5.1, 7.1, 6.1, whatever

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So I'm doing JBL and whatnot products.

So like these 5.1 systems. That's 4 satellite speakers and one center channel, right?

Could you technically do like let's say two bookshelves, two floor-standing, and one center channel?

It seems like center channel is for satellites, but that doesn't make sense. A lot of the 'series' I'm doing might have like two bookshelves, two floor-standing, one center, and NO satellites.

I really want to understand this and it would help a lot if I did.

Can somebody explain?



Yes. AFAIK "satellites" is just a term for anything other than center/sub. Those 4-5 speakers that just float around you creating the 5-7.1 audio image.

Any speaker can technically play any roll, but you like to make things look nice and choose speakers best suited for their job. Generally your main front speakers are your nicest full range speakers (often the most expensive, standing speakers), your rear channels can be smaller bookshelf ones - which are cheaper, smaller and have less range - and your center is generally a dedicated center.

This post was edited by Yale on 12/01/2008 12:51 PM

5.1 is broken down:

  • 2 x fronts (left/right of the TV)
  • 1 x center (above or below the TV)
  • 2 x rear (behind the couch)
  • 1 x sub-woofer anywhere in the room (the .1 part since it's not an amplified channel)

6.1? Not common

7.1 (the new standard, but likely overkill):

  • 2 x fronts
  • 1 x center
  • 2 x surround (on the side, left surround/LS and right surround/RS)
  • 2 x rear (beind the cound, left back/LB and right back/RB)
  • 1 x sub-woofer

Sometimes you'll see a .2 designation. This means that there are two sub-woofer channels: left and right. This is arguably not important since people can't spatially recognize "where" bass is coming from. There are other surround modes: 9.1, 10.1, 11.1, 10.2, 7.2, etc.

As for the term "satellite", this is a common term for speaker systems like Bose, but not necessarily when you're building a bigger setup.

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