How Surround Sound Works: Set up 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems

Surround Sound is the term commonly used to describe a system in which the sound output appears to surround the listener — that is, the technology gives the impression that sounds are coming from all possible directions.

Today consumers demand immersive entertainment and surround sound plays a big part in delivering an engaging entertainment experience. To this end, there’s no lack of options when it comes to surround sound technology and systems.

All technical aspects aside, surround sound works because multiple audio channels are received through speakers that are positioned at various locations in the room. This is programmed into the source and the sound tracks are decoded when the source is played. While this may seem simplistic, it is important to remember that sound systems started out with monophonic sound, a single channel system. In monophonic (mono) sound systems, the signal sent to the sound system is encoded as one single stream of sound — and the sound is usually received through a single speaker.

How Surround Sound Works
By Vangie Beal, Last updated September 11, 2009

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