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Dipolar for rear and surround ona 7.1 system? (1 Viewer)

Todd Alexander

Stunt Coordinator
May 1, 2003
There was a day when I had a godlike home theater, back in 1995. Times have changed and it is time to get some new equipment. My front speakers and Center were all top of the line Paradigm (Paradigm 11se), most closely matching the Paradigm Legend speaker, with a matching center.

I want to upgrade to a 7.1 reciever and have been browsing the forum for advice. It seems that Paradigm is still a good choice for speakers and I am leaning toward the ADP-170 for both rear and surround speakers. Do you thknk this setup will sound best for a 7.1? My biggest concern is that these speakers are using an "optimized radiation pattern". In other words, not a focused sound signal like a traditional speaker. Should I go with ADP-170 rears and chose a different surround speaker?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. The reciever I am most considering for purchase is the Onkyo TX-NR900.


Wayne McRae

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 28, 2000
Todd, I have a 7.1 setup with bi-polar side surrounds and direct rads. for the rear surrounds. IMHO it sounds best this way. I had all 4 originally as bi-polar which I did not care for. The only way to know for sure is to do a demo at a B&M store.

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
Aug 3, 2000
I believe that for a 7.1 setup, that you actually want all direct radiators. The simply fact that you have more speakers in a 7.1 setup than say vs 5.1, means that each individual speaker is less localizeable, *but*, you get much better imaging if you use direct radiators vs dipoles.

(Remember, dipoles were always a "compromise" for home theaters meant to mimic normal movies theaters: many speakers far away, vs a few in close. Dipoles were meant more for the ambient info contained within DPL soundtracks. As technology progressed from DPL to DD/DTS to DD EX/DTS-ES, *and* as movies soundtrack producers include more spatially relevant info into the surrounds/rears, I feel that direct radiators do a better job of giving you a convincing soundfield.)

Plus, have you ever seen the freq response pattern generated by a dipolar speaker? Atrocious, *because* of how they are designed. Because dipolars rely on off-axis sound, the high freqs are drastically rolled off.

And, if you're going to do any multichannel music listening at all in your system (SACD/DVD-A), direct radiators are the best way to go.

Bipolars are interesting because they are a really nice compromise between direct radiators and dipoles. Still get a lot of direct sound, but the bipolar nature means that you get a lot of specifically intended room reflections too. Room relfections from direct radiators are *not* what you want and can degrade the sound. But proper placement of direct radiators will definately give better imaging than bipolars, *because* of the room relfection present for bipolars. If you can, experiment! :)

Randy G

Second Unit
May 18, 2000
You reeeeally owe it to yourself to experiment. Of all the home theaters I've listened to, the ones with dipole side speakers sounded the best to me. I think it's because I don't like bullets, doorslams, footsteps, etc. coming at me from the sides...totally distracts from what's going on on the screen in front of me. As for music, I prefer the perspective of being in the audience and not in the middle of the stage...which sounds cool at first, but soon becomes tiresome. Most of the listener studies have shown that people have a general preference for the diffuse nature of dipole surrounds because it doesn't distract from the frontal soundstage. It really is a matter of taste and you owe it to yourself to experiment more. As for bipole surrounds being a compromise...well, kinda sorta. Personally, they have too much direct sound for me, but you may feel differently. The one thing about DIPOLE surrounds is that you reeeeally have to have the correct setup for them to work as expected....directly to the sides(and raised a couple of feet) with enough wall space around them to reflect off of.
As for direct radiating surrounds, unless they're waaaay far away from ya, I think they're way too distracting.

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