Monopoles vs Dipoles for Surround

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by john.michael, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. john.michael

    john.michael Agent

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    I am starting to design my home theater. It will be in a allmost dedicated room (wife will have a small office) with 26.2 ft by 12 ft. I will use it mainly as a HT (10% music). As the room is big enouh I might go for 7.1.

    My plan, regarding speakers is/was all B&W except for the SW (recommendations anyone?):

    - N805 or N803 as front L&R;
    - HTM1 as center;
    - N805 on the sides;
    - SCM 1 on the back;


    I might have jumped the gun as I already bought a Nautilus B&W 805s only to find out after a little research that I might yield better results if I had gone for a line that has dipoles for the surround speakers (which the N800 line has not).

    B&W (and DTS)argues that the future is monopole surrouund. However, THX and Dolby disagrees and B&W´s new 700 line has dipoles...

    In short, for me it realy does not make much sense to expend all that money and not get a great cinematic surrund experience.

    Any thoughts or sugestions to the newbie on the dipole vs monopole issue?

    Many thanks
     
  2. GregBe

    GregBe Second Unit

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    There is no right answer. It is all personal preference and you will hear strong arguments in both directions by people who are experts. I personally like a more diffuse sound for movies. I don't think either method is as exteme as the arguments you will hear. I dipole system is stronger in envelopment, but you still get a good degree of directional effects. A monopole system is stronger a directional effects, but there is still a good degree of envelopment. Most arguments that you hear favor dipoles for cinema and monoples for multichannel music.

    Greg
     
  3. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Greg nailed it perfectly.

    In my persomal experience, I have chosen to optimize for MC music. As such, I have found that I prefer to have monoples and further, I mount then on stands slightly behind the listenning position and to the sides, such that the tweeters are at about ear height.

    I find that this works well for MC music, particularly when there are instruments mixed to the rear as opposed to just ambience, BUT, it still does a decent job of envelopement for film.

    I do find that I do not care for diffuse sounding surrounds, dipoles or not for MC music.

    Now, were I to decide I wanted to optimze for film, I would go up high on the side walls, and likely go with dipoles.

    BGL
     
  4. ChrisRuh

    ChrisRuh Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't rule out bipoles.

    In addition: From what I understand it is not as important to have your rear surrounds match your fronts (in terms of speaker line). I've had bipoles for about a month now and completley love them for DVD movies. They are quite different from monopoles and I noticed a difference immediately.
     
  5. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Ahh yes....can't forget Bipoles!

    While lots of users are enjoying their systems with dissimilar rears, I do think that its a good thing to stay within the same line for all five (or 6 or 7 now, I guess) speaker positions, if you can do so.

    I had a Heinz 57 system for quite some time, but when I finally acquired the last piece of the puzzle (a B&W CC6 to go with my 604s and 601s) I was really happy with the overall sense of envelopment that a matching said provides.

    I would probably agree that it is less important to match the rears than the front trio, but when $$$ allows, its worth going for the full Monty.

    IMHO, YMMV, AFAIC....

    One more thing....the OP asked about a Sub. I use a HSU 1225 with my B&W's and am pretty happy with that. Lots of fans of SVS here (they were not around when I got my HSU). Either will give you great bang for the buck. And while there has been lots written about matching subs to mains, getting complimentary crossovers, ported vs. sealed designs, in most cases, you can get decent results with almost any high quality sub.

    The latest S&V has a nice article from Tom Nuisane, and couple issues ago, SGHT (what's their new name...????) had a couple Sub articles from Keith Yates. Very good reading.

    Oh, and whats your sub budget?????

    BGL
     
  6. john.michael

    john.michael Agent

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    In order not to " lose" the Nautilus 805´s and keep timbre, it seems that the best strategy is to plance them higher up then " usual".

    My sub budget is about US$ 1.8k (which I was planning to spend on the B&W SW until I was introduced to the HSU, SVS Velodyne Brands).
     
  7. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Looks like I'm basically set for both formats, though my Surround placements is optimized for HT! Both Movies and 5.1 Music sounds glorious!!! [​IMG]

    Phil
     
  8. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Great post Phil. I have pasted links to the "5.1 Music Mixing Environment Guidelines" article on a number of occasions.

    IIRC, that same document also suggests placement of the rear channels such that they are not much higher vertically than the reference position, and arranged to be between 100 to 120 degrees horizontally.

    Which works well for me since I do not have a room that allows for any sort of wall mounting[​IMG]

    BGL
     
  9. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    That kind of $$$$ spent on HSU or SVS means that you best live in a home with a very, very solid foundation[​IMG]

    BGL
     
  10. john.michael

    john.michael Agent

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    Phil and Brian,

    Thanks for your posts (particularly you, Phil). It most definetly makes LOTS of sense to follow the production specs.

    As a matter of fact this also solved another question that I had which is wheter I should use the Nautilus 803´s or 805´s in the front. Will go for the 805´s, keep all the speakers identical and save some $$$.[​IMG]

    It also seems that I could save some $$$ with the HSU or SVS.[​IMG] Any recommended models?

    You guys seem to have discarted the Velodyne. Why is that?

    Many thanks again,

    JMS
     
  11. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Well, speaking for myself, I would not say I discarded the option of Velodyne. I just went with the HSU because at the time I thought it represented great value for the $$$$.

    While I do not own one, everything I have read said that Velodyne makes fine, fine subs. And some of their newer models have on board parametric EQ, which is essential to dial in a sub (IMHO!).

    As for HSU, my sub is no longer in production, but for your budget (actually a bit less), I think you can get this:

    http://www.hsustore.com/tn1220ho-800.html

    That should be capable of absurd levels of bass! Not the prettiest thing in the world, but it will crack plaster with the best!

    Others will have to suggest SVS models. The are extremely well regarded, but since they were not around when I got my sub, I am not that fluent in their range.

    BGL
     
  12. JohnSmith

    JohnSmith Supporting Actor

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    There is no set answer, although I do prefer non direct speakers for side/surrounds. Don't let the bods at Dolby to dictate what is "best" and "it makes sense", as each room is different, user tastes, audience/speaker distance etc. Most people have not heard non-direct speakers either.

    Take "Superted" for instance, he was considering monopoles for rears, because "monopole is best" until he tried out the Klipsch bipoles, and preferred the bipoles. His sofa was against the back wall so it made sense to have non-direct speakers. Non-direct have more drivers and therefore cost more than matching monopoles. This puts off people, for example the Kef Q1 pair is £250 (monopole standmount) compare that to the Kef Q2DS pair, £400 (dipole wall mountable) I don't think the majority of people are willing to spend more on their sid/surrounds as they are on the fronts.

    Checkout bipoles, dipoles and tripoles. All slightly different design principles. There's also quad-poles.
     
  13. Mike Likens

    Mike Likens Stunt Coordinator

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    You don't have to deside on one type or another these days. There are several manufactures producing switchable surrounds. They can go from direct to dipole with a toggle switch. I don't know of any that B&K make though. I do know that M&K produces a tripole surround. If you plan to use these speakers primarily for theater, you may want to consider THX speakers from M&K or Atlantic Tech.
     
  14. john.michael

    john.michael Agent

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    Thanks alot guys for the inputs.

    I have one question though: If Dolby's specs recommend monopoles (and Lucas Studio uses, acording to B&W's site, 5 Nautilus 802's), why is the THX recommendation to use dipoles?

    Many Thanks[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. DavidCooper

    DavidCooper Stunt Coordinator

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    Also keep in mind that the there really isn't a right and wrong here. BOTH set-ups sound good IMO. Just different. It will be up to you as to which your ear prefer.

    For me I like all monopoles. I like having the exact speaker all the way around (or close to it). Plus the price difference never justified the sound difference when it came to going with dipoles over monopoles (for me).
     
  16. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    That explains why the Skywalker ranch sound studio uses non-THX certified B&W 802 speakers (as you noted above) to monitor THX certified recordings.

    Anyway, From personal correspondence and contributed comments here & in various forums by Mixing Studio Engineer's (including the larger stage mixing), their surround speakers = direct radiator's (same MFG's mostly like JBL's)

    Hope this answers your question,
    Phil
     
  17. john.michael

    john.michael Agent

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    Phil,

    Thanks again. BTW, I enjoyed alot your HT homepage!

    JM
     
  18. NathanStock

    NathanStock Auditioning

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    John, last night I saw a demonstration of the Stadium III REL subwoofer (or sub-bass speaker as they call it). I was completely blown away. The other five speakers were all B&W with the main left and right being 802s so that should be comparable to your set-up. While the Stadium III is out of your price range both the Storm III and Strata III should work.

    A song was played with just the 802s, which are pretty much as full range as a speaker can get. I was impressed naturally. When the REL was added in though, the music was completely transformed. Listening without the REL again made it sound anemic. It was amazing how much information the REL added.

    The demonstration was done by REL and they are extremely knowledgeable about their product and others. I'm sure they'd love to talk to you about your system. Highly recommended.
     
  19. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    It's my understanding the THX select is the same as THX Ultra with one caveat. The power output requirements to meet Select specs are lower than Ultra as they are designated for a smaller space. Other parameters are supposed to be the same. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I remember reading).
     

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