5.1 vs. 7.1 Surround Sound: Which Is Better?

Finally, after all, you are going to do it. You are saving money for a long time. Now you are going to get the home theater system of your dream. However, when you buy a sound system, a question comes to your mind about exactly what type of good sound system you need to get. Now you can not choose between 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound.

5.1 surround sound is known as surround sound audio system. A good surround sound system that uses five audio channels, which are a front left and right channel, a center channel, two surround channels (left and right) along with the low-frequency effects channels for a subwoofer is called a 5.1 surround sound system.7.1 surround sound is well known for an eight-channel surround audio system.7.1 sound system is a multichannel sound system same as 5.1 surround sound system, except it, has an additional set of the rear(right and left) surround speakers.

Now, which one is better? But unfortunately, it depends on some things. 7.1 or 5.1, which one is best for you depends on several different variables. Something depends on the room you are setting up in; something depends on personal preference. 

Somethings like listening position, room size, furnishings will all affect which sound set up is best for you. Now in this content, we will discuss the difference between the 5.1 and 7.1 sound systems is. You can then choose and know the factor’s impact on going for a 5.1 or 7.1.

What’s The difference between 5.1 vs. 7.1 Surround sound?

Simply, The difference between the 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems is just two speakers. A 5.1 system is consists of five speakers and a subwoofer; on the other hand, a 7.1 system consists of 7 speakers and one subwoofer. 

The 7.1 surround sound system builds based on the 5.1 system to give you two more additional surround sound speakers to add depth to your sound. You can enjoy an incredible listening experience by using it in the right room. If you set up a 7.1 system in the wrong room or improperly, it will sound muddled.

The easiest and common setup for a 5.1 system is to place three speakers in front of the room (right, left, and center) and two surrounds sound speakers at either side of the listening area. The 7.1 system improves the 5.1 system by adding two additional surround sound speakers behind the listening area.

5.1 Surround Sounds Pros and Cons

5.1 Surround Sounds
5.1 Surround Sounds

In 5.1 surround sound system, it has several advantages and disadvantages. 7.1 used as a home theater, but it has a diminished size. That’s why the 5.1 system could make more sense for a particular home theater.

The basic level 5.1 system is more common and easy than7.1 the system. That’s why it’s easier to find troubleshooting instructions online. A 5.1 system setup is very easy because it often comes as packages that you can set up right out of the box, also known as a home theater in a box system. If you want to use wires to hook up your system, it will be easier for you because, in the 5.1 system, you will have two fewer wires to hide. Also, a 5.1 system is sufficient in most of the rooms.

But in a bigger room, a 5.1 surround sound system may not be sufficient. If there is a lot of place behind the listen to the area in a big room, the sound may not feel as enveloping as it might in small spaces. Some media comes ready for a 7.1 sound system, but for a 5.1 sound system, they would not be able to deliver as clearly and efficiently, although it’s too rare.

The 5.1 system will do most applicants though some disadvantages might upgrade the 7.1 system more useful. 

7.1 Surround Sound Pro and Cons 

7.1 Surround Sound
7.1 Surround Sound

The 7.1 system has its advantages and disadvantages. Though it needs extra power for additional surround speakers, it may be detrimental to your listening experience. 7.1 system is a better choice than 5.1 for larger rooms where sound may get lost in the open space. You can enjoy a deeper surround sound listening experience with it. A 7.1 system is cleaner than a 5.1 system.

But still, there are some disadvantages to a 7.1 system. The additional surround sound speakers may make the surround sound channels command over the front channels in a smaller room. These can cause some difficulties in hearing the dialogue and front-side sound effects.

Sometimes, few 7.1 systems come as a ready kit and will require you to buy components separately. For this reason, it isn’t easy to find an online community to help troubleshoot your system because the features will be unique to your setup.

A 7.1 sound system can make a better sense in larger rooms and add depth to your sound. Also, a 7.1 system is more expensive and more difficult to set up and troubleshoot than a 5.1 system. Finally, the choice between a 5.1 or 7.1 sound system will depend on one’s particular situation.

5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound Layout

 As I mentioned before, there is a difference between a 5.1 and a 7.1 system in only two surround speakers. These additional surround speakers add depth to the large space of the rooms with theater-quality sound.

There has a fairly standard set up in a 5.1 system. A center speaker always goes below your TV or projector and two front speakers on both sides (right, left) of the TV. Finally, there are two surround speakers which are set up on either side of the listening area.

We know that a 7.1 system adds two additional speakers, but it’s otherwise set up the same way. The other surround speakers are designed so that they can go behind the listening area, and their main purpose is to send sound at a different angle than the first set of surround speakers.

It’s is not very rare for these speakers to be mounted in the ceiling. There is some advantage to ceiling mounting because it gives us an interesting sound experience, and it keeps the place behind the listening area free for walking.

What’s Right for Your Room?

Several things are going to affect which sound system is appropriate for your room. You want an enormous theater-quality sound from a 7.1 system, and it doesn’t mean you will get it in any room. There are three major characteristics of rooms to determine what kind of sound system is right for them.

Room Size: Additional speakers are used to filling up larger rooms. Many speakers can make a muddy mix of sounds that sound louder than the clear sound in a small space. Generally, if your room is smaller than 350 square feet, you should not use a 7.1 system.

Listening Position: The main difference between the 5.1 and 7.1 systems is that the larger system puts speakers behind the listeners to give them a full surround sound experience. If you don’t have much space behind the listening area, it doesn’t make any sense to put the speaker back there.

Furnishings: The hard materials like tables, desks, cabinets, and wood or tile flooring will reflect sound and ruin the effect of additional speakers. On the other hand, soft surfaces such as bookshelves, couches, and carpeting will help prevent sound reflection and keep the sounds in the parts of the rooms where they are supposed to be.

Features and Your Budget

If you want to pick up your ideal sound system, you have to look up several things. Most of the features will be a matter of weighing your budget against the perks of a better setup.

Generally, a 7.1 system will be more expensive than a 5.1 system. It has more components so that it can give you a richer sound experience. Moreover, different factors will impact the expenses of your system. 

Receiver: For running your sound system, you will need a receiver that converts a line-level signal from your TV into a speaker-level signal for your speakers. Most of the 5.1 systems come with a receiver included, but few 7.1 systems come as an all-inclusive package. Though not as ideal as getting a coherent 7.1 speaker set, you should always start with a 5.1 system and upgrade into a 7.1 receiver and two additional speakers later.

Wires: Another fact that you may want to consider is how you intend to hook up your sound system. Most of the system comes with wireless capability, and setting up speakers around the room less of a tangle. Moreover, what you gain in convenience, you will lose that in sound quality. A direct wired signal is always better and higher than the quality you get to form a wireless connection. Ultimately, you will need to decide what do you need?

Calibration:  Provide your internal calibration; there are many systems on the market. These systems will optimize your sound by sending test tones from each speaker to a microphone that you set up in the primary listening area of your room. These systems are more common with 7.1 systems and expensive. 

Price Different Between 5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound System 

Price Different Between 5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound System

One of the most concluding factors between whether getting a 5.1 or 7.1 system is price. If you want to save cash, you can get a 5.1 surround sound package at a very fair price.

You get what you are paying for, but these systems may not be sufficient for your needs. If you want to get a top brand 5.1 sound system like Klipsch, you may pay about $6,000. This system comes with a high definition theater-quality sound, and a receiver included.

If you plan to get a 7.1 surround sound system, you can expect to pay at least $500 more for a decent system. Of course, this won’t get you a very high-quality sound. Getting a good 7.1 surround sound system with a receiver can cost you from $1,000 to $13,000.

After upgrading a 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound system, there comes a more variety of in-wall or in-ceiling speakers system to choose from it. Though these look aesthetical, they will require a professional to install. Another defect is that upgrading to a different system means pulling speakers out of the wall/ceiling and patching the hole.

So What’s The Verdict?

It seems very hard to build the home theater of your dreams, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. To make your work easier, consider making a list of must-have features and a list of features that would be nice to have. It’s a good idea because it helps to come up with a budget before you start browsing.

The key to being successful is, to be honest with yourself about your needs. The 7.1 surround sound system might seem like a cool status symbol, but it may ruin the sound if placed in the wrong room. The features of the space where you are working must keep in your mind so that you can choose the system that will be best for you. We hope that, with these tips, you will be on your way to creating your perfect home theater experience.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller List of Surround Sound System:

Bestseller No. 1
Vizio V51-H6 36" 5.1 Channel Home Theater Soundbar System (Renewed)
  • Low-Profile Design and Brilliant Clarity with 6 Full-range Speakers
  • Powerful 5" Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth Music Streaming
  • Complete Immersion with Discreet Volume Adjustable Surround Speakers
  • Optimized for 4K TVs with Dolby Audio 5.1 and HDMI (Cable Included)
  • Control with TV Remote using HDMI, Audio Cables Included for Easy Setup
SaleBestseller No. 2
Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System
  • The Klipsch reference theater pack delivers a superior acoustic performance while keeping an incredibly minimal footprint
  • Klipsch's exclusive Tractrix Horn technology and aluminum Tweeters deliver the cleanest, most natural sound possible. The down-firing wireless subwoofer is designed to deliver room-filling low frequencies without requiring too much floor space
  • To complement the easy placement of the wireless subwoofer, each satellite speaker has a keyhole mount and a threaded insert for maximum mounting flexibility
  • The reference theater pack brings the Klipsch cinematic sound into your home with an incredibly minimal footprint
Bestseller No. 3
Acoustic Audio by Goldwood Bluetooth 5.1 Surround Sound System with LED Light Display, FM Tuner, USB...
  • THE ULTIMATE HOME THEATER EXPERIENCE: Our 5.1 speaker system includes 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer; Delivers powerful surround sound while watching TV, gaming, or streaming music from your phone to the built in Bluetooth receiver
  • LED ILLUMINATED SURROUND SOUND: Each system features an integrated power amp with 300 watts of power while the LED illuminated subs display multi colored flashing lights in a variety of different patterns
  • GREAT FOR AT HOME ENTERTAINMENT: Use our sound equipment for binge-watching your favorite TV shows, for movie nights at home with the family, or for gaming on your computer, or for listening to music on your MP3 player
  • SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Our system is compatible with any standard 3.5 millimeter headphones, RCA stereo, or RCA 6 Channel surround audio outputs, and features a standard US 110V grounded wall plug
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX: Acoustic Audio by Goldwood AA5400 powered subwoofer speaker, 5 passive wired satellite speakers, full function remote, 3.5 millimeter to RCA cable, 3 RCA to RCA jack cables, and an instruction manual
SaleBestseller No. 4
Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System/Bluetooth/USB+8" Subwoofer
  • 5.1 Channel 1000-Watts Peak Power. 500-Watts Program Power. 250-Watts Continuous RMS Power. 8” Subwoofer with Built-In Receiver. 1x 3” Center Channel Speaker. 2x 3” Full Range Front Channel Speakers. 2x 3” Full Range Rear Channel Speakers.
  • 8" Subwoofer with Built-In Receiver. 1x 3" Center Channel Speaker. 2x 3" Full Range Front Channel Speakers. 2x 3" Full Range Rear Channel Speakers. Top Quality MDF Wood Cabinets with Plastic Front Panels.
  • Built-In FM Receiver with Amazing Reception. Digital Display. Selectable preset equalizer curves. You can independently control the volume of each speaker and the subwoofer. Bluetooth v2.1. USB Input (max file size 16Gb).
  • SD Input (max file size 16Gb). 2 ¼" MIC Inputs with Echo function for karaoke. 5 RCA Audio Outputs. 6 RCA DVD Audio Inputs. 2 RCA AUX Inputs. FM Antenna Input. Full Function Remote.
  • The Subwoofer unit has 4 LED lighting modes: selectable with 7 colors or multi-color mode. Zero distortion can be heard even with volume and bass settings all the way up!
SaleBestseller No. 5
Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System - THX, Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Certified -...
  • 5.1 digital surround sound: Hear every detail in your Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks the way the studio intended. Sub woofer: 165 Watts
  • THX certified home theater speakers: Your assurance of true cinema quality sound. Satellites : 4 x 67 W, wall mountable
  • Delivers a continuous 500 watts of power, with the ability to deliver a peak of 1,000 watts under certain circumstances: Thunderous, room shaking audio with deep bass you can feel
  • Flexible setup: Connect upto six devices : Computer, music player, TV, game console and more; Infared remote
  • Easy sound control: Compact control console and wireless remote let you instantly personalize your surround sound experience
SaleBestseller No. 6
Samsung HW-Q67CT 7.1ch Soundbar with Acoustic Beam and Wireless Rear Kit (Renewed)
  • The wireless module requires a power cord to function and speaker cables to connect to rear speakers**
  • Connect two different smart devices at the same time so you can conveniently switch between devices. (* Soundbar mobile connection is not available when connected to the TV.)
  • Connect via Bluetooth and enjoy your favorite content without unsightly cables.(* Please check whether your TV is Bluetooth compatible.)
  • Connect your devices via HDMI for a rich audio experience.(* Compatible devices only.)
Bestseller No. 7
Onkyo 5.2 Channel Full 4K Bluetooth AV Home Theater Receiver + Yamaha Natural High-Performance...
  • Compact and powerful - Enhance your TV experience with rich, dynamic sound of the Onkyo 5.1 Channel Built In Surround Sound Multimedia Home Theater Speaker System
  • Bluetooth Wireless - Wireless connectivity for streaming from your Bluetooth compatible mobile device; smartphone, tablet, music player
  • AM/FM Tuner - A built-in digital FM/AM Stereo Tuner with 60 station preset memory (30 FM, 30 AM) lets you choose from a wide variety of radio, talk and music programming
  • In-Ceiling Speakers - An easy-to-install in-ceiling speaker system that has magnetic grilles and high sound quality designed to meet various custom installation requirements
  • Speaker Wire - Includes 100ft CubeCable High Speed Speaker Wire
Bestseller No. 8
Yamaha YHT-4950U 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Home Theater System with Bluetooth
608 Reviews
Yamaha YHT-4950U 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Home Theater System with Bluetooth
  • Your purchase includes: 1 AV receiver, 5 speakers, 1 Sub-Woofer and Speaker wire
  • Dimensions: AV Receiver – 17” W x 6” H x 12” D | Four Speakers (each) – 4” W x 6” H x 4” D | Center speaker – 10” W x 4” H x 4” D | Subwoofer – 11” W x 11” H x 13” D
  • Technical specs: HDMI – 4 | Standby Power Consumption – ≤ 0.2 W | Frequency Response – 28Hz/25kHz
  • Bluetooth for streaming all your favorite music and podcasts. No wireless functionality
  • Easy setup with Yamaha YPAO room optimization and flexible speaker placement options, including virtual cinema front
Bestseller No. 9
BOMAKER Sound Bar with Subwoofer, Ultra-Slim 2.1 CH Bluetooth Sound Bars for TV, 100W/110dB, 5 EQ...
  • SHOP EARLY FATHER'S DAY GIFTS-SLIM SOUND BAR YET POWERFU - Upgrade your father's home audio for stunning sound. 4 well-tuned full-range drivers and an independent subwoofer, providing 100W power to achieve both high and low range frequencies, perfectly restore the sound in different height and depth, bringing full-bodied 360° immersive stereo and clearer vocal.
  • WIRED SUBWOOFER, NO LATENCY - The 4'' subwoofer goes as low as 50Hz depth, delivering deeper and richer bass for immersive summer night home theater experiecne than 2.0 TV speaker. Wired subwoofer design ensure the stable connectivity without the trouble of disconnecting and latency to the soundbar. Enjoy the surround sound system audio with ease
  • 5 AUDIO ENHANCEMENTS - Fine tune your home theater audio with 5 distinct equalizer modes (Game, Bass, Music, Movie, News ) for different sound demands, hearing and feeling every instrument, dialogue, explosion, and detail with clear and ear-pleasing loudness
  • HI-RES STREAMING, NO LAG - Built-in strengthened 5.0 Bluetooth chip ensure the fastest transmission speeds, and stable connectivity with low consumption, without hissing noise or delay. 4 wired option including Optical, AUX, USB flash drive and TF card, compatible with 4k&HD TV, PROJECTOR, computer, tablet, XBOX, PS4, etc. Elegantly integrated behind speaker grill, giving you a "clean" way to mount the soundbar on the wall
  • LED DISPLAY & NIGHT MODE - Designed as detachable for easy and flexible placement. With LED display you can quickly and easily find the input mode, volume, equalizer mode you set up. Intuitive LED OFF button to turn off LED lights, avoiding the annoy of distracting. Covered with two year warranty with 24/7 friendly customer service
Bestseller No. 10
Sound Bar with Subwoofer, TV 2.1 CH Soundbar, Superior Surround Sound System, Works with 4K & HD &...
  • 《 CRYSTAL CLEAR SOUND 》: 76H*78D*860L mm soundbar with 2*2.75inch treble drivers ,which larger than the general size on the market, providing you crystal clear sound with less than 1% total harmonic distortion, let you hear the every music notes beating on each violin string, and not miss every whistling of bullets piercing the air in the game.
  • 《 HEAVY BASS BOOMS 》: 115W*420H*250D mm subwoofer is made of ultra-high-quality wooden materials, matched a big 5.25inch driver with 60W stable frequency of 45Hz ultra-bass, offering you a surging bass, designed as DSP technology to achieve a room-filling home theater experience.
  • 《 MULTIPLE CONNECTIONS 》: Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 with reliable stability and fastest transmission speed as high as 33 feet range, so you can control it with your mobile phone or laptop anywhere in the room with just a tap of a finger. Various wired cables including HDMI ARC, Optical, AUX input, and USB which you can easily connect to your TV or PC via these inputs.
  • 《 SMART REMOTE AND DIFFERENT SOUND MODE 》: The remote control adjusts the treble and bass intensity, switch the music or movie mode you need, meet your different scene, make your home magically become your private cinema, opera house, game hall. Open the soundbar, enjoy your precious leisure time.
  • 《 EASY AND OPTIONAL INSTALLATION 》: You can choose to place it directly or install it on the wall according to your home decoration style and personal preferences, we provide you with templates and EVA pads to help you fix it accurately and firmly on the wall. The precise audio and cinematic surround sound can be transmitted no matter whatever installation method you like.

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Last update on 2021-06-10

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