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dipole speakers with no rear wall?

850 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Eyleron
Hi all -

I currently have a 5.1 configuration using paradigm studio 60/cc470/ADP-470 in a small (15x15 room) that is dedicated for HT use. However, we are in the process of moving and I will be setting up my HT in the finished basement. The basement is quite large, so the rear wall opens up to another area for other uses. Because the back wall is so far back, I consider this HT area to really not have a back wall at all. The way I understand it, the whole point of a dipole is to create diffusion based on reflecting the sound off of the back and front walls. If that is correct, would it be pointless to use the dipole surrounds in this situation? Would the ideal situation be to use monopoles and add a third(or fourth) for a 6/7.1 setup to compensate for the lack of a rear wall? Or can I somehow still incorporate these dipoles. Just trying to figure out if I should be selling my ADP's for studio 20's.

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Dipoles are designed for larger rooms than you originally placed them in.

However you are correct in the fact that without a rear wall you will more than likely have undesired effects mainly baised upon varying reflective qualities laying beyond the listening area. The point of a dipolar speaker is to help in the transparency of the surrounds in a larger space where the listening environment becomes dispersed. It sound like you new room is considerably larger and hopefully less square than your previous ht, my suggestion would be to utillize your dipoles and to change to a 7.1 setup, you will still have listening artifacts but depending on whats behind your theater space it will be less noticeable than using the dipoles alone in a 5.1 setup. Besides it's a great reason to move up to 7.1, just as long as the environment directly behind the viewing area is of no consiquence during use.
Time to go to 6 or 7 channel monopole. Monopoles work very well in a big room.
Thanks for the feedback, is there any specification re: how far back the rear wall should be for dipoles?(i.e. how big is too big?) The room is basically a long rectangle where I am using part of it for the HT area. The actual listening area is 15' wide and about 25' or so deep (flexibility here)....Then, the HT area basically just opens up to the rest of the basement...probably another 25-30 feet to the other wall. I agree that I will upgrade to 7.1, now I just have to figure out if it is pointless to use the dipoles. Thanks again.
It would be very helpful if you could post a picture or diagram of the room. If the back wall is so far back, where will you mount your back speakers in a 7.1 configuration?

FWIW, you may like your current dipoles on the side walls in a 5.1 configuration.
I have the side surrounds pre-wired in the wall(near the ceiling) and the rear surrounds pre-wired in the ceiling itself, so I would mount them from the ceiling. So, are you saying that the dipoles may still produce sufficient "envelopment" if complimented with the rear surrounds? I will try and post a drawing if I can. thanks.
From what I read, the dipoles will provide more envelopment in 5.1 than will monopole surrounds.

I don't think they solely rely on the back wall. Because the two drivers are out of phase, I think that contributes something too.

Also, they are often recommended when the room is smaller and listeners are closer to the surrounds. The diples keep them from getting in your face. Larger rooms allow the surrounds' sound to spread out more before it hits the audience's ears.
Makes sense, so it sounds like I could still use them and that they may perform ok. However, I have a big enough listening area that I wouldn't have to worry about monopoles sounding too direct...i.e. there is plenty of room for the sound to disperse. I suppose I will just try them and see if I like it, if not, I'll throw the ADP's up on ebay and buy 2 Studio 20's. BTW, is it true that I should avoid 6.1? I've read that a good 5.1 is better than 6.1(due to some sound confusion issue with front and rear center sounds) and that if you should upgrade, it should be to 7.1? That would mean another 2 speakers for those. thanks.
I think the obvious response is set them up and hear how it sounds to you. Odds are it will sound fine. If you think it sounds off, you might add some Studio 20's as rears to tighten up the back end. I'm guessing it will sound fine in 5.1 with your current setup.
Yes, 7 speakers are better than 6, mainly because of how the person who sits in the center sweet spot will hear a rear center speaker as coming from the front at times. That's obviously not an intended effect.

The bigger the room, the more of a "hole" in the envelopment you'd have with 5.1. The surround backs will firm things up nicely.

With that said, I don't know that they need to be as expensive as Studio 20s, though (although if you like multi-channel music, then the better matching with the Studios is preferable).
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