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Bipole surrounds are a must in a HT.


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#1 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 04:40 AM

halo,

i just got B&W's DS6 THX dipole surrounds. I had the DM302 before as my surrounds and always thought that my surrounds lacked that extra echo'ey sound. well, now that i had a few brief encounters with dipole (time alloted) i really think that ALL HT's should have dipoles as surround speakers. the reason is that if HT's meant for movie repreduction, i can't think of a better tool to have in the quiver. dipole is the sole piece of equipment that will make the HT sound like a larger cinema. haven't tried bipoles, but dipoles sound awesome. whaddya think?

#2 of 40 Tom Donaghue

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Posted February 02 2006 - 05:36 AM

Dipoles are very diffused in their sound field, which can help disperse the signal to a broader listening area. However, this can also slightly alter the original signal, reducing the focus to a particular location.

Direct radiating (sometimes referred to as monopole) speakers are just the opposite, focusing their sound field to a specific area, which can leave other areas lacking.

Bipole speakers are an in-between solution that allows for a fairly broad signal dispersion, yet still allows a larger portion of the signal to focus on a particular location.

All three of these types of speakers are very functional in their own right and many listeners choose one over the other based on their listening habits. While most movie soundtracks benefit the listening audience due to the wide dispersion of the bipole/dipole speaker characteristics, most music recordings benefit from the direct radiating speaker characteristics. Some surround speakers even allow the user to switch modes from direct to bipole and others offer all three settings, which can work best for those that listen to an equal amount of movie soundtracks as well as music recordings.

As with most listening options, these are very subjective in the sense that whatever best suits your needs is what you should go with. -TD

#3 of 40 rob-h

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Posted February 02 2006 - 06:49 AM

Personally I think there are no better surrounds then the quadpolar Axiom Qs8's. They beat the pants off of anything else I have heard.

#4 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 08:44 AM

this entire post following is a quote:

Quote:
Myth: "THX Surround speakers are ok for movies but not music"

Reality: THX Surround speakers, with their flat total power response, provide excellent, pleasing results for BOTH movies and music.

In general no one will deny that dipoles do an admirable job of emulating the multi-speaker arrays of movie theaters, but many a journalist has gone on record as saying they are not suitable for multi-channel music and that monopole (a.k.a. conventional) speakers must be used.


Research done by Tom Holman in 1986 (involving both technically savvy audio engineers as well as laypeople) revealed that while some sound engineers preferred mono-poles in certain situations only for their ability to "expose" defects such as pops and dropouts, when it comes to actually listening, all persons showed a clear preference for a diffuse ambient surround sound field when the test involved properly designed dipoles level matched to the monopoles they were being compared to. The "bad-rap" dipoles get is often due to evaluations clouded by the use of improperly designed dipoles and a failure to level-match them with monopole counterparts.

There are many ways of getting diffuse sound, including strategically positioned and angled monopoles, but dipoles are simply the most practical solution for a consumer (once again, THX is dealing with the realities of the market).

Ultimately, the argument of monopole vs. dipole surrounds is one of inevitable compromise, with THX and others selecting the dipoles as the preferable of the two. These days, THX certifies mono, di and bipole surrounds, recognizing that each has its appropriate use. To achieve that elusive balance of envelopment with some directionality of special effects or game sounds in wildly different rooms, it's necessary to choose the design that works best. THX still puts dipoles first as great problem solvers in many typical rooms, but they acknowledge that other designs have their uses.

from:

http://www.hometheat....06-part-3.html

#5 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 08:47 AM

personally, i prefer dipoles for music as well. if i listen to it in stereo, then it's 2 speakers only (front left&right). if i use an acoustic mode, then i prefer the dipoles because the direct radiation doesn't work very well in dispersing the acoustic characteristics of the sound. i also don't like the multi "stereo" mode emulating the car audio where stereo signals are outputted to back left and right because that further distorts things from stereo music. unless music is mixed specifically in 5.1 (like SACD multichannel or DVD-Audio MLP 5.1), then stereo it is.

#6 of 40 Kevin C Brown

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Posted February 02 2006 - 09:19 AM

Quote:
Bipole surrounds are a must in a HT

Quote:
i really think that ALL HT's should have dipoles as surround speakers

Your thread title is wrong then. Posted Image

By the way, I completely disagree. It is up to each individual HT owner to decide for his/her room, speaker placement options, and sound preferences what kind of speakers will suit him or her best. A global statement like this just doesn't work.

But ... Posted Image In my room, with my setup, I tend to prefer *bipole* or omnipolar surrounds and rears the best. The reason why, is that direct radiators tend to be preferred for multichannel music; a lot of people do prefer *dipoles* for movies, but I listen to both with my system, and I feel that bipolar/omnipolar speakers speakers give the best compromise between imaging and diffuseness for movie soundtracks *and* multichannel music. I *have* tried all three too: direct radiators, dipoles, and bipoles/omnipoles, and at different heights and positionings to get the best soundfield for me.

Plus, the idea behind dipoles was more for the "old" days of DPL with a mono signal split between the rears. Now with discrete 5.1 (and 6.1) soundtracks, I believe that you do want *some* amount of localization to the surrounds (and rears) to better aid spatialization of the different soundtrack elements. Plus, in 7.1 systems, having those two extra speakers back there also helps diminish overt localization to just the 2 surround channels now.

I have 3 demo clips I show people the first time I bring them over. The beginning of Pitch Black where the ship descends and crashes on the planet. The Pod Race scene in SW 1. And the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. I'll never forget, one guy who has his own half decent HT actually looked over his right shoulder during one part of Saving Private Ryan where a bullet whizzes past. I don't believe that effect is as discrete with dipoles. Posted Image

Tom's is a good post.
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#7 of 40 Brian Osborne

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Posted February 02 2006 - 09:32 AM

In a smaller room with limited seating properly placed di-pole rears in a 5.1 system will compete with many 7.1 systems. They do have a place, I had some in a small HT room in my previous home. However due to the size of these speakers, I went with in walls for the 4 surrounds and upgraded to 7.1 for a little larger room.
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#8 of 40 Tom Donaghue

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Posted February 02 2006 - 09:47 AM

I find it fairly amusing that the author of this article can state "myth" and "reality" in regards to the use of direct radiating and dipole speakers...Posted Image

The "reality" of it is, like I mentioned earlier, very subjective and depends on the listner's preferences. Personally, I've enjoyed movie soundtracks more so when using bipole speakers, but find them a little lacking when it came to multi-channel music listening. Using direct radiating speakers just gave more life to the music as opposed to the bipoles. I've always performed calibration after integrating any changes into my system, so channel levels are always even. Even if nothing is changed out, every so often I'll perform calibration w/Avia and SPL meter just to make sure nothing's changed.

Similar to your tastes, I listen in stereo mode when listening to two-channel music and avoid the five-channel stereo mode. Fortunately, people will always have the choice of one over the other, which the subjectivity of music, that's not such a bad thing...Posted Image -TD

#9 of 40 John Garcia

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Posted February 02 2006 - 11:21 AM

To me, it's all about correct positioning. A diffused effect can be easily achived with monopole surrounds by positioning them in such a way that you hear the reflections with as well as the direct sound. If you take monopoles and point them at your head, you aren't going to get a diffused sound. I have monopole surrounds and they are pointed toward the center of the room. A few weeks ago, my brother came over and we were watching something and he looked around and asked "Are you running 6.1? Where's the other speaker?" It's 5.1 man Posted Image

I listen to stereo in stereo Posted Image
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#10 of 40 Tom Donaghue

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Posted February 02 2006 - 11:50 AM

Quote:
I have 3 demo clips I show people the first time I bring them over. The beginning of Pitch Black where the ship descends and crashes on the planet. The Pod Race scene in SW 1. And the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. I'll never forget, one guy who has his own half decent HT actually looked over his right shoulder during one part of Saving Private Ryan where a bullet whizzes past. I don't believe that effect is as discrete with dipoles.

Another good one, Kevin, is the opening battle scene in 'Master and Commander'. When people are scrambling below deck to secure things and attend their post. It literally sounds as though bunches people are running directly overhead on wooden planks. Then comes the cannon shots and wood splintering, great use of the surrounds... -TD

#11 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 01:26 PM

well, like many of you. i've had monopoles since the beginning of my HT adventures, but whenever i went into demo rooms with dipoles, i was always curious as to why the surround emulated actual cinema surround fx so much better than my monopoles at homee. i've tried various positions at ear level (to the right and left of listening position). above always achieved a bit better effect. pointing it to the back of the listening position (towards the "center" of the rooom), etc. putting it in the corner pointing towards each other, towards listening position. i just exhausted all options! and this is mostly geared towards movies because most of listen to stereo music in "stereo" i believe, but to each his own.

like i said, i just got the dipole a few weeks ago (thank you ebay!) for around $435 delivered. it was in brand new condition! i can't believe i just bought THX-certified speakers in such a great condition. the only point of contention i'd probably have is 250hz rolloff... but thus far, i haven't experience bass in the surround speakers. that's what my sub is for... but i suppose there is a gap between 80hz cutoff&250hz in surround. ah well =). i'm waaay 2busy with school now, but with enough time later on, i should be able to test it out some more. i've tested most of the star wars (old and new trilogies), LOTR and the THX demo disc. i'm just so excited because it's almost as if i didn't have HT before and had just a pair of stereo speakers even though it was a 7.1 system!!! it's totally awesome. for those of you that haven't experience it yet, i highly recommend you give it a whirl.

PS why would B&W (or a lot of speaker MFR) stop manufacturing THX speakers? i don't get it. here's an email that i got from B&W:


Quote:
"Dear Sir

We have no plans presently to re-introduce THX certifed loudspeakers.

Best regards

B&W Group Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: YiFeng
Sent: 25 January 2006 06:00
To: 'B&W Bowers & Wilkins'
Subject: email

Will you guys be manufacturing THX-certified speakers in the future?"

meanwhile, i do have a 7.1 with 2 monopoles as the rear channel in the THX configuration as it is in the article. so i suppose i have the best of both worlds. as a matter of fact, SACD&DVD-Audio sounds better with dipoles, imho.

#12 of 40 Alan Pummill

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Posted February 02 2006 - 01:34 PM

I think dipoles are the best speakers for 2 channel stereo music also!! Posted Image

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#13 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 02:25 PM

hrm. i think we're saying that monopoles are good for stereo but dipoles are good for surrounds.

#14 of 40 Jimi C

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Posted February 02 2006 - 02:55 PM

I think somebody needs to do some research on THX certification, and what it actually means.
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#15 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 03:45 PM

jimi, read the article linked above. =).

#16 of 40 LanceJ

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Posted February 02 2006 - 04:39 PM

Monopoles-technically speaking-would be the best for surround music playback since they can most accurately recreate the rear imaging the surround mixer intended to be heard (BTW: I have NEVER seen bi/dipolars used in a 5.1 music mixing room).

Bipolars and especially dipolars do create a more diffused effect but personally, I don't want Beck's guitars or the back up vocals on my Simple Minds' disc to "sorta/kinda" emanate from the right rear corner of my room. Again, that's just my feeling on this subject.

Same for movies. For example: zooming spaceships, like in Titan A.E. can go diagonally across my head directly from one rear channel to the opposite front channel, and I like that precise effect that my monopole surrounds provide.

And anyway, bi/dipoles can be tricky to place for some people since usually they need a rear wall to reflect off of.

Movie theaters naturally have nice diffused sound simply because they are so large. But most homes aren't that way, which is why the better dvds have soundtracks that were remixed specifically for home playback (I have seen a few soundtrack mixing rooms with di/bpolars but they are rare it seems). It is easy using modern FX gear to generate a diffused or enveloping effect using just "regular" speakers. A good example of this with music is Beck's Sea Change surround mix (on sacd & dvd-audio): several of the songs use a lush sounding string section and many times this is heard seemingly from all around you. Not just from each individual speaker but literally a r o u n d you. Extremely effective, particularly on the very somber "Round The Bend" (this is an awesome/beautiful album, in ANY mix or format. Just don't play it at a party!!).

Lastly: IMO the THX standard has been slapped on so many un-hi-end products (including computer speakers that use full-range drivers-wtf?!) that it's use as a selling tool has become very diluted, almost a joke really. So I'm not surprised B&W has decided not to sell such speakers anymore (if that's actually the reason, and along with what Kevin said).

Audio factoid: from what I read in the audio mags, the first complete THX-certified home loudspeaker system was sold by....(get ready)....Technics!! This was back in 1993 or so. Here's their last THX-certified receiver (only two VU meters but it still looks very cool).

#17 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 06:43 PM

lance,

the reason i find the argument AGAINST dipoles in HT fascinating is the lack of true multichannel 5.1 music. and with a lot of people listening to stereo music in STEREO, if they wanted to enhance the stereo then diffusion is the way to go. as for true 5.1 surround music, i have a handful and most of the mixes are front heavy and have very little info for the rear except for rock/pop albums. for example, the DVD Audio of Automatic for the People, but even then the surrounds seems to go for diffussion effects and not localized. same with Pink Floyd's SACD. diffusion. the recent LOTR DVD audio i'm listening to now, same thing diffusion. thus, if you only listen to a handful of rock/pop albums that prefer to mix localized surround sound then by all means get monopole. but imho, the dipole seems to be have a wider application overall.

#18 of 40 Kevin C Brown

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Posted February 02 2006 - 06:44 PM

Tom- I will have to add Master and Commander to my list. Posted Image

Lance- I agree with you (most of the time it seems anyway Posted Image ), but when I tried monopoles, here's my experience: Multichannel music, I agree, simply killer soundfield. Awesome incredible imaging. But I had too much localization for movie soundtracks. (My closest surround is about 4.5 ft away. Like Brian said, I actually think that dipoles are a good option when they have to be closer to you.) Know what movie was the last straw for direct radiators for me back there? Posted Image Magnolia. There is a scene near the end of the movie where frogs fall from the sky. The first one falls and hits the ground in the rear right speaker. In my case, simply too much attention was drawn to the speaker itself. Major league distraction. So even though I did give up some imaging with omnipoles for MC music, they ended up being a much better solution for me for soundtracks.

There are some designs that are switchable, and those might be one of the options, but I always question if you have to rebalance the levels when you have 1 set of drivers firing, 2 sets firing in phase, and 2 set firing out of phase...
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#19 of 40 JediFonger

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Posted February 02 2006 - 06:47 PM

i think Denon has enough speaker/multi-room connections that you can install BOTH types of surround and enable them when you feel like it. so for music, turn off dipole, for movies turn off mono. OR for either leave BOTH on!!! =). best of both worlds!

#20 of 40 John Garcia

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Posted February 03 2006 - 04:15 AM

Quote:
the reason i find the argument AGAINST dipoles in HT fascinating is the lack of true multichannel 5.1 music.

Huh? There's PLENTY. More than most people will listen to. Now, good mixes, that's another story...

Quote:
same with Pink Floyd's SACD.

That, like the rest of your comments are your opinion, so don't try to present them as FACT. This is your personal preference and you (and Kevin Posted Image ) are entitled to it. In the opening track, when the guy is running around the room and the voice is present in varous speakers, I don't really think he was intended to be "diffused" in the right and left corners of the room. On Time, do I want the clocks in the front of the room to sound normal and the ones in the back of the room to sound diffused? Nope, and that's not what would happen in a room with a bunch of clocks either.

I went and listened to a system at a local shop that used Aerials driven by Theta gear in a properly treated room. The surrounds were dipoles, correcly positioned for the seating and we watched Gladiator DTS-ES. The scene when they first walk into the coloseum was impressive, but beyond that, I didn't feel the presentation was any better than with a monopole. There was no more "you are there" to me (but MAN those 20Ts sounded great!).

Maybe Kevin and I will have to trade listening sessions so I can hear his Omnis. Posted Image
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