What Are Satellite Speakers? Your In-Depth Guide

Satellite speakers produce high-quality sound and are usually smaller than traditional floor-standing or bookshelf speakers. They are typically used in homes, office spaces, retail environments, or any other space requiring a high-quality sound.

But what are satellite speakers, and how do they work? To learn this and more, continue reading our insightful guide.

Satellite Speakers: Definition

Satellite speakers are small speakers designed to complement a more extensive surround sound system. They aren’t the primary source of the sound, but you can place them all over the room to create an immersive listening experience.

You must choose a model compatible with your system to get the most out of your satellite speakers. The size of your room and furniture placement play a significant role in choosing the right satellite speakers and overall sound quality.

How Do Satellite Speakers Work?

Satellite speakers work with a subwoofer to reproduce low-end frequencies and deep bass. The subwoofer is responsible for creating the deep, rich bass tones, while the satellite speakers produce the highs and mid-tones, typically above 100 Hz.

Note that the primary audio source distributes signals to the satellite speakers, which are connected to the main speaker with wires. The result of such an arrangement is an immersive soundscape that feels like you are in the middle of the action, no matter where you happen to be.

To make the most of your satellite speakers in the surround sound speaker system, you must pay attention to their exact placement.

Satellite Speakers Placement

Put speakers on either side of your TV to project audio from the same angle as the screen. Place the rest throughout the room to distribute the sound evenly and fill the sound coverage gaps, depending on the number of satellites you have.

Would Sound Quality Be Much Different Without a Subwoofer?

While satellite speakers can function as an independent audio system, pairing them with a subwoofer produces better audio quality. Unless you’re low on space or money, consider buying both satellite and main speakers.

What Makes Satellite Speakers Sound Different?

One of the key things to consider when choosing speakers is how they will interact with the walls and ceilings in your room.

Satellite speakers are designed to minimize this interaction by avoiding obstacles to produce a more accurate sound. They’re less likely to interfere with each other, thus creating a more precise sound overall.

Since we now have satellite speakers explained, let’s figure out what you should look for when buying them.

How To Recognize the Best Sound Quality

  1. Listen for a full and balanced sound. The best satellite speakers create a natural, immersive surround sound that makes you feel like you’re in the room with the performers.
  2. Small satellite speakers produce sound as if it’s coming from more prominent speakers, such as tower speakers. They create a sense of spaciousness, even when placed close to walls or other obstacles.
  3. Pay attention to the details. The best satellite speakers reproduce every note with clarity and detail so you can hear all the subtleties in the music.

If you focus on these three factors, you’ll be able to recognize the best sound quality in a satellite speaker.

But we can’t answer the question “What are satellite speakers?” and thoroughly explain how to recognize sound quality without mentioning what they should look like.

The best satellite speakers are well-built with a solid cabinet that minimizes vibrations. A light speaker with poor-quality plastic and cheap paper drivers can’t provide a great listening experience.

Now that we’ve explained how to choose satellite speakers, let’s see what types there are.

Satellite Speakers: Types

Surround sound speakers complement others, such as tower or bookshelf speakers. There are three main types of satellite speakers: those that use two (2.1), five (5.1), or seven satellite speakers (7.1) and a subwoofer. The number before the dot denotes the number of satellite speakers, while the numeral after the dot represents the subwoofer or bass-only speaker.

Two satellite speakers with a subwoofer (2.1)

A two-speaker surround sound system uses two speakers in front of the listener. This type of system is more affordable and easy to set up, but it does not provide as realistic a surround sound experience as systems with more speakers.

Two speakers are usually a good choice for people listening to music. But if your music is mastered for surround sound systems, you should consider getting a 5.1. system.

Five speakers with a subwoofer (5.1)

The next system we cover in our satellite speakers guide is 5.1, which is usually a better option than 2.1, but not in all cases.

This is the most common surround sound system, providing the most immersive experience. Five speakers are usually placed around the room – two in the front, two in the back, and one in the centre.

This arrangement creates a realistic surround sound experience, but it’s more expensive and more difficult to set up than a two-speaker system. These surround sound speakers work best for movie watchers, but they won’t do much if you’re just listening to music that isn’t mastered for surround audio systems.

Seven speakers with a subwoofer (7.1)

A 7.1 surround sound system is a popular option for home movie theatres. Consider this system over five satellite speakers if you have an entire cinema room and are looking for a premium experience.

If you need tips on installing a home theatre, check out our home theatre setup guide.

Satellite Speakers: Prices

Generally, you can find a decent 2.1 system for as little as $600, but for the sake of quality, it’s worth investing up to $1,000. For an excellent 5.1 audio system, between $800 and $1,500 would suffice. As for 7.1 home theatre systems, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars for a high-quality one.

What’s the Difference Between Satellite and Other Speakers?

Now, let’s elaborate on how satellite speakers differ from soundbars, bookshelf speakers, and home theatre systems.

Satellite Speakers vs Soundbar

Satellite speakers are small, usually white soundbars that are long and slender, typically installed in front of or under a TV. Soundbars improve a TV’s sound quality but can also be used as part of a surround sound system. A soundbar is a good option for watchers who don’t want to spend a lot of money on pricey systems or don’t have a lot of space.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences and similarities between soundbars and speakers, consider reading our soundbar vs speakers guide.

Satellite Speakers vs Bookshelf Speakers

Bookshelf speakers, unlike satellite speakers, produce low frequencies down to 50 Hz, thus maximizing sound in small- and mid-sized rooms. Another significant difference is their size; bookshelf speakers are larger. If you don’t have a spacious room for a more extensive audio system, bookshelf speakers can serve as a decent alternative.

Satellite Speakers vs Home Theatre Systems

Home theatre systems are setups designed to play multimedia content at extremely high quality. They typically include a video display, an audio amplifier, and multiple speakers.

Advantages of Satellite Speakers

  • Satellite speakers are available in several versions, including 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1. Thus, they cater to everything from enjoying music alone to throwing parties and watching movies.
  • Satellite speakers are available in various price ranges that can fit almost anyone’s budget. Whether you’re looking for an affordable or a high-quality option, satellite speakers are worth considering.
  • Satellite speakers produce a clear and detailed sound and are also very good at reproducing mid and high frequencies.
  • Their small size is one of satellite speakers’ benefits. They are much smaller than floor-standing speakers, making them more suitable for small rooms or limited spaces.
  • Finally, satellite speakers are very easy to integrate into an existing audio system. And while satellite speakers aren’t wireless, they can look great if installed properly.

Final Thoughts

Satellite speakers are a popular choice for audio equipment due to their small size and flexibility. Unlike traditional speakers, satellite speakers can be placed in various locations around the room. In addition, this particular surround system is less likely to cause audio signal interference than more prominent speakers, such as tower speakers.

Follow the steps we’ve outlined in our guide to secure the best sound and value for money!


What are satellite speakers used for?

Satellite speakers are popular for listening to music, watching movies, and playing games. They create a realistic experience by placing the watcher or gamer in the middle of the action.

Do satellite speakers have wires?

Satellites may look as if they’re wireless speakers, but they’re actually wired.

Where should I place my satellite speakers?

You should place three satellite speakers (or two with 2.1 systems) in front of you and the rest at the sides. Ideally, have them about a foot or two above the listener.

Milica Milenkovic
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply