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Hey guys,

Any thoughts in bi-pole vs direct radiating for Atmos specifically? Currently running a mix of direct radiating sides with bi-pole rears, but I’m looking to upgrade my surrounds and I’m not sure which direction to go. My room is small, and I’ve just gotten a new sofa so people may end up sitting quite close to the side surrounds.
 

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Sounds like we need a 20-20 show about this thread for the week. Stayed tuned, as 20-20 discusses Atmos Home Theater. This weeks episode is- "Monopole versus bipole surround speakers. What you need to know so that you can be even more confused than you already were."
 

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A Little Atmos Switchbox Experiment

I've been doing some Auro-3D listening (I highly recommend Mando Diao's Aelita album) and thus I switched my system (normally using 11.1.6 with matrixed FW and S#1 added plus extracted top middle near discrete) over to send a copy of the rear height channels to my side height channels and turned down the channel 3dB (since it will add 3dB). I can do this since I have a Monoprice 2-in,2-out switchbox through which I feed the output of the Pro Logic units into "A" and the rear height channel into "B" and you can turn either speaker on/off or use A or B, which means they can both use A or B. Both using A wouldn't make any sense, but "B" puts a rear height copy into the side heights like the Auro-3D 11.1 Barco cinemas do. I left all my other matrixed speakers on (pulls sound all the way to the third row even if the rears aren't active since surround #1 has a copy of the side surround channel through the matrix mixer. But since I had it switched over anyway, I tweaked a few things in the surround #1 output to array better with the two overhead arrays and the album sounded fantastic from all the seats. So what does this have to do with Atmos?

What I did then was do some Atmos testing with this double array overhead setup with the rear channels active (7+4.1.4+2) instead of using the Pro Logic "top middle" extraction boxes and tested how Atmos and X would sound like that. It was actually pretty interesting as I've always thought rear channels sound closer than they are even when they're 15' away. But having an overhead 4-channel "rear height" array basically puts the virtual phantom speakers in the rear "tops" position instead for the MLP (I'm actually thinking that top middle as a matrixed channel instead would actually pull both "height" channels virtually via phantom images into the "tops" positions). Even so, essentially the system sounded much closer to a tops configuration Atmos system for the front row (i.e. more sounds were directly overhead yet since the front are still discrete heights, the sounds would go all the way to the top of the screen instead of starting further into the room. Even with a 24' long room, I'm not sure that's a lot of panning distance with all tops, but it obviously would keep virtually all overhead sound high on the ceiling (hence the real reason why I think many prefer the "tops" locations as it keeps more sounds away from the walls and more directly overhead with the obvious downside being less panning distance and less screen interaction).

But what I thought wouldn't be so good were the other two rows since the top middle "anchor" is no longer there in a discrete way, but creating an array. But the thing is arrays are also affected by the precedence effect. They only image directly between the two speakers if you are sitting halfway between them. Otherwise, they will 'pull' more towards the speaker you are sitting closer to and that means front/back in addition to the typical left/right issues of stereo music. The upside is that things like the Dolby Atmos Helicopter demo still worked exceedingly well with an array of top middle plus rear height as it anchored itself regardless. But unlike actual "tops" speakers, the rear height position was still behind the third row and imaged as such due to precedence (that seat is much closer to the rear height sitting just in front of it than the top middle speakers). Thus, the system behaves BOTH like a "tops" system AND a "height" system depending on where you sit (the upside of precedence and arraying).

In any case, I found it interesting since it's yet another configuration I can optionally choose to play movies in with Atmos that give a little bit different presentation thanks to the 2-in,2-out switchbox I'm employing (i.e. more direct overhead sounds in the front row without hurting the other rows). It definitely aligns better with Auro-3D (e.g. the tractor demo moves perfectly for all seats whereas the "extracted top middle" with Auro-3D puts the top/bottom layers out of alignment slightly leading the tractor to turn as it passes rather than moving in a straight line in the left lane so-to-speak. With most of the demos and movies, it'd be hard to notice, but something large like that which stretches across both layers sounds better in full alignment with what it expects (i.e. height layer directly over bed channel layer). Atmos shifts as well, but it's typically not using real world dual mic recordings so the effect in things like the demos is just to move the rear height layer closer to the front row (rear tops location). The renderer could be switched then to be "tops" instead to supposedly fully correct the alignment, but that would disable Audyssey, unfortunately (I could store an Audyssey config set using that layout on a USB stick, though if I really wanted to use it precisely. That could also automatically reduce the rear channel level 3dB at the same time).

I'd kind of be curious to hear how it sounds with the top middle speakers set to matrix the sound instead (theoretically pulling both channels into the "tops" positions in behavior other than the precedence effect moving them a bit depending on the row). I'd basically need another switch and mixer (and some splitters) to make that work. I doubt it's worth the effort as I like the front heights starting at the top of the screen as it matches the action on the screen better, IMO.
 

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Okay... let me revise my question having read a bit more of the thread.

Currently running 7.1.4. With bipole rears and all other speakers direct radiating. All of my surrounds are raised about 8 inches above ear level. I’m happy with the surround field I’m getting, BUT my new sofa is complicating my upgrade path.

Room is 12 wide 15 long and 8 high with the listening position about two feet off the back wall.

My new seating is going to go nearly wall to wall (only about a foot, maybe two feet between the wall and the listeners on the outer edge seats). I’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade my surround speakers, but I’m not sure which direction to go in.

90% of the time I’m going to be watching/listening solo, but I want group movie watching to be a tolerable experience for the people on the sides.

Given all that, do I:

A- do bi-poles on the sides and rear, and keep them elevated?
b- do mono-poles everywhere and keep them elevated?
C- switch to bi-poles on the sides as well, but drop them to ear level?

Also, a bit off topic, but any experience with the Martin Logan Motion FX for bi-poles? Considering that, the motion 15 for monopoles, or the Emotiva E2 for a cheaper bi-pole.

Appreciate any help you guys can offer!
 

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Any thoughts or people with have similar dimensions that chose to go 7.x.4 or should I keep the more recommended placement of 5.x.4?
I have a room similar to yours and I recommend that you stick with a 5.1.4 setup.
 

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I must have missed the part where he said he was doing .2 .....
There is no need to be ironical.
I know that the OP has FH+TM.
It was a call to a test/experiment.


So you're of the opinion Atmos overheads shouldn't "blend" into the soundstage, but should stick out like a sore thumb?
Nope. FH are not overheads. And FH are very easily masked by the Main L+R.


Front Height wouldn't be my first choice for only two overheads (top middle is best there), but it's better than nothing if that's the only thing that would fit.
My opinion also.
 

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Okay... let me revise my question having read a bit more of the thread.

Currently running 7.1.4. With bipole rears and all other speakers direct radiating. All of my surrounds are raised about 8 inches above ear level. I’m happy with the surround field I’m getting, BUT my new sofa is complicating my upgrade path.

Room is 12 wide 15 long and 8 high with the listening position about two feet off the back wall.

My new seating is going to go nearly wall to wall (only about a foot, maybe two feet between the wall and the listeners on the outer edge seats). I’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade my surround speakers, but I’m not sure which direction to go in.

90% of the time I’m going to be watching/listening solo, but I want group movie watching to be a tolerable experience for the people on the sides.

Given all that, do I:

A- do bi-poles on the sides and rear, and keep them elevated?
b- do mono-poles everywhere and keep them elevated?
C- switch to bi-poles on the sides as well, but drop them to ear level?

Also, a bit off topic, but any experience with the Martin Logan Motion FX for bi-poles? Considering that, the motion 15 for monopoles, or the Emotiva E2 for a cheaper bi-pole.

Appreciate any help you guys can offer!
I started a very similar discussion with similar room dimensions 3-4 pages back...feel free to review...
 

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There is no need to be ironical.
I know that the OP has FH+TM.
It was a call to a test/experiment.
It's irrelevant to his room and setup. Two overhead speakers aren't going to image/pan at all front to back regardless of where you put them.

Nope. FH are not overheads. And FH are very easily masked by the Main L+R.
How are they not overheads if they're over your head? Mine are at the ceiling. I'd bloody well call that overhead.... :rolleyes:

And top middle are easily masked by side surrounds and top rear are easily masked by rear surrounds. It's a non sequitur. They're all supposed to blend with the lower beds. If you have total separation where they do not blend together as a seamless soundstage you are doing Atmos incorrectly, IMO.
 

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That's not what would happen according to their own admissions at CEDIA. Instead, they said you might be able to exchange lost movie or TV files with those titles from a different streaming service. Of course, it would be a downgrade if that should happen (high video bitrate with lossless audio for the exact opposite) or it's possible the studios would tell you to go pound sand because the files from a different company were no long accessible. There were no iron clad promises made. The storage hardware purchased would become non-operational as they do need key links every so often from home base and those servers would go dark if the company went under.

This kind of tethering was agreed upon as part of K-scape's deal to keep getting studio support. They didn't want the files to be hacked and spread around willy nilly. They only work with DRM keys and the keys are with K-scape.
I was sufficiently perturbed by your reply that I reached out to K for their take on the position - here is a copy of their reply

"Hello

I'm assuming you are referring to Kaleidescape store content. Any downloaded content would remain and nothing would change. Content that is owned but not downloaded I cannot say what would happen.

Systems need to call home for new software and guide updates, but will continue to function just the way they were if they do not call home. (this often happens for a year or two on yacht systems).

Sincerely,"


So as I had suggested, the movies would continue to be available and play as normal, in the event of close down.

I know it's off-topic so apologies to anyone not interested in the reply. Now back to our scheduled programming.
 

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Hi, I have a similar room to yours (long and narrow) with a tv and 5.2.4 setup.

I chose (was kinda recommended) to stay with 5.2.4 over 7.1.4 because
1) the surround backs would be very close (1.5-2 feet If in wall depending On if chairs reclined back) away from the MLP row seats. And
2) doing the 7.x.x would mean that all the surround 4 speakers are “mostly” in line with each other along the back of the room

I was told it’️s better to do 5.1.4 unless you can have 1) a fair bit of distance behind you for the rear surrounds
2) having the side surrounds a bit in front of back surrounds in room and if possible beside or if possible in front slightly of MLP in 7.x.x

Should I regret or reexplore 7.x.x or do you think you are making a mistake in the same room to not leave it at 5.x.4?

Any thoughts or people with have similar dimensions that chose to go 7.x.4 or should I keep the more recommended placement of 5.x.4?

Pics below
My back bipole surrounds are right behind my MLP, and they work fine.
Ok-so one person in favour of all the surrounds being able to be at back of room and not far behind MLP seating vs 1person saying staying with 5.x.x...

Any tie breakers from experience?
 

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I think we have reached a point in surround sound technology where the complexity of the systems negates any hard fast rules since there are so many variables from system/room to system/room. Although there are maybe some basic do this or don't do thats, it's a matter of mocking up if that is possible, or just trial and error with hopefully positive results, And once again, there may be some compromises due to physical limitations, aesthetics, and personal preferences.
 

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I think we have reached a point in surround sound technology where the complexity of the systems negates any hard fast rules since there are so many variables from system/room to system/room. Although there are maybe some basic do this or don't do thats, it's a matter of mocking up if that is possible, or just trial and error with hopefully positive results, And once again, there may be some compromises due to physical limitations, aesthetics, and personal preferences.
I agree 100%...Using Dolby guidelines as a starting point and experimenting with your particular room conditions/constraints will yield very good results. Don’t fall prey to analysis paralysis or attempt to achieve that angle or within those inches. Ultimately, most of us have been able to achieve positive results even with significant departures from “suggested/recommended” guidelines. Again, experimentation is the key. To paraphrase member @kbarnes701, some Atmos is better than no Atmos!
 

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Ok-so one person in favour of all the surrounds being able to be at back of room and not far behind MLP seating vs 1person saying staying with 5.x.x...

Any tie breakers from experience?


Based on the pics I’ve seen of your space, I wouldn’t add rear surrounds. Someone did mention there’s were right behind, but from the picture they looked like they’d be considerably farther than you have room for. Maybe it was just the angle?
Another vote for 5.x.4. FWIW, I have 7.x.4 but also bout 6’ behind the couch so...
 

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@Chirosamsung - Why not just try it and see how they sound like that? Just don't permanently mount them until you're sure.

I had bipole S50s to the side and just behind me on the sides (90-110 degrees) for a decade (meaning I tried moving the couch. The S50s were and still are mounted high on the side walls just under the steel beam box. They are now side heights instead as per Auro-3D and with a little bleed through on the Pro Logic decoder shift to sound like top middle instead (off by 2.5' outward and 8 inches vertical. The array effect of allowing audio leakage effectively cuts the difference nearly in half).

They image just fine there, but better at 100-110 as the on-axis response is better aimed more toward the listening position. New wider dispersion tweeters have made them effectively audibly invisible now. Sitting right between the drivers instead of in front of or behind cuts high frequency response down, which can be noticeable with some sounds like the higher frequency component of the helicopter demo. Audyssey could help correct that through EQ, but just placing the speaker so the tweeters are facing the listeners is a simpler solution.

I agree solutions are often room dependent. You could have all bed layer dipoles (e.g. Martin Logan full size electrostatics) with a large enough room to give them space away from the walls and an acoustically transparent screen in the front. They could sound awesome handled correctly, but like total crap if crammed into a room willy-nilly. It's hard to screw up monopoles by comparison.
 

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Ok-so one person in favour of all the surrounds being able to be at back of room and not far behind MLP seating vs 1person saying staying with 5.x.x...

Any tie breakers from experience?
You might consider this as a way to try to see if you like it. Leave your surround speakers where they are currently located. Just switch their AVR speaker terminals to surround back speakers. Temporarily install a pair of speakers just slightly forward of your MLP. About inline with the largest tree trunk in your picture hanging on the wall. Even moving the sectional forward 12” if your willing/can. Reposition the surrounds forward again. if you are able to move the sectional. Then connect those to the surround speakers AVR speaker terminals. Perform a calibration.

Hard to tell from pictures room and furniture dimensions. If you could rotate your setup 45 degrees. Where wall picture is would be where TV would be. You would probably have the ability to position the surround back speakers.

Good luck
 

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I started a very similar discussion with similar room dimensions 3-4 pages back...feel free to review...
Sorry! Thought I'd already reviewed the relevant info. This is what happens with these long threads. It's too long to look through, so people end up reposting... which makes it longer. Lol. Search function wasn't very helpful for me in this case.

To sum up, it sounds like in my case, with a single wide row of seating, I'm best off with monopoles that are set forward and tilted in, so the MLP gets perfect on-axis but the side listeners don't get blasted head on?

Forgive me, but I didn't see much info there about height offset. Are most people putting their rear tweeters at ear height, or do people still like to offset upwards?
 

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Sorry! Thought I'd already reviewed the relevant info. This is what happens with these long threads. It's too long to look through, so people end up reposting... which makes it longer. Lol. Search function wasn't very helpful for me in this case.



To sum up, it sounds like in my case, with a single wide row of seating, I'm best off with monopoles that are set forward and tilted in, so the MLP gets perfect on-axis but the side listeners don't get blasted head on?



Forgive me, but I didn't see much info there about height offset. Are most people putting their rear tweeters at ear height, or do people still like to offset upwards?


Iirc the spec says 1.25x H1 which is the tweeter height of the mains. I think you can go a little higher to clear extra people or Høgh backed chairs but IMO you’ll want to be lower than higher.
 

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Okay... let me revise my question having read a bit more of the thread.



Currently running 7.1.4. With bipole rears and all other speakers direct radiating. All of my surrounds are raised about 8 inches above ear level. I’m happy with the surround field I’m getting, BUT my new sofa is complicating my upgrade path.



Room is 12 wide 15 long and 8 high with the listening position about two feet off the back wall.



My new seating is going to go nearly wall to wall (only about a foot, maybe two feet between the wall and the listeners on the outer edge seats). I’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade my surround speakers, but I’m not sure which direction to go in.



90% of the time I’m going to be watching/listening solo, but I want group movie watching to be a tolerable experience for the people on the sides.



Given all that, do I:



A- do bi-poles on the sides and rear, and keep them elevated?

b- do mono-poles everywhere and keep them elevated?

C- switch to bi-poles on the sides as well, but drop them to ear level?



Also, a bit off topic, but any experience with the Martin Logan Motion FX for bi-poles? Considering that, the motion 15 for monopoles, or the Emotiva E2 for a cheaper bi-pole.



Appreciate any help you guys can offer!


Especially since you do most of your viewing solo, I suggest you simply creat the very best listening environment for you....in the sweet spot. I’m not a fan of anything but direct radiating but you should use what you like best. Seriously...... I realize you want your guests to have the very best experience. But this hobby, hell life, involves compromise. You will be much more rewarded tuning your system for you primary experience.
 

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Sorry! Thought I'd already reviewed the relevant info. This is what happens with these long threads. It's too long to look through, so people end up reposting... which makes it longer. Lol. Search function wasn't very helpful for me in this case.

To sum up, it sounds like in my case, with a single wide row of seating, I'm best off with monopoles that are set forward and tilted in, so the MLP gets perfect on-axis but the side listeners don't get blasted head on?

Forgive me, but I didn't see much info there about height offset. Are most people putting their rear tweeters at ear height, or do people still like to offset upwards?
Correct on your summation...that’s what I’m going to try when my bipoles arrive...Bipoles in the rear, monopoles to the side...in regards to tweeter height, I always go ear level but others can feel free to chime in...
 

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Sorry! Thought I'd already reviewed the relevant info. This is what happens with these long threads. It's too long to look through, so people end up reposting... which makes it longer. Lol. Search function wasn't very helpful for me in this case.

To sum up, it sounds like in my case, with a single wide row of seating, I'm best off with monopoles that are set forward and tilted in, so the MLP gets perfect on-axis but the side listeners don't get blasted head on?

Forgive me, but I didn't see much info there about height offset. Are most people putting their rear tweeters at ear height, or do people still like to offset upwards?
I would follow Sanjay's (@sdurani) advice in post 57460:

"Speakers sound louder when closer to you. Speakers also sound louder on-axis (pointing at you). Which is why I aim each speaker (Fronts, Sides, Rears) at the listener farthest away. The listener closest to the speaker hears it off-axis, so the level cut compensates for proximity. The listener farthest away hears it on-axis, so the level boost compensates for distance. It's an old trick called 'time/energy trading'. Helps reduce seat-to-seat level differences for greater consistency across all seats."

Keep your bipoles on the backwall and place your side surrounds at 70 degrees aimed at the opposite ends of the couch as he describes. You are sitting pretty close to your back wall so you don't want to get blasted by the rear speakers either.
 
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