Home Stereo Systems and Speakers
Home stereo systems are typically defined as a set of stereo speakers and a subwoofer connected to an amplifier in your home. Stereo or Stereophonic sound is the ability to create directional sound from two independent audio speakers. The term stereophonic is derived from the Greek word stereos, which means solid and phone, which means sound. From stereo it has evolved to Multichannel Sound.
Multichannel sound, also known as surround sound demands at least four and up to seven independent audio channels or speakers placed in front of and behind the center of sound and hereby surrounds the listener. Multichannel sound is also known as 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 channel sound.
Home stereo systems are normally connected to achieve a surround sound in 5.1 channel. 5.1 in a system equals to five speakers or satellites and one subwoofer giving you a complete sound all around in your room. 5.1 channel is an industry standard format for movies and music with five main channels of sound and a sixth subwoofer channel (called the point-one channel) used for special movie effects and bass for music. A 5.1 channel system consists of a pair of speakers, a center channel speaker placed between the stereo speakers and two speakers located behind the listener.
6.1 channel sounds adds a sound enhancement to 5.1 channel sound with an additional center speaker located between the two surround sound speakers directly behind the listener. 6.1 channel sounds produces a more enveloping surround sound experience.
7.1 channel sound is a further enhancement to 5.1 channel with two additional side-surround speakers located to the sides of the listener's seating position. 7.1 channel is primarily used for more accurate positioning of sounds.
Even though home stereo system comes in many versions, Yamaha YHT-595BL it is for most people defined as a 2.1 setup, equal to two speakers and one subwoofer. This setup you see at many computers as this provides great sound for games or music at your pc. As people is interested in achieving surround sound at their home theater with a 2.1 system it is becoming more and more popular making your home stereo 2.1 system into a 2.1 Channel Home Theater. A 2.1 Channel Home Theater is a stereo system that mimics home theater sound. By using a 2.1 channel home theater system you can avoid the clutter of additional speakers and wires. So how do we convert our tiny and simple 2.1 home stereo system to a 2.1 home theater system and hereby avoiding adding more speakers to our system?
Some 2.1 Channel systems have special software to mimic the sound of surround effects with two speakers. This is called Virtual Surround Sound (VSS). VSS creates an enveloping surround sound effect using two front speakers and a subwoofer. By using a 5.1 channel decoders and combining it with special digital circuits that simulate the sound of rear channel speakers a 2.1 system can make a virtual surround sound. So to get the VSS you need to get a prepackaged system or a receiver. Most common is tough to choose an all-in-one system that provides you with all you need like Blu-ray player, built-in receiver, two speakers and a subwoofer.
As great as VSS is, it is still only a virtual simulation of surround sound, so 5.1 will always be better. But for people with little space or don't like wires all over your house a VSS home system is the answer.
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