whats the differecne between 2.1 5.1 6.1 7.1 in sound?

ush flynn

Well-known Member
the amount of channels... and therefore speakers?
or are you talking on another obscure level
the .1 means there is a channel for the sub, and the number before that is the amount of surround channels there are


Distinguished Member
its the number of speakers..
2.1 - being stereo speakers,with 1 supwoofer,so it could just be stereo,with LFE effects from the sub,or indeed,it could be a virtual surround.
personally virtual never worked for me,it just doesnt sound the same as full surround.
5.1 - 1 centre speaker,1xfront left,1xfront right,and 2 rear speakers.
6.1 - same as 5.1,with the addition of 1xcentre rear speaker.
7.1 - same as 5.1,except,the differences being,there are 2 side speakers,almost side on with the listener,and 2 rear surround speakers.

heres a good place to look:

the more speakers,the more immersive the surround effect,provided you have the hardware,and the material,to be used,like audio,dvd,SACD,HD-DVD,Blu-ray,etc.


Active Member
well i want a system for downstairs living room. So i can watch films sports listen to music via an ipod and play 360. I wont be messing about just want a plug and play system. So what surrond .1 should i go for for now and future proof.

ush flynn

Well-known Member
i thought they were doing 13.1 now but honestly 5.1 is excellent and the most common... For future proofing then try and get a 7.1 but the difference might not be so apparent and thats a hell of a lot of speakers to try and position correctly!


Active Member
7.1 doesn't really sound any better then 5.1 I got


I prefer the 6.1 but really 5.1 is fine, most of it comes down to having a good system, setting the balances right on speakers and correct positioning.


Well here goes,
5.1 is as already stated on here, probably the most popular form of surround, then it depends on your hardware, and amount of room you have as to whether you want to go for 6.1 / 7.1 etc.
Also, most dvds are in 5.1.
If you have the room to spare for a 6.1 / 7.1 set up, the results can be very good, also if you cram a large 7.1 set up into a small room, you might as well not bother.
Best advice, measure your room, work out your budget, and ask some specialists, and do some auditioning!
Good luck


Standard Member
I also didn't want to be messing about with wires etc. and want to use a system for the same things as you. I ordered a Denon s101 for £580 from empire-direct.co.uk (RRP £720-£800). This is a 2.1 system, but it'll do for me!!

I'd also looked at the BOSE 321GS, Hardon Kardon HS200 and Denon s301. I decided on the s101 after much thought (I didn't need the extra features on the s301 as I use my PS3 for BluRay and DVD upscaling).

The Harmon Kardon looked a good system, but I couldn't find as much info on it. Whilst the BOSE sounded great on demo, the reviews online were pretty average.


I never really take much notice of reviews, as there is always different requirements to be taken into consideration, if the spec matches up to what you want, and is in your budget, put it on your to demo list, then compare and make up your own mind!!

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