Nowadays, we live in the age of the digital revolution, which has proclaimed the arrival of HD ("High Definition") TV. This is only one of the high-quality video sources that have become available for each average home today. Higher expectations from picture quality have led to high expectations from sound quality as well. In the contemporary life, a great number of people prefer to purchase so-called surround sound speaker systems in order to create an excellent theatre at home.
The term of surround presupposes the recording of multiple sound channels on, for instance, a movie soundtrack, which are then reproduced by multiple loudspeakers at your home, one for each channel. And the major goal of such systems is increasing and improving the sound quality or "surrounding" the listener.
Surround Sound Configurations
Surround sound systems usually contain five major loudspeakers – a central speaker placed above or below the television screen, left and right front speakers and left and right rear speakers. There is also a sixth speaker, known as a "subwoofer", which is dedicated to reproducing low-frequency that is bass effects.
Such systems have the designation, "5.1", symbolyzing to five main audio channels and a subwoofer channel. One may also find "6.1" and "7.1" systems, having six and seven major speakers. 7.1 systems have two more speakers to either side of the listener.
Surround Sound Formats
The most popular surround sound formats, despite the existence of other formats, are Dolby Digital and DTS (Digital Theatre Systems). Dolby Digital and DTS use six definite tracks, centre, left, right, left surround, right surround and LFE ("Low Frequency Effects"). And Dolby Digital, unlike DTS, is a traditional format for DVD, and HD TV broadcasting. Developed versions of these formats, known as Dolby Digital EX, and DTS-ES are available as well.
Every surround sound system has the centre speaker responsible for the reproduction of, for instance, the dialogue and incidental music from a film soundtrack. Centre speakers are located centrally – above or below the TV receiver – in order to bring more effect. Centre speakers must be magnetically shielded in order to avoid interference with picture quality. Thus, the KEF Cresta 20C Centre Speaker, is a new magnetically shielded model, and timbre matched to the rest of the KEF range.
Front and rear speakers have different shapes and sizes, for instance, large, tower models, smaller bookshelf, or satellite models. Smaller speakers reproduce less bass, and less volume.
The SSX70EDM model is a classical, floor standing model, while Acoustic Solutions Bookshelf Speakers are nine inches in height and may be placed on wall.
The Goodmans GHC50 Home Cinema Speaker System offers the full surround sound experience, with five ten watt speakers, and a fifty watt subwoofer.
Satellite speakers may have several variations. Monopole speakers reproduce sound in one direction – straight ahead, while dipole or bipole speakers reproduce sound to either side, and should be placed to the side, or the rear from listeners.