Dipole effect speakers: the surround sound specialists

Dipole effect speakers emit sound waves in two directions. This special sound dispersion can produce authentic cinema sound in your living room.

Diffused sound distribution through effect speakers

When mixing film soundtracks for cinema, the sound engineer assumes that the rear cinema room will be sounded by a large number of dipole speakers mounted all around the walls. This arrangement ensures that the sound reaches the listeners from different directions and is therefore not easy to locate as a single source. The result is a diffused sound stage that produces the most natural and three dimensional sound.

Teufel System 6 THX Dipol

That’s why modern cinemas have a number of speakers on the side and rear walls. These are responsible for playing back surround effects. So that the effects cannot be located, the sound engineers mix the soundtracks in such a way that as many reflections as possible create an impressive surround atmosphere in the cinema.

How dipole effect speakers produce cinema sound

It is not so easy to create such an elaborate speaker arrangement in a home cinema set up of course. The solution is “full-range dipoles” – special speakers that emit sound in two directions and are therefore difficult to locate when set up correctly. The surround sound effect from the cinema can thus be emulated almost perfectly in your own the living room.

However, when speakers such as front and centre speakers radiate sound effects directed at the listeners, the result is not a diffused sound stage and thus not the spatial sound impression that the sound director wanted to create for the respective film scene. Only diffusely reproduced effect channels can create an effective spatial sound – from wide prairie landscapes to a narrow cellar.

The situation is rather different when it comes to gaming sound. Here, you do want to achieve a directed radiation, so that the player can precisely locate opponents, for example. Many Teufel dipole loudspeakers can therefore be switched to direct radiators by toggle switch. There are different approaches to surround music. Whether direct  or dipole speakers are more suitable also depends on the musical genre (direct emitters suits jazz, rock and pop whereas dipole speakers are better for classical).

Home cinema systems from Teufel

theater 500 5.1 surround set

THEATER 500 5.1

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How to correctly install your dipole speakers

Representation of the installation of a 5.1 system with dipole effect loudspeakers
The position of the dipoles in a 5.1 arrangement

How can you create the largest possible spatial effect backdrop with dipole speakers?

There are some important requirements when it comes to installing dipole effect speakers. Firstly, there should be enough space for dipole effect speakers in the living room. They should be positioned at the level of the listener area, but remain at least one metre behind it. They should also be placed half a metre to one metre above ear level. Ideally, they should stand at a distance of at least 50 centimetres away from the rear wall so that the sound can be reflected freely.

If you sit with your back directly to the wall, it is advisable to fix the dipole speakers using wall brackets. Even if you can only create a wall distance of a few centimetres, dipole speakers mounted in this way will usually produce a more effective effect than when conventional direct emitters are used.

For detailed information on how to correctly set up your home cinema system, please refer to our guide to home cinema installation.

Diffused sound thanks to direct emitters

You can actually also use a couple of handy tricks in order to use conventional, direct-radiating speakers as effect speakers. The speakers must be fixed to the opposite wall, shelf or on the ceiling. The resulting reflections produce an impressive all-round sound – inexpensive, but pretty good.

Regardless of whether you use a dipole or direct emitters, the following rule applies: surround speakers should never be aimed directly at the audience. In this case, the sound source can be located and the spatial sound effect is greatly reduced.

✔ Another tip: don’t turn up the volume of the effect speakers too much! Exaggerated rear speakers are not only annoying, but they also take away much of the authenticity of the cinema atmosphere.

Dipole effect speakers from Teufel

Dipole effect loudspeaker photographed from diagonally above
The customised expansion set for System 6 THX
  • Theater 500 Surround Dipole: High-end 2-way system, high-precision phase-shifted playback and easy wall mounting – the Theater 500 dipole speakers bring authentic cinema sound into yourliving room.
  • System 6 THX Ausbauset: When you use the THX-certified dipoles as expansion components, you’re really experiencing the Champions League of home cinema. The compact effect speakers contain not only two tweeters and two mid-range speakers per speaker, but also one woofer.

Control centres for your home cinema system

Conclusion: dipole effect speakers

  • Dipole effect speakers emit sound waves to the front and rear, but not directly to the listener.
  • This method of dispersion can create a diffused, extremely spatial sound impression.
  • Dipoles are mounted in a raised position at or slightly behind the listening area.
  • The speakers should be at least 50 cm from the rear wall, or alternatively it can be mounted on wall brackets.

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