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post #1 of 24 Old 03-21-2020, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Help on selecting surround speakers, Bipole or Monopole?

Hey folks,

I could use some advice on choosing surround speakers in my Living Room. I have just done some painting and am about to wallpaper the wall that my current wall-mount surround speakers are currently on. I am wanting to switch to in-walls for a cleaner look. I understand that generally speaking, low-priced in-walls are not as pleasing as a good hanging on-wall or bookshelf, but in my situation, I am going for form over function due to the wife factor.

Because of the less than optimal placement of where my surrounds have to go as it relates to my sitting positions, I am wondering if a bipole design would work better. 90% of the time I sit in the recliner (refer to the attached pics) closest to the back wall. This means I am not in an optimal position to receive the maximum surround sound experience. Changing the furniture layout is not an option. There is a fireplace between the two recliners and this is part of an open concept with walkways and exterior french doors not displayed in the drawing (for times sake).

Would a bipole design like the Def Tech DI 5.5BPS be a good fit for my scenario or would just getting a set of in-walls with a rotatable tweeter be an improvement over the monopole on-walls I had? There does not seem to be to many bipole designs for sale anymore, or at least that I can find. I can find some dipoles but my research seems to suggest that is not what I would want. Looking to keep the price under $650 for a pair (which is what I can get the Def Techs for). I also saw some Klipsch in-walls with dual tweeters but they do not say whether they are bipole or dipole. Same with some in-wall Boses (691/891) I can find.

Also, I have purchased a set of Chane A2.4's for my LCR. Since I won't be able to exactly timbre match my surrounds to my fronts, are there any suggestions of which brand of in-wall speakers may be the closest match sonically with the Chane's?

Thanks

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-21-2020, 10:57 AM
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Any thoughts would be appreciated.
OK, here are a few:
- I like cheese
- Sugar is bad for you
- Why does Trump's face look orange?
- There is no Santa Claus.
- Squirrel!!!!
Should I keep going?

More seriously:
- What is behind the black couch? A wall? I get you made partial drawings due to time, but if some of it is open then it's harder to understand and make suggestions.
- It looks like the surround speakers are off-center? If so and you're wallpapering, then move the left one (the one between the white and black couches) to make it symmetric about the couch which I hope is on the visual centerline.
- The idea of bipoles IIRC was to have a null or semi-dead zone pointing out from the speakers. So for instance, if they were exactly to the side of a couch. Maybe the couch was in the middle of the room and couldn't be moved. Due to physics, you can't really have an in-wall bipole. Biopoles aren't used for mixing movies or music. So nah I don't think you want bipoles.
- In a situation vaguely like yours, my friend has his couch on glides and moves it up for listening.
- If you REALLY want the speakers to disappear, consider this pricey ($1220-1400/pair) but very cool solution https://www.sonance.com/in-wall-in-c...visible-series. I used to work on that at a different company which Sonance bought. As a bonus, dispersion should be very good at the upper frequencies, significantly more so than conventional tweeters. Wallpaper on top will of course change the response but enough to worry about tremendously. Here's a review https://hometheaterreview.com/sonanc...viewed/?page=2
- What is behind that wall? Because understand that sound WILL bleed through significantly, unless you put it speakers with a back box shallow enough to not touch the rear drywall...but the back box cuts enclosed volume thereby reducing bass and can cause other acoustic problems.
- What is inside that wall? If not insulated, and you put in-walls, stuff with fiberglass (maybe about roughly 4 cubic feet worth, unless you can shove a precut strip up and down in there with a pole or such). You can also order https://www.parts-express.com/acoust...erial--260-317
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-21-2020, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by TStubb View Post
Also, I have purchased a set of Chane A2.4's for my LCR. Since I won't be able to exactly timbre match my surrounds to my fronts, are there any suggestions of which brand of in-wall speakers may be the closest match sonically with the Chane's?
No idea about bipole vs monopole question, but if you do go with bipole, these would likely be a better choice than Def Tech---somewhat similar tweeter to the Chanes:
https://emotiva.com/collections/loud...ts/airmotiv-e2

Have you ever considered doing in-ceiling surrounds? These in particular:
https://rslspeakers.com/products/c34...iling-speaker/

In-walls for surrounds are fine, actually...the surrounds do such a miniscule % of the output compared to the front 3 where you definitely made the right choice going with boxed speakers.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-21-2020, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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- What is behind the black couch? A wall? I get you made partial drawings due to time, but if some of it is open then it's harder to understand and make suggestions.
My house is an open concept with about 17' deep of dining room and foyer behind behind the couch and to the side of the entertainment center.

- It looks like the surround speakers are off-center? If so and you're wallpapering, then move the left one (the one between the white and black couches) to make it symmetric about the couch which I hope is on the visual centerline.

The speakers cannot move due to studs placement. They are centered on the 9' tall portion of the wall. The only way I could move the rear left surround would be to place it low where the wall turns to a half-wall with a countertop. That would not work.

- The idea of bipoles IIRC was to have a null or semi-dead zone pointing out from the speakers. So for instance, if they were exactly to the side of a couch. Maybe the couch was in the middle of the room and couldn't be moved. Due to physics, you can't really have an in-wall bipole. Biopoles aren't used for mixing movies or music. So nah I don't think you want bipoles.
- In a situation vaguely like yours, my friend has his couch on glides and moves it up for listening.

My furniture and flooring situation does not making the furniture mobile on the fly an option due to a shag area rug.

- If you REALLY want the speakers to disappear, consider this pricey ($1220-1400/pair) but very cool solution https://www.sonance.com/in-wall-in-c...visible-series. I used to work on that at a different company which Sonance bought. As a bonus, dispersion should be very good at the upper frequencies, significantly more so than conventional tweeters. Wallpaper on top will of course change the response but enough to worry about tremendously. Here's a review https://hometheaterreview.com/sonanc...viewed/?page=2

I've seen those, they look awesome. However, they are not in the budget.

- What is behind that wall? Because understand that sound WILL bleed through significantly, unless you put it speakers with a back box shallow enough to not touch the rear drywall...but the back box cuts enclosed volume thereby reducing bass and can cause other acoustic problems.

The other side of that wall is kitchen cabinets, both base and wall cabinets. That wall also has OSB sheating attached to the back side to stiffen the wall because it is a semi-floating wall with only small supports at the top to attach to the cathedral ceiling.

- What is inside that wall? If not insulated, and you put in-walls, stuff with fiberglass (maybe about roughly 4 cubic feet worth, unless you can shove a precut strip up and down in there with a pole or such). You can also order https://www.parts-express.com/acoust...erial--260-317

The wall is empty and I would put insulation in it.

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No idea about bipole vs monopole question, but if you do go with bipole, these would likely be a better choice than Def Tech---somewhat similar tweeter to the Chanes:
https://emotiva.com/collections/loud...ts/airmotiv-e2
I agree the tweeters would be a better match, however the primary goal of me changing speakers is to go with a cleaner install than the on-walls that I currently have.

Have you ever considered doing in-ceiling surrounds? These in particular:
https://rslspeakers.com/products/c34...iling-speaker/

I have 16' cathedral ceilings that are not flat. And the angle of the gable of the ceiling is perpendicular to the room layout. So it's not an option.

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post #6 of 24 Old 03-22-2020, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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So I've been researching ceiling speakers a little more and am now wondering if this would be an option. Like I said previously, my ceilings are very high and because of the direction of the angle, one speaker would need to be approximately 15' high and the other would be around 12-12.5' high. Unless I could find speakers that shoot at an angle, both the left and right surround would "toe-in" towards the listening area. Maybe this would be a good thing? Would it matter that much that the heights wouldn't match?

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post #7 of 24 Old 03-22-2020, 08:15 AM
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So I've been researching ceiling speakers a little more and am now wondering if this would be an option. Like I said previously, my ceilings are very high and because of the direction of the angle, one speaker would need to be approximately 15' high and the other would be around 12-12.5' high. Unless I could find speakers that shoot at an angle, both the left and right surround would "toe-in" towards the listening area. Maybe this would be a good thing? Would it matter that much that the heights wouldn't match?

Pic attached...
Your receiver would set the distance and speaker level accordingly to make up for the lack of symmetry...should be workable, though obviously it would sound different from having wall level surrounds.

The RSL C34E has angled woofers...I'd shoot them an email to ask.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-22-2020, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Your receiver would set the distance and speaker level accordingly to make up for the lack of symmetry...should be workable, though obviously it would sound different from having wall level surrounds.

The RSL C34E has angled woofers...I'd shoot them an email to ask.
So do you think between the two less than optima options I have that I would be better off to maintain my wall surround setup or switch to ceiling speakers?
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-22-2020, 09:54 AM
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So do you think between the two less than optima options I have that I would be better off to maintain my wall surround setup or switch to ceiling speakers?
I'd keep it as is. Insufficient benefit-to-cost ratio.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-22-2020, 02:21 PM
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- The idea of bipoles IIRC was to have a null or semi-dead zone pointing out from the speakers. So for instance, if they were exactly to the side of a couch. Maybe the couch was in the middle of the room and couldn't be moved. Due to physics, you can't really have an in-wall bipole. Biopoles aren't used for mixing movies or music. So nah I don't think you want bipoles.
You have confused bipoles with dipoles. Bipoles are wired with the opposing drivers in-phase with each other. This provides wide, broad coverage including the plane "pointing out from the speakers." Dipoles are wired out of phase, and as you described, they feature a "null or semi-dead zone pointing out from the speakers."

Dipoles ARE NOT recommended for surround placements, (anymore). Bipoles ARE recommended for surround placements due to their wide, broad, even coverage of their entire dispersion plane.

Craig

Lombardi said it:
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)

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You have confused bipoles with dipoles. Bipoles are wired with the opposing drivers in-phase with each other. This provides wide, broad coverage including the plane "pointing out from the speakers." Dipoles are wired out of phase, and as you described, they feature a "null or semi-dead zone pointing out from the speakers."

Dipoles ARE NOT recommended for surround placements, (anymore). Bipoles ARE recommended for surround placements due to their wide, broad, even coverage of their entire dispersion plane.

Craig
If I stick with wall mounts as opposed to going to in-ceiling, do you think the bipoles would help me in my situation, since I sit in the recliner that is outside the optimal throw of sound from a traditional monopole speakers in the rear?
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I'd stick with in wall for the surrounds, not in ceiling.. I don't think it would sound correct for the surround effects to come from overhead. In walls have the potential for better sound quality than box speakers in the room, its a fact of acoustics despite some folks preferences. So don't feel like you are compromising by using in walls. Sonically, they are optimal compared to on wall or in room speakers which suffer from unavoidable cancellations due to reflections off of the wall behind them. These reflections end up out of phase with the direct sound being radiated from the speakers, causing a cancellation null that cannot be easily fixed, and therefore degrading sound quality. In wall speakers do not suffer from this inferior design. So in fact, you will have the optimal audio configuration.

Be sure to use a very wide dispersion design so that the sound off axis will sound very good.

I would suggest a pair or Revel W893's which should be within budget for you from a dealer. I wouldn't pay MSRP(you shouldn't have to).

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If I stick with wall mounts as opposed to going to in-ceiling, do you think the bipoles would help me in my situation, since I sit in the recliner that is outside the optimal throw of sound from a traditional monopole speakers in the rear?
Yes, bipoles will be better than monopoles for your situation.

Lombardi said it:
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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Be sure to use a very wide dispersion design so that the sound off axis will sound very good.

I would suggest a pair or Revel W893's which should be within budget for you from a dealer. I wouldn't pay MSRP(you shouldn't have to).
Hi Bear, hope your doing well. Is there an advertised dispersion pattern for those? I didn't see anything on Revel's site. I would be suprised if they had a wider pattern than a set of bipoles.

Also, I was cringing to pay the $660 that it appears I can get 2 of the Def Tech DI 5.5BPS 's for on ebay. (I can't really find any other in-wall bipoles). I don't see how those Revel 893's even not paying MSRP be anywhere close to that price for a pair of them? They appear to be a grand a piece MSRP.
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Hi Bear, hope your doing well. Is there an advertised dispersion pattern for those? I didn't see anything on Revel's site. I would be suprised if they had a wider pattern than a set of bipoles.

Also, I was cringing to pay the $660 that it appears I can get 2 of the Def Tech DI 5.5BPS 's for on ebay. (I can't really find any other in-wall bipoles). I don't see how those Revel 893's even not paying MSRP be anywhere close to that price for a pair of them? They appear to be a grand a piece MSRP.
Ah your right....I was thinking MSRP was $1k for a pair which would have put them close to your budget with good dealer pricing. My bad.

As far as dispersion, I think this may be able to be derived to some extent from the Spinorama, but I fear I am not well versed enough to feel comfortable explaining. Perhaps others can?

In general, it would be a safer bet going with dome tweeters as opposed to horns. Your probably right that in wall bipoles will be few and far between.
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Ok, so there are not alot of bipole speakers around anymore it appears. There are some models out there that have dual opposing tweeters like the Klipsch R-5650-S II as opposed to the Def Tech DI 5.5BPS's that have dual opposing woofers. Would having just the opposing tweeters versus having two sets of both drivers like the Def Techs but just as good? Is it mainly the higher frequencies that I would benefit have more dispersion or would the benefit be greater with a wider dispersion of the full range like on the Def Techs?
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Ok, so there are not alot of bipole speakers around anymore it appears. There are some models out there that have dual opposing tweeters like the Klipsch R-5650-S II as opposed to the Def Tech DI 5.5BPS's that have dual opposing woofers. Would having just the opposing tweeters versus having two sets of both drivers like the Def Techs but just as good? Is it mainly the higher frequencies that I would benefit have more dispersion or would the benefit be greater with a wider dispersion of the full range like on the Def Techs?
It may be helpful to think of a binary system "light bulb" analogy, where frequencies are divided into two subsets, low and high frequencies. The low frequencies would be analogous to a flood light, whereas high frequencies would be analogous to a spotlight. The floodlight will illuminate a wide, broad area, with similar light intensity sent in all directions. The spotlight will focus the light into a small beam, strongly illuminating a small, focused "spot", with less energy sent outside the beam. Reflected light will dominate the illumination of anything surrounding the focused beam.*

In a bipole speaker, you can take two "spotlights" and shine them in opposite directions, and get broader coverage over a larger area, in an attempt to match the broader dispersion of the flood light. It is important that the two spotlights be "in phase" with each other, and with the floodlight to ensure the result is additive, instead of the cancellation that would occur if the two were out-of-phase with each other, (as in a dipole.) An added benefit of this alignment is that the coverage doesn't change appreciably as the listening position changes. If the bipole is slightly in front of, directly to the side of, or slightly behind the side-plane of the listener, the same dispersion will be heard.

(*Now obviously, this is a massive over-simplification as soundwaves can't be simply divided into just two parts. In the real world situation, dispersion is more of a progression, with dispersion decreasing continuously as frequency increases. Therefore, the analogy is not perfect, and is for "illustrative" purposes only, (PI) . )

There are many manufacturers of bipole surrounds: Def Tech, Klipsch, Triad, Atlantic Technology, Sonance, SVS, Focal, Polk, and many others make bipole surrounds. Dolby actually recommends either bipoles or monopoles, but NOT dipoles, for use in Atmos systems. Bipoles have the advantage of adding more reflected sound than monopoles, so they can provide more "spaciousness" than monopoles. OTOH, monopoles can be more directional than bipoles, so they can provide more discreet sound localization when the content calls for it.

Craig

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My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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Craig, thank you very much for the analogy. From your explanation, it sounds like a bipole model of speaker that only has two off axis tweeters should fit the bill as well as other models that have both two off axis woofers and tweeters. Is my synopsis correct?

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There are many manufacturers of bipole surrounds: Def Tech, Klipsch, Triad, Atlantic Technology, Sonance, SVS, Focal, Polk, and many others make bipole surrounds. Dolby actually recommends either bipoles or monopoles, but NOT dipoles, for use in Atmos systems. Bipoles have the advantage of adding more reflected sound than monopoles, so they can provide more "spaciousness" than monopoles. OTOH, monopoles can be more directional than bipoles, so they can provide more discreet sound localization when the content calls for it. Craig
While I find your statement to be true concerning bookshelf or on-wall bipole speakers, I do not find this to be the case with in-wall speakers. The only current production in-wall bipole speakers that I have come across are two models by Def Tech. These are the UIW RSS II/III's and the DI 5.5BPS's. Klipsch has a the model R-5650-S II but they do not advertise whether it is a bipole or dipole. This is the same with the Bose 691/891 in-walls with dual off-axis tweeters that I can find. The only other stuff I come across are discontinued models by SpeakerCraft, TruAudio, and PSB.

At this point, I am leaning to one of the two Def Tech models. The UIW series are sealed enclosure, have smaller drivers, but I believe better frequency response. But, they are more square and have a 1" lip around the grill frame whereas the DI series have a cleaner look. Pricing on ebay is comparable, with the UIW series only around $100 more for a pair. Thoughts?

If there are some models that you know I that I have not mentioned that are in-wall, and bipole, and I can get for under $800 a pair, please feel free to share! Thanks!
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post #19 of 24 Old 03-23-2020, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TStubb View Post
Craig, thank you very much for the analogy. From your explanation, it sounds like a bipole model of speaker that only has two off axis tweeters should fit the bill as well as other models that have both two off axis woofers and tweeters. Is my synopsis correct?
Well, it will depend on the design of course. The higher the crossover from woofers to mains, the more directional the woofers become. If you can find dispersion measurements to verify, that would be ideal... but also quite unlikely. Short of that, you can only go by how they sound to you. If you have a chance to audition, try moving your LP forward and back from the axis of the speaker and check how consistent the sound remains.


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While I find your statement to be true concerning bookshelf or on-wall bipole speakers, I do not find this to be the case with in-wall speakers. The only current production in-wall bipole speakers that I have come across are two models by Def Tech. These are the UIW RSS II/III's and the DI 5.5BPS's. Klipsch has a the model R-5650-S II but they do not advertise whether it is a bipole or dipole. This is the same with the Bose 691/891 in-walls with dual off-axis tweeters that I can find. The only other stuff I come across are discontinued models by SpeakerCraft, TruAudio, and PSB.

At this point, I am leaning to one of the two Def Tech models. The UIW series are sealed enclosure, have smaller drivers, but I believe better frequency response. But, they are more square and have a 1" lip around the grill frame whereas the DI series have a cleaner look. Pricing on ebay is comparable, with the UIW series only around $100 more for a pair. Thoughts?

If there are some models that you know I that I have not mentioned that are in-wall, and bipole, and I can get for under $800 a pair, please feel free to share! Thanks!
Triad makes their Bronze and Silver In-Wall and On-Wall Surrounds in your price range. They are bipoles. The data sheets can be found here:
http://www.triadspeakersforum.com/sh...ound-and-Atmos You can contact Dawn Gordon here for sales information: [email protected] She is also a member of this forum: @Dawn Gordon

All Klipsch surrounds are bipoles, (except possibly the THX Ultra2 surrounds, which may still be dipole.)

Polk Audio makes two models of bipole surrounds: FXiA6 and FXiA4. (I have no experience with those so can't comment further.)

All Atlantic Technology surrounds are switchable between bipole and dipole. The 4400 SR's are above your pricepoint at full MSRP. However, they can be found at discount and meet your pricepoint. The AVS Store sells them:
https://shop.avscience.com/Speakers_c_12.html Also, AT has a cheaper model, the 1400 SRZ, that is well below your pricepoint, but I don't think I would recommend them for your application.

I have no experience with the Def Tech's you are considering, so I won't comment.

Craig

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"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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post #20 of 24 Old 03-23-2020, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Triad makes their Bronze and Silver In-Wall and On-Wall Surrounds in your price range. They are bipoles. The data sheets can be found here:
http://www.triadspeakersforum.com/sh...ound-and-Atmos You can contact Dawn Gordon here for sales information: [email protected] She is also a member of this forum: @Dawn Gordon

All Klipsch surrounds are bipoles, (except possibly the THX Ultra2 surrounds, which may still be dipole.)

Polk Audio makes two models of bipole surrounds: FXiA6 and FXiA4. (I have no experience with those so can't comment further.)

All Atlantic Technology surrounds are switchable between bipole and dipole. The 4400 SR's are above your pricepoint at full MSRP. However, they can be found at discount and meet your pricepoint. The AVS Store sells them:
https://shop.avscience.com/Speakers_c_12.html Also, AT has a cheaper model, the 1400 SRZ, that is well below your pricepoint, but I don't think I would recommend them for your application.

I have no experience with the Def Tech's you are considering, so I won't comment.

Craig
Thanks Craig. Unfortunately it looks like everything you mentioned with the exception of the Triad speakers are not in-wall, but rather on-wall. The purpose of me changing my setup was to go for a cleaner look as I currently have on-wall speakers. I will look into the pricing of the Triad's.
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-23-2020, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TStubb View Post
Thanks Craig. Unfortunately it looks like everything you mentioned with the exception of the Triad speakers are not in-wall, but rather on-wall. The purpose of me changing my setup was to go for a cleaner look as I currently have on-wall speakers. I will look into the pricing of the Triad's.
https://www.klipsch.com/products/r-5650-s-ii

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"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-23-2020, 11:31 AM
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Not much to choose from in the bipole in-wall category. This has already been discontinued by Def Tech, but available from secondary sellers:

https://designeraudiovideo.com/produ...-speaker-each/

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #23 of 24 Old 03-23-2020, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Not much to choose from in the bipole in-wall category. This has already been discontinued by Def Tech, but available from secondary sellers:

https://designeraudiovideo.com/produ...-speaker-each/
Yes, I am aware of these and mentioned them earlier up in the thread as one of the two I am considering. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by craig john View Post
I mentioned this one as well earlier, but Klipsch does not advertise if this is a bipole or dipole. I would assume bipole, but not sure. Thanks.
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post #24 of 24 Old 03-23-2020, 11:56 AM
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I see Speakercraft, PSB, and Atlantic Tech had similar items, now discontinued. You might find them on the used market ...

I did find one that is currently available, but Episode is a dealer-based product, so probably overpriced (and I'm not a big fan of titanium tweeters, but there is a switch to reduce the treble, which is good). Get a substantial discount or quite a few available on ebay as new or in box:

https://www.snapav.com/shop/en/snapa...s-1700t-iwsurr

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 03-23-2020 at 12:17 PM.
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