the disadvantages of the 5.1 surround sound:

  • Low Volume
  • Not a Great Bass
  • The Subwoofer Needs to be Put Super Accurate

Who Should Buy a 5.1 Surround Sound?
Considering the benefits and the drawbacks of the 5.1 surround sound system, this system is definitely mostly aimed at those people that don’t own big rooms and want components that would fit precisely and won’t bother them during the arrangement.

5.2 Surround Sound

Even though the 5.1 surround sound was the most commonly used system in movie theaters, there are still some places that require a 5.2 surround sound in order to make the sound, in general, perform in a better way and to bring to you a terrific sound in the good meaning of the word.

Similar to the one mentioned above, a 5.2 surround sound system uses six components; meaning the speakers that are put in the center part, the right part, and the left part of the place that you use them. Anyways, the difference goes at the last number. A 5.2 surround sound owns two subwoofers and they increase the sound quality in general.

Another important difference in the 5.2 surround sound is the bass accuracy that the 5.2 surround system has. The bass is definitely perfect.

Benefits of Using a 5.2 Surround Sound

Just as in 5.1 surround sound, the 5.2 has its main characteristics that are considered as the advantages of using this surround sound. The basic reasons that a 5.2 surround sound is a good one are:

  • More Components – Higher Sound
  • Very Smooth and Clear Sound
  • Amazing for Big Rooms

Drawbacks of Using a 5.2 Surround Sound

There are no benefits without some drawbacks, right? Well, in this part I’ve listed some main things that are considered drawbacks or disadvantages of the 5.2 surround sound system:

  • Requires a Bigger Place
  • A Bit of a Complicated Setup
  • Not so Easy Setup of the Components

Who Should Buy a 5.2 Surround Sound?
As mentioned in the benefits, a 5.1 surround sound is a great purchase for those people that love a high volume of sound in general. Besides that, a 5.2 brings a smooth and clear sound, meaning that it could be a better fit for the audiophiles out there.

Final Words

Here we are at the end of this informative article regarding the 5.1 and 5.2 surround sound systems. What the conclusion is? Is any of them better than the other?

Well, I tried to mention some of the most important things, and based on the benefits and the drawbacks that I mentioned both types of surround sound systems are the main differences that make these systems differ from one another.

Choosing the best one is a bit hard because as you can notice these systems do a great job when it comes to the sound quality in general. It is basically a win-win situation for these two.

I really hope that the article that I wrote, will help you distinguish the 5.1 and 5.2 surround sound easier!

Have fun!

Further Reading

If you want to find out more about the difference between a power amplifier and a preamp, quickly read the article. 

Confused about what the heck am I supposed to do with my broken headphones? Most likely the article will help you.

Keep in mind that JBL 9.1 and Sonos Arc are great choices if you look for a decent soundbar. I did a small comparison, enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for information on audio equipment, looking to learn more about how things work in the music field, or looking for reviews of products, we got you covered!



647 Glen Creek St.
Westland, MI 48185