This is one of the best questions I have ever got in my mailbox. Because everyone is talking about surround sound and home theater, but no one talks about the best candidate for the role of surround speaker. That’s why I have created this guide to make it easier for the newbies. The question: What makes a good surround sound speaker?
The 2-way nature of any speaker makes it a good surround speaker because this type of speaker can hit the maximum amount of frequencies of the frequency spectrum. This range of hitting is ideal for the best surround sound experience.
The 2-way nature is the best speaker for surround sound, but what about combining 2-way and 3-way speakers for surround sound? Keep reading because I will answer this question along with frequently asked questions related to this question.
Why is the 2-way nature of the speaker good for surround sound?
In a 2-way speaker. You get a tweeter to produce a high frequency of sound and one woofer to produce a highish low end of frequencies.
Due to this combination of the tweeter and a woofer. It can hit frequencies from 60 Hz to 20 kHz.
The speakers which can hit this frequency range are good because the woman’s voice frequency range is 165 Hz to 255 Hz and the man’s voice frequency is 100 Hz to 120 Hz.
This means that the dialogues will be clear and tight with 2-way speakers.
Along with dialogues, it can produce many music notes with sound effects with better accuracy.
That’s why if you want to build a surround sound on a budget then you can go for 2-way speakers for each position in the surround sound.
But if you want to upgrade from good to the best, then keep reading to know about the upgrade.
To know what makes a speaker sound better? Know about the best speaker’s characteristics and also some optimization tips that I have listed in this guide.
A 2-way speaker is good, but what is best for a surround sound speaker?
The best combo for the surround sound will be to use 3-way speakers for the front speakers and 2-way speakers for the surround sides and rear positions.
But you should consider this combo of speakers only when you care more about the sound quality than the budget.
Keep reading because I am going to explain to you why I like and follow this combo of speakers for surround sound.
Yes, I am using the same arrangement for my surround sound.
Why 3-way speakers for the front LCR (left, center, and right) speakers?
The front speakers have to play the maximum amount of sound frequencies. These front channels should be filled with speakers that can play good highish low end, deep and tight mid-levels, and tight high end of the frequency levels.
After that, you will hear deep dialogues and deep and tight sound effects. The reason I am recommending 3-way speakers for the front speakers is that these three speakers have to do most of the work of the surround sound system.
They have a lot of work to do. The front three speakers are responsible for 80% sound of the whole surround sound system.
That’s why you need speakers that are the best for this job, and the 3-way speakers are the best.
The 3-way speakers can hit 50 Hz to 20 kHz of the frequency range. This range is enlarged along with it; the mid-frequencies are also deeper now. Because these speakers have a dedicated mid-woofer for those frequencies.
The 3-way speaker has a tweeter, mid-woofer, and a woofer. If your budget allows you further, then you can consider a 3-way center speaker for the complete 3-way front speakers.
But if you don’t want to flex your muscles further then you are good to go with just 3-way front left and right speakers and keep the center speaker a 2-way one but make sure it is of high quality. You can read my guide on matching center speakers to front speakers.
Keep reading to know why I am recommending 2-way speakers for surround sides and rear positions in this high-budget setup.
Know more about 2-way vs 3-way vs 4-way speakers. I have compared them in detail in this guide.
Why 2-way speakers for the surround sides and rear speakers?
Most of the job is done by the front speakers, and the surrounding sides and rear speakers just have to play the sound effects better and put a cherry on the top of the cake.
Yes, the surround sides and rear speakers are the cherries on the top. Because most of the action on the screen happens in front of the main character and few effects are happening around it.
There are very rare moments in the movies where there are more surrounding effects. Especially in action-heavy movies. That’s why you should not lose out on those effects. To produce those effects flawlessly. You need good qualities of 2-way speakers in the surrounding sides and rear positions.
As I have already told you. The front three speakers have already done the 80% of the work now the surround sides and rear speakers have to do the rest of the 20% of the speakers.
For this 20% sound, you don’t need expensive and over-the-top quality speakers. You will work nicely with 2-way high-quality affordable speakers.
Read my this review guide about the best speakers for home theater. I have reviewed the top 7.
Final Verdict: Why does this combo work for surround sound?
By keeping the combo of 2-way and 3-way speakers for the surround sound. You make sure that the budget is worth it and that your surround system hits the most amount of frequencies tighter and deeper in the frequency range.
Especially the mid-frequencies feel deeper with the 3-way speakers, and you take care of the budget too. Because you are not installing 3-way speakers in the surround sides and rear positions.
Because in these positions the 3-way speakers are not necessary, and the job can be done just by the 2-way speakers. The 2-way speakers are better because they are suitable for the surround sides and rear positions and will cost you less than the 3-way.
In short: the 3-way and 2-way speakers combo for surround sound are budget friendly and the sound quality will also be top-notch.
Read my this guide to know what is a good speaker size. You will know what is best.
What do I need for a good surround-sound system?
For a good surround sound, you need a good quality AV receiver, a surround sound set of high-quality speakers, good quality HDMI cables, and 14 gauge wires for speaker connectivity.
This was for the good and for the best you need to have a good-quality preamp process, an amplifier, and high-quality surround sound speakers with high-quality HDMI cables and pure copper wires for speaker connectivity.
Which is better: 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound?
The 5.1 is better for the budget, and for the best sound quality, the 7.1 is better. The 7.1 is better for sound quality because you are providing a bigger canvas to the audio to create audio imaging of the video content.
Don’t be confused. Surround sound is invented for the purpose to create the audio scenery of on-the-screen visuals in your room. These speakers create a 2D sound field around you and make you feel like you are there in the movie. However, the Dolby Atmos is the 3D version, and it is more robust.
This was my opinion, read more about it from this youtube video.
Do surround speakers need bass?
Surround speakers need the bass to deliver realism to the action scenes happening on the screen. That’s why every surround sound is incomplete without a subwoofer in it. The subwoofer provides the bass to the whole surround sound.
The bass has to be produced by the subwoofer and not by the speakers. The number 5.1 or 7.1 is the full representative of the surround sound. The number after the point stands for the number of subwoofers used in the system.
This was my opinion, know more about it from this AVSforum discussion.