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.Speakers -  What do the Channels mean?.

There’s 5.1, and 7.1, and 11.2, and 5.1.2 and so on. What’s that all about?

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If you think of channels as speakers, the first number (the 7 in a 7.1 system for example) = the number of speakers, or seven speakers in this example. The .1 refers to whether the system has a subwoofer or not, so the .1 in a 7.1 system = one subwoofer. The last number, for example the .2 in a 5.1.2 system = how many Dolby Atmos speakers are in the set-up. So a 5.1.2 home theater means 5 speakers, 1 subwoofer, and 2 Dolby Atmos speakers.

Like we said above: think of channels as speakers. And though most music formats only require two channels (left and right), the sky’s the limit for true home theater surround sound. In a nutshell: The more channels you have, the more more speakers you can add. And the more speakers you add, the better and more immersive the sound.

At a very minimum, you’re going to want 5 channels… but we highly, highly (that’s two highlys) recommend getting at least 7. With 7 channels, you will experience – at home – the same thing you do in today’s state-of-the-art digital cinemas: big, thrilling, hang-on-tight, theater sound.

Let’s break down benefits by channels:

 • A good old stereo system is now referred to as 2.0 (Two channels, two speakers).

 •  Add a subwoofer for impactful bass, and now you have 2.1. The "2" refers to the two front speakers, and the subwoofer is the ".1".

 • Add a center channel speaker, so the dialog always seems to come from the center of the screen (especially important if you sit a little to the side) and we have "3.1".

 •  Add two more speakers near the back of the room for wrap-around surround sound, and we’re at "5.1". (5.1 was the surround sound standard up until a few years ago, when things started getting crazy good.) Looking for some inspiration? We've curated some of our best surround sound systems and speakers here.

 •  Larger rooms, especially where your sofa is a distance from the back wall, may call for side and rear surround speakers, which takes us to "7.1".

 • The coup de grâce, and the latest thing: Dolby Atmos, where we place 2 or more speakers in the ceiling. Now we’re talking actual 3D sound, where any sound can hover at any point in space. To recap: a "7.2.1" system has three speakers in front, two on the sides, two in the rear of the room, and a pair in the ceiling. Plus the subwoofer, which is typically in the back, but can go anywhere.

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