(http://www.magnepan.com/home_theater) You can't go wrong with magnepan! Price + Sound= Value
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Mirage Omnisat v2 series. Nothing's designed to create a naturally balanced, all-encompassing soundfield like the Mirage omnis. Very compact, easy to mount on walls, ceilings, or stands.
They are also well suited to home theater because of their dynamic range. The little satellites are around 89 dB efficient, yet can handle up to 150 watts each.
The tower version is very petite, yet is 93 dB efficient and can handle 175 watts.
If you want something very compact, but nicer, more efficient and plays a little fuller and louder, there is the OMD-5 from their OMD series.
The Magnepan is a good value and I used them before but I dont know if it is for you given use of a reciever that may or may not have the juice for them........they are not very efficient. BW, Energy, BIC, Boston Accoustics, and quite a few others all offer bi and dipoles, your backs dont need to be anything but standard speaker if that saves you money, some even advise against rear di or bipole speakers period and ony advise standard front fire models while bi and dipole for sides.
Thanks so far. Those names help a lot.
The main questions remaining unresolved, are Which? (di or bi), and Where? (sides or rears)... and of course, Who?.
A good eff rating is gonna be a good thing using the power plant of the Onkyo TX SR 805... 130wpc. .. and its a near lengthy run of wire too.
I did suspect the surr sides would be best for the di/bi units. I do have 5 Silverline and two Canton bookshelfs right now.
I had even thought to use a pair of Silverline Minuet directionals somewhere to go with the Sonata IIIs, SR 15, and Centerstage.
The last issue is price. Whichever side surrs, dis or bis, are gonna have to be moderately priced or at least within reason.
BTW, the Silverline monitors do sound pretty full bodied, despite their higher eff rating.
Anything else I should know and other speaker models, are greatly appreciated.
07-18-08: BlindjimDipole surrounds harken back to the analog Dolby ProLogic days and are outmoded with digital surround.
Dolby ProLogic was a primitive surround scheme by today's standards--you have a mono signal of very limited bandwidth (200-5K Hz IIRC) sent to two rear speakers. Surround directionality was very limited and dipole speakers' out-of-phase signals created an illusion of more depth.
But that's not how digital surround works now. Digital surround information is specifically located. I have been running a 7.1 (now 7.2) HT system for over three years now, and there are many films that make use of all the channels in specific ways. For example, during the Quidditch matches in the Harry Potter movies, you hear the golden snitch and the players on brooms flying in all directions, such as flying from behind your left shoulder over your head to the right front.
Furthermore, dipoles create a null area to the sides of the speakers and that's the last thing you want in home theater surrounds. The sound should be seamlessly enveloping.
With that in mind, bi-directional comes closer, but hemispherical or omnidirectional is best because it fills in the back half of the room more completely.
As to the "where," if you are only running two surround speakers, they should be to the sides, preferably on the walls, or positioned where walls would be, about a foot back and a foot or two above where your head will be positioned when watching.
I'm a big fan of 7-channel, however, and encourage you to think in terms of a pair to the sides and another pair to the rear.
If you can't do that for now, put 'em on the sides. You want it to be as seamless an experience as possible, and if you have only two surround speakers behind you, there's too big of a gap between the front and rear soundfields, and the surround effects will be distracting instead of enhancing.
I'm speaking from long experience with this. After having surrounds directly behind the viewing area for 6 years, moving them from the rear to the sides was a revelation.
The Magnepans are a bad match on two counts here--they're only 85dB (or maybe less) efficient, and they present a 4-ohm load. Most AV receivers, even the better ones, don't like to go below 6 ohms much and very few can manage an FTC 4-ohm rating. The Mirage Omnisats are incredibly unobtrusive, present 8 ohms, are 89dB efficient, throw a room-filling hemispherical sound field, and yet convey excellent clarity and directionality. They come with a top-notch tweeter--Mirage's own titanium dome design with cloth surround to damp out any ringing. They are fast and detailed yet smooth and sweet. They even include wall-mounting brackets.
The Omnisat v2 Satellites retail at $500/pair but are currently on sale at Crutchfield for $400/pair. Mirage makes a smaller version called the Nanosat that is $250/pair. With the sale, you could get a pair of Omnisate v2 Satellites for side surrounds and a pair of Nanosats for rear surrounds for a total of $650 including free shipping.
They also make a somewhat larger, more efficient (90 dB) version from their OMD line called the OMD-5 that goes lower and is available in piano black or rosewood for $750/pair. The difference in sensitivity between the Magnepan and the OMD-5 is 5dB, which almost quadruples the amount of amplifier power available to reach a given level of volume.
In my opinion, a bipolar's side-null is beneficial in a multichannel setup.
The reverberant energy is a separate event from the first-arrival energy (produced by the front channels), and different priorities come into play.
You do not want the rear channels to stand out as distinct sources; rather, you want them contributing to the ambience and sense of spaciousness, and perhaps the occasional off-screen sound effect. By aiming the null towards the listening area, a bipole can contribute more beneficial ambient energy, relatively speaking, without calling attention to itself as a separate and distinct sound source.
dealer/manufacturer (nope, I neither build nor sell dipole surround speakers at this time)
Well, thanks for the thoughtful response... especially the Mirage notes, and the current multi ch. sound tips exp.
Only way I'm gonna know for sure is to use what I got for now. All the Silverlines and a pair of smallish 87db Cantons first. P)lacing the Canton 220s as the sides, and go from there.
I had hoped to have another amp here but that addition will be a while yet, and I don't want to run 3 different types of power plants, Rec. SS, and Tubes for HT. So the 805 will have to suck it up and do five of the seven ch for the time being... with the Odyssey driving the mains.
Above the ear, huh? Yikes! gonna need taller stands.
07-18-08: AudiokinesisIn my experience, a cylindrical or hemispherical dispersion pattern for surrounds trumps bipolar *or* dipole. The surround speakers from many of the manufacturers have an in-phase 180-deg. dispersion pattern.
I had bipolars with the null facing into the room for the past several years. I just replaced them with Omnisats with a fully hemispherical dispersion. There's no comparison in how it fills out the back while remaining unobtrusive. In fact, that's the best thing about the surrounds with ultra-wide soundfields. They create a seamless soundfield and thereby disappear into the overall sonic environment.
What about this... ?? the intended directional cues which are in play during the film. Localized sounds. Do they still possess the same snap and pop, or impact which is realized as coming from a directed & intended area?
Or is there a loss attributed to the dispersed sonic field? Ex. ricochets, gun shots, breaking glasss, approaching or departing entities?
My only experience with greater degreed sound field speakers, 180 > 360 degree ambienct speakers was not quite so thrilling as were typical limited field or directional transducers.
They just didn't have the same impact or 'jump' factor.
In my 7.2 HT setup, I have previous generation Mirage OM-R2 L-R surrounds with a hemispherical soundfield (all in phase) and for the rear surrounds I have a pair of nearly omnidirectional Mirage Omnisats, v1. As they are mounted on the wall, they also produce a hemispherical soundfield (also in phase).
07-20-08: BlindjimWith the OM-R2 surround speakers or Omnisats, absolutely. Mirage did years of research to get the right balance between direct and reflected sound, and to get the right tonal balance when wide dispersion brings more of the room into play. There's still a strong core of sound coming from the speaker itself, and Mirages (with sufficient power and current behind them) are very dynamic. Their titanium tweeter is particularly fast and smooth.
That's what I'm saying--with the Omnisats and omnipolar speakers, the directionality is as specific as one could want, but with the wide dispersion, you never sense that one speaker is handing off to another. Together they create a seamless soundfield with exemplary directional specificity.
Nope, they'll make you jump out of your seat.
07-21-08: BlindjimWell, I guess that depends on how big the room is and how much you want to jump out of your seat.
Most of my system is powered by 150w per channel. The rear surrounds (where the Omnisats are) have variously used 150wpc and 60wpc. Both did fine. The Omnisats are reasonably efficient for their size and can also absorb a lot of power (150w), so they're quite capable of making you jump.
I'd say a 60wpc system would make the Omnisats sound good because they sounded really good powered by an Adcom GFA-535 II, and anything from 100-to-150wpc with properly set up bass management (cross over to sats at 80Hz) would give you theater-level volume and transients or better in a medium-large (say, 18x20) room. That's my room size and that's what I get.
Anytime I've played a film on DVD/HD DVD with bombastic soundtrack (Lord of the Rings, Batman Begins, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Transformers), guests have commented how it sounds so much better than they've ever heard in a theater. I think it sounds as good as an Imax setup, but more seamless.
My room is a touch smaller... 14 x 20, so that's all I needed to hear. Now I'll keep them in mind along with the Energy (likewise) units. Whichever gets on sale when I'm ready is what I'll try to get for the rear surrounds first. then if that's good, I'll try out some of the side surrounds.
Till then I'll have to use my on hand directionals. I won't be able to do on wall after all... just stands.