7.1 Surround Sound vs Stereo: What’s The Difference?

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Sound reproduction, or the way that the sound comes to us, is a topic with no end, but thanks to the professionals in the world of sound, it has become a lot easier to be understood, and it is somehow the same in both headphones and speakers in general.

However, I am writing this article with some specific sayings in mind, and they are 7.1 surround sound and stereo sound. These two “names” or terms of sound are definitely the most famous ones and are used by a lot of people. Still, considering the fact that you have been searching on the internet, you may have noticed that there is confusion and a high debate about whether 7.1 surround sound is better, or the other which is stereo sound.

In order to find more information regarding these two terms, and find out which one is better, stick until the end of this article which I am starting right now!

A Broad Overview: 7.1 Surround Sound and Stereo Sound

What is 7.1 Surround Sound?

Just as the name tells, the sound that comes out of a surround sound system fully embraces or encircles you and the sound comes in many different directions. Basically, a surround sound system brings 3D audio. However, since we are talking in a particular form of 7.1 surround sound, the 7.1 numbers on its name stand for the different components that are included. What are those components? Well, I am basically talking about the speakers that make this system. The meaning of 7.1 shows that this system is made out of eight speakers in general, in which 7 is the number of the side speakers meanwhile 1 is the subwoofer.

In order to notice easier a surround sound system, you can only check out the number of speakers that are used. Most of the time the lowest number that a surround sound system owns is three channels or three speakers.

In order to find out how 7.1 surround sound is, check out the video below:

What is Stereo Sound?

Stereo sound, differing from surround sound, is the simplest system, and it is in use by both professionals and other people that like to listen to their music with no complication of any kind, as it is one of the most commonly used sound systems, and it is found in different recording studios and homes. A stereo sound system owns two main components, and they are only two speakers! In a simpler form of saying, stereo sound is a system that works with only two speakers, which as mentioned above is one of the most famous and frequently used systems.

In order to find out how stereo sound is, check out the video below:


7.1 Surround Sound vs Stereo – What are the other differences between them?

Now that the definitions and the general information is mentioned above, even though there are not a lot of differences, I would like to make a comparison between two things that should definitely be mentioned about these two sound systems.


The first difference and the main thing that should be mentioned about these two sound systems is the usage. How to use them, when to use them, and who should use them?

A 7.1 surround sound system is better if used in bigger areas. Basically, if you own a super-big room, and you want to hear the sound in every corner of it, you guys can easily choose the 7.1 surround system. An honorable mention will be to those people that love home theater systems! The surround sound of 7.1 is one of the best things that you can do and use in case you want to make a home theater system in your house.

As I mentioned above, stereo sound is the most used one, and that’s because everything is easier with this system. If you have a smaller room, or a simple recording studio, you would love to use stereo sound systems. That’s because you are in front of the speakers, and you want to have a kind of direct contact with them.


Another thing that you guys should have in mind is the placement of these two sound systems. There is a different way of placement since based on the components that they use you should think about it in a more specific way.

In order to listen to the sound in the best way possible, you should place the 7.1 surround system like this: Place the subwoofer in the center of the room, most of the time it goes on the place that you are using your TV. Basically, the subwoofer should stay in front of you. The side speakers should be placed on the left and the right sides of the place where you are seated in. The rear speakers that are left should be put behind your back and that way you can have an impressive experience with the 7.1 surround sound. The placement is not a specific rule, but still, this way you will be more than pleased with the way that everything you listen to with the speakers will be brought in a better way.

I am well aware that the placement of the surround sound system is a bit complicated, but here we move on to the stereo sound system. In order to place perfectly stereo speakers, you guys should follow the rule of thirds. Basically, in order to comprehend this rule better and easier, you should put your speakers on the sides, so that you can be seated in the center, and that way, you can create a kind of a triangle between you and the two speakers.

Final Words, Conclusion

Coming to the end of this article/blog, you guys can notice that the main difference between these sound systems stands in the components that they have and the way that the sound comes at you.

Many people seem to like 7.1 surround sound systems a little bit more because they love to be embraced by the sound, but it doesn’t mean that stereo speakers won’t have good sound quality. That way, what I want t say is that everything is based on the way that you prefer the sound!

Have fun!

Further Reading

Find out if 7.1 is good for gaming. You can also check the difference between surround and stereo sound or the diference between 5.1 and 5.2 Surround Sound.

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!



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