There are many different ways of recording sound, the three main techniques are:
Mono: is used to capture a single subject, usually at close quarters using a single microphone. Wikipedia
Stereo: is better at captureing movement, and or space around the microphones. There are numerous different stereo setups, links. Wikipedia
Ambisonic: is the process by which a numbers of microphones are used to create a realistic atmosphic recording. The recording can then be played back through a number of speakers minimum 4, usually 8, but can be 30 or more. Wikipedia
Which one you use will depend on what you wish to achive as the end product.