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A surround sound setup doesn't need speakers everywhere. Here are 2.1 reasons why.

I'll admit it, as enticing as it is to have a surround sound setup all around you, delivering the cinematic punch of a movie's soundtrack, it's not for everyone…or every room for that matter. For what ever reason, the layout of the room may be prohibitive, or a member of the household may not like the idea. The answer may lie in a 2.1 channel system. Simply put, 2 speakers and a subwoofer.

Please do not confuse simplicity with cheap home theater systems. I defend this by stating that I have heard even a computer surround sound speaker system with 2 speakers and a sub sound better than a poorly built 5.1 channel system.

A good quality surround sound setup depends on the quality of the gear, not the quantity. The sonic improvement of adding two powered speakers and a subwoofer to an HDTV, a blu-ray, or DVD player will knock the socks off of many folks. It is such an improvement over the TV speakers that many will be content with a 2.1 channel system.

For those households who may have someone opposed to a huge 5.1 channel, or 7.1 channel system, it is a welcome compromise. A 2.1 channel system is much easier to hide, connect, and once again, the sonic improvement is hard to argue against.

You may be wondering, can 2 speakers be considered surround sound, since there are no speakers "surrounding" you? The answer is, absolutely! You see, many of today's acoustic technologies provide a surround effect through the use of only two speakers. This audio effect creates the illusion of more than 2 speakers using unique processing algorithms, your room's acoustics, or a combination of both to create a convincing soundstage. For those unconvinced, the simple upgrade to 2.1 channel stereo sound compared to your TV speakers will be a revelation.