Are Home Theaters Good For Music? (Stereo Vs Surround Sound)

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Many people love both listening to music and watching movies in the comfort of their homes. But their minds get confused easily by the online guides on whether to go to a home theater for music or not. I am answering this question for those. Are home theaters good for music?

At A Glance: Surround sound/Home theaters can be good for music if they are acoustically treated well, have portless speakers that can have a good grip on the high, mids, and some level of lower-end frequencies, and the content is decoded in Surround sound format.

Keep reading as I will talk about these measures in more detail. You will know which speakers to choose or go with stereo altogether. I will also include many ways that will perfectly craft your theater system to be good both in movies and music. Don’t forget to read the final verdict at the end of this article. The poll I have conducted in a Facebook group will also help you a lot.

Why are Home Theaters not good for music? (Solution is here)

Are home theaters good for music?
Source: Netflix

Mostly, we choose a separate room for the theater system to be placed in. These rooms have many hard surfaces all over them.

When the sound comes out of the speakers, they are influenced heavily by these surfaces. When the first rays of sound are pointed at the listener, they sound good. But speakers fire sound all around the room.

The other rays go and collide with these hard surfaces and reflect at you. They will sound a little different at first reflection because of the nature of the surface. But the issue doesn’t stop here.

The same sound waves will collide several times throughout the room. This will produce an echo, and you will hear the same music a little late.

Here two things happened to the music. First, the reflections of sound after colliding with the wall and walls around the room will sound different from the first direct flow of music at you straight from the speaker.

Second, there will be a lot of echo in the room. You will hear the same music several times but at different time intervals. This will confuse your brain and will ruin the home theater experience for you.

Read the following to know how to solve these issues.

What to do to make it good?

One way of keeping the sound pure is to acoustically treat your theater room. I will explain the second way in the upcoming parts of this guide.

You have to keep the sound absorbed in the first reflection points of the sound. You will have to identify the first reflection points of the sound. Furthermore, you can follow my guide on how to find sound’s first reflection points

After you have found the first reflection points, you will have to install the acoustic panels there. These panels will absorb the excessive rays of the sound and will stop it from reflecting several times over the room. It will direct the only needed rays at you.

This will stop the hard surfaces of the room to influence the sound nature. 

Along with these panels. You need highly dense things around the room. You need to install soft seating and a dense soft rug or carpet on the floor. 

Moreover, if you are a fan of huge bass. Then you will also need to install bass traps at every corner of the room. This will help to refine the bass and don’t allow excessive bass to flow around the room freely.

Keep reading to know how to choose the speaker that will work best for both music and movies.

Read these 5 steps to optimize the home theater audio. I have added the simple and effective ones.

Can surround sound speakers be used for music?

Can surround sound speakers be used for music?
Source: Netflix

There are three main points in choosing the right speaker to serve your needs for music and movies.

The first, as you may already know this fact because you have read this article till this far. 

The speaker fires sound in a straight line and also horizontally and vertically with certain angles. The angles are not important, but understanding the sound flow is important.

If the speaker is low build quality. Then there will be a bit of difference between the direct sound rays, horizontal rays, and vertical rays of the sound of the same speaker.

The horizontal rays spread from left to right and try to cover a lot of areas of the theater room, and the vertical do the same. These rays spread so much that they collide with walls, ceilings, and floors. These rays then reflect on you.

If the speakers are of low build quality then these reflections will sound different too along with sound spreads straight from the speaker. These reflections will sound different whether you have installed acoustic panels or not.

How to choose the best build quality speaker? Buy speakers from reputable brands only, and also read their reviews before adding them to the cart.

The second thing is that you must choose those speakers for surround sound that are good in the upper, mid, and shallow lower end of the frequencies.

These types of speakers can throw both movies and music frequencies better. Also, they are the best for dialogue clarity and will also help in the vocal music.

A speaker that is just good in mid and high will not serve our purpose. Because we want it for movies too, and I love dialogue clarity. I want to understand them better without reading subtitles.

To get this point right. You need to read the speaker label and try hard to match its number with my guide. Best frequency response for each speaker in the surround sound. You will get a table in this guide to compare the speaker label with.

After that, you will get the best speaker for your needs.

The last and third point is that you choose sealed speakers and a subwoofer for your system if you need them for both movies and music.

The sealed speakers and subwoofer don’t exaggerate the pure form of the music and also don’t have any port noise.

The sealed cabinet keeps the speaker or subwoofer’s driver in control to move back and forth more than what is needed. This stops it from adding its flavor to the music or movies. 

As a result, you get the pure form of the sound. There will be no exaggeration in the sound. You can check the graph of the sealed vs ported sub in this guide. I have put it in a graph, so you can understand it better. You get the graph in the middle of the comparison section.

But when you are using a sealed subwoofer. Then you will need dual or four subwoofers in the same room. Because one sealed sub can’t fill the room properly.

Keep reading to know whether the receiver is a great option for music or not.

Know how to increase the home theater bass? I have included 9 easy to follow in this guide.

Is an AV Receiver good for music?

In-Short: Modern receivers are good for music because they provide many features like connecting phones, online streaming services, and built-in radio streaming.

In-Depth: Modern receivers are the best for music. You get access to tons of streaming services only with a push of a button. You can have access to online radio. These radios have many more stations than ordinary radios without a hush in them.

Apart from online radio. Many receivers provide built-in radio. They come with radio antennas. When you want to listen to the radio, you just have to connect the antennas.

But if you have music on your mobile phone. Then you can connect your phone to the receiver with the help of Bluetooth and can start streaming the music from your mobile phone. 

Few receivers have features that can convert CD-quality music to full surround sound on the go. The conversion will be so fast that you will sense no delay in the music.

So, you can say those modern receivers are the best for musical purposes. I have reviewed a few of them in this guide best av receiver.

Which is better for music: stereo or surround sound?

There are a few ups and downs to this topic. Read my opinion, then we will discuss the poll results afterward.

The stereo is good for music, but it needs to be calibrated by yourself. The calibration must be error-free and should be done with the help of your ears and not with a mic. Because these systems don’t come with a calibration mic.

The two speakers need to be placed at an equal distance from the wall. But when it comes to the home theater, that can be calibrated with a mic. You don’t need to worry about the placement of the speakers. As this mic calibration will perfect everything for you. 

Which is better: stereo or home theater for music? Well, I have the same opinion as to the poll participants. Just read the two lines summary of the poll results. The complete verdict is at the end of the article.

What will you choose for music? FB Poll

Poll OptionsStats
Surround Sound (Home Theater)38%
There were 167 participants in this poll

I conducted this poll in a Facebook group.

I reach out to the participants to know why they vote for stereo more than surround sound.

Their opinions can be summarized in two lines.

  1. If the music is recorded in stereo then I will choose stereo music
  2. If the music is recorded in surround sound, Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, or Spatial audio then I will choose surround sound to listen to.

Stereo music is widely available, and in Dolby, the options are very limited.

Final Verdict

The home theater is good for music when this guide is followed for choosing and setting the speakers up. 

Also, if the music is decoded in Atmos or any other spatial audio, then the home theater is the best option to listen to the music.  Many receivers provide this feature to convert the CD versions to full surround sound music. But if it is lacking this feature.

Then, plug out all the speakers and listen to the music with the front speakers. This will give you the best experience.

But if you have a modern receiver. Then it can be switched to stereo mode with a push of a button.


Do I really need surround sound?

You need surround sound if you want to immerse yourself in the universe of movies, games, and TV shows.

If you really want to feel the ambiance of your favorite content, then you need surround sound. It will open a new door to the content world for you.

Can I use a home theater receiver as a stereo?

Many modern receivers have this feature that can turn it from surround sound to a stereo receiver.

With this feature, you can use your receiver to satisfy your stereo needs

Are sound bars good for music?

In the sense of convenience, they are good because they have Bluetooth connectivity, and you can stream your favorite music to it from a mobile sitting on a couch. But for the sound quality, it is not worth it.

You will need nice speakers to quench your thirst for music.

Does the home theater have a radio?

Many home theater receivers have built-in radios to which you can connect the antenna the antenna comes in the box but many modern AV receivers have access to the internet radio. The Internet radio can stream hundreds of channels without hushing noise.

The radio is a mandatory feature that comes with many receivers but almost all modern receivers have internet radio features.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. This was my opinion, read more about it from lifewire blog. (Resource for the second answer)
  2. This was my opinion, read more about it from this Quora Discussion. (Resource for the third answer)

Watch To Learn More

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Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)

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