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What Are Satellite Speakers? The Definition, Types, and Benefits

Updated: August 26,2022

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If you’re an audio enthusiast, then you’ve probably heard of satellite speakers. But what are satellite speakers exactly? Should you consider using them in your audio setup? How do they work? And can they work wirelessly at all?

This article will discuss everything you need to know about satellite speakers, including the available types. We’ll also highlight some benefits of using satellite speakers and conclude with a few tips on choosing the right pair for your needs. Let’s get started!

About Satellite Speakers and How They Work

Most people are familiar with the concept of a satellite speaker - a small, compact speaker that can be placed almost anywhere in a room.

Satellite speakers are usually used in conjunction with a larger, main speaker. These are the satellite surround sound speakers and they’re part of the 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound setups. The main speaker in such setups is a subwoofer, while the satellite speakers fill in the gaps and produce higher frequencies. This allows for a more evenly-distributed sound that can fill a large room.

To produce such high frequencies, satellite speakers usually have smaller drivers than main subwoofer speakers. These drivers vibrate at a faster rate, producing sound waves that are closer together and thus higher in pitch. If they’re a part of a home theater system, the satellites are fed different audio inputs, producing an immersive audio experience.

Types of Satellite Speakers

Even the satellite speakers are different from each other. There are two main types of these speakers: active and passive.

Active satellite speakers have a built-in amplifier, which makes them easier to set up and use. On the other hand, passive satellite speakers require an external amplifier to work.

Active or powered satellite speakers are more popular because they don’t require an extra piece of equipment (the amplifier) to connect to audio sources. However, passive satellite speakers often provide better sound quality, especially when you connect them to a good amp. If you’re an audio enthusiast, you may want to consider investing in a pair of passive satellite speakers.

There are also two types of speaker arrays: single-point and multi-point. Single-point arrays have one main speaker and two satellite speakers, while multi-point arrays have two main speakers and four satellite speakers. Multi-point arrays provide better sound quality, but they’re also more expensive.

Benefits of Satellite Speakers

With the satellite speaker definition out of the way, let’s talk about another important topic: Why would you need these speakers anyway?

After all, most audio setups already have the main speaker. Here are a few benefits that satellite speakers provide:

  1. They improve overall sound quality - As we mentioned earlier, using satellite speakers in an audio setup fills in the gaps in the main speaker’s sound. This results in a more immersive and realistic listening experience.
  2. They’re universal - Ease of use is one important aspect of creating an audio system. Since satellite speakers don’t require some special cables and equipment, they are easy to integrate into any setup, whether it’s a gaming audio setup, a home theater, or a classic Hi-Fi stereo.
  3. They’re more versatile - Home theater satellite speakers are small and compact, which means they can be placed almost anywhere in a room. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to setting up your audio system.
  4. They’re less expensive - Satellite speakers are typically less expensive than traditional speaker systems. If you’re on a budget, then satellite speakers are a great option.
  5. They can be used wirelessly - Most satellite speakers come with wireless capabilities, which gives you even more flexibility when it comes to placement. 

Satellite Speakers vs. Bookshelf Speakers

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of satellite speakers, you may be wondering how they compare to other types of speakers. The most common type of speaker is the bookshelf speaker.

Bookshelf speakers are similar to satellite speakers in that they’re small and compact. However, there are a few key differences. First, bookshelf speakers are designed to sit on a shelf or another flat surface. This gives them a more traditional look. Second, bookshelf speakers usually come with their own stands. This helps to improve sound quality by keeping the speaker at a consistent height.

Like the small satellite speakers, bookshelf speakers can be used as part of a larger speaker system. They can also be used independently, although they won’t provide the same sound quality as a satellite speaker in a big 5.1 system.

The main advantage of bookshelf speakers is that they’re generally inexpensive when compared to professional Hi-Fi equipment. However, they’re not as versatile as satellite speakers, and they don’t provide the same sound quality. If you’re looking for the best possible audio experience, then satellite speakers are the way to go.

Shopping for Satellite Speakers

If you’re thinking about creating a satellite speaker setup of your own, then there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, you need to decide whether you want active or passive speakers. We’ve already explained the difference between the two, so it’s mostly a matter of the type of setup you’re building. Generally speaking, if you’re an audio enthusiast, you may want to consider investing in a pair of passive satellite speakers.

Second, you need to take into account the size of your room and the number of speakers. For small rooms and desktop use, two satellite speakers with a subwoofer are usually enough. But, if you’re placing the speakers in a bigger room, especially the one you’re turning into a home theater, then a 5.1 setup should be your goal.

Finally, you need to decide what size speaker you want. Satellite speakers come in a variety of sizes, from small to large. The size of the speaker you need will depend on the size of your room and how much power you need.

If you’re looking for the best possible sound quality, then you’ll want to invest in some good passive satellite speakers. However, if you’re on a budget, then active speakers may be a better option. Either way, satellite speakers are a great way to improve your audio system.


Do satellite speakers have wires?

Typically yes, satellite speakers have wires. Wireless satellite speakers aren’t as common as wired ones. You need to keep in mind that they also need to get power from somewhere, so you can’t really make a completely wireless setup unless you go for the battery-powered speakers.

Do satellite speakers need power?

Yes, every speaker needs to be powered to work - from a power outlet, battery, or the sound system they’re connected to. What is a satellite speaker without power? Just an expensive, good-looking box.

How do I set up satellite speakers?

Depending on your existing audio equipment, the matter of connecting satellites could be just hooking up a few cables to the sound source. But, if the satellite speakers aren’t active, you’ll also need an amplifier to connect them through. All in all, the setup process isn’t complicated, and it’s very difficult to make any mistakes.

What are satellite speakers?

The satellite speakers are small-form speakers designed to integrate into multi-speaker setups. They’re most commonly used in home theater, and gaming surround sound setups.

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A true tech and gaming savant, Ivan has been fascinated by the digital world since the early days of gaming on antiques such as the ZX Spectrum and Commodore’s beloved Amiga. Whether you’re interested in the latest PC and console gaming news, antivirus software, or smartphone reviews, or simply want to learn about the newest geeky gadgets around, we at KT have you covered, and Ivan’s likely the one we’ll ask.

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