Do You Prefer Bipole, Dipole, or Monopole Surround Speakers? - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Do You Prefer Bipole, Dipole, or Monopole Surround Speakers?
Bipole 70 27.67%
Dipole 54 21.34%
Monopole 129 50.99%
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
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In the early days of surround sound, the surround speakers were most often bipoles or dipoles, with two sets of drivers facing in roughly opposite directions. In bipoles, the two sets of drivers are in phase with each other, while in dipoles, they are out of phase, which creates a null region between the two sets of drivers. The goal with both designs is to create a diffuse soundfield with much less localization in the surround channels, which matched the diffuse nature of the mix in those channels.

 

These days, the surround channels often carry much more localized information, which is why monopoles, also called direct radiators, are becoming more popular as surround speakers. This type of speaker emits sound in only one direction rather than two, allowing it to present a more precise surround soundstage.

 

Which type of surround speaker do you prefer, and why?

 

Bipole

Dipole

Monopole


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Old 02-12-2013, 04:21 PM
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Interesting cause i have not put much thought into this in years. I have been running mono pole towers for surround for 9 years (5.1 system). i currently have definitive technology BP7001's for my mains and have always wanted to at some point pick up a pair of definitive technology BP powered towers for the rears to finish off my system. Now i am not sure what i want for surrounds. Should be an interesting process when i cross that path.

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Old 02-13-2013, 04:59 AM
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What is a line array considered to be?

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Old 02-13-2013, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JapanDave View Post

What is a line array considered to be?

Hmmm, good question. If the drivers are all pointing in the same direction, I guess it would be monopole as distinguished from bipole or dipole, but it's certainly not a point source.


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Old 02-13-2013, 01:24 PM
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I use (4) B&W 802D as surrounds  :)

 

Great for music and movies

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Old 02-13-2013, 03:07 PM
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With rear surrounds added to side surrounds (not mention wides and/or heights), we have a larger soundfield in the rear, so I much prefer monopole surrounds at this point in time. However, because I have my surrounds at about ear height on stands (as opposed to the recommended elevated position), I've also experimented with angling them toward the walls and "bouncing" the sound off the wall and back toward the listening position. In my situation, this tends to diffuse the image slightly while still providing rather precise directionality when the mix requires it. Of course, when I do this, I run my calibration routine with the speakers in that same wall-facing position.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:12 AM
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Monopole all the way unless you are sitting right next to one of the surrounds. That would be no fun with a monopole speaker. So your room and layout will really impact what will work best in your HT.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:20 AM
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I just recently replaced my M&K K4 tripole side surrounds for some PMC Wafer 1 wall mount monopole speakers (to better match my front PMC speakers). These are 2.5 metres each side of my seat and over 1 metre above my ears so this might explain why they seem to work so well. I've even had the effect of a sound on the floor beside me, so not sure if it was from the front left and/or the left surround but it seemed real enough that I looked. biggrin.gif As expected they sound better for 5.1 music discs, but I don't feel I've lost anything for film use, especially since they have better bass response than the tripoles did so surround effects have more weight to them and reverb/echo in particular seems more apparent than before.

I have moved the K4 tripoles to the rear surround position in place of monopole K5s but I'm not sure I need to have bothered, but I can make use of the K5s elsewhere so it seemed the best use. I'd love another pair of Wafer 1 speakers as rear surrounds but they rarely come up used as I found and new price is equal to over $2,500 so I can't justify them unless I win the lottery. smile.gif

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:22 AM
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I use four quadpolar Axiom QS8s

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:25 AM
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I like all my speakers to be point sources and I like all my sound waves arriving on-time and in alignment, so it's monopole surrounds for me. After studying different movie theater sound systems, it struck me that IMAX uses nothing more than a pair of monopole speakers in the rear corners for their surround sound systems. If it's good enough for them, frankly it's good enough for me. IMAX claims better coverage for the entire audience along with clearer stereo imaging in the rear channels when compared to traditional theaters with multiple surround speakers on the side walls. I like the whole idea so much I use tower speakers as my surrounds.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:33 AM
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I think it depends on the radiation pattern of the speakers and the listening distance.

For instance, if you had some Danley Synergy horns on the sides and rear and you had them at the appropriate distance for the seating area to be fill wit the sound then the mono speaker would be the best.

My ultimate surround:

http://www.danleysoundlabs.com/products/loud-speakers/gh60/

However, when it comes to the more conventional speaker, I would have to say that I still think the mono is best, maybe not optimal, but the bipole would create more room interaction which MAY not be good.

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:54 AM
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I like dipole for the sides and bipole for the rears. While I agree there's more direct sounds to the surrounds than in the past, the surrounds still play diffuse sounds 99% of the time.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:34 AM
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I guess my answer depends on the room. Generally for a large room that can fit a monopole speaker setup, I think it's great. But for smaller rooms, I've had great experiences with dipole installations. It's quite impressive.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:06 AM
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I'm running omnipolar for sides and dipolar for rears, great sound!!!!!

Equipment List: Benq W6000, Darbee DVP-5000 Video Processor, JKP Affinity 100 inch 16x9 .9 gain reference screen, Onkyo 818 receiver, 3-Marantz Ma700 and 2-Ma6100 mono blocks, 9.1-set-up, B&W Nautilus 805 front speakers, B&W Nautilus HTM2 center speaker, Infinity ( soon to be replaces by B&W ) bookshelf Height Speakers, Mirage HDT-R side speakers, Jamo THX surround one rear speakers, PSA XS30se sub, Richard Grey, Monster Power, and Panamax powerline conditioning/surge protection.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:10 AM
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I use M&K tripoles - best of both worlds.

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Old 02-14-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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I pre fer dipoles, less localizable and i try to follow THX guide lines. :)

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Old 02-14-2013, 11:53 AM
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I use four quadpolar Axiom QS8s

I am using two quadpolar Axiom QS8's that replaced my monopolar speakers (side surrounds) and I find the directionality to be just awesome. I am much more immersed than before and rarely can I tell where the speaker is located just by listening. I don't see myself ever getting rid of them or having the need to upgrade. The beginning underwater scene in Prometheus was just insane - the sound made me feel like I was underwater with the bubbling above me and all around. Great surround track, IMHO. Anyway, my rears are monopolar and they seem to do the job just fine.

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Old 02-14-2013, 12:13 PM
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Energy vrs dipole/bipole biggrin.gif
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:14 PM
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I do think the layout of the room plays a part in my preference. In my current room I prefer monopoles but I have enjoyed di/bipoles in other rooms just as much.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:00 PM
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I was using Def Tech BP2X bipoles for years, but with my room being narrow I changed out to DefTech RLS III in-walls. Can't say that I notice much difference at the main seating position (front row, with the surround channel about a foot behind me pointed at one another).

I have a second row that is rarely used so I would expect that the surrounds probably sound a little more forward than intended, but I do have a pair of surround back speakers that helps envelope the viewers if sitting in the back row.

Now I also used to have some Def Tech BP10Bs for mains that were in an array with a Def Tech CLR2000. While the BP10Bs were a good speaker for two channel music, I found that with many of the soundtracks where vocals and sounds effects were mixed across the front three channels that the tonality was an issue. So I upgraded the front array to three Def Tech CLR3000 speakers. This by far has been the best audio upgrade for multi-channel soundtracks.

As others have said I think the room plays a big part if a particular speaker will work in a particular setup. The problem though with true dipoles is that the left and right speakers should be mirror images of one another and many manufacturers that made them and most don't anymore cheaped out and just made the same identical speaker. Ideally if a sound is supposed to be in phase between the left and right surround channels you want the left and righ forward facing driver moving in the same direction. When they used the same speaker design instead of mirror image you have one forward facing driver moving forward while on the other speaker the forward driver is moving the opposite direction. It's just another way that bad dipole designs can introduce phase errors in the listening environement.

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Old 02-14-2013, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Which type of surround speaker do you prefer, and why?

Bipole
Dipole
Monopole
Never cared for Dipole, its either Bipole based on walls or position is close to seating area, or Monopole if the speakers can be directed towards you on the sides and well to the rear of your seating area from a reasonable distance.

I make use of Bipole speakers on 34" stands to allow better placement and effect then mounting on walls in current setup, as most rooms are never ideal dimensions. wink.gif

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:15 PM
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Monopole for me. This is especially true for multichannel music for me, but also prefer it for movies. I don't like a 'diffused' sound field in the rear/surrounds since most new movies are cut with discreet audio to each channel anyway.

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:45 PM
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I listen to a lot of 5.1 music on SACD, DVD-A, and Blu-ray, as well as watching movies and TV. Surround music is usually mixed for five full-range speakers with precise imaging, so monopoles are obviously preferable even if you can't do five identical full-range channels.

But if a movie uses the theatrical sound mix or one substantially derived from it, then the mixer would have been assuming the kind of diffuse surround array standard in theaters., and reproducing that mix is going to sound compromised coming from two directional sources.

My solution is four directional speakers for surround, so that I can run in Direct mode (disabling the rear surrounds) for 5.1 music, and in DPLIIx mode for movies (with the rear surrounds aimed for diffusion, rather than pointed at the listeners). This seems to work for my needs, in my room.

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Old 02-14-2013, 05:28 PM
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Dipole / bipole were created and used specifically for THX setup during matrixed surround (read: Dolby Surround). You go to Dolby and DTS sites, they all recommend monopole. Mixing studio have always use monopoles too; hence it's the correct way of reproducing the sound as the soundtracks were recorded in the studio.

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Old 02-14-2013, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

Dipole / bipole were created and used specifically for THX setup during matrixed surround (read: Dolby Surround). You go to Dolby and DTS sites, they all recommend monopole. Mixing studio have always use monopoles too; hence it's the correct way of reproducing the sound as the soundtracks were recorded in the studio.

Depending on studio recording the rear channels might just represent reverberation, so there might be little benefit with using monopole vs bipole for reproduction in a home environment against your room layout. Isn't the performer suppose to be in front of you, not on the sides and back of you? With movies its different as you said, the studios like to have moving or rotating sound effects to make the listening environment more lifelike.

One more point that's missing here, is that I found a lot of surround speakers are not well made, and offer poor diffuse sound-field generation compared to monopoles. You get what you pay for here, don't go cheap on the surrounds, even if they are monopoles.

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Old 02-14-2013, 07:11 PM
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It may just reverberation but still when the soundtrack were mixed, they were mixed using monopoles, hence, again, we should use monopole because they were monitored that way in the mixing studio. I've been to Skywalker Sound, Abbey Road, Air, they all use monopoles. Heck, even movie theatres use monopoles.

As far as surround speaker quality goes, ideally you should use identical speakers for every channel. Again, all three studios above are all using identical speakers for all channels. In the case of Abbey Road, they use identical amps (Classe) and speakers (B&W 800D). In my case, I use a group of measly PSB Century 300i large bookshelves for fronts and rears.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:34 PM
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I think it depends on the room. I have a fairly small HT room. I tried monopoles but the sound was too localized because of the limited space. I then bought some dipoles for both the side and rear surrounds. I love the the spaciousness that they give.
But I am quite sure that monopoles would probably be better in a large room.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:02 PM
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I have never actually been able to demo the different options. Im in the market for some side surrounds and was considering the FXI A4's then started reading about the different options. Sometimes visiting this site isnt a good idea lol.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:00 PM
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I prefer monopoles. I like that point source directivity for soundtracks. I use CHT SHO-10's for my surrounds as well as 3 more for my LCR behind and AT screen.I love having high dynamic surrounds along with 5 matching speakers. Makes all the difference.

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Old 02-15-2013, 06:13 AM
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Speaking of where the sound was mixed and on what speakers: I was interested to find out that the BBC have a suite where they mix the Doctor Who and Torchwood TV series and apparently they use exactly the same (monopole) PMC speakers as I have as surrounds. No wonder it always sounds good in my room (even if I'm not too keen on the content, my son is a big fan).

As per the link to the PMC Wafer speaker's product page:

http://www.pmc-speakers.com/products/consumer/wafer/wafer1

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