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
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. 2
Yamaha YHT-5960U Home Theater System with 8K HDMI and MusicCast
31 Reviews
Yamaha YHT-5960U Home Theater System with 8K HDMI and MusicCast
  • 5.1-channel 80-Watt powerful surround sound system
  • 4K60, 4K120AB* and 8K60B* HDMI 2.1 (*with future update) with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (4 in/1 out)
  • Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma and BT.2020
  • Supports enhanced media and gaming - ALLM, VRR, QFT, QMS (with future update)
  • YPAO automatic room calibration
Bestseller No. 3
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. 4
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
SaleBestseller No. 5
Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Home Theater Surround Sound Bar | Works with 4K & HD TVs | HDMI, Optical...
  • BIGGER, MORE DYNAMIC SOUND - Packed inside this slim and sleek sound bar 7 powerful drivers and tweeters produce exceptionally clear sound, more superior than any traditional sound bar
  • INCLUDES PLUG AND PLAY WIRELESS SUBWOOFER & TWO WIRELESS SPEAKERS, which are instantly recognized by the sound bar the moment you power them on. The sub supports an 8” downward firing driver and the wall mountable speakers each have a 3" full range driver
  • EXPERIENCE TRUE 5.1 WIRELESS SURROUND SOUND WITH POLK'S PATENTED SDA AUDIO TECHNOLOGY that creates an expansive surround stage & detailed stereo image delivering a room-filling listening experience, the same as what you would get in a concert or theater
  • Polk's exclusive Voice Adjust Technology even lets you INDEPENDENTLY CONTROL VOICE LEVELS maximizing sound clarity and minimizing voice delays and muzzled sounds. Equipped with INDEPENDENT MODES FOR MOVIES, MUSIC, AND SPORTS, it delivers balanced sound clarity so that hear every word, making your movie, sports and music experience exquisite
  • ENDLESS CONNECTION OPTIONS - 3 HDMI Inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant), 1 HDMI-ARC output, an Optical port for Blu-Ray players & set-top box, an Aux Analog input (3.5mm) for any non-digital device, plus Bluetooth, USB and Internet connectivity
Bestseller No. 6
Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Soundbar with Dual 8” Subwoofers...
  • Transform your living room into a premium cinema within minutes. Experience deep, room-filling bass with the industry’s only Dual Wireless Subwoofers and True 360° 7.2 channel surround sound with the Soundbar + Two Rear Surround Speakers. Discover what you have been missing from movies, music and games and step into the future of home theater. Created with the same DNA as our flagship Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 SSE, Winner of the best Dolby Atmos Soundbar Battle (hosted by Brian Tong, Ex Cnet host)
  • Our DUAL 8" WIRELESS SUBWOOFERS (industry's first!) produce ground-shaking rumbles that you will hear and feel from anywhere in your living room. They merge to distribute adrenaline-pumping bass effects evenly throughout the room with zero localization. Altogether, the sound bar with subwoofers unleash cinema-level volumes without a trace of distortion, replicating the perfect cinema experience. Agreed among experts, TWO subwoofers are a must for ultimate home theaters.
  • TWO 2-WAY REAR SPEAKERS (industry’s first!) produce spacious and dynamic surround sound. Each of them (connected to sub via RCA wires) is constructed with a tweeter that reproduces high frequencies with captivating clarity, and a full-range driver that delivers surround effects with power and precision. Simply put, the surround sound performance from simulated/virtual 2.1 or other 5.1 channel surround soundbars does not come anywhere close to this.
  • Experience a whole new level of surround performance with our exclusive Spatial Surround Elevation SSE Technology. Featuring 3 advanced audio processing engines working in harmony to enhance directionality, enlarge spaciousness and unlock extra details of any audio soundtrack. Envelop your home theater with up to 7.2.4 channels of Dolby Atmos or DTS:X moving audio that flows all around you. Unleash the full dynamics of your audio experience with 106dB of room-filling sound.
  • All units sold since Aug '19 can receive Dolby Atmos surround via TV’s eARC when streaming with TV’s smart apps like Netflix (Note: not all TVs can output Atmos. Refer to your TV brand’s audio output specs). Enjoy advanced connectivity with Dolby Vision, 4K UHD pass-thru and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Connect up to 6 devices via 1 HDMI ARC, 3 HDMI, 1 Optical and 1 Coaxial inputs. The 52-key backlit remote allows seamless control of sources, DSP modes, individual channel and room size optimization
Bestseller No. 7
Samsung HW-A58C/ZA 5.1ch Soundbar 380W w/Dolby 5.1 / DTS Virtual:X (Renewed)
  • Sound that wraps around youCaptivating virtual 3D sound moves all around you, including from above, with DTS Virtual:X technology. Dolby Digital 5.1 enables surround sound capability.
  • Center channel for clear dialogueNever miss a word with enhanced dialogue delivered by a dedicated center channel speaker to project voices clearly.
  • Optimized sound for various contentEnjoy optimized sound for your favorite video content, including sports, games, movies and more - with technology that enhances whatever you are watching.
  • Extra bass, bigger soundGive your bass an instant boost with the push of a button.
  • More sound without the wiresLet the sound flow around you with wireless rear speakers. Enhancing your surround sound, taking it to the next level for more dynamic entertainment.
Bestseller No. 8
Klipsch Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround System Bundle with Onkyo TX-SR494 7.2-Channel 4K Ultra...
9 Reviews
Klipsch Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround System Bundle with Onkyo TX-SR494 7.2-Channel 4K Ultra...
  • This bundle includes a Klipsch Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround System (1 center channel speaker, 4 surround speakers, 1 subwoofer) and (1) Onkyo TX-SR494 7.2-Channel 4K Ultra HD Hi-Res AV Receiver
  • 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 floorspace
  • To complement the easy placement of the wireless subwoofer, each satellite speaker has a keyhole mount and a threaded insert for maximum mounting flexibility
  • Speaker wire not included.
Bestseller No. 9
Wohome Sound Bars for TV with Subwoofer, 28-INCH 120W Ultra Slim Surround Soundbar Speakers System...
852 Reviews
Wohome Sound Bars for TV with Subwoofer, 28-INCH 120W Ultra Slim Surround Soundbar Speakers System...
  • Deeper Bass: 2.1 Channel with 4x 2.5inch full-range speakers and one 5.5Inch powerful subwoofer, our engineers repeatedly adjusted the sound quality infinitely, finally obtained satisfactory sound quality, S99 could produce strong heavy bass and surround sound effects, delicate midrange, treble, and other performance, a great dynamic home theater audio system for your and your families, max volume is 110dB
  • 4 Sound Equalizer Modes: with DSP technology, which brings amazing clarity and precision, let you enjoy all the details of dialogue, music, gaming, and movies; support 4EQs including music, movie, news, and 3D modes, choose the best sound according to your sound source, what's more, bass and treble adjustable
  • Multiple Connection: Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 for all your Bluetooth embedded devices such as smart TVs, phones, tablets, PCs; Wired connection including HDMI-ARC, optical, coaxial, aux for your traditional or smart TVs, projector, DVDs, and other devices; USB 2.0 for USB flash drivers to play MP3 music
  • Ultra-Slim 28-Inch Sound Bar: with fashionable and classic design, 2.5 inches high could fit easily under your TV and desktop monitor, or you can place it on the cabinet or mount it on the wall, user-friendly design, super-easy setup
  • Great Customer Support: LED display; remote control supplied; optical and aux cable supplied; 100% satisfaction service and lifetime technical support, any questions, please feel free to contact us via Amazon message or contact info on the service card
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 2022-06-27

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