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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Demetrio's Avatar
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    Best dipole surround speaker under $500?

    Hi, I need a pair of dipole surround speakers but I don't have how to audition any, because there's no a home theater vendor here where I live, so I will have to buy them totally "in the dark".

    For your information, I am already using a pair of Paradigm Titan speakers for surrounds, but I don't like the "direct reflecting" pattern of these bookshelf speakers, that's why I want to try a dipole now. (not to mention the "aesthetic" aspect determined by the so called Wife Friendly Law, of course:-)).

    I am considering some model in the $500 price range and some models I have initially considered are these:

    - INFINITY Alpha 25ES
    - MIRAGE OM-R2

    So, any help is very appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Demetrio.

  2. #2
    nightflier
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    Axiom Quadpoles

    Have you considered Axiom Quadpoles. Their QS8's are excellent.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    First off, what main speakers are you using? Maybe you should first look for a dipole that matches those speakers. If either of the ones that you listed sound significantly different from your mains, then your performance will be less than ideal.

    Also, how do you have your direct surrounds positioned? Dolby recommends that direct firing surround speakers be elevated about 2 feet above ear level and pointed directly at one another rather than aimed towards the seating position. That will help diffuse the ambient sound effects common to movie soundtracks, while preserving the more directional imaging cues that you hear with multichannel music (and that dipoles do a poor job at reproducing). I would try that first before you go buying dipoles without hearing them first, because dipoles have their own set of disadvantages.

    In a lot of cases, just using your existing equipment correctly will do a lot more than buying something new can.

  4. #4
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    Hey Wooch - what are some of the disadvantages ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    because dipoles have their own set of disadvantages.
    Hi Wooch - can you expand on this for me, Thanks !

    As you know I'm getting dipoles (BA VR-MX series) (on order now at tweeter) hopefully next week. I've listened to them, like them alot. You've provided me some input on this in the past - Thanks, and Thanks to Wasch too for pointing me to that URL that describes how dipole speakers work.

    I think because of my room layout and my listening requirements dipoles will be a much better choice for me rather than direct firing speakers.

    1) I watch more HT than listening to music

    2) when I do listen to music it is mostly in 2 channel mode versus surround (but not always, and I am aware of SCAD and DVD Audio and those sound track formats) and do enjoy them also.

    3) my room - about 19x19 - has a closet in one conner and one of the listening chairs sits out in front of that closet, the other chair sits up against the back wall. (so the position of the two chairs has a difference from the back wall of about 2.5 feet)
    On the side of the room that has the closet is the main entrance into the room which is about 12 feet wide and 7 feet high (the room has 22 foot ceiling).
    The oppostie wall is mostly all glass - two large fixed side pannels and french doors going out onto the screened deck. Also on the front wall (where the TV is) on the right side (which is the wall that goes out onto the deck) is an opening about 6 feet wide that goes into the kitchen.
    (I'm thinking that I need to do a drawing for you)

    I'm planning to put the dipoles on the side walls. Because of the opening into the room the bottom of the surround will be about 7 feet from the floor. I will place each speaker about 2.5 or 3 feet from the back wall. This will place each speaker in the same realitive position from the back wall to each chair. Then of course tune the system for a sweet spot directly in front of and equal to each chair. (you think this is right ?)


    Because of the positioning of the chairs I didn't feel like direct firing speakers would work well in that space. Also - I have a surround speaker set that I'm replacing (Pinnacles - I enjoy them A LOT but because we moved into this house I have to move to bookshelfs so the entire system is being replace (LUCKY ME )

    I never did like that fact that I could isolate the surround speakers when I was watching HT. Perhaps it was in the way that I had the system tuned, but I could always hear the rear speaker, didn't matter which chair I sat in. I much prefer to have the sound seeming to come from EVERYWHERE verus knowing where that speaker is. I didn't have them facing each other as you explained. They were mounted in the conners in the rear of the room, and angled in to the center ..... so perhaps it was all my fault ............

    Thanks for you insight on this.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Demetrio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    First off, what main speakers are you using? Maybe you should first look for a dipole that matches those speakers. If either of the ones that you listed sound significantly different from your mains, then your performance will be less than ideal.

    Also, how do you have your direct surrounds positioned? Dolby recommends that direct firing surround speakers be elevated about 2 feet above ear level and pointed directly at one another rather than aimed towards the seating position. That will help diffuse the ambient sound effects common to movie soundtracks, while preserving the more directional imaging cues that you hear with multichannel music (and that dipoles do a poor job at reproducing). I would try that first before you go buying dipoles without hearing them first, because dipoles have their own set of disadvantages.

    In a lot of cases, just using your existing equipment correctly will do a lot more than buying something new can.

    Hi, thanks for the input. My main speakers are PARADIGM Monitor 7 (the center is still a B&W CC6, but I plan to replace it in the future for some Paradigm model).

    My direct surrounds are elevated 17 inches above ear level. They were initially positioned in a 45 degree angle to the seating position, but I changed this angle by pointing the speakers more towards the back wall (about 85 degrees to the seating position), and it worked better.

    The main problem, though, remains the aesthetic concern, since the dipole would fit a lot better in the room. I read somewhere that DIPOLE speakers with switching for BIPOLE mode would work fine for both situations (dipole for movies, bipole for music), that's why I considered replacing my direct reflecting for this kind of speaker. Is that correct?

    Cheers.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Demetrio's Avatar
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    Correction...

    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrio
    My direct surrounds are elevated 17 inches above ear level. They were initially positioned in a 45 degree angle to the seating position, but I changed this angle by pointing the speakers more towards the back wall (about 85 degrees to the seating position), and it worked better.
    Ooops, I meant to say: the speakers are elevated only 7 inches above ear level and that I changed the angle for about 75 degrees to the seating position (that is, about 15 degrees to the side walls).

  7. #7
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demetrio
    Hi, thanks for the input. My main speakers are PARADIGM Monitor 7 (the center is still a B&W CC6, but I plan to replace it in the future for some Paradigm model).

    My direct surrounds are elevated 17 inches above ear level. They were initially positioned in a 45 degree angle to the seating position, but I changed this angle by pointing the speakers more towards the back wall (about 85 degrees to the seating position), and it worked better.

    The main problem, though, remains the aesthetic concern, since the dipole would fit a lot better in the room. I read somewhere that DIPOLE speakers with switching for BIPOLE mode would work fine for both situations (dipole for movies, bipole for music), that's why I considered replacing my direct reflecting for this kind of speaker. Is that correct?

    Cheers.
    Polk makes/made a very nice sounding switchable bipole/dipole speaker...the f/x300 or the larger f/x500. They were phased out a year or so ago and replaced, but not sure of the current models. They will be below your budget and came in black or white finish. If you see the speaker with an "i" on the end, its wood veneer and a slight tweak of the drivers, but both same very similar.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omikey
    Hi Wooch - can you expand on this for me, Thanks !

    A
    The main disadvantage of dipoles is precisely the reason why a lot of people like them -- their lack of directionality. By wiring the drivers out of phase, dipoles are designed so that you cannot locate them if your ears are in the null spot. This works great for ambient background sound effects, but is less than effective with directional cues. The reason why dipoles are so frequently recommended is because they were in the original home THX specs, which date back to BEFORE 5.1 came along. IMO, dipoles were a great thing in the Pro Logic era when the surround channels were mono and bandwidth limited, but with discrete full bandwidth channels in the surrounds, the whole premise for dipolar surrounds doesn't hold up. To a large degree, THX did a great disservice by stubbornly sticking with their dipolar surround speaker stipulation even after 5.1 formats took over. It wasn't until their Ultra 2 spec came along that they finally acknowledged that direct firing surrounds were not only acceptable but potentially preferable, especially with multichannel music.

    The thing about having sound that comes from everywhere is that it destroys a lot of the imaging cues that are increasingly mixed into 5.1 soundtracks. Older movie soundtracks are mixed with mostly monophonic surrounds, and that's where dipoles are at their best. But, with 5.1 soundtracks that have a lot of channel separation and especially with multichannel music, direct firing surrounds are better at conveying side and backside imaging cues similar to how from the front soundstage you can accurately place sounds from left to right when the speaker positioning and the original source are done right.

    If you can immediately pick up the location of the surround speakers, then you need to focus on correctly positioning them and setting the correct delay timing. Even dipoles aren't foolproof in that regard, since they need to be positioned such that your ears are right at the null spot.

    If you want to increase the diffusion on direct firing speakers, then you need to position them such that they do not point directly towards the listening position. Dolby recommends raising them about 2 feet above ear level and pointed directly at one another, and I agree with that. With that positioning, you diffuse the sound just enough so that the surrounds don't give themselves immediately away, yet it preserves a lot of the directional cues. Keep in mind that neither 5.1 music nor movie soundtracks are mixed in monitoring rooms with dipolar surrounds.

    Keep in mind that both approaches have disadvantages and neither approach is perfect for all situations and soundtracks, so the preference is subjective. IMO, the Dolby recommendation is the best compromise.

  9. #9
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    Whooch - Thanks for the insight

    Thanks for all the info !!!!!

    Well I now have a set of direct firing surrounds (my exsisting Pinnacles) and my new BA VR-MX (in the store but haven't picked them up yet - but have paid for them :-)

    As you may recall - I moved into this house last fall and as such have never mounted the Pinnacle surrounds ..... I was thinking that I'd put the Pinnacles back in the boxes (like the center and surrounds are already, or still) and put them up on eBAY.

    HOWEVER, since your information was so interesting to me. I'm gonna hold onto them for a bit. I might find some exta energy to put the Pinnacles up and then listen to them in comparison to the BA using different soundtracks.

    I'm sure that in the end I'll only have one set of surrounds - room appearance consideration .

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I had a set of Defnitive Technology bipoles which were great for bipoles..forget the model but they were triangular in shape. However I replaced them with Paradigm Atoms which sound much much much better simply because they are not bipoles...I quickly realized why bipoles are poor choice for surrounds. BUT if you want them, the DefTechs are great for what they are. I paid like $275 used for them so you might want to keep an eye out for a set.

  11. #11
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    Cool we were talking about 'dipole' - which are a lot different than bipole

    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    I had a set of Defnitive Technology bipoles which were great for bipoles..forget the model but they were triangular in shape. However I replaced them with Paradigm Atoms which sound much much much better simply because they are not bipoles...I quickly realized why bipoles are poor choice for surrounds. BUT if you want them, the DefTechs are great for what they are. I paid like $275 used for them so you might want to keep an eye out for a set.
    We were talking about 'dipole' which are different than 'bipole'
    However based on what Whooch was saying I'm sure that many of his points would apply regardless if they were bi or di pole

    Here's a site that will explain the differences:

    http://www.polkaudio.com/home/faqad/...article=bipole


    here's a site that will help you determine the best positioning of dipole for your space:

    http://www.bostonacoustics.com/manuals/VRMXMan.pdf

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Arch's Avatar
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    The next logical question....

    Which type of speaker will work best for multi-channel SACD???

  13. #13
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arch
    Which type of speaker will work best for multi-channel SACD???
    I prefer a monopole.

  14. #14
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    Read Whooch's post

    Quote Originally Posted by Arch
    Which type of speaker will work best for multi-channel SACD???
    From what I understand in the post by Whooch. Direct firing speakers would be best suited for SACD ....

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