Don't like direct-rad surrounds. Why do you?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Ryan Tsang, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Many have smaller bookshelves from their respective line of speakers for surround use, yet in my experiences, I found direct-rads too distracting, even if symmetrically setup 8-10 ft from listening position in a rect room. I have tried a small number of them, starting from Paradigm Titans to their Mini-Monitors to Hales Revelation Ones. I have also owned the Paradigm ADP-100 (dipole) and currently the Mirage OMR2 (bipole). Each time I prefer for HT (I don't do Multi-Ch music) the multi directional speakers because they were immersive and not distracting.

    I thought it would be interesting to hear from proponents of direct rad surrounds. Perhaps you guys have a diff setup or simply enjoy the diff presentation.
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    I can see where they might be distracting if they’re to the sides, although 8-10 ft. should be enough distance for adequate dispersion. I have mine behind the seating, about 9 ft. up and aimed at the seating. Works great, as it should be functionally similar to side-wall bipolars bouncing off the rear walls.

    Keep in mind that high frequencies decay with distance, so if the rears are closer to you than the fronts, you will inevitably hear increased high frequency response from them. So if the direct rears are too distracting, you might try reducing the highs.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    What Wayne said,also I found if you have the exact same surrounds as the fronts they're also seem to "blend" better as well.
    My other reason is multi channel music,you can't appriciate that with dipole speakers on the back[unless it's planar magnetic]. Also keep in mind, that some surround effects are meant to be localized within the soundfield,and I found that conventional dipole/bipole speakers are simply "smearing" that image.
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I didn't like direct radiators for surrounds either. I found them too distracting, and mine were about 7 ft away. (Great for multichannel music, not so good for HT.) While a lot of people like dipoles there, I found that I prefer bipoles (actually, also Mirage Omnipolars but the Omni 60s). I still get good imaging for MC music, but there is added diffuseness for movie soundtracks that takes the edge off of localization.
     
  5. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

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    I had wide dispersion for the side (surrounds). I switched to bookshelfs and like it more because there is a more distinct channel. with the wide dispersion I felt it was blending with the fronts too much.

    for music the directs are much better. JMO
     
  6. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    I'll be the odd one out and state that I prefer precise localization of surround effects. I'd much prefer to hear a sound emanating from directly behind my left shoulder than a sound coming "from somewhere behind me". IMO, it gives the soundfield much more convincing staging. However, it should be noted that my Norh 4.0s cast a very wide soundstage, which allows some diffusion and prevents the sounds from becoming too localized. My experiences may differ from those with other speakers.
     
  7. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    well, i can tell you why i don't like surround-specific speakers

    1- imo, if sound engineers want the surround track to sound diffuse, they engineer it that way to begin with. i want my speakers to reproduce the sound that the engineers put there, faithfully. i don't want a speaker that purposefully diffuses the sound, especially when a sound engineer may have actually intended it to be more direct.

    2- surround-specific speakers are VERY limiting should you decide to use them for something else.

    3- i do multichannel music more than movies.


    if i were building a strictly movie setup, i "might" consider a surround-specific speaker.
     
  8. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I owned a pair of bipole/dipoles and tried a pair of monopoles after reading more about the subject. Ultimately I decided on the monopoles for the same reasons as ScottCHI (except reason 3 - I do more movies). Though now I think I would like to go 7.1, but I don't think my room can support it. Damn open floor plan. [​IMG]
     
  9. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Good stuff you guys.







    In context of movie soundtracks: I cannot recall a time where I found the surrounds in commercial theaters to call attention to itself. I have never looked over my shoulder to "see" a gunfight or a jet flyby in a theater. Yet at home, monopoles sometimes distract me from the action on screen. I guess I subscribe to the idea that theaters have numerous direct rad surrounds to diffuse even intended localized sounds, whereas at home, you would turn your head to see what's up.
     
  10. JohnSmith

    JohnSmith Supporting Actor

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    I agree with you Ryan- I much prefer diffused surrounds in a HT system, even with multi-channel music. I just dislike monopoles for surround duties. They're also slimmer and have built-in wall mounts so make ideal surround speakers anyway. I recently replace my rears for bipoles (also use dipoles for sides)
     
  11. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I am in total agreement with Scott's statement.



    We must also remember that sound for the theater is engeneered for the theater. Sound for DVD is mixed for DVD, and they use direct radiating speakers when doing it.
     
  12. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Can't decide between dipole, bipole or monopole?

    Then grab a pair of these.
     
  13. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    THX specs call for dipoles on the sides, not direct radiators.

    Depends on if you put much credence into THX for speakers or not though. [​IMG]

    Bottom line, is that a lot of us have actually tried a few different types. What works in my room in my system for my tastes might very well be different from others. The ubiquitous "YMMV". [​IMG]
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    To me it's all about calibration and positioning. In a well setup system, it almost doesn't matter which you have, though I prefer monopoles.
     
  15. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Yeah...but not DTS or Dolby.
     
  16. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    It sounds like we have an equal number on both camps. When I get a dedicated HT room I'm be sure to experiment with monopoles again.



    John: can you post pics of your rears? (of your HT of course) When you say calibration, are you going beyond say AVIA level matching?
     
  17. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I can take pics, but not sure if I have a place to host them at the moment. My rears are to either side, not in optimal spots, and basically pointed towards the center of the room. I do a fair amount of m/c SACD, DTS CD, and music DVD listening, and bi/dipoles would not work in this particular room with my setup anyway (corner setup).

    No, nothing beyond an Avia calibration should be necessary.

    I think where many people go wrong is deciding where their surrounds go first, for looks or whatever, and then mount them without ever listening to how it sounds and experimenting with locations. Then they wonder why it doesn't sound quite right. Just because you think it's the best spot, doesn't mean it will actually work.

    First reflections at the listening position are the killers, IMO. It just takes a little experimentation.
     
  18. Edison Tinker

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    I uses monopoles...if I wanted a more diffuse rear soundfield then I'd go back to Dolby Pro Logic. [​IMG]
     
  19. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    Every theater I have been in has what looks like monopoles all along the sides of the seating area and directed toward the audience.
     
  20. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Yes – they are mounted higher on the wall than most of us have our speakers, and they’re much further away from the best seats in the house than we have them at home. All of which insures ample dispersion before the sound reaches the viewers.

    I willing to bet that most people who dislike directs have them directly to the sides, and too close for adequate dispersion.

    Question for those who dislike them: Have you ever tried them from the rear, at least the same distance as what you have them at the sides?

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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