5.1 vs. 7.1 Surround Sound: Which Is Better? (2022)

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.

A 5.1 system includes five speakers and one subwoofer, while a 7.1 system includes seven speakers and one subwoofer. The addition of two additional surround sound speakers in the 7.1 surround sound system to provide depth of 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 as 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 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. 

Some things like listening position, room size, and furnishings will all affect which sound setup 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 most common setup for a 5.1 system is to place three speakers in front of the room (right, left, and center) and two surround 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?

surround sound system

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:

SaleBestseller No. 1
1,921 Reviews
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
SaleBestseller No. 2
917 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
SaleBestseller No. 3
37 Reviews
iLive 5.1 Home Theater System with Bluetooth, 6 Surround Speakers, Wall Mountable, Includes Remote,...
  • System includes 6 surround speakers: subwoofer, front left & right, surround left & right and 32" sound bar; Bluetooth wireless allows straightforward wireless pairing of Bluetooth enabled devices
  • 5.1 channel surround sound ready; Voice prompts announce speaker functions and make Bluetooth pairing easier (wireless range - 60 feet)
  • LED function indicator, pairing indicator, and power indicator; Master volume control
  • Wall mountable sound bar and satellite speakers (hardware and instructions included)
  • AC/DC power adapter, remote, mounting hardware/instructions, optical audio cable, 3.5mm to RCA audio cable, and 3 RCA stereo audio cables included
SaleBestseller No. 4
2,244 Reviews
Saiyin Sound bar, Sound Bars for TV with Subwoofer, Soundbar Ultra Slim 24 Inch, 2.1 Channel TV...
  • [2.1 CHANNEL SPEAKER SYSTEM ] Sound bar with wired subwoofer delivers powerful bass and surround sound, letting you enjoy an immersive sound experience. The 24 inch soundbar is built with 2 full range speakers, allowing you enjoy all details of music and movies. Total harmonic distortion is about 0.5% even at the highest volume.
  • [MULTIPLE INPUT OPTIONS]The sound bars for TV with subwoofer supports advanced Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connection, with which you can connect easily with iphones, ipads, tablets, PC and other Bluetooth enabled devices to stream music; and also wired connection including optical, coaxial, RCA inputs (all cables included).
  • [THREE DISTINCT SOUND MODES] Music, Movie and TV shows modes adjusted by using the remote control included with soundbar, catering to different needs of sound bar users. You can also control the volume, switch between different modes with buttons on sound bar. Remote control is not compatible with universal or TV remotes
  • [SET UP IN MINUTES]Connect the subwoofer with sound bar via cable included, and hook up TV with soundbar via Bluetooth or optical, coxial, RCA cables, then you are ready to go! The TV sound bar can be placed under TV on desktop or mounted on wall with provided mounting kits.
  • [ULTRA SLIM & ELEGANT DESIGN] The sound bar is built with 2 full range speakers and elegant slim design with piano paint which is compatible with modern TVs, and never block the TV screen. The wired 4 inch subwoofer easily fits in most spaces and adds rich bass from anywhere in the room.
SaleBestseller No. 5
1,976 Reviews
Sony HT-S40R 5.1ch Home Theater Soundbar System
  • Feel every note with a 600W power output
  • Get the best seat in the house with 5.1ch real surround sound
  • Rear speakers deliver powerful surround sound to complete your home cinema experience
  • Effortless setup with easy color-coded connections
  • Wireless connectivity for music streaming
Bestseller No. 6
2,006 Reviews
Vizio V51x-J6 36-inch 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
Bestseller No. 7
754 Reviews
Acoustic Audio AA5102 Bluetooth Powered 5.1 Speaker System Home Theater Surround, Black (AA5102)
  • Acoustic Audio 5102 Bluetooth powered 5.1 multimedia home theater speaker system, 800 watts system power, 40Hz-20 kHz frequency response, built in Bluetooth receiver, 5 discrete independent channel inputs and outputs, integrated audio amplifier
  • Enhanced bass boost design, front panel controls, illuminated display, bass, treble and main volume controls, stereo auxiliary input, pro surround function, USB/SD card reader, plug and play connections, computerized enclosure design, magnetically shielded speakers
  • Subwoofer speaker is 5.5" x 10.75" x 11", ported for fuller bass, 5 full range satellite speakers are 3.5" x 3.25" x 5.25" each, satellite speakers are mountable with included hardware, 2 fronts and center satellite speakers have a 6' single RCA cable, 2 rear speakers have 12' single RCA cables
  • 3.5mm to RCA wire included, 3 RCA to RCA jack cables included, remote control and full instructions included, 110V required power supply, designed and engineered in the USA
  • Use for home entertainment system, laptop or PC, DVD player, gaming, MP3 player, cell phone, tablet or any other device with a 3.5mm headphone output or RCA audio output. Search AA5102D for this model with Smart TV Digital Optical Input.
SaleBestseller No. 8
2,560 Reviews
Saiyin Sound Bars for TV, Wired and Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 TV Stereo Speakers Soundbar 32’’ Home...
  • Soundbar with Room-filling Sound: The sound bar is built with 4 full-range speakers and dual bass reflectors that deliver clear highs, strong mids and deep lows. 3 equalizer modes allow for voice clarity on TV shows, great audio experience for music and action scenes really coming to life like never before on TV.
  • Wired and Wireless Connections: The TV sound bar can easily connect to Your Bluetooth enabled devices and TV via Bluetooth 5.0 or standard audio cable connections like Optical, Coaxial, RCA inputs.
  • Control with Remote or Buttons: You can control the sound bar with Remote laying in the coach or directly with buttons on it. The LED indicator shows the current mode you choose.Remote control is not compatible with universal or TV remotes
  • Ultra Slim and Sleek Design: The sound bar makes TV a pleasure with great sounding as well as great appearance with piano paint, which looks aesthetically beautiful and so slim that never blocks the TV screen!
  • Set Up In Minutes: You can install the sound bar securely on wall with included mounting kits or just place on desk under TV. It matches 32’’ or above TVs.For optical connections, please change your TV audio output to PCM,(PCM is a form of digital signal that is used to represent analogue data, and is an optional audio format on many Televisions).
Bestseller No. 9
2,913 Reviews
Acoustic Audio AA5170 Home Theater 5.1 Bluetooth Speaker System 700W with Powered Sub
  • Power Rating: 700 Watts System Power Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz
  • Bluetooth Connectivity, SD Card, Flash Drive MP3 Player and FM Tuner
  • 5 Discrete Independent Channel Input/output for true surround sound
  • Magnetically Shielded Speakers with Computerized Enclosure Design
  • Plug and Play Connections, 3.5MM Aux to RCA Wire Included
Bestseller No. 10
Rockville HTS56 1000w 5.1 Channel Home Theater System/Bluetooth/USB+8" Subwoofer
  • HTS56 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with LED Light Effects. Plug and play system with everything you need right out of the box. 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. Top Quality MDF Wood Cabinets with Plastic Front Panels. Built-In FM Receiver with Amazing Reception. Built-In Optical input to connect to your Television. 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.
  • Optical input to connect to your TV. FM Antenna Input. Full Function Remote. The Subwoofer unit has 4 LED lighting modes: (blink to the beat, solid on, spectrum EQ analyzer, off) and selectable with 7 colors or multi-color mode.
  • Zero distortion can be heard even with volume and bass settings all the way up! The sound on this system is better than anything even that cost twice the price!. Cable Length: Front L/F: 12Ft, Rear L/R: 30Ft, Center: 10Ft. Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz. Certification: CE and RoHS Compliant. Signal to noise ratio: ≥70dB (Maximum output with THD+N

Last update on 2022-11-17

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