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Tom Holman's opinion on dipoles vs. direct-radiating surrounds


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MaxG was speculating on a WDST for a rear center and I was comment on how it could work, Avman.

What you are doing also makes some sense... you are using a KSP-S6 as a direct radiator & tweeter to the sweet spot on the front side and bouncing off the back wall with a direct radiator and tweeter on each side of the room. That seems to make a lot of sense in your room configuration.

Now, all you need is a big Legend Center and you will really be kickin'... -HornED

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Thanks for the book tip HornEd.

What I totally forgot to mention in my citing the specified setup from Sony for the surround sound for music is the different placement recommended.

Taking the normal 5.0 or 5.1 type speaker setup all the speakers should be arranged in a circle with you at the centre. Each speaker should be aimed at the sweet spot.

Starting with the mains speakers these should each be at an angle of 30 degrees from the centre line (ie that between you and the centre channel).

The centre channel placement is obvious, except in that it should ideally be mounted slightly further back than the mains so as to stay on the circumferance of the circle.

The rears I cannot remember exactly but I think that they should be 110 degrees apart and therefore 125 degrees around from the centre line on each side. Again these should be equidistant from the sweet spot as are the fronts and mains.

Sub placement seems to be less critical (they dont mention it) so I presume you can choose the best location for your own room).

Using direct radiating speakers you might expect that the full soundstage can only be enjoyed in a very small sweet spot. From my own, rather more limited setup this appears to not be the case. The sweet spot is actually much larger than is the case with normal stereo. Further, even when you drift out of the sweet spot you still get a very impressive surround sound experience, if a little skewed.

I should also mention one interesting benefit of using 2 stereo amps as opposed to a single SS receiver. I have 2 volume controls, one for the front and one for the rear. This means that I have a much greater degree of control over the front/rear bias than might normally be avaiable.

I am therefore able to compensate (for example)for my high back recliners. When I am sitting and rocking in the chair (with the back fully upright) (and therefore slightly further away from the surrounds anyway) I raise the volume of the rear channel. When reclined the rear sound is not blocked and I am closer to the rears I lower the volume to the rear channel.

This provides the added benefit with MC SACD's like Jacintha's Lush life (where the surrounds are purely ambience and sound reflection) that I can adjust the depth of the soundstage to suite my mood.

This means that I can move Jacintha herself, whilst singing, from the coffee table to the rear wall, or, to look at it another way - I can sit anywhere from row A to row H - how cool is that!!!???

Things get even wilder with the Opus 4 test MC SACD. For the tracks recorded in Churches I can move the walls of the church essentially increasing and decreasing the echo delay.

Of course I am a soundstage nut so this may not be of appeal to all. Just tickles me purple!

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