Is it better to have Dipole speakers on the side surround or the rear surround? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 07-16-2011, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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also the same for bipole speakers. is it better to have them in the back or on the side?

perhaps have dipoles on the side surround and bipole in n the rear surround?
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post #2 of 31 Old 07-16-2011, 06:20 PM
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I would say most prefer on the sides - rear is kind of a waste. Where they truly excell is when you are in close proximity to the side walls of your room.

In fact its difficult to notice a big improvement with additional rear channels when using side dipoles - a single center back surround would probably be sufficient.
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post #3 of 31 Old 07-16-2011, 06:25 PM
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I'm of the opinion it's better to not have them at all. I prefer direct radiators, but I am in the minority.

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post #4 of 31 Old 07-16-2011, 10:36 PM
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The room and seating location is the mitigating factor of which type of surround to use.
Nothing else.
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post #5 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 01:14 AM
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I also prefer direct radiators. I feel like I'm on match.com and we found each other. lol

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post #6 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 03:34 AM
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I'm feeling very uncomfortable....

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Most, if not all, mixing studios use direct radiating speakers all the way around.

Sound engineers can use direct radiating speakers and create a diffused sound when called for. This can not be done with bi-poles or di-poles. The sound from bi-poles or di-poles is always diffused, whether you want it our not.

That said...it is all about preferences. I would take a properly setup all direct radiating system, than a properly setup system that incorporated bipoles/dipoles.

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post #8 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 08:54 AM
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Another one for direct radiator speakers.

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post #9 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Most, if not all, mixing studios use direct radiating speakers all the way around.

Sound engineers can use direct radiating speakers and create a diffused sound when called for. This can not be done with bi-poles or di-poles. The sound from bi-poles or di-poles is always diffused, whether you want it our not.

That said...it is all about preferences. I would take a properly setup all direct radiating system, than a properly setup system that incorporated bipoles/dipoles.

Regarding the bolded statement as it relates to bipole surrounds, bipoles usually have a wide, even dispersion pattern. They can provide directionality when the program content calls for it, much more so than dipoles, and on par with monopoles.

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post #10 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Regarding the bolded statement as it relates to bipole surrounds, bipoles usually have a wide, even dispersion pattern. They can provide directionality when the program content calls for it, much more so than dipoles, and on par with monopoles.

Craig

The speaker plays whatever channel content is sent to it, so how do they "provide directionality when the content calls for it" if there is no call for directionality in the signal?

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post #11 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

The speaker plays whatever channel content is sent to it, so how do they "provide directionality when the content calls for it" if there is no call for directionality in the signal?

Bipoles present directional content as directional. They present ambient content as ambient.

DIpoles have a null that faces the listening position. DIpoles are wired with the "forward" and "rearward" drivers in opposite polarity, or out-of-phase with each other. This out-of-phase wiring of the drivers causes cancellation of the sound in the direction of the listener. Therefore, with DIpoles the sound heard by the listener is mostly reflected sound from the front and back walls. DIpoles ca NOT sound directional.

BIpoles, OTOH, are wired with all the drivers in phase with each other. They disperse a 180 degree pattern that covers the "frontal" plane, (the plane directed towards the listener), with even sound coverage that can be quite directional, on par with monopoles. However, BIpoles also spray the front and back walls with sound, and so can provide a lot of reflected sound to enhance ambiance.

Monopoles can only be directional. Dipoles can only be diffuse. Bipoles can be BOTH.

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post #12 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 03:01 PM
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My point is that they are what they are - all the time. They don't do anything different depending on content. If they're somewhat directional and somewhat diffuse then there's nothing in the signal that can make them highly directional for one sound and highly diffuse for another.

The Paradigm dipoles I owned had a forward firing speaker as well, so there was no null. The only difference is the side firing speakers were out-of-phase compared to the in-phase design of a bipole. I bought them because Paradigm's literature said exactly what you have said regarding bipoles, "diffuse but directional when the content calls for it." I was skeptical and in my experience they handle all content the same.

I'm not challenging your preference for bipoles, all I'm saying is the amount of diffuse and direct sound is unchanged by content and determined by design. It does not vary.

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post #13 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Bipoles present directional content as directional. They present ambient content as ambient.

DIpoles have a null that faces the listening position. DIpoles are wired with the "forward" and "rearward" drivers in opposite polarity, or out-of-phase with each other. This out-of-phase wiring of the drivers causes cancellation of the sound in the direction of the listener. Therefore, with DIpoles the sound heard by the listener is mostly reflected sound from the front and back walls. DIpoles ca NOT sound directional.

BIpoles, OTOH, are wired with all the drivers in phase with each other. They disperse a 180 degree pattern that covers the "frontal" plane, (the plane directed towards the listener), with even sound coverage that can be quite directional, on par with monopoles. However, BIpoles also spray the front and back walls with sound, and so can provide a lot of reflected sound to enhance ambiance.

Monopoles can only be directional. Dipoles can only be diffuse. Bipoles can be BOTH.

Craig

Craig..you know I respect your opinions...

But how can bi-poles present directional content when their drivers are not pointed toward a single position.

Monopoles, yes, are always directional, but an sound engineer can use the combination of monopoles, along with phase adjustment in the mix(and I am sure other methods), to provide a diffused sound.

Now that gets us to tri-poles, which I believe M&K manufacturers. They do have a driver that is directed to the listening position...so they can provide directional content...along with diffused, at the same time....but never only one or the other.

And to go back to my original statement....direct radiating speakers are usually used to mix sound tracks, but it certainly comes down to preference.

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post #14 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 03:28 PM
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The correct choice is going to be based upon seating distance and number of seats. While you can enter a mix suite and find monopoles all around, you have one very narrow listening position (that's assuming the speakers were calibrated in the first place).

Monopolar speakers can be used, but:
1. if you have multiple rows of seats, you'll need multiple rows of monopoles for the sides;
2. If you have a single well defined listening position that doesn't move; or,
3. you have a significant distance between the listening positions and the speakers.

Note: Movie sound tracks are not mixed with highly directional, pinpoint localisation cues in the surround speakers ... theaters use an array of side speakers which frustrates directional cues. Also note, live sound mixed in multi-channel, or played back using an ambience extraction process, also will not have highly directional cues (and they would not be desired. Some studio mixes may attempt strong localisation to "play with the format". By and large, that pin ball technique was one of the downfalls of quad.

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post #15 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

The correct choice is going to be based upon seating distance and number of seats. While you can enter a mix suite and find monopoles all around, you have one very narrow listening position (that's assuming the speakers were calibrated in the first place).

Monopolar speakers can be used, but:
1. if you have multiple rows of seats, you'll need multiple rows of monopoles for the sides;
2. If you have a single well defined listening position that doesn't move; or,
3. you have a significant distance between the listening positions and the speakers.

Note: Movie sound tracks are not mixed with highly directional, pinpoint localisation cues in the surround speakers ... theaters use an array of side speakers which frustrates directional cues. Also note, live sound mixed in multi-channel, or played back using an ambience extraction process, also will not have highly directional cues (and they would not be desired. Some studio mixes may attempt strong localisation to "play with the format". By and large, that pin ball technique was one of the downfalls of quad.

Thanks for your perspective Dennis. There's no doubt that the room and seating will dictate the best speaker design for the application. Different rooms and applications will cause differences in "preference" since some designs will excel in particular rooms. As an example of my experience comparing my dipoles to my monopoles, I have found sounds that I hear localized to my left with my monopoles would appear to come from the front left of my room with the dipoles. Not really less localized, but the effect was to move it to a different place in the room. Not that big of an issue in HT, but it really ruined my enjoyment of multi-channel music.

Regardless of design however, each different speaker will output a signal the same all the time, it will not differ by content and it's mix of diffuse and direct sound is a constant, not a variable. Channel levels, phase and DSP can be manipulated amongst various speakers to change the psychoacoustic effect at the listener, but the speaker itself cannot be diffuse for one sound and pinpoint for another.

I only point this out because speaker manufacturers will market this very ability, but my experience and the science, as I understand it, doesn't support it.

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post #16 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Craig..you know I respect your opinions...

But how can bi-poles present directional content when their drivers are not pointed toward a single position.

Monopoles, yes, are always directional, but an sound engineer can use the combination of monopoles, along with phase adjustment in the mix(and I am sure other methods), to provide a diffused sound.

Now that gets us to tri-poles, which I believe M&K manufacturers. They do have a driver that is directed to the listening position...so they can provide directional content...along with diffused, at the same time....but never only one or the other.

And to go back to my original statement....direct radiating speakers are usually used to mix sound tracks, but it certainly comes down to preference.

Hi Curtis,

Take a look at Klipsch's surrounds. They are bipoles and they use what they call Wide Dispersion Surround Technology, (WDST) technology.



The dispersion pattern of the two horns converge in the middle where the sound is directed at the listener. The sound from the mid-woofers is less directional, that sound too will cover the middle area where it is directed at the listener. Since the drivers are all are in-phase, there is no cancellation; therefore no null as in a dipole.

I don't understand why bipoles are always lumped in with dipoles. They ARE different. I used to own Atlantic Technology 8200e SR's:



They were switchable between Dipole and Bipole. They sounded completely different in the different configurations, with the Bipole mode being much more directional while still retaining good ambiance enhancement.

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post #17 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 08:03 PM
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Craig, I understand what you are saying, but they can not be as directional as direct radiators. As doc is pointing out, it is direct and diffused at the same time, all the time. Not one or the other.

As for cancellation, how does this differ from an MTM configuration, where we know lobing takes place when sitting outside the middle lobe?

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post #18 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 08:36 PM
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is it "bad" to have bipole/dipole speakers (i.e. Energy RCR) mounted on my back wall a foot behind my couch? Or should I aim to have it place on the side wall?

Also from what I understand the speakers should be mounted approx 2 feet above ear level when sitting? Correct?

Thanks in advance
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post #19 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Craig, I understand what you are saying, but they can not be as directional as direct radiators.

Sure they can. Let me take King Kong as an example. There are lots of scenes in that movie where the surrounds just produce ambient effects; the sounds of the forest, trees, leaves, bugs, etc. However, just before the KK/T-Rex battle, KK comes swinging into the scene from rear right. The *sound* of him swinging through the trees above and behind the viewer to the right is *very* directional. There is the sound of a tree limb breaking under his weight that can be excatly located in the right surround. With my AT surrounds in bipole mode, those sounds were just as directional as they are now with my monopole surrounds, (Triad Silver Monitors.) With the AT's in dipole mode, that effect was completely lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

As doc is pointing out, it is direct and diffused at the same time, all the time. Not one or the other.

I don't disagree that the dispersion pattern doesn't change based on the content. My point is that, because of their even 180 degree dispersion pattern, they do an excellent job of portraying content that is intended to be ambient... as ambient... but they also do an excellent job of portraying content that is intended to be localized and directional... as localized and directional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

As for cancellation, how does this differ from an MTM configuration, where we know lobing takes place when sitting outside the middle lobe?

I can't speak to this as I've never scene a polar response plot of a bipole surround speaker. Have you seen any? It's certainly possible that there is some combing/lobing in the frontal plane. I never heard anything I could identify as combing when I had my AT's, but I will ask my contact at AT about that issue tomorrow.

I am now using monopoles in all my surround positions, Wides, Sides and Rears. With this many surround speakers, I don't lack at all for immersion or directionality. Still, if a 5.1 system is the limitation, I would submit that bipoles are the best compromise of both monopoles and dipoles.

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post #20 of 31 Old 07-17-2011, 09:04 PM
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I can live with the disagreement.

Would you ever use bipoles as main LCR speakers?

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post #21 of 31 Old 07-18-2011, 05:21 AM
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Craig, If I didn't have such a focus on multichannel music reproduction I would consider trying a pair of bipolars for my surrounds. You're not the first poster I've seen comment on the fact that bipolars are far more directional then dipoles, and I don't doubt they are. I've read the design does, however, suffer from combing effects although I have yet to hear of an owner complain that it's audible. So it's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.

Although I am currently running only a 5.1 setup, I only have one row of seating and 5 identical speakers all around. With the sides at 120 deg. aimed just over the heads of the listeners and using Audyssey Pro for calibration I find the monopoles give me an excellent diffuse soundfield for HT and multichannel music is ridiculously good. I don't doubt that bipolars would likely marginally improve the HT side of things, but the multichannel music is exactly where I want it. It's a compromise I'm ok with. There's no doubt if I ever need to go with a more diffuse design for sides due to room/seating layout, I would go with the bipolars for the reasons you have pointed out.

And to be clear before this thread wraps up, I appreciate your comments and agree with all you have said regarding the bipolar design...aside from the fact that they change characteristics based on content .

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Unless you plan to watch movies alone, I'd say bipole.

It sucks to be in that seat right next to a direct radiator...
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post #23 of 31 Old 07-18-2011, 05:58 AM
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Ideally, all speakers should be identical. Curtis brought up a good point, the implication of which is if you wouldn't want them for your fronts, they shouldn't be used for surrounds. Dipoles and bipoles are just speakers with butchered, diffused soundstages. The only times I would ever recommend them being used is, as Dan says, when one is irritatingly close to a direct radiating surround. As was mentioned above, it then becomes a matter of the room. But it's mostly an academic matter anyway, since surround channel programming is so rarely used for anything other than ambient effects.
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post #24 of 31 Old 07-18-2011, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Ideally, all speakers should be identical.

I agree. Identical surrounds is the key to a cohesive soundstage if using monopoles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

But it's mostly an academic matter anyway, since surround channel programming is so rarely used for anything other than ambient effects.

With this I disagree. For many soundtracks that's true, but a significant number have just as much energy in the surrounds as the LCR's during intense scenes. Using identical, fully capable, and equally powered mains as surrounds is an awesome experience when things light up during a soundtrack.

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post #25 of 31 Old 07-18-2011, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanLW View Post

Unless you plan to watch movies alone, I'd say bipole.

It sucks to be in that seat right next to a direct radiator...


Depends on how large your room is and how far away your LP is from the speakers... I agree with you 100% but if you have a huge room and can place your monopoles far enough from you, I find mono's to be a much better speaker for the job...

My bedroom I use Paradigms ADP's as they are directly to the left and right of me at 4-5' distance - they do a pretty good job, but direct radiators in there never worked well at all... I wouldn't mind trying some bipoles - to compare to these dipoles - I may just have to give some a shot... see how the results come in in my room.
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post #26 of 31 Old 07-18-2011, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post

Craig, If I didn't have such a focus on multichannel music reproduction I would consider trying a pair of bipolars for my surrounds. You're not the first poster I've seen comment on the fact that bipolars are far more directional then dipoles, and I don't doubt they are. I've read the design does, however, suffer from combing effects although I have yet to hear of an owner complain that it's audible. So it's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.

Although I am currently running only a 5.1 setup, I only have one row of seating and 5 identical speakers all around. With the sides at 120 deg. aimed just over the heads of the listeners and using Audyssey Pro for calibration I find the monopoles give me an excellent diffuse soundfield for HT and multichannel music is ridiculously good. I don't doubt that bipolars would likely marginally improve the HT side of things, but the multichannel music is exactly where I want it. It's a compromise I'm ok with. There's no doubt if I ever need to go with a more diffuse design for sides due to room/seating layout, I would go with the bipolars for the reasons you have pointed out.

And to be clear before this thread wraps up, I appreciate your comments and agree with all you have said regarding the bipolar design...aside from the fact that they change characteristics based on content .

My AT bipoles were an excellent timbre match to the 8200e LR mains. For multi-channel music, I found them to be a near perfect match. However, when I switched to Triad Platinum mains, the timbre match with the bipoles was not as good. I asked Paul Scarpelli about Traid bipoles, but they don't make them. They only have dipoles and monopoles. Since I don't like dipoles, I went with the best timbre match to the Triad Platinum mains, which is the Silver Monitor monopole. It uses the same tweeter, but without the dispersion lens and the same pair of Scan Speak Revelator mids. They are a *much* better timbre match for MC Music. I gave up a little of the ambiance enhancement of bipoles, but the Wides and Rears more than made up for it.

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...aside from the fact that they change characteristics based on content .

Yeah, that wasn't what I meant. Sorry if my wording caused confusion.

Craig

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post #27 of 31 Old 07-18-2011, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cschang View Post

I can live with the disagreement.

Would you ever use bipoles as main LCR speakers?

Bipole surround speakers as LCR's? No, I don't think so. But not because of their dispersion pattern as much as because they don't have the bass extension to be crossed over low enough.

However, many people do use bipole mains as their LCR's. Bipole Def Tech towers in particular seem to be popular as LCR's. Not my cup of tea, but still popular.

Craig

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Originally Posted by craig john

Yeah, that wasn't what I meant. Sorry if my wording caused confusion.

Craig
Not a problem

I plan to take some measurements to gather some hard data to either bolster, or debunk, a theory I have regarding speaker matching and surrounds. I'll post here when I'm done.

JTR Noesis 212HT x 3 (LCR) powered by Lab Gruppen 10000Q amp
CHT SHO-10 x 4 (sides and rear) powered by Denon 4311
JTR S2 x 2
CHT 18.1 x2
Oppo BDP103D bluray player/Sonos/PS3
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I agree. Identical surrounds is the key to a cohesive soundstage if using monopoles.



With this I disagree. For many soundtracks that's true, but a significant number have just as much energy in the surrounds as the LCR's during intense scenes. Using identical, fully capable, and equally powered mains as surrounds is an awesome experience when things light up during a soundtrack.

I am not 100% anymore. I once thought matching speakers all-around was critical. I once owned all-matching speakers and found that from different positions around my head, the timbre (not just frequencies) was different, even with identical speakers. I am a rather picky listener and I was baffled by the fact they sounded different.

This leads me to my current system. I have a completely different brand & design on my rear channel vs my front:


I ran the auto-calibration from my Pioneer AVR and found I was not quite satisfied. I started to manually adjust the EQ starting from the settings given by Pioneer's MCACC. After many hours playing with a 2-channel analog input from a music CD, swapping the signal around using every conceivable combination (front right+center, front right+rear right, front right+front left, front right+rear left, front left+rear left, left+rear right, etc, etc) and kept exhaustively adjusting the EQ until each channel seemed to be a very close matched pair of speakers to my ears.

The results were amazing for me and it shook my previously held belief that you must have matching/identical speakers to get great sound and a "perceptibly" matched timbre.

Now that my previous belief regarding matched speakers is broken, it leaves the door open for further testing. In the future I'm considering buying and experimenting with a set of ancient omni-directional floorstanding speakers as my 6th & 7th surround channels behind my couch. I had in mind the old BIC "soundspan" speakers:
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post #30 of 31 Old 07-21-2011, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Timothy91 View Post

I am not 100% anymore. I once thought matching speakers all-around was critical. I once owned all-matching speakers and found that from different positions around my head, the timbre (not just frequencies) was different, even with identical speakers. I am a rather picky listener and I was baffled by the fact they sounded different.

This leads me to my current system. I have a completely different brand & design on my rear channel vs my front:


I ran the auto-calibration from my Pioneer AVR and found I was not quite satisfied. I started to manually adjust the EQ starting from the settings given by Pioneer's MCACC. After many hours playing with a 2-channel analog input from a music CD, swapping the signal around using every conceivable combination (front right+center, front right+rear right, front right+front left, front right+rear left, front left+rear left, left+rear right, etc, etc) and kept exhaustively adjusting the EQ until each channel seemed to be a very close matched pair of speakers to my ears.

The results were amazing for me and it shook my previously held belief that you must have matching/identical speakers to get great sound and a "perceptibly" matched timbre.

Now that my previous belief regarding matched speakers is broken, it leaves the door open for further testing. In the future I'm considering buying and experimenting with a set of ancient omni-directional floorstanding speakers as my 6th & 7th surround channels behind my couch. I had in mind the old BIC "soundspan" speakers:

Thanks for the observation. The bottom line is as long as it sounds good to the ears of the person listening it's all good.

One thing I know for sure though, if you want to hear the soundtracks as intended you need rear speakers as equally capable as the mains.

Here are the results of SPL measurements using Omnimic from the opening salvo on the Master & Commander: Far Side of the World Bluray. Reference level Audyssey Pro calibrated system, C-weighted and slow:

5.2 (All channels)
Peak - 121.9 dB
Max - 108.6 dB
Min - 54.4 dB


Sides only + subs
Peak - 118.8 dB
Max - 109 dB
Min - 51.8 dB


5 Channels, No Subs
Peak - 115.4 dB
Max - 100.8 dB
Min - 51.4 dB


Sides only, No Subs
Peak - 111.8 dB
Max - 97.4 dB
Min - 53.2 dB

Only a 3 dB difference between the 5 Channel, No Subs and the Side Only, No Subs. And if you figure the contribution of the center channel to the 5 channel measurement they are all likely equal in output.

JTR Noesis 212HT x 3 (LCR) powered by Lab Gruppen 10000Q amp
CHT SHO-10 x 4 (sides and rear) powered by Denon 4311
JTR S2 x 2
CHT 18.1 x2
Oppo BDP103D bluray player/Sonos/PS3
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