Surround sound, 2.1 system, mono speakers, and stereo speakers. All very nice but what does it all mean? And where could you place our speakers? Let's discover the meanings of different sound setups and their pro's and con's together. After that, we will take a look at why our speakers are so different other speakers.
Most music has a left and a right track. This is the go-to solution for music lovers (audiophiles) since it has the ability to give an immersive experience. You might have noticed that sometimes when wearing headphones the drummer is only in one ear and the guitarist in the other. It makes you feel like you are right in the middle of a song. On youtube, I found a fun stereo sound experience for those who really need a haircut in these corona times (do listen with headphones!): https://youtu.be/BWKH2HRFw8E
When you only have one speaker, such as a small Bluetooth box, the sound is usually mono. This means that the right and left track are combined into one. This makes it possible to play the song over a single speaker. You will lose the depth this way, but stereo sound is not always a must-have. Think about a baby monitor, you just wanna hear your baby and it doesn't matter if he is to the left or to the right.
Now this is for movie watchers, whereas music is often only recorded in two channels movies often have multiple channels, like center, left, right, rear-left, rear-right. It completely immerses you in your favorite song or tv program you are watching. There are even modules that you can mount to your couch so you can feel the tremble of a volcano erupting. The downside, however, is that you will only have this experience when you are placing a minimum of 5 loudspeakers around your room. Most people (me for one) will not like to have 5 to 7 speakers surrounding your couch.
2.1 system and others:
Numbers and speaker systems can be very confusing but when it comes to a 2.1 system it is actually fairly simple. The first number indicates the number of channels, and the second one the number of subwoofers. A 2.1 system, therefore, has 2 channels, a left and a right, and one subwoofer. Dolby Atmos (a standard for movie music) even has a 7.1.4 system where the last number indicates how many additional speakers use the ceiling as a reflector to give an even more immersive experience.
Traditionally speakers are made using conically shaped drivers. These drivers need a box filled with air behind it. That is why almost all speakers are square. Conic drivers create soundwaves that go almost straightforward. This means that when you are standing in front of the speaker the sound is louder than when you are standing beside it. Or why you hear the music that comes out of your headphones and the person beside you (usually) does not. That is why in the first drawings the speakers are pointing towards the couch, which is the place with the best music quality.
Our speakers use DML (Distributed Mode Loudspeaker) technology. This means that the entire panel is vibrating. It does not matter if you stand right in front of the speaker or beside it, you can walk through the entire room and the sound is the same. This makes it perfect to use for background music or listening to the radio. If you have ever looked up in a cafe or restaurant you could probably see a lot of small black speakers hanging on the ceiling to create an even distribution of sound. Our speaker has the same effect but then only using 1 instead of 8. And you can hang it on the ceiling if you really want ;).