What Is 5.1 Surround?

The most common surround format is a six-channel system called 5.1 surround. This format is the standard surround configuration in major motion pictures, music, and digital television. The format consists of three speakers across the front and two speakers in the rear. The .1 is a sixth channel for low-frequency effects (LFE). A typical 5.1 surround layout features left and right speakers (from a traditional stereo system) plus a center speaker, a left surround (rear) speaker, a right surround (rear) speaker, and an LFE speaker, more commonly known as the subwoofer.

There are other surround standards that range from three channels to seven channels and nonstandard surround formats that use as many as ten channels.