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#155 - 07/02/01 08:06 PM Surround Speaker Theories

Dear Ian:

I'm a little bit confused about the theories behind the selection of surround sound speakers. I know a lot of experts favor "Monopole" surrounds for use with the new technologies such as DTS. This camp claims that Monopoles are superior for movies and music and that "bipoles" and "dipoles" are simply bad for multi-channel music?

I assume you are in the other "camp" that favors "dipoles" since these type of surround speakers have a much more "enveloping" sound quality to them? Can you elaborate on your theories on this issue and how you developed your "quadrant" speakers?

Also, is the practice of placing "monopoles" all around acceptable in your opinion, and if so, would you place the same speaker all around (i.e M 50's) or is it okay to mix and match with Axioms such as M60's in the front and M40's in the rear? Ideally, how would you handle a 6.1 channel set-up with Axioms?

Thanks so much for your time!

#156 - 07/08/01 08:55 AM Re: Surround Speaker Theories
Ian Offline

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 1155
As usual with these types of issues there is more than one correct answer. Hence why you end up with varying opinions from the experts. A lot of what you are asking has to do with room placement and the desired end goal for your effects speakers. Within our line of product the only camp you cannot be in is the dipole camp. Our quadrant surround is a variation on a bipole design. If you desire monopole effects channels then any of our bookshelf or tower speakers will work perfectly in your system. The advantages to bipole effects, which become even more heightened advantages with our quadpolar design, is room placement flexibility and seating flexibility. Unless you are planning to build a designated home theater room with exceptionally limited seating then the consideration of the quality of the performance in locations outside the "sweet spot" should be kept in mind. The combination of the center channel and our quadpole surrounds gives a great performance in many rooms and seating positions.

On a personal note, I have lived with effects channels that are monopole, bipole,dipole, and quadpole. Hands down I find the performance of movies with quadpole the best. This being said I do not tend to listen to music outside of 2 channel. I found that in all cases, including monopole surrounds, that music is better in 2 channel. Even if effects for music could be justified and recorded properly, the use of effects channels behind you would need to be extremely limited in order to produce a proper reproduction of the performance, making the type of effects channel used of lesser consequence. Have you come across any music you would consider properly recorded for reproduction outside of 2 channel? In theory music could be recorded for multi channel in such a way as to enhance the performance over 2 channel, especially for live performances. I am still looking for that recording.

In all cases it is desirable for the effects channels to be relatively similiar to the front and center channels in timbre, sensitivity, and power handling. This gives you quite a bit of flexibility within our line since all of the products are designed with the same goals for timbre reproduction. If you have decided on one of our tower speakers for the front channel then the use of ethier similiar towers, or M3s with the M40 and M50, or M22s with the M60 or M80 for effects channels would work the best for a monopole system.

Ian Colquhoun
President & Chief Engineer
Ian Colquhoun
President & Chief Engineer

#157 - 06/29/03 12:33 PM Re: Surround Speaker Theories
tomtuttle Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
Would anybody like to revisit/discuss this topic? I'm interested because I have an incomplete understanding of how the latest surround modes "perform" relative to music. In particular, it seems that the promise of *full-range* surround processing is ill-served by particularly small surround speakers. Are there any folks out there using M3's or similar for surround? Do most of you listen to music in two channel? Thanks for your opinions.
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