5.1 Vs 7.1 Sound System: Which Is Better For A Home Theater Setup?

Sound quality is one of the most important factors to consider when setting up a home theater. Many people can’t choose between a 5.1 vs 7.1 for their setup. A 5.1 system comes with a subwoofer and five speakers. Meanwhile, there are up to seven speakers and a subwoofer in a 7.1 system. The addition of two extra speakers in 7.1 boosts the sound depth. 

The side-by-side comparison in this post will cover all the differences between these audio systems. Let’s read through to choose the winner! 

Read also: Soundbar Vs Soundbase: Which Speaker Brings Better Sound Experience

5.1 Sound System Overview

This surround sound system includes three speakers in the front, one on the left, one on the right, and a subwoofer for enhanced sound effects. 

This system is the industry standard and is perfect for small to medium spaces. It can support all kinds of video games and DVDs. 

5.1 and 7.1

7.1 Sound System Overview

This surround sound system has three speakers in the front, one on the right, one on the left, and a subwoofer for audio effects.

The system also has two extra speakers on the backside to boost computer audio effects. 

A 7.1 system may be the best option for large spaces. It runs by dividing the back channel and surrounding data into separate outputs. 

This set can offer an improved listening experience due to this addition. There’ll be audio dispersed, intense, and evenly directed.

Differences Between 5.1 Vs 7.1

5.1 and 7.1 2
7.1 and 5.1

As you can see, there are more speakers in a 7.1 system. Hence, the formats, supported devices, and price also differ in two options. 


Dolby Digital and DTS work to achieve 5.1 sound. DTS has less distortion than Dolby Digital, although it is also a less common option.

On the other hand, the 7.1 works with DTS-HD Master or Dolby TrueHD audio. They are “lossless audio” files similar to the original versions from the film studio.

You can learn more about lossless audio from this video below. It shows you how this idea works in different devices, from phones to TVs. 

Supported devices

Most Blu-ray, DVDs, HDTV, and even video games employ the 5.1 formats as the standard. In commercial cinemas, it is also the most prevalent audio system. 

The PS3 and most Blu-ray devices offer 7.1 format. Most DVDs, Blu-ray, and games still use 5.1 audio, but a growing number of Blu-ray disks are now accessible in 7.1 formats. 

5.1 and 7.1
5.1 is the industry standard


7.1 systems are usually more expensive than 5.1 systems from the same maker in the same category. Yet, costs charged by various producers vary considerably.

5.1 models range in price from $80 for a unit of Logitech loudspeakers to $1,700 for a set of KEF home theaters. 

The cost of 7.1 speakers varies widely, starting at $265 for an Onkyo and going up to several thousand dollars.

5.1 and 7.1

Comparison table

Criteria  5.1 7.1
Setup 5 speakers + 1 subwoofer 7 speakers + 1 subwoofer
Format DTS, Dolby Digital DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD
Sound quality  Standard Greater precision and depth
Supported devices  Video games and DVDs Game consoles and Blu-ray
Cost Varying but cheaper Varying but more expensive
Best for Small to medium rooms Large rooms

Pros And Cons Of 5.1 And 7.1 System

Each option comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s check them before making your decision. 

5.1 system


  • Simple to set up
  • Standard channel configuration
  • Solid sound, especially in small rooms
  • Wide support


  • Few configuration selections
  • Less tuned audio
  • The weaker overall sound, especially in large rooms

7.1 system


  • More channels
  • Great overall sound
  • Many configuration options
  • Two extra amps
  • More control over the audio system


  • Less common supports
  • More space required

Final Verdict: Which Is Better?

In general, if you set up the home theater in a small to medium space, a 5.1 system is the way to go. Even if you have a larger area and a limited budget, this system is a good idea. 

However, if you work in a huge space, we recommend using a 7.1 system. It will raise the overall audio quality to the next level. Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

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Solomen is the founder of MrHow.io, and he is happiest when working with technology and able to help others. In his free time, he often listens to Baroque music, swims or runs. Feel free to contact him on social media!

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