Monopole vs. Dipole surrounds?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by MichaelDDD, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hello HTF friends [​IMG]

    I'm still mulling over whether to go with Ascend or Axioms; along w/that decision, comes another. Whether to go with monopole or dipole (quadrapole in the Axioms' case) surrounds.

    I know the physical and aural differences b/t monopole and dipole speakers; the basics, anyway.

    I know for multi-channel music (ala SACD/DVD audio) dipoles are a bad choice. Or better to say "a not as good choice as monopoles."

    I haven't made the jump yet to multichannel audio; and unless the format continues to "catch on" I am not sure if I will.

    I usually listen to my CDs in regular two-channel stereo. Every once in awhile, I'll get a wild hair and play a Pink Floyd disc thru one of the "surround modes" like Cathedral or something...but usually just two channel.

    So, if you were me, what surrounds would you get?

    AXIOM
    QS8 or M3ti

    Ascend
    HTM-200 or CBM-170

    FWIW, my listening time is about 60% music, 40% movies. As always, thanks for your opinions and advice. [​IMG]

    Mike
     
  2. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I have heard the QS8's.....they are pretty amazing with the movie samples I heard. I have not heard them with multi-channel music.

    I have been listening to hi-rez and multi-channel a lot lately on my Ascend/Hsu setup, and I think it is great, but I have not listened to that kind of stuff on any other system yet. As far as surround duties are concerned for HT, my CBM-170's do very well.....it is all a matter of placement.
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I 100% agree with Curtis!! [​IMG] It's all about placement.

    If you place them 2 - 3 ft above ear level, I think you're safe with direct radiators, which will work better for multichannel music but also do OK with movie soundtracks.

    But if you have them closer to ear level, then I would say go with dipoles. I tried direct radiators about 12" above ear level, and they were waaaaay too localizeable. (DSOTM was great, but some elements of some soundtracks were way too distracting.)

    One more choice though, if they are near ear level, is to use direct radiators, but don't point them directly at the listing position for movies.
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Just so you know, my surrounds, CBM-170's, are about a foot behind and about 4ft. above the listening position...and a total of about 9ft. apart, pointing directly at each other.
     
  5. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Thanks guys. [​IMG]

    *taking notes...scribbling furiously*
     
  6. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    there's a print button right here [​IMG] _______________________________^


     
  7. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    FeisalK,

    I believe those switchable surrounds are Polks of some flavor.


    FWIW, I'm still undecided...but I've got a week until payday to make up my mind.

    I'm only going to be getting the "front three" this go round...so I guess I've got a bit more time after all. [​IMG]
     
  8. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Monopole is single driver surface direct radiating.

    Bipole is two driver surfaces (usually at about a 90 degree angle), with all drivers in phase.

    Dipole is a bipole arrangement with one set of drivers (or just the tweeters) out of phase.

    The dipole setting gives the most diffuse sound field and is appropriate if the speakers are mounted directly opposite and slightly above the listener's head.

    Not sure if the Axiom's have a bipole/dipole switch, but the Polk's do, and I think so do the Rockets.

    My Polk f/x1000's are a bipole design with two tweeters and two 6.5" midrange drivers per speaker. The bipole setting keeps all drivers in phase, and the dipole switch runs the rear drivers out of phase with the fronts. They are a matched pair with a left/right designation. The Polk LSiFX is the same way.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Infinity's new side/surround can be switched for bi/di and monopole setting.

    My preference has always been monopole.
     
  10. Jason Brent

    Jason Brent Second Unit

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    Cambridge Soundworks also has a surround with a selectable radiation switch
     
  11. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    With these switchable speakers, I would imagine the need to recalibrate speaker levels when flipping the switch....right?
     
  12. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Since EJM mentioned bipolars... [​IMG] I personally have tried dipoles, monopoles, and omnipolars (a very close relative to bipoles). In my setup, I got the best sound with omnipoles.

    My problem with direct radiators, if you want to know [​IMG], is that yeah, you need to put them 2 - 3 ft above ear level to avoid localization. But then you're relying on off-axis (and reflected) sound to get to the listener. But if you look at any freq response plot for any direct radiator, you do *not* get flat freq response off axis. The highs are rolled off. But with bipolars (and omnipoles), you can place them closer to ear height, yet you still get good imaging but with enough diffuseness (spaciousness) to offset the localization. But everyone's room and system and setup is different too.
     
  13. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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  14. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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  15. Brad Russell

    Brad Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    Edward,
    I have a set of Polk RT55s up front an a pair of RT7s as dual centers. I'm looking to get new surounds. What would you recomend? Some Polk Dipole/Bipole(and which ones) or a pair of RTi35s? I have been really interested in the Polk surounds but have always used monopoles.


    Thanks!

    Brad

    P.S. I'm using a Yamaha A-1
     
  16. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Your 55's have the trilam tweet. The f/x1000 or the f/x500i would be a good choice. Both are getting hard to find.

    The silk dome in the FXi50 is a bit different but should still timbre match pretty well, according to Polk.

    If you are into HT more than music, the bipole/dipole design is superior to the monopole for providing a diffuse sound field.

    If you are into SACD and DVD-A, you can get by with the RTi35 and might even find it preferable.
     
  17. Brad Russell

    Brad Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    Just bought a pair of Polk Fx500is. I have to run them on the side because the room is 30 ft. long and because of a cold air return duct my ceiling height is only 6'3" on one side. With these speakers should I hang them upsidedown?

    Thanks!

    Brad
     
  18. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hello. [​IMG] Just an update. I pulled the trigger on an all-Axiom setup. Bought a set of QS-8s.

    Will report as soon as I get them hooked up. Thanks for the advice.
     
  19. Luke M

    Luke M Extra

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    I've tried both direct and dipole rear speakers, and prefer dipole. Diffuse and enveloping is what you want for the surround channels. This is especially true if you have to live with non-ideal placement of the rear speakers.

    (This opinion relates to movie soundtracks; I don't have any experience with surround music).
     
  20. Allen Marshall

    Allen Marshall Supporting Actor

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    What are Bipoles Dipoles monopoles and whatever whackyness there is, i saw on the definitive site there "flagship" towers are bipolar??????????
     

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