Can Bookshelf Speakers Be Used as Surround Speakers?

Surround speaker setup is critical for the true theater experience. If your home theater is nearly ready, you may be wondering what kind of speakers would fit well as surround speakers.

Typically, the usage of bookshelf speakers for surround sound is a heated topic of discussion in the home theater circle.

Most audiophiles are concerned about using bookshelf speakers as surround speakers due to budgetary restrictions, space, or placement.

Before determining whether bookshelf speakers can be used as surround speakers, understand the surround sound setup first.

What is Surround Sound Speaker?

A surround sound setup utilizes multiple speakers for realistic, cinema-like audio. Multiple channels split the audio signal to make the sound come from several speakers.

For instance, when a noise is coming from the left side of the screen, an audiophile will hear it from the left speaker and vice versa.

To understand it better, this setup is defined by numbers, typically, 5.1 and 7.1. The first digit represents the number of speakers while the second digit indicates subwoofers, responsible for producing low-bass frequencies.

Can Bookshelf Speakers Be Used as Surround Speakers?

Yes, a bookshelf speaker can be used for the best surround sound experience. Positioning the same tonality speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup produces error-free sound. Importantly, when bookshelf speakers are of the same model and brand, they communicate well to produce the best surround sound.

Owing to their smaller size and lightweight build, they occupy little space and can fit in small cabinets and bookshelves. A quality surround system requires multiple speakers, therefore, getting bookshelf speakers would be considerably cheaper.

Furthermore, bookshelf speakers do not produce low-bass frequencies. Hence, buying an external subwoofer would be critical to producing a wider sound range.

Tips for Bookshelf Speakers as Surround Sound System

As established earlier, bookshelf speakers can act as surround speakers. Still, many users are not aware of how to create an effortless setup. Here are some tips to follow to make the most out of this transition.

Decide the Setup

First off, a user has to choose between the 5.1 and 7.1 setups. Generally, picking a surround sound setup depends on the budget and the sound quality a user seeks. It is suggested to burn a little extra cash to get better audio.

Establish a Strong Central Channel

Bookshelf speakers for the central channel must be installed in a vertical position. The extremely important listening area is the center, therefore, have the most expensive speaker in the center. Having the most impressive central speaker produces clearer sound effects and music.

Invest in a Quality Subwoofer

While bookshelf speakers do not necessarily need a subwoofer, it is essential for richer and fuller audio. Pairing bookshelf speakers with a strong subwoofer would produce deeper and low-end frequencies.

Remove Hurdles

Follow all the bookshelf speaker placement instructions and remove obstacles. These hurdles will affect the sound quality and the whole sound signature.

Stay Within Budget

Do not spend more than the budget allows to have a fancy surround sound system. Get the right, reasonably-priced bookshelf speakers suitable to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can any speaker be used for surround sound?

Yes, most surround sound aficionados agree that any speaker can be used for surround sound regardless of the speaker type and brand. Importantly, ensure the right positioning and pair them with a compatible receiver.

What Speakers to Use For Surround Sound?

Any type of speaker works for a surround sound setup. Commonly surround sound enthusiasts use a bookshelf, floor-standing, in-wall, or satellite speakers.

Are bookshelf speakers good for movies?

Yes, in fact, bookshelf speakers are a top pick for movies and home theater setups. Bookshelf speakers alone or paired with a strong subwoofer will add oomph to the background music and movies.


In a nutshell, bookshelf speakers are suitable for surround sound systems. Paired with a subwoofer, they are guaranteed to provide the best surround sound experience. Adjust the position and angles to get the best sound according to the listening position.

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Cian has 7 years of experience in the musical instruments industry. His press and research articles are published in many well-known journals. Cian is part of our product testing team so he knows the criteria for the best products. Here at sound keen cian covers how to set up instruments and selection criteria for new products.

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