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post #1 of 26 Old 03-09-2011, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Is there a definite answer on which is preferred for surround speakers, bipole or dipole? I've read the Toole book, and he seems pretty adamant that dipole speakers should NOT be used for surrounds, and bipoles would offer much more immersive effects. However, some manufacturers have recommendations to the contrary.


I'm sure this has been covered in depth somewhere, but I couldn't find it on this forum or with Google. So, if there is a thread somewhere that someone could point me to, that would be great too.

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post #2 of 26 Old 03-09-2011, 06:32 AM
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No definitive answers.

All can work well. Some seem more suited for certain room/seating configurations, others for others, etc. Listener preference and source music also have a lot to do with it... i.e mostly live recordings, or mostly blu-ray movies?

I actually like dipoles, but with the axis towards listeners instead of the 90deg null that is typically talked about. Been doing some listening and experimenting lately... dipoles well spaced from rear/side walls with lots of diffusion behind is fantastic - flat on-axis for "direct" multichannel sound effects and deliberate placement, while still having significant energy directed at the diffusion for an enveloping surround field that maintains good power response.

This obviously requires a larger room (to space speakers adequately from both people and walls) than most (and larger than I have other than as temporary experiments right now), so that gets back to the "some more suited for certain room/seating configurations..." thing.

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post #3 of 26 Old 03-09-2011, 07:19 AM
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I plan on experimenting with mine tonight over a few scenes of movies I know well and I will get back to you. My main issue is I have a longer, narrow room with the speakers mounted on the wall near the ceiling. I have a set of bi-dipoles and a set of standard issue bookshelves. Right now I have the Bipoles installed as the regular surrounds directly at 90 deg. from the front row seating. and the rear surrounds are the bookshelves at 90 deg from the second row on the side walls but angled in at the money seat as well.

My thoughts are actually that I will end up switching them as the Bipoles will naturally be angled towards the money seat in the surround back location and then the booshelves will also be directed straight at the money seat in the front surround location. I think this way the bipoles will do their job better filling the back of the room with sound while the bookshelves with give a more direct surround effect for movies

Dont mean to thread jack if anyone replies to me here but once I check out some scenes and then switch them around, I will let you know first hand what I like/dislike...

I have read around here as well that the benefit of bi-dipoles really depends if you WANT to hear where the sound effects are coming from (duh for movies) or if you just want an enveloping sound (more for music listening) The di-poles are more for the enveloping sound whereas a traditional surround or bookshelf will be for a more "locate-able" sound that perhaps tracks better for movie sound effects.

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post #4 of 26 Old 03-09-2011, 11:32 AM
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I switched to direct radiating surrounds two days ago after using dipoles for about seven years. I just swapped out the surrounds, leaving all the other speakers in place. The immediately noticeable difference between the two setups is that the direct speakers are much more evenly timbre matched to the others than the dipoles ever were (even thought they were high quality and in the same lineup as the rest). This timbre difference was enough to take me out of the immersion action. My understanding is that bipoles are usually closer in timbre to the rest of the setup, and are a good 'hybrid' of direct and dipole.

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post #5 of 26 Old 03-09-2011, 11:42 AM
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I had the opposite issue; my mains are all dipoles (Magnepan), and switching from little Mirage Nanosats to Magnepan surrounds and rears made everything "come alive". My take-away was that some speaker-matching is worthwhile even though I thought it wouldn't matter that much...

Dipoles take some effort to properly dial in to the room and listening position. My surrounds are aimed pretty much at the listener, while the rears are a little more off-axis. They are all mounted on stands that allow them to swivel so I played with their position a bit until I liked the sound. My room is well-treated, and of course that has a significant impact as well.

A good friend has B&W's that are switchable from direct to bipolar; I believe he prefers bipole for surround sound.

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post #6 of 26 Old 03-09-2011, 03:40 PM
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I read a lot about this a while back, before I bought my bipoles. Basically, it depends on whether you're putting them on the side walls or rear wall, in a 5.1 system. On the side walls, dipoles are the best choice(mounted directly across from your ears). If you mount them on the rear wall, bipoles are the best choice. Both of these scenarios are for a 5.1 system. But there are restrictions such as mounting distance from ceiling, and from speakers to other walls. I think I just googled bipole vs. dipole speakers, and came up with a lot of good info. I went from direct surrounds to bipoles on the rear wall, and I like the bipoles a lot better.
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 06:50 AM
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Check my similar thread out here if you want some more info on this

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1317605

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post #8 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link!

I suppose I'm looking for a concise explanation of the physics that makes one a better choice than the other. Or at least some sort of experimental data. That would make component selection less of a guessing game.

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post #9 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 07:54 AM
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From what I have gathered in my search, the direct radiating will give you the most "direct" sound where you will be able to hear the location it is coming from. second would be bipole, third dipole as the speakers are out of phase. my aperions are specific to one must be used as the left, and one MUST be used as the right so the out of phase drivers are both firing in the same direction to create the greater sound field. read this article too, it has some good stuff.

http://www.polkaudio.com/education/t...icle.php?id=27

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post #10 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 11:59 AM
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^^^ I agree except the effect is due to the added reflections from the side or back waves, not (or not just) the phasing.

Because of room interaction and listener preferences it will always be somewhat speculative.

Bipolar - radiates in two directions, often "front" and "back" relative to the mounting surface, so if on a side wall you might get a little direct and some reflected with a path length from the "rear-facing" driver to the back wall and back to the listener, and of course some from other reflections from the "front" driver etc.

Dipole = radiates equally from the front and the back, so you'll get some direct sound (if it fcaes you) plus reflected/dispersive sound from the back wave that hits the wall immediately behind and bounce around.

To me, for surrounds, dipoles give a more "diffuse" overall stage with still a goodly amount of direct sound and I like that effect .The only bipoles I have heard, and only a little, were my friend's B&Ws plus some trials in a store demo. To me, the bipoles do not disperse the sound as much so the net effect is more directional sound than reflected. It is easy to hear but hard to describe, at least for me. I find my dipoles to be more "enveloping" if that makes sense. Which is better is up to you, and may even depend upon the source material.

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post #11 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 12:35 PM
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so what would you think about taking the dipoles, putting them at 90 deg to the 2nd row seating and having the direct radiating bookshelves on the front row so the sound is more dispersed in the back of the room and be more directional for sound effects in the front row aka money seat? ive seen people do it the other way around (like I have it now) but this just seems it would be the best of both worlds this way for movies and music.

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post #12 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 07:32 PM
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Try it and see! Magnepan actually suggests mounting the rears that way, but I found I prefered a little more direct. I have the advantage of stands with swivel mounts so it's easy to adjust them.

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post #13 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 07:50 PM
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For a different perspective (logic) on this topic you might want to read this article... it makes sense to me (all 6 surround speakers in my home theater are direct radiating and give me both background immersion when called for by the source material and pin-point surround imaging when that is called for... the best of everything really. I'd really like to bump that up to 8 surround speakers but I'm not sure I have enough wall to mount two more surround speakers appropriately.)

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post #14 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 08:35 PM
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Interesting writeup, thanks monomer. I am glad it's about acoustic radiation. I was worried the topic was about sexually flexible polish citizens.

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post #15 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

...I was worried the topic was about sexually flexible polish citizens.

No, no, no, that would be bi-poles and dike-poles.

In case one doesn't wish to read the whole article here is an exerpt from the conclusion that about sums up the logic:
“Dipolar speakers were also invented in the old analog surround sound days, in a very different environment. These days virtually every DVD and even many TV shows have digital surround sound, with five discrete, individual channels. And the diffuse soundfield of dipole is really doing an injustice to these discrete digital surround soundtracks,” Fogel says. “Think about it this way: with stereo audio, you’re essentially creating images in space with two speakers. You can move instruments around in space, and the listener will perceive more than two speakers. Add two more speakers in the rear and you now have the ability to image between all four speakers, so in theory—in a perfectly implemented four- or five-channel system—you can place an instrument anywhere in 360 degrees around the listener’s head. But when you introduce dipoles, you destroy that image. You intentionally screw that up.”

And what about 7.1 systems? “If you can place four surround speakers in a room reasonably well, the value of dipoles and bipoles becomes even harder to justify. These speakers were designed to try to mimic the sound of multiple speakers. If you can actually have multiple speakers, you no longer need to fake it.

"For deep bass, the listener is not really listening to the speaker, but rather, is listening to the room as it is being played by the speaker."
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post #16 of 26 Old 03-11-2011, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post

No, no, no, that would be bi-poles and dike-poles.

In case one doesn't wish to read the whole article here is an exerpt from the conclusion that about sums up the logic:
Dipolar speakers were also invented in the old analog surround sound days, in a very different environment. These days virtually every DVD and even many TV shows have digital surround sound, with five discrete, individual channels. And the diffuse soundfield of dipole is really doing an injustice to these discrete digital surround soundtracks, Fogel says. Think about it this way: with stereo audio, you're essentially creating images in space with two speakers. You can move instruments around in space, and the listener will perceive more than two speakers. Add two more speakers in the rear and you now have the ability to image between all four speakers, so in theoryin a perfectly implemented four- or five-channel systemyou can place an instrument anywhere in 360 degrees around the listener's head. But when you introduce dipoles, you destroy that image. You intentionally screw that up.

And what about 7.1 systems? If you can place four surround speakers in a room reasonably well, the value of dipoles and bipoles becomes even harder to justify. These speakers were designed to try to mimic the sound of multiple speakers. If you can actually have multiple speakers, you no longer need to fake it.

This is how I have always felt about them. A decently set up two channel system can produce a nice 3d image and soundstage, so why not use that same sort of setup for the rear if you want to add a rear soundstage? You would never use bipoles (or dipoles of the surround speaker variety) for your front stage as they would have the worst imaging imaginable. By using them for the rears you have just reduced your entire rear soundstage to a blur. I don't think it makes too big of a difference seeing how underused and unimportant the surround channel programming in mixes are, but still, if your going to do something, might as well do it right.
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post #17 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 06:17 AM
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Many people do in fact use dipoles and bipoles for their front left and right speakers. They do some things better than conventional front only firing designs. Dipoles in particular do a great many things more correctly. Of course when used like this they are aimed with the listener on axis vs the 90 deg null recommended for the old Dolby surround setup.

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This is a very popular topic. Must be at least 100 threads out there on this topic.

One thing I have learned in experimenting with surrounds is the dispersion. Although I preferred monopole for my surrounds, most speakers have a narrow to medium dispersion pattern which will have an effect on envelopment. For those that want a monopole sound usually go with bipole to help with the dispersion pattern but I think the opposing in phase drivers still have some draw backs.

I took a different route which yielded excellent results. I'm using monopole speakers with a very wide dispersion pattern. This have me the monopole sound I wanted plus the envelopment necessary for an exciting surround experience.
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post #19 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

This is a very popular topic. Must be at least 100 threads out there on this topic.

One thing I have learned in experimenting with surrounds is the dispersion. Although I preferred monopole for my surrounds, most speakers have a narrow to medium dispersion pattern which will have an effect on envelopment. For those that want a monopole sound usually go with bipole to help with the dispersion pattern but I think the opposing in phase drivers still have some draw backs.

I took a different route which yielded excellent results. I'm using monopole speakers with a very wide dispersion pattern. This have me the monopole sound I wanted plus the envelopment necessary for an exciting surround experience.

What speakers are you using for the surrounds and are you doing 5.1 or 7.1? I know the Klipsch speakers are wide dispersions types, but they may be too bright to match my front speakers.
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post #20 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregory View Post

What speakers are you using for the surrounds and are you doing 5.1 or 7.1? I know the Klipsch speakers are wide dispersions types, but they may be too bright to match my front speakers.

I'm using Dali IW200 plus a Dali Phantom Phrame to convert them to onwall. I'm currently using 5.1
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post #21 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

This is how I have always felt about them. A decently set up two channel system can produce a nice 3d image and soundstage, so why not use that same sort of setup for the rear if you want to add a rear soundstage? You would never use bipoles (or dipoles of the surround speaker variety) for your front stage as they would have the worst imaging imaginable. By using them for the rears you have just reduced your entire rear soundstage to a blur. I don't think it makes too big of a difference seeing how underused and unimportant the surround channel programming in mixes are, but still, if your going to do something, might as well do it right.

It seems that one of the problems with 2 channel is the small sweet spot. If you move in any direction much, the image begins to shift. This is not really a problem if you're just listening to 2 channel content alone, but in the context of a home theater this could be quite problematic (I intended to pose the question from that standpoint). In the case of a home theater, I think the goal would be to create as many "money" seats as possible, so a more diffuse sound field would be more desirable, correct?

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post #22 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post

For a different perspective (logic) on this topic you might want to read this article... it makes sense to me (all 6 surround speakers in my home theater are direct radiating and give me both background immersion when called for by the source material and pin-point surround imaging when that is called for... the best of everything really. I'd really like to bump that up to 8 surround speakers but I'm not sure I have enough wall to mount two more surround speakers appropriately.)

Very helpful link! Thanks!

This certainly makes a lot of sense intuitively as well.

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post #23 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post

From what I have gathered in my search, the direct radiating will give you the most "direct" sound where you will be able to hear the location it is coming from. second would be bipole, third dipole as the speakers are out of phase. my aperions are specific to one must be used as the left, and one MUST be used as the right so the out of phase drivers are both firing in the same direction to create the greater sound field. read this article too, it has some good stuff.

http://www.polkaudio.com/education/t...icle.php?id=27

I actually read through this before posting this thread, but I went back and read it again since you posted the link. It made wonder whether a bipolar speaker offer the same benefits as a direct firing speaker while also providing the more diffuse sound field?

Because a substantial amount of energy is radiated directly towards the listener (as with a direct firing speaker) you will still be able to localize the special effects from the direct radiated energy, correct?

Because the speakers radiate in all directions (at least with regard to a HT) this will also provide the more enveloping feel that you would get from a dipole type speaker when ambient sounds are being generated, right?

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post #24 of 26 Old 03-12-2011, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Interesting writeup, thanks monomer. I am glad it's about acoustic radiation. I was worried the topic was about sexually flexible polish citizens.

Im polish , im so happy i saw this. lol funny sh_tz

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post #25 of 26 Old 03-13-2011, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

This is a very popular topic. Must be at least 100 threads out there on this topic.

One thing I have learned in experimenting with surrounds is the dispersion. Although I preferred monopole for my surrounds, most speakers have a narrow to medium dispersion pattern which will have an effect on envelopment. For those that want a monopole sound usually go with bipole to help with the dispersion pattern but I think the opposing in phase drivers still have some draw backs.

I took a different route which yielded excellent results. I'm using monopole speakers with a very wide dispersion pattern. This have me the monopole sound I wanted plus the envelopment necessary for an exciting surround experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

I'm using Dali IW200 plus a Dali Phantom Phrame to convert them to onwall. I'm currently using 5.1

I just got a demo of the Golden Ear speakers.......the Super Sat 50's. These are monopole speakers that were set up about 2' above ear level, but adjacent to the listening position just like you would set up dipoles. These speakers have a very wide dispersion and didn't draw attention to themselves like most monopoles do. Originally I was looking for bipoles or dipoles, but I may end up with these.

I did listen to the Golden Ear Triton 2's, a tower speaker with built in powered sub. The soundstage was huge and near enveloping.........very similar to a bipole (Def Tech) or dipole (Martin Logan). The Super Sat 3's and 50's share the same speakers and design as the Triton 2's, minus the sub.

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post #26 of 26 Old 03-14-2011, 09:22 AM
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So I have my setup dialed in to perfection. I ended up putting the mono poles in the surround position at 90 degrees from the front row (money seat), and then set the bi-dipoles in Bipole mode at 90 degrees from the second row. this effectively had one of the angular faces with the mid and tweet on it facing directly towards the front row. this worked out perfect as if I am listening to multi channel music, they bipoles will still fill the back of the room with music but if you are watching a movie, the placement is still ideal for "pinpointable" effects.

Now to help the process out even more, I will have to make sure and get some acoustic paneling on for the reflection points off the back wall. but this wont be problem. Once I get the panels up all around, I will have an epic sound room!!!! (oh yea and build new towers for the front...)

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