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Difference Between Surround Sound vs Stereo: Which Audio System Is Best

Everything you need to before buying a Surround Sound or Stereo Sound system

by protech
Surround Sound vs Stereo

When you decide to buy your very first home theatre system or sound system then basically you have two main options. Either you can choose surround sound speakers or stereo sound speakers. Here at this point, there are more chances that you will get carried away with the advertisements by the manufacturer. You will find that each & every high-quality speaker & headphone provides high-quality sound whether it is stereo type or features surround sound. But you will not understand the main differences from there. That is why we are here to help you. We will discuss everything you need to know about surround sound & stereo sound& will make your buying decision easier.

Surround Sound Vs Stereo:

Difference Between Surround Sound vs Stereo- Which Audio System Is Best

The main thing that differs surround sound from stereo types is the number of speakers. Normally if you are going to buy a surround sound home theatre then you will find good quality with 5 speakers at least. This number can be increased to 7 or even 9. You will find a 5.1 Surround Sound System & also a 7.1 Surround Sound System. The greater the number indicates more loudspeakers. There are also some cheap surround sound systems are available where you will find only 3 speakers. We are not considering those as a good quality surround sound speakers. On the other hand, if you are going to buy a stereo sound system then you will find that it is a set of 3 speakers. That is the visible or maybe the main difference by which you can identify both surround sound systems & stereo sound systems. If you want to know further information refer to their differences then you must know the main features that those two types speakers offer.

Surround Sound System

There are many Best Surround Sound Headphones are available in the market now. We are excluding this from our topic & only focusing on the sound systems.

The basic thing that everyone understands about surround sound is that surround sound means a realistic sound quality that makes you feel that the sounds are coming from everywhere. Let us make it clear by an example. Suppose you are watching a horror movie. If you have a surround sound system then you can feel that the footsteps of ghosts are coming from your side or behind or maybe someone is crawling in the room next to you. You must have watched 3d movies at the theatre. In the movies when an arrow is thrown towards you then you will feel that the sound of the arrow coming towards you slowly. This is the main feature of the surround sound system. You will find Car Speakers featuring surround sound as well.

You may be eager to know how a surround sound system makes this possible. Well, the secret is laid behind the number of speakers. If you are going to have a surround sound system in your room then there will be one main speaker on the front, two loudspeakers on the left & right. Finally, the other two loudspeakers will be behind you. If you have more than 5 speakers then this pattern will be followed as well. Those speakers in a surround system can act together & separately as well. It follows the pattern of the video & delivers the sound according to the movie you are watching. That is why you will notice sometimes the sound is coming from your front, sometimes back & sometimes sideways. A greater number of loudspeakers provide more surround sound effects.

Stereo Sound System

Starting from Best Tower Speakers, Best Floor Standing Speakers to small Computer Speakers has stereo type sound most of the time. Deep bass & clearer sound quality, those two things are the main attraction for a stereo sound system.

Stereo speakers do not provide you any surround sound. The sound that stereo speakers produce is straight. If the speakers are in front of you then you will hear the sounds are coming from there & if the speakers are behind you then you will hear the sounds coming from your back. The loudspeakers of a stereo sound system work at a time. So that even you locate the loudspeakers in separate places even though there is no chance that you will hear any 3D surround sound effect.

The most common example of a stereo sound system is attending a concert. When you are in an open concert & all the speakers are located near the stage then you can realize exactly how stereo sound really works. If you are near to the stage then you can hear louder & clear sound. The farther you go, the sound quality will reduce & become milder. Thus a stereo speaker works in your room as well.

Surround Sound or Stereo, Which One You Should Buy?

Before we go to a conclusion on this topic there are 3 things you need to consider.

  1. Sound Quality

The sound quality that both surround sound speakers & stereo speakers offer is different. But if you compare the sound quality of individual loudspeakers of both then you will notice that the sound quality of individual stereo loudspeakers is greater compared to the speakers in a surround sound system.

The loudspeakers in a surround sound system are also cheaper & less powerful compared to the loudspeakers of stereo speakers. Even if you expense the same amount of money for both types of speakers the surround sound speakers will come cheaper. Here is an example to provide you a clear idea. Suppose you are going to buy a sound system & your budget is $1000. If you buy a stereo sound system consists of 3 speakers then each speaker you are getting at a price of around $363. With the same $1000 budget if you are going to buy a surround sound system consists of 5 speakers then each speaker will come at a price of $200. So that it is obvious that with the same budget if you are going to buy a surround sound system then you are getting comparatively low-quality speakers. That is why when it comes to individual speaker’s quality, the stereo sound systems are ahead here.

  1. Purpose

Before you choose a surround sound system or stereo sound system you must consider the purpose you are buying for. When it comes to watching movies & series surround sound systems can provide you a better experience. At this point, one question may arise in your mind as well. Can you listen to music in surround sound? The answer is yes. The idea of using a surround sound system for listening to music is not something new now. You can always enjoy your favorite song in your surround sound system.

You can also enjoy your favorite movie or series in a stereo sound system. Just do not expect to surround audio delivery from this. You will get a decent audio experience here. But when it comes to music, stereo speakers really shine. A good quality stereo sound system can provide you far more superior quality musical experience compared to a surround sound system. The reason here is most of the songs are recorded in stereo sound systems. That is why those are not much effective in a surround sound system.

  1. Room Size

A surround system requires a bigger room. This is for loudspeakers positioning. If you locate the loudspeakers very close to one another then there is a huge chance of Crosstalk. This will decrease the audio output quality & even you can not fully enjoy the surround sound feature.

A stereo sound system is ideal for both small & large rooms. So when you are going to buy a stereo sound system there is no need to think whether you have a large room or a small one.


After knowing all the factors above we assume that you already have decided which type of sound system you need. For more help here is our suggestion. If you are not concerned about an individual speaker’s sound quality like to watch movies & series most of the time other than music & also has a bigger room then go for a Surround Sound System. But if you are more concerned about an individual speaker’s audio performance & love to play music most of the time then go for a Stereo type sound system.

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