Surround Sound Basics
The importance of surround sound is often overlooked when it comes to building and creating home theater systems. You should never underestimate that power that sound holds over all of our television, movie, and sporting event watching experiences. Movie sound tracks are often used in order to create drama, heighten suspense, and even to enhance moods or themes within the movie. Surround sound is for more than mere movies and television however. This great type of sound also serves to bring great depth to our favorite music
Surround sound gets its name from the fact that you are literally surrounded with the sound. This is a vast improvement over the typical two speaker systems in the days of old (oddly enough not all that long ago). Surround sound works to imitate the ambient noises that we often hear during the course of the day. This is often done for the purpose of art imitating life. By hearing the roll of thunder from every side rather than merely the left or the right we are experiencing the real beauty of surround sound and enjoying the more realistic effects it lends itself to.
When you are looking into surround sound systems for your home or home theater you will come across some terminology that may seem foreign and unfamiliar. Surround Sound 5.1 indicates a system that uses five speakers and one subwoofer in order to deliver the sounds. This sound is often referred to as Dolby Digital. A new term that has been cropping up more and more often in movie circles is THX. This is known as surround sound 6.1, which involves the use of 6 speakers and a subwoofer. The center speaker in this system should be located in the center behind the listener in order to add yet another layer to the sound. Surround sound 7.1 adds yet another speaker to the mix in order to create an even more authentic sound. The more speakers in your surround sound system, the more realistic the sound will be and the better able you will be as an audience member to find your place within the action.
In order to get surround sound you need more than a set of speakers. You will first need a receiver in order to 'receive' and process the information and send the digital signals and sounds in the direction they should go. If you are building a home theater you will want to make a good receiver a key investment in your overall system. This is an important component as sound is vital to a true 'movie going' experience, which is what a good home theater is meant to imitate.
A good receiver is essential not only for a good home theater but also any surround sound system that you wish to install (many people use these exclusively for gaming as well and they are quite effective for this particular purpose). When it comes to gaming, surround sound can identify your location in the action of the game. This works much like it does when watching movies. The more speakers you have in your system the better able you will be to identify from which direction actions, sounds, and such are being made. In games this can provide important clues that those with lesser sound systems will miss out on. Talk about an edge?
While the main purpose of surround sound is to simply enhance the entertainment experience I can think of very few better things to invest in when it comes to either a home theater or the ultimate gaming computer. Do your homework on the systems that are available and remember that good quality speakers are essential in carrying out the sound properly and you should plan to make a sizeable investment in both the speakers and the receiver or other sound components (if you decide to go that route for even better quality sound). Whatever you are using it for be sure that you play around with the sounds to find the best level for your personal enjoyment of your surround sound system.