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Discussion Starter #1
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.
Thanks
Darrel :)
 

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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.

Chesky.com said:
...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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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.

JCD
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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?

Thanks
Darrel :)
 
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Darrel,

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: http://www.axiomaudio.com/surroundsexplained.html

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.
 
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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.
Darrel :)
 

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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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I am not saying that dipole/bipoles are right for everyone, but I so often hear the argument against them from people that have not owned them. Conceptually, it makes sense to go with direct radiators, I was in that same mindset. Many argue that dipole/bipole is a dinosaur from the prologic days, but this is just not true. In reality, you still get a lot of direction from dipole/bipole. I challenge you to do a search on dipole or bipole on any forum and look for the posts of people that have actually went the distance and had both dipole/bipole in their home to A/B against direct radiators, and you will find that a large majority chose the more diffuse surround. Again, not right for everyone, but I really like mine.
 

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I agree,.... I think they sound fine for 5 ch stereo music also. Then again I never really listen to music that way (but I had to hear what they sound like). Once in a while I'll listen to some audio cd's recorded in DD. Maybe if I went out and bought myself a "critical listening ear" I'd be able to hear what is so bad about them :rolleyes:
 

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I have mono-pole rears as I listen to alot of music. Implementing DTS NEO:6 Music to define a listening enviroment represented by the rears and the stage and its dimension to be created by my bi-polar front channel towers. This method I feel is extremely emersive and entraps you into a new world rather then just your room and music in it.

~Bob
 

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Axiom said:
In cinemas, there are typically four or more direct-radiating surround speakers along each side wall, with a couple on the back wall as well... But in most living rooms or family rooms, the room dimensions are a tiny fraction of those of a commercial movie theater, and we don’t have the space (or the budget) to line our walls with multiple surrounds.
Does anyone here have a HT large enough where you might try out more than one direct radiating speaker for each surround channel? That would seem to be the ideal. With 7.1 speakers I'm pretty well covered, but what's really happening is Dolby PLII is usually splitting up two surround signals from a 5.1 soundtrack and sending it to my four surrounds. I seriously thought about buying an impedance matcher to use four surrounds when I was still running a 5.1 receiver, but I decided to upgrade to a 7.1 receiver instead.

For what its worth, the dipoles or bipoles often cost nearly twice what a direct radiating speaker does. You could buy twice as many direct surrounds for about the same price. You just need the wall space to accomodate them, and consider the amplifier loads.
 

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Ayreonaut said:
For what its worth, the dipoles or bipoles often cost nearly twice what a direct radiating speaker does. You could buy twice as many direct surrounds for about the same price. You just need the wall space to accomodate them, and consider the amplifier loads.
That is actually a solid point. Getting good dipole/bipoles can be pretty expensive. If you are comparing dp/bp speakers to directs that are the same price, you are not really comparing apples to apples. If I had the space (and the WAF approval :yikes: ), I may very well like 7.1 with monopoles better than 5.1 with diffuse surrounds.
 

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I have a 7.1 reciever and previously ran a 7.1 setup with dipole surrounds and direct radiating rears. All my speakers currently use the Kef 165mm UniQ drivers which I decided was the best way to go about tonal matching all around the sound field. My rears were a pair of Kef KHT2001 'Eggs'. Still UniQ, but 4" drivers in a cast aluminium cabinet.

My thoughts, for what they are worth, are that it depends very much on the shape of your room and your program material preferences. I am lucky. I am a film buff. My room is rectangular, I can sit dead central and I can mount the surrounds 18" from the ceiling directly (give or take 6") to the side of the listening position.

For enveloping surround effects this rules. No question. The diffuse sound field provided by the dipoles not only produces enveloping effects, but top quality soundtracks allow the dipoles to pull the imaging provided by the fronts all over the shop and you can clearly visualise effects outside and above the main speakers. The sound stage is massive.

But friends of mine are not so lucky. If you have to place your screen in a corner and orientate everthing toward it, then I've found direct radiating/monopole speakers to be more satisfying. The success of my room is based on its even handed reflective characteristics and that's not possible (as easily) when all the walls are not at easily accomodatable angles to the listening position.

I personally rather enjoy the dipole effect with 5.1 music for the sheer sense of space, but have heard friends direct radiating setups and quite enjoyed that too. But for me and this was a biggy, my amp allows me to forego the two rear channels in favour of bi-amping the front left and right. The moment I tried this, there was no going back and I flogged my rear speakers.

This may/will not apply to people with rooms that are less regular, or importantly, longer than mine, but I find the additional rear channels to be over hyped in their effectiveness/usefullness and in my current room can see no real reason to go back to using them.

Dipoles are expensive, but within a given manufacturers range, they cost no more than two pairs of monopole speakers and may provide a more effective 5.1 dipole setup than a 7.1 monopole setup. It depends on your circumstances.

Russell
 
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Hey Russell,

Very nice post. I share similar preferences and as you point out, this could be because of the rooms we have to work within.

So, Do you use your center channel ?
I am seriously thinking I could very well live without it.. The phantom center stereo image is so strong and lucid , I doubt that the addition of yet another sound source would be necessary or even welcome....
We are many months away from actually moving the projector down to the theatre room, so I am basically watching movies in a well treated, dedicated 2 channel audio room. Possible not something I should get used to.....LOL
I suspect that my theatre will be much more challenging to get to sound this good..

The diffuse sound field provided by the dipoles not only produces enveloping effects, but top quality soundtracks allow the dipoles to pull the imaging provided by the fronts all over the shop and you can clearly visualise effects outside and above the main speakers. The sound stage is massive
.

Hearing program material outside the plane of the front speakers is very common in high end 2 channel setups. It is also very recording specific and room dependent. Getting sounds to appear to come from a point behind you ( without surrounds) is also possible but indeed less common. This to us, is what separates the men from the boy's..... 3D Holographic imaging is one of my primary focuses in 2 channel playback.
Darrel :)
 

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Gosh, all I have is a pair of LaScala's for surrounds. Am I being deprived?:rolleyesno:
 

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I'd say those are way too small if you only have a pair Ron... you might consider getting a couple more to hang on the walls. I'd say at least 4 of those (2 side and 2 rear) should get you where you need to be. You might need some serious power to get them to play loud enough to use them for surrounds. You may even have to narrow your room up to a max of 10' wide and maybe 16' deep. They'd probably be loud enough then if you had a couple hundred watts going to each one. Next time try to get a bigger speaker... don't you know that size matters? :sarcastic:
 
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Darrel, re you question on whether you could get away without a center speaker and use phantom........

I used that approach for a number of years and thought it was OK, but found that I need to be in the sweet spot to get decent center imaging. About a year ago I switched to a physical center channel (Axoim VP150) and the difference was more than dramatic ..... not even close, especially off center. I would never go back to phantom center. Just my experience ....
 
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