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Speakers: Bipole vs Dipole

When choosing a system, you may also be confronted by a choice of surround speakers – direct radiating, bipole & dipole.

Direct radiating

Direct radiating are the most common, projecting sound waves from the front of the speaker. This gives the listener a very distinct idea where the sound is coming from.

KEF KHT2005.3 K1 9/10 Recommended AUG '09

the classic KEF 'eggs' are direct radiating speakers


Some home cinema fans – the boffins at THX included – prefer bipole speakers, which feature two sets of drivers that project sound from the front and sides. They’re designed to push and spread sound along the walls, which gives a more diffuse, enveloping sound than direct radiating speakers. The two drivers are in phase, which means they push out the air at the same time.

Teufel S 800 D THX dipole speakers


Dipole speakers are similar, in that they emit sound in two different directions creating a diffuse, non-localised sound, but the drivers are out of phase, which creates a ‘dead zone’ in the listening area that makes the origin of the sound even harder to pin-point.

Crystal Audio THX-Dipole rear speakers

Let's take a peek behind the speaker grills next and take a look at the business end of a speaker: the drivers...

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