5.1-Channel vs. 7.1-Channel Receivers

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5.1-Channel vs. 7.1-Channel Receivers

When setting up a home theatre, surround sound speakers are an integral part of creating the complete experience. An audio receiver is a vital part of this set up of speakers. An audio receiver, which is sometimes referred to as an AV receiver, functions as the centre of a home theatre system, as it coordinates the speakers and communicates with a number of different devices.

Purchasing a quality audio receiver can greatly improve the audio that is produced by a surround sound speaker set up. Two types of receiver are widely available: 5.1 and 7.1 channel receivers, which work with different number of speakers. A wide range of receivers, speakers and other audio equipment can be found on eBay.

5.1 Channel Receivers

5.1 channel receivers are designed to function as part of a 5.1 surround sound set up. 5.1 surround sound has been the home theatre standard for a number of years, and a majority of movies and games offer functionality with this type of set up. This type of speaker set up consists of:

· A centre channel, which produces the core audio, be it the dialogue in a movie or a singer’s vocals in a track.

· Left and right front channels, which are generally used to provide the main soundtrack of a movie, or are used as stereo speakers for music.

· In addition to the front speakers, left and right rear speakers are also present in a 5.1 set up. These produce rear sound effects in movies and games, which can help to create an immersive experience.

· In addition to these five speakers, a subwoofer is also used. Subwoofers recreate the lowest frequencies, often referred to as the bass, in movies games or songs, and add a further level of depth and quality to sound.

5.1 channel receivers can offer a number of advantages, as well as being more useful in certain setups.

· 5.1 surround sound is suitable for a many homes, being most suitable for smaller and mid-sized rooms. 7.1 or more in this size of location risks becoming overwhelming in some circumstances.

· A key benefit of 5.1 surround sound is that such set up can take advantage of a majority of DVDs, Blu-ray discs and other media currently available, as 5.1 has been the standard for some time.

· Due to the lower number of speakers than that used in 7.1, 5.1 surround sound can be considerably less complex to set up and use.

· Due to their wide availability and the fewer number of devices required, 5.1 receivers and the needed speakers are often more affordable than 7.1 devices.

7.1 Channel Receivers

7.1 channel receivers have become increasingly popular in recent years, with an increasing number of Blu-ray discs and other types of media supporting the format.

· The key difference between a 5.1 and 7.1 receiver is that a 7.1 channel audio receiver can offer two additional channels, making a 7.1 speaker set up possible.

· 7.1 surround sound typically makes use of the same speakers as 5.1, with the addition of two extra speakers. The rear and surround channels are divided into separate speakers, which can help to add to the quality of the audio.

7.1 channel receivers can offer a variety of benefits, as well as additional functionalities.

· 7.1 surround sound is generally most suited to larger rooms, though may also be used in smaller environments, depending on the power of the speakers. The additional channels available to a 7.1 system can help to create a deeper and more immersive audio experience in movies, games and music.

· If 5.1 surround sound is preferred, the additional channels can be routed to additional speakers. For example, while a 5.1 surround sound movie is watched in one room, music could be played through a set of stereo speakers in another, all operating from the same system.

· Many 7.1 receivers are also capable of a process called 'bi-amping'. This is where the additional channels are rooted into the front left and right speakers, if they are compatible, which increases their power.

· Setting up 7.1 surround sound can be more expensive and complex than 5.1, however. In addition, a 7.1 surround sound may not make full advantage of media that was designed for use with 5.1, though 7.1 media is becoming increasingly popular and available.

Audio Receiver Additional Features

In addition to the number of channels, which an audio receiver may offer, there are also a number of features that should be considered. These include:

· High definition audio is available, and a popular choice for those who intend to watch movies and play games in high definition. Many receivers are available which offer this, and a HDMI connection is required for this type of audio.

· Connectivity should also be considered when purchasing an audio receiver. In addition to compatibility with speakers and other audio equipment, receivers with USB connections are also available. This can allow audio to be played directly from a USB drive.

· Wireless receivers are also available which can be used with a set of wireless speakers. This can be convenient, reduces clutter and eliminates the need for tangled wires.

· Some receivers may be purchased as part of a set which includes speakers, or separately. Speakers are a key part of any set up. A wide variety of different types, sizes and styles of speaker are available for a variety of different purposes. For example, wall speakers can leave floor space clear and look tidier, while stands and mounts are also available.

How to Buy Audio Receivers on eBay

A wide range of 5.1 and 7.1 channel receivers, offering a range of features and accessories, can be found on eBay.

· To view the full listing of available audio receivers, visit the Receivers section of the Audio category. This can be found through the Electronics portal.

· Receivers can be arranged by a number of different categories, including the number of channels they offer, price and brand.

· Key information about a receiver, such as the type or any additional features or accessories it offers, will often be prominently displayed on the item listing. This makes it easy to quickly see if an item meets any specific requirements.

· More detailed information, often including pictures of the item, can be found on the item page. Also available here is information about the seller, such as item reviews and feedback ratings, which can help to ensure that a purchase can be made with confidence.

· If a specific receiver is required, it may be easier to use the search function, which is available at the top of every page. Searches can be made to return results from within a specified category, or from across the site.

· Don't forget to look out for any deals that may be available on audio receivers, which can be found under Electronics.


Receivers form the hub of the audio in a theatre set up, communicating with the speakers. Two of the most commonly used types of receiver are 5.1 and 7.1 channel receivers, which are often used in conjunction with a surround sound speaker set up.

5.1 systems are often more affordable, and because they have been the home theatre standard for some time, many movies and games are designed to be used with it. 7.1, meanwhile, can offer a deeper and more immersive audio experience. A wide range of audio receivers, speakers and other audio equipment, can be found on eBay.

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