what I hear from my Magnepan planar speakers is pretty much what is said below.
Magnepan speakers also radiate sound both from the front and rear like mentioned
below. Give them a listen and then decide. There is no better way to buy a speaker
than listening to it for several hours in your room. Not all dealers would let you
borrow the speaker for home auditioning.
Polar Response Patterns
Sound radiates from a speaker meaning that it moves out from a starting point into a given space. Direct radiating speakers project sound in a single direction, and are referred to as "unipolar." Conventional speakers are unipolar.
The NlightN is a "dipolar speaker" that radiates sound from the front and rear of the panel, out of phase. Dipole speakers provide a very open, enveloping soundstage without allowing you to pinpoint the location of the speakers themselves.
With sound waves coming from both the front and rear of a speaker, the sound waves are not all directed at the listening position. Some of the waves are reflected off walls and other room boundaries before reaching the listener. The resulting sound is spacious creating a wide soundstage and a larger sweet spot than direct radiating designs. The sound is more diffuse or spread out through the listening area.
Dipolar speakers generate sound to the front and rear with very little information emanating to the sides of the speaker. The sound waves reflect off walls, ceilings, and objects in the room before reaching the listener. The resulting sound field is broad and enveloping, and the speakers themselves are very difficult to localize or find by ear.
Surround Sound Applications
The revolutionary NlightN Flat Panel Speakers are perfect for multi-media use and enhance the surround sound experience by producing a larger stereo "sweet spot." The speakers have mounting holes and can be hung on the wall, like a picture frame, as the perfect audio complement for a plasma display television.
Flat Panel Speakers are perfect for home theatre, since the inherently diffuse nature of their sound radiation assures the required surround-channel diffusion. Listeners are not conscious of the surround speakers as distinct entities. Because of their wide directivity, NlightN speakers can be placed around a room in a much more flexible way. This is particularly valuable given the growing acceptance of DVD technology with its associated 5.1 audio systems.
Since the NlightN speakers have a flatter power output across the entire frequency spectrum and produce a more uniform radiation pattern (where the off-axis sound is more similar to that of the on-axis sound), a careful alignment of speakers is no longer necessary.
In a conventional surround-sound speaker system, there is a specific focal stereo "sweet spot" that is created by the placement of the front, rear, center and bass channels. Anyone who sits out of the stereo "sweet spot" will not receive the true surround sound image. The sound will be dominated by a left, right, or the speaker nearest to the individual.
Flat panel speakers create a diffuse sound field, which eliminates the effects of a dominant sounding speaker. It is more difficult to perceive sounds from a specific direction or location. The result is a much-improved home theater presentation with fewer stereo "sweet spot."