Bi-pole, di-pole and direct radiating. Please explain.

Bristol Pete

Well-known Member
As above can somebody of knowledge please explain the relative merits of these speaker types as well as the down sides.

I pressume that they all sound very different.

Also, where possible please give examples of a set up I might be able to look at online with the three different speaker types.

Finally, is each speaker type relative to a room and certain home cinema pre-requisites such a space and positioning ?

Thanks in advance.

Captain Benefit.


Active Member
Dipoles are a relict of Dolby Pro-Logic times where the rears where mono. Due to the drivers firing out of phase (by 180 degree) they create a very diffuse soundfield which might actually suit movies very well but not so much multichannel music. As well bass response is usually poor as the low frequencies tend to cancel each other out due to the dipolar design. Exceptions may exist (I gotta say this before "someone" jumps at me and screams KEF TDM ... ;) ).

Bipoles are similar but the drivers are wired so that they fire in phase, thus increasing bass response. This results in a more localized sound but not as much as normal (monopole) speakers.
Perhaps a good compromise between dipoles and monopoles.

Normal speakers or monopoles are very directional and thus most suitable for mulitchannel music. But since digital soundtracks are not longer mono only it is said that they are also suitable for movies and dipoles are not really required.

Di/bipoles are installed on the sidewalls, just left and right of the listening position.
Normal speakers can be put into the corner, on stands or the rear wall, depends on you room layout.
Usually rear speakers will be installed about 1.8m from the floor, personally I found rears on stands at ear level rather irritating.

What speaker type to choose is a very personal opinion, thus I can only recommend you will listen to them yourself.
Note that some speakers can be switched between di- and bipole.

Ian J

The big advantage of bipole speakers is gained when the rear speaker position is too close to the seating area (most modern houses) and flatter bipoles (like Mission M7DS or M77DS) will not fire directly at you.

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