Stereo vs Surround — Which audio system is better for you?

July 08, 2020
Stereo vs Surround — Which audio system is better for you?
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All about Stereo vs Surround

Gone are the days when people would build their homes just for the sake of shelter. Now, many go way beyond and transform their homes into a custom-made package of wonders that incorporates everything that could make their lives into the seventh heaven. Forget about the furniture, garden, pool, or even barbeque that has become a mandatory part of every home design, home theatres have grabbed the imagination of many new homeowners.

Though the concept of creating a home theatre has been around a decade or two, many incorporate an apt audio system to create the right movie watching experience. An important consideration in this scenario is to decide which fits your needs better — a stereo or a surround sound system?

Well, to help you make the right choice, let's dive in and gain a better understanding of the differences between stereo and surround audio systems:

What’s the Difference?

Stereo audio systems feature two channels of audio that are placed on the left and right side of the stage, television, or any music system. These are popular for playing music, studio recording, gaming, and even in musical concerts.

stereo sound system

Have you ever been to a concert and witnessed those huge speakers placed on the right and left side of the stage? Well, that’s pretty much how stereo audio systems work. The sense that they create is of music coming from two directions — from the left and right sides of the hall — and this forms a core aspect of a stereo system.

But as movies became increasingly more popular with audiences, audio also evolved with the coming of surround sound systems.

Who has not been to the theatres? Remember the car chase scene from the movie The Italian Job, where you could hear the chase sound of a helicopter somewhere above your head and behind the hall? Or, if you are a horror movie buff, who can forget the creepy door tapping sound that would emerge from all the sides of the theatre in the movie Conjuring? Well, none of these memorable experiences would be possible without surround audio technology.

all about surround sound system

In simple terms, surround audio systems are designed to create a more realistic audio experience when we’re movie-watching.

This is possible because surround sound systems usually feature more than two speakers — 5, 7 and 9 speaker systems are also possible. These speakers may be supplemented with one or more subwoofers, which reinforce the bass in your audio. Since a larger number of speakers “surround” the listener, they can project sounds from any direction, and therefore create a more immersive experience. Not to forget avid game lovers also use surround sound while playing virtual games with their friends, as it creates an ultra-realistic experience.

Which one’s better for you – Stereo Audio System or Surround Audio System?

If you are a movie lover then you must go ahead with Surround Audio System.

Having a spacious enclosure, comfortable recliners, large LED television, and the right surround audio system is just enough to convert that space in your home into a theatre. For gaming enthusiasts also, the surround audio system works best.

If you love music and want to transform your space into a studio then the Stereo Audio system is the one you must opt for.

Many musicians who convert their space into a studio to listen to different music genres and even to record their songs prefer stereo audio system. Though the headphones work well too, many still prefer to install them for a better music listening experience.

So, what works best for your home is completely a subjective argument as the requirements may differ from person to person. However, there are many other things to consider while deciding to buy the right audio system for your home.


This can be a little tricky if you are setting up a home theatre for your family. Catering to their needs is important, and thus opting for surround audio system works well, as it can be used for both movie watching and for playing games. However, if you are that musician who wants to make a recording space at home and who wants to enjoy the rhythm of music by allotting a small space for yourself to set up a studio, then stereo audio speakers works well.

Room Space:

If the space of the hall is small, then it is wise to select a 3-channel surround audio system that doesn’t let the family members crease their faces while watching a movie with sound effects. If you have a large hall then you can go ahead with 7-channel surround audio system for an ultimate experience. However, if your sole purpose is limited to listening to music only, then the stereo audio system works best. If you have to place them in a small room then bookshelf speakers are a good option as they are compact in size yet delivers high-quality sound. And, if you have ample space then you can go ahead with floor standing speakers.


Since this equipment is an investment, it is always better to go for a standard system resulting in a better experience. This applies to both stereo and surround. From AVR and speakers to cables, everything must be of good quality otherwise you won’t get the full potential of the system.

So, depending on your needs, budget, and preferences, you can decide what works best for you and your family.


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