The main advantage to dipoles is a more enveloping sound, which makes a big difference in a 5.1 system--a single pair of speakers is taking the place of a speaker array in a theater. However, this is less important in a 7.1 system, because you're using more speakers to provide envelopment. Achieving a good tonal match to your other speakers (especially between sides and fronts) is far more important than the question of dipoles/monopoles. I would stick with matching NHTs. If you do get dipoles, use them at the sides only. Either way, place the sides directly to the sides of the primary listening position.
Upgrading to a 7.1 speaker layout is not "useless" at all. It doesn't matter how many EX/ES titles there are; a good 7.1 processor will be able to take any 5.1 recording and place the surround information to either side of you and/or behind you. This is something that just can't be done well (if at all) with a standard 5.1 speaker set-up. Plus, there are lots of post processing algorithms to derive a 7.1 channel presentation from a 5.1 recording: Cirrus Extra Surround, Logic 7, Circle Surround, THX Ultra 2, DD EX, DTS ES, etc.
Brian, since you are already using NHT 1.5s for your front and rear channels, I think it would be best if you stick to them for your sides too. That ought to give you a nice front-to-back blend.
Originally posted by Bradad Upgrading to 7.1 is useless as far as I'm concerned. How many DVD's actually support 6.1/7.1? 5 maybe 6?
I once believed I should also get 7.1 so I started buying an extra pair of used B&W SCM-8 dipoles.
Then I realisedTag Mc Laren was asking 1100 EUR (about 977 USD) for the 7.1 upgrade board (basically 2 DAC's and some sotfware) ...
Then I had to add another THX amp, e.g. a used Rotel RB-991 ...
Finally, I decided to halt at the first step : just keep the extra dipoles in case 6.1/7.1 reallu breaks through and make some use of them in the current setup.
I hooked the rears in parallel with the sides. My Rotel RB-991 can easily keep up with the 2 Ohm workload.
Positive phase on the sides fires facing the screen (typical), positive phase on the back speakers fires towards the audience.
Is this fundamentally wrong for cheap 7.1 ? I don't think so. Sounds that are supposed to be in the rear center fire from both sides and rears, but as the rears are more close towards the listener, they draw a little more attention so I get a good phantom effect.
When sounds are supposed to be in only one of the rear channels, I get a perfect blend between the surround and rear speaker.
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