If descriptions of common audio formats in audio components leave you confused, learn these few terms that all audiophiles should be familiar with before buying a new audio system.

Monaural sound

Mono audio is a single channel or soundtrack produced by a single speaker. It is also known as single tone audio or high definition audio. Mono audio has been replaced stereo or stereo sound in the 1950s, so you’re unlikely to come across any mono equipment for your home.

stereo sound

Stereo or binaural audio consists of two separate audio channels or audio tracks played back by two speakers. Stereo sound provides a sense of directionality because different sounds can be heard in two directions. Stereo sound is still the most common form of audio reproduction in use today.

Surround sound or multi-channel sound

surround sound also known as multi-channel audio, is created by at least four and seven independent audio channels and speakers, located in front and behind the listener. The goal is to surround the listener with sound. Surround sound can be burned to music DVDs, DVD movies, and some CDs. Surround sound became popular in the 1970s with the introduction of quadraphonic sound, also known as quad. Since then, surround sound or multi-channel sound has been developed and used in high-end home theater systems. Multi-channel audio is available in three configurations: 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 channel audio.

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