Benefits of 2.1 Home Theater Systems

The standard surround sound speaker system is a 5.1, but there are still plenty of good quality 2.1 speaker systems arround. A 5.1 system has 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer, while a 2.1 home theater setup is reduced to 2 speakers along with the subwoofer. There are also bigger systems which are ideal for large rooms and large budgets—a 7.1 system has 7 speakers and a subwoofer, and can recreate theater-quality sound with even more depth than the standard 5.1 system because there are more channels coming from more directions, if you set the system up properly, giving extra quality to the sound.

So if 7.1 can be even better than 5.1, what could the possible advantages of even fewer speakers be? The first obvious advantage is that with fewer speakers, you have to find fewer places to put them. You won’t have 5 or 7 speakers hanging on your walls. You’ll want to place the 2 speakers to the left and right of the screen, angled toward the main seating area Smaller speakers can be mounted on speaker wall brackets while floor speakers can be positioned with a little more accuracy. The subwoofer can go just about anywhere regardless of angle as long as you don’t put it in a corner, which can cause a muffled or muddy sound.

Because you’re purchasing fewer speakers, you can spend considerably less money than you would with a comparable quality 5.1 or 7.1 system. But because there’s no center speaker, rear speakers or side surround speakers, you won’t get true surround sound quality. These systems often have what’s known as VSS, or Virtual Surround Sound, which uses digital circuits to try to reproduce that surrounded-by-sound quality, and they get close. But when you pay for a 2.1 theater system that has good enough VSS to do a passable job of reproducing the surround sound quality, you’re probably paying enough that it wouldn’t take much more money to get a decent 5.1 system and get true surround quality. Alternatively you can spend the same amount as a larger system but get just the pair pair of exceptionally high quality speakers – consider these Mordaunt-Short speakers as an example.

Cost isn’t the only reason for purchasing a 2.1 theater system, however. Another big benefit of these small systems is that you don’t have to run wires to rear surround speakers. Many people love their systems but hate the wires strung along the ceiling and the hassle of hiding them. Of course wireless speakers for TV or audio use are a solution here, although buying the wireless adapter is an extra expense.

Another great benefit of having 2 speakers instead of 5 or 7 is that it’s much easier to use a smaller system in a small room without running wires or spending a lot of money. Bedrooms, small living rooms and small dens might be better suited for a 2.1 theater system than a larger one. The sound can still be terrific–it just won’t be true surround sound.

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