Surround Speakers? - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 06:46 AM
Darrel Hawthorne
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Surround Speakers?

Hey Guys,
I was wondering what style of surround speaker your using and why you prefer them.
By style in this case , I am referring to Bipole, Dipole or Monopole configurations.
Also any mention of number and location would be helpful.
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post #2 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 07:15 AM
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Re: Surround Speakers?

I am using four direct radiating speakers right now. I recently bought a 7.1 reciever to do just this. My TV is in a corner and so my surround speakers enjoy less than ideal positioning. With 5.1 I was not satisfied with the surround field. The four surrounds work alot better to create an enveloping surround field than two did.

I do sit too close to the surround speakers and would like to switch to something other than direct radiating. I'm considering the Mirage Nanosats for a future upgrade.

Quote: wrote:
...can I use a multichannel audio system for home theater? I other words, is the speaker set-up the same for home theater and multichannel music? Oh, just one more thing, my room is pretty small, just 11 by 16 feet, will that affect my options?
Steve: The most direct answer to your all of questions is definitely maybe. Optimizing the set-up for home theater or multichannel music shouldn’t affect the choice of the front three, left, center, right, speakers, though I’d steer clear of so-called “center” channel speakers. The ideal music/home theater set-up would require five identical, full-size speakers--and the fall-back scenario would employ three identical speakers up-front, and the same brand’s smaller bookshelf monitors as surround speakers. Since your room is so small you may be able to get away without a subwoofer. Which reminds me, if you wind up sitting four feet or less from the surround speakers go with Plan B--“bipole” or “dipole” surround speakers—they effectively disappear, even at close range. Aperion Audio’s 522D-SS ($245 each) is excellent, and I also like Mirage’s omni-directional (omni-pole!) speakers for surround--their Nanosat ($125 each) or Omnisat speakers ($250 each) can be mounted upsidedown directly overhead, and project a non-localizable soundfield.

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post #3 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 11:28 AM
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Re: Surround Speakers?

I've got dipoles (Paradigm ADP-370s)..
and would rather have direct firing (Studio 20's).

My opinion is that the direct firing speakers are far more forgiving (regarding placement) than the dipoles -- and they're nowhere near the proper spot for dipoles. Also, for music, I'd much rather have the Studio 20's than the ADP-370s.

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post #4 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 01:53 PM
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Re: Surround Speakers?

I have dipoles, and like them much better. I found that I really wanted to like monopoles, and when I did quick A/B comparisons, it had more wow effect, so I thought I would like the monopoles better, but I find the dipoles to be much more immersive and not as distracting. They are certainly discrete and directional when they need to be. To me, when there is an effect, it is coming from a sound field. With the monopoles, that same effect sounded like it was coming from a speaker.
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post #5 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 04:43 PM
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Re: Surround Speakers?

Nice speakers JCD.

I have Paradigm as well but I'm using minis for rear, my center is the cc-570, very happy with it.

I have used dipoles as surround speakers in the pro-logic days where I think the diffusion of sound made more sense. Dipoles would seem to offer limited benefit in many circumstances through a discreet rear channel system like Dolby Digital and DTS.

I would think that if the soundtrack called for any imaging within the sound field behind the audience, IE through the surrounds, dipoles would not do as good a job as direct firing. Di-poles will certainly do a better of job of diffusing all sounds so as to make it difficult to localize. That’s generally regarded as the primary strength of di-poles.

So, it's really up to your situation. A larger room probably can easier facilitate direct firing speaker and maintain great imaging. If your surrounds were sitting very close to the audience di-poles would probably be better. Direct firing speakers right at your audience from only a foot or two away would certainly hurt imaging.
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post #6 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 06:28 PM
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Re: Surround Speakers?

In my main system I use,.... a hybrid I guess. They are Bi/Di, Bi-Polar woofers and Di-Polar tweeters. Not adjustable, no switches. I really enjoy them much more than direct radiating surrounds, plenty difuse but also directional when called for,...make sense?

I have two of them,.. hung on the wall, even with my sitting position (so I'm in the null), and about 3' above my ears.

I always wondered about the mix to the surrounds being rolled off. Everyone seems to make such a big deal about setting speakers to small, but really, do mixers send a 20Hz signal to the surrounds???

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post #7 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 06:46 PM
Darrel Hawthorne
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Re: Surround Speakers?

Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the responses !
I run Dipole Mains for all my 2 channel needs and was initially thinking I would stay with the same drivers for all the surround speakers as well. I remember reading somewhere about the desire to use all the same drivers whenever possible to maintain a cohesive soundfield. as the sound track pans across the screen or moves rearward.

Dipole Main speakers can Image extremely well and will totally disappear sonically with good recordings. I would speculate the same could be true for dipole surround speakers.

So, How many and where are you guys placing them..... Rules of thumbs?
Also what frequency responses do surround speaker need to be able to play?
Do they (Dolby) roll off the bass going to the surrounds?

post #8 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 11:01 PM
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Re: Surround Speakers?


I'm using Axoim QS8's mounted at about 95 degrees off center axis and about 2.5 feet above ear height. Axoim refers to them as "quad pole" but they actually operate with all four speakers in phase. Here is a pretty good description of how they work:

I find they produce a very engaging and seamless sound field with my mains and center (see profile for details).

I'm also experimenting with a couple of the largest Radio Shack Minimus speakers placed on the floor behind my sofa and firing toward the ceiling in a 7.1 configuration. Adding these two made a significant improvement on the immersiveness of the sound field while maintaining excellent directional queues but without any obvious speaker location queues.

The combination is the best I've experienced so far for home theater purposes (limited experience though). I don't listen to too much music in this environment but it seems pretty good for that as well.

Re: frequency response. For H/T purposes I think most people would set there surrounds as "small" and let the sub handle most of the energy below the cross-over frequency. I'm not sure how Dolby or DTS handle frequency response in the surround channels; perhaps someone else can comment on that question.
post #9 of 35 Old 06-06-06, 11:47 PM
Darrel Hawthorne
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Re: Surround Speakers?

Hey Chuck,

Thanks for the response.

I'm also experimenting with a couple of the largest Radio Shack Minimus speakers placed on the floor behind my sofa and firing toward the ceiling in a 7.1 configuration. Adding these two made a significant improvement on the immersiveness of the sound field while maintaining excellent directional queues but without any obvious speaker location queues.
I have done a lot of experimenting with 360 degree , radial type driver arrangements.
I think they show great promise as surround speakers. I developed some wave bending type speakers for use as mains in a 2 channel system but ultimately dismissed them in favor of open baffle dipole drivers.
I do think that I will have to give these a go for surrounds.. Should be hard to localize yet image fairly well.
Aesthetics and placement are always a challenge it seems.
These could be a nice solution to many of these challenges.
post #10 of 35 Old 06-07-06, 01:46 AM
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Re: Surround Speakers?

I think I got this right... from Brian Cheney of VMPS... he claims that bipoles are going to give you better low end response and have more flexibility with placement. He further claims that dipole surrounds should be place directly to the side of the listener so that the null side of the speaker is facing the listener.

I have VMPS Dipole Surrounds but they are wired bipole and placed in the rear corners. I couldn't place mine any further forward because when sitting on the back row the sound from the surrounds interfered with the mains.

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