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This is another primer for folks new to home theater. It is not technical but is meant to introduce some concepts to those just starting out in the world of audio. Please feel free to add your input.

Speaker Types (Basic)

Tower or Floor-standing:
These speakers as the name suggests sit on the foot and will typically range from 3-5' tall. Most tower speakers will have a wider range of sounds they can reproduce. These are most typically used for the main, or front left right, speaker.

Bookshelf or Monitor:
These speakers are smaller ranging in size from 8"-3' tall. Their size lends them to placements on TV stands, in cabinets/shelves. These tent to not produce a low of a frequency (bass) but as with all speakers this will vary from one set to another.

Satellite or Surround:
Smaller still ranging in size from just a few inches to about 1' these speakers are traditionally used as the back speakers in a surround sound system (speaker positions 4/5 & 6/7). Many people do opt for all satellite speakers to reduce cost or because they want the system to be minimally visible. As speakers get smaller they tend to produce less and less bass so satellites tend to always require a subwoofer for lower tones. In-wall/in-ceiling: As the name suggests these speakers are placed into a cut-out section of wall or ceiling. Most have paintable grills and can disappear in a room. They will usually range in size from about 5-9" in size and can be square/rectangular/or circular (circular is typically used in ceiling but this is mostly for aesthetics)

Center (Center Channel):
While any speaker, not subwoofer, can be used in any position in a surround sound system center speakers are very often used because of their wide but short design. This allows them to be placed under a TV set and not block the picture. As they get larger a shelf is often devoted to them. This is the position directly under or above your TV.

A sound bar is an array of speakers designed to provide the listener with better then TV sound. Most reproduce stereo sound and a few are designed to deliver surround sound without the need for rear speakers. The surround sound type typically work better in smaller sized rooms. Most soundbars do not require a receiver and some offer Bluetooth music streaming. Most do not have an AM/FM radio.

Outdoor/All Weather:
As the name suggests these speakers have been treated to hold up to moisture, extreme temperatures, and some knocks/shocks. They come in on-ground (some look like rocks), in-wall/ceiling, and on-wall designs.

A subwoofer is used to produce low frequency sounds, deep bass. As such usually only one is required in a room unless the room is very large or acoustic issues present themselves. A subwoofer is a crutch that the other speakers rely on since most speakers can not produce extremely low bass. The reason you usually only need one subwoofer is because our hearing can only since direction down to about 80Hz. Any lower then that we will hear the sound but not since the location.
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