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What Are the Different Types of Home Theater Speaker Systems?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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Different types of home theater speaker systems can typically be categorized as either front speaker systems or surround sound systems. Front systems typically include only three speakers: a center speaker and one speaker on either side for left and right sound. Surround sound home theater speaker systems can include three or more additional speakers to provide audio from all around those seated within a home theater and are often designated by a number that indicates the number of speakers used.

Home theater speaker systems typically refer to full systems that are packaged together that can be used as part of a home theater, often with a large television and various types of media players. Many different companies produce these types of systems and they can often be categorized based on the number of speakers provided with them. Most of these types of home theater speaker systems include a sub woofer that provides bass audio exclusively, allowing other speakers in the system to focus on high and mid range audio playback.

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Some of the simplest and least expensive home theater speaker systems are those that include only the front speakers necessary for the minimal level of audio quality found in a home theater. This type of system is likely to include a sub woofer and three speakers. These three additional speakers can be bookshelf speakers or may be mounted onto a wall, depending on their design. They are meant to be placed at the center, left, and right of the television used in a home theater and they provide excellent audio for a reasonable price.

More elaborate home theater speaker systems, however, are often referred to as surround sound systems and include additional speakers for a more all-encompassing audio experience. A basic surround sound system usually includes a sub woofer and the same three speakers as a front system, allowing for center, left, and right front audio. Two additional speakers, however, allow for audio to come from the left and right behind the viewers in a home theater. This allows audio to seem to move around the listener and create a more integrative experience.

Surround sound home theater speaker systems are typically designated using a number that indicates the amount of speakers that are part of the system. A designation such as “5.1-channel,” for example, indicates five speakers in addition to the sub woofer. In this designation, the “.1” indicates the sub woofer so a system with seven speakers and a sub woofer would be indicated by “7.1-channel” sound.

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