Posted on November 2, 2020 at 1:48 am

Lifestyle Tech

Planning to Buy a Surround Sound System? Do You Know What Each Speaker Does?

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Knowing what is the role of each speaker in the system is important not only because of the listening experience, but it will help you realize what types of speakers to pay attention to, where should you invest more and where you can save some money, and so on.

The most frequently used home theater system setup is the 5.1 system. It consists of five speakers and a subwoofer and all these speakers have a different function. Positioning these speakers correctly is also important. To sum things up, the function and proper positioning of the speakers will give the best results.

Center Channel Speaker

Probably the most important speaker in the home theater system is the center channel speaker. The reason for this is because it reproduces the dialogues in movies and other video materials.

In most cases it has a different design, size and shape from the other speakers in the system. This means that it is usually wider than the other speakers and the reason for this is to provide a broad soundstage when we have dialogues on the screen. This design also makes it easier to position the speaker below or above the TV. There are also some special slim lines of these speakers available on the market which will make it much easier for you to place the center channel speaker just where you want to.

Planning to Buy a Surround Sound System? Do You Know What Each Speaker Does?

The center channel speaker usually has several woofers and tweeters to make the sound field wider and they are often positioned horizontally.

One of the frequent questions here is whether a standard speaker can be used as a center channel speaker? Well, the answer would be – yes, but you won’t be able to position it correctly.

Front Left and Right Speakers 

The function of the front left and right speakers is to reproduce music and sound effects. However, they also reproduce some of the dialogues when the voices come from the left or the right. If we need to provide a detailed look, around 70% of all the dialogues go through the center channel speakers and the rest goes through the front left and right speakers.

These speakers are pretty important too and a wide range of frequencies are being reproduced through them. For this reason it is important that they are of high quality.

However, when building your own 5.1 system the way you are going to use the system the most will dictate whether you are going to spend more on the center channel speaker or the front left and right speakers. For example, if you are going to use your home theater for TV or movies primarily you should spend more on the center channel speaker. However, if you are going to use it mostly for music then you should invest more in the front left and right speakers.

Since these three speakers are delivering the most important soundstage it is recommended to get ones from the same brand and as a result, they will sound great together.

Surround Speakers

The key function of the surround left and right speakers is to reproduce the surround sound effects and music.

The range of frequencies they need to reproduce is similar to the front speakers. However, they are less important and based on that you don’t need to spend much money on them. At the end, they won’t affect the overall quality too much but if your budget allows it, you can have the same high-quality speakers in this position as well.

If you are thinking about getting a 7.1 system you need to know that there are two additional rear speakers that will provide a greater sense of space. They are usually named as surround left and right speakers.


The subwoofer on the other hand is totally different. It has one key function and it is to reproduce low bass. The overall quality of the complete 5.1 system can be improved with a good subwoofer.

Generally, subwoofers are large and heavy, but their design can sometimes be pretty cool. The main reason for the bulkiness is the proper reproduction of low bass frequencies.

When we speak about subwoofers it is important to note that the cone in the subwoofer can be 6 to 15” in diameter. Generally, a larger cone reproduces bass and low frequencies better. However, there are smaller subwoofers that can deliver pretty powerful bass so it is important not to ignore them. This is especially important if you don’t have too much free space.

Most subwoofers designed for home theaters are powered ones. This means that they have their dedicated amplification. Based on this the AV receiver doesn’t have to power up your subwoofer.

There are also subwoofers that can be connected wirelessly to the system. In case your subwoofer isn’t wireless, you can easily fix that with a universal Wi-Fi adapter that will make it possible to connect the subwoofer and AV receiver without wires.

Cable is still an option, but the good thing about wireless connections is that the subwoofer can be placed wherever we want.

Final Thoughts

If you decide to buy a surround sound system you have to be ready to have each of these speakers in your room. However now you know their function and you know how to position them properly. At the end, it is important to truly enjoy your home theater system and get the most out of it.

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