A soundbar or stereo speakers is not a home theater, no matter how manufacturers claim virtual surround sound. If you love the idea of surround sound but just can't seem to find a way to practically integrate a multi-channel speaker system into your room, a soundbar has become a popular solution.
You don't necessarily need as many speakers as a movie theater to create a great surround sound environment. A home theater system with high-quality surround sound equipment can turn an ordinary movie night into a big event.
Both methods allow you to view sources connected to your TV and enjoy stereo or surround sound through your home theater system. A home theater receiver handles most of the connections, as well as source switching, as well as audio decoding, processing, and amplification to power the speakers. For the best sound, you'll need to pair your new speaker system with a quality home theater receiver. So you'll need a pair or two of speakers to get sound above your listening position.
In a 5.1 system, surround speakers are best placed to the left and right of the listening position. The rear speakers are located behind you, directly in front of the front left and right speakers, completing the 5.1 setup. The number 5 represents the three speakers at the front of the room—left, center, and right channels in the center—and the two surround speakers at the back of the room.
In terms of speaker layout, Dolby calls the system 7.1.4, which includes typical front and rear speakers and subwoofers, side speakers, and four overhead speakers. A 5.1 surround sound system (the most common) usually consists of a channel speaker (think dialogue), left and right speakers (think music), surround speakers (place them around the outside perimeter of the room or behind you), and a subwoofer. Dolby surround sound pioneer does a great job of recommending speaker placement for your home entertainment center surround sound systems, whether you're running a 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 setup.
Don't be stingy with stock speakers that produce bad sound; instead, invest in surround speakers that can be strategically placed throughout the room for truly great sound. Choose a subwoofer that fits well with your room and speakers. Choose the one that suits both your room and the other speakers in your system. I recommend using the same brand of speakers for each seat so that you get evenly balanced sound and output levels in the room.
The final word on how to get optimal audio output from your home theater surround sound system is that you need to properly calibrate your speaker output levels.
Docking your surround sound system to floorstanding speakers helps recreate the cinematic experience. Surround sound systems use multiple speakers and channels to create an immersive 360-degree sound that delivers greater depth, precision and realism. This immersive sonic hemisphere is made possible by the addition of discrete channels for in-ceiling or ceiling-facing speakers in home A/V receivers.
Bookshelf, wall and ceiling speakers are great options for immersive sound without taking up a lot of floor space. Many traditional bookshelf or in-wall speakers can be used as surround channels. When you're thinking about surround sound, it's time to think about connecting installed speakers to your entire home audio system, even connecting speakers for outdoor areas.
From relatively inexpensive soundbars to complete twelve-speaker systems with high-quality AV processors and amplifiers, there are many options for creating surround sound for movies at home. Innovations in "object-based" or "3D" surround sound combined with the addition of dedicated speakers to the standard 5.1 configuration have certainly raised the bar, but you don't have to be an audio engineer or audiophile to create a home practice experience. If you're a layman trying to figure out how Dolby Atmos and its competitors can revolutionize your home theater experience, you'll need a quick guide to surround sound and a brief history lesson before building your setup.
Dolby Atmos is the result of years of further development, resulting in a format that can deliver specific sounds to specific speakers in movie soundtracks. To hear Dolby Atmos, every part of your home theater system, from the source to the speakers, must support Dolby Atmos.
Sonos' latest soundbar is equipped with streaming intelligence as it features speakers with Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast on board, and multi-room system integration with support for Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. The flagship HT-A7000 soundbar, this Dolby Atmos soundbar includes two upward-firing speakers, two directional tweeters, five front speakers, and a built-in dual subwoofer in one cabinet. The flagship HT-A7000 soundbar is proof that you don't need a completely separate home theater system to enjoy surround sound, even if it's virtual rather than true surround sound. The soundbar combines multiple speaker channels into a single speaker bar that mounts above or below your TV.
Digital processing does not allow simulating directional sound from multiple speakers placed in the same cabinet. A five-speaker setup will sound properly even if the Blu-ray or digital download has multiple channels encoded. Dolby allowed home audio devices to decode two additional audio channels from media such as VHS tapes that fed audio to the center channel and surround speakers.
In a typical home theater setup, an HDMI cable will carry the audio and video from the Blu-ray player and game console to the AV amplifier, which acts as a switching device, sending everything to the projector or flat screen TV, again via HDMI. Those looking to purchase separate speakers from exclusive home theater brands will need an AV receiver, each with HDMI switching. Your job is to send the audio and video signals from the source components to the audio system and video display, respectively.
If you want to cement your home as the best place to watch movies, even the nearest movie theater, you need more than built-in TV speakers. Five speakers (left, right, center, left surround, and right surround) and a subwoofer are required.