Making the jump into 5.1 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-12-2008, 05:13 PM
Hey all. Just moved into my first home and looking forward to finally graduating to a true surround sound system. I've got some older technology but they've served me well for the past 8 years or so.

Onkyo TX-DS939 and a pair of Cerwin Vega 300SE speakers.

I'm set on the HSU VTF-2 subwoofer but I'm confused when adding my rear and side speakers. I see companies that have both bookshelf and surround speakers. What is the difference between these types of speakers? Is one a better option for 5.1 home audio and/or music listening?


06-14-2008, 06:14 PM
The difference is usually arbitrary. But, bookshelf speakers are usually direct firing, whereas surround speakers might also use a dipolar or bipolar design. It's perfectly fine (and even preferable) to use identical bookshelf speakers for the main and surround speakers, but it's not okay to use dipolar surround speakers as your mains. Dipoles are designed to diffuse the sound and create a greater sense of spatiality, but IMO with 5.1 soundtracks and split surround channels, it's an antiquated design that dates back to the Pro Logic era. And with multichannel music, you definitely don't want to use dipoles. Some on this board have discussed the merits of bipolar speakers as surrounds, and others like them as main speakers as well. But, in any case, you should probably do some listening and see what you prefer.

06-16-2008, 02:23 AM
I tend to agree with you, Woochifer. Dipoles will give a diffuse rear effect, but modern 5.1 soundtracks have discreet rear channels, and diffuse effects are not always what is required. Quite often the sound is mixed to give the illusion of something moving from one location to another. In the end it probably comes down to personal choice though.

By the way, I have direct firing, floor standing speakers for my rears.