Terms like 5.1, 7.1, 5.1.2, and 7.2.4 are often thrown around when talking about surround sound, but what does it really mean?
The numbers, what do they mean?
The image below shows a 7.1.4 setup
The 7 means seven floor-level speakers, the 1 means one subwoofer and the 4 means four height channels.
What is right for me?
That will be very dependent on your room and requirements. Too many speakers in a small room can ruin channel separation since each speaker is not given enough space to work with. It will also depend on how many channels your AVR can process and amplify. Most modern AV receivers can process at least 7 or 9 channels, but might only have amplification for 5 or 7, and the last channel will need a dedicated amplifier. More premium options can process up to 32 channels, but this will not be your run-of-the-mill AVR. If you are looking for AV receiver suggestions, you can look at this article.