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Bi-polar speakers???

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Bi-polar speakers???

Postby jonr » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:53 pm

Greetings. Does anyone have experience using bi-polar speakers?

I currently have an old iMac with a G5 processor and a pair of M-Audio BX5a speakers and BX10s subwoofer. Once HW4 is released I plan to buy a Mac Pro and would like to upgrade my audio. I have read many of the posts on speakers, but am still not sure how to proceed. I have given some thought to getting some Definitive Technology Bi-polar Supertower speakers, which have a built-in subwoofer. But I have not read any postings about bi-polar speakers for use with HW. I would appreciate any input folks might have about bi-polar speakers. Due to their cost I would probably only be able to get a couple Supertowers, but could perhaps add some BP10s also.

Just a little background about the intended use. I have a rather small room (14' by 17') with 8' ceilings. It has wall-to-wall carpeting. I am primarily interested in wet sample sets and plan to get the Salisbury Willis once volume 2 is released. I would also eventually like to get a theatre organ sample set once reverb is built into Hauptwerk in 4.1.

If I don't go with bi-polar speakers I am leaning toward getting Mackie HR824's with a Definitive Technology Supercube subwoofer (not sure which model), or perhaps Def Tech SM450's with a Supercube.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Jon
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby organtechnology » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:28 pm

Jon,

I recommend you add 4 BX-5a speakers and an additional sub-woofer (a Super Cube should do nicely) or replace the BX-5a with 6 HR824s. The diversity of sources and the ability to avoid 'beating thirds' with three stereo pairs would perhaps be advantageous. This scenario does require a multichannel sound card/module and Advanced Edition Hauptwerk of course.

Pax,

Thomas
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby toplayer2 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:02 am

Jon,

IMO, six HR824 or SM450 with a Supercube would serve you better than the DefTec with built in subs. The best placement for a subwoofer is probably not the same as the ideal placement for your full range speakers. If you want to use 32' stops, the Supercube Reference or Trinity will be good choices.

Bi-polar speakers are most useful as surrounds. I use a pair of Magneplanar MG IIIa for rear reverb.

Glad to hear that you are considering a VTPO.

Joe Hardy
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby micdev » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:14 am

Jon,

Many speakers, without going over the top will provide you with a more transparent, better spread sound. The DefTech Supercube subs are great little subs; I own a Supercube III and my music room is a bit larger than yours and believe me I can make my house shake... also it is a nice sub (glossy piano finish) and very small, important sometimes for a high WAF (wife acceptance factor :lol: )

I also encourage you to plan the addition of 2 speakers to the rear of your room; with surround sets it is a must and the effect is well worth it. For the "non-surround" sample sets, you can use an aux-mixdown channel and redirect the sound to the rear; well balanced, while not as good as true-surround recordings, it will add a presence, immerging you in sound and remove the "in our face . all in front of you" sound.

Planning how many speakers you want to use is important since it will dictate your choice of soundcards.

Good luck
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby toplayer2 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:54 am

Building on François's comment about sound card selection, twelve is a very flexible number in that you can have one group of twelve, two groups of six, three groups of four, or four groups of three. Two popular audio solutions are the Echo Audiofire12 and the MOTU 24 io PCIe. Both can be used in multples for up to 48 or 96 channels respectively.

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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby micdev » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:05 am

Good recommandation Joe; I did work with both card, Motu and EchoFire and I have a slight bias toward the Echo AudioFire. Motu sometimes isn't recognised and you must power it down and on to fix the problem. This is a well known problem that has been around for many years without a fix from Motu.

While I don't know about the upgrade path of the Motu (from 24 to 48 etc), I remember reading somewhere that you could start with an AudioFire12 then add an AudioFire 8 or AudioFire4. (to be verify thou).
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby cknight » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:30 am

Does anyone have experience using bi-polar speakers?


Yes, I built 36 of them for my HW project. I'm glad I did, but I'm not sure the benefit would be as great in the smallish room you describe. For one thing, they can't be directly against the wall unless turned sideways.

While I don't know about the upgrade path of the Motu (from 24 to 48 etc), I remember reading somewhere that you could start with an AudioFire12 then add an AudioFire 8 or AudioFire4.


I strongly considered both of these before settling on the MOTU 24I/O. For the MOTU, the 424 PCI card supports up to four 24I/O units, so that option is expandable to 96 channels in 24-channel increments. I needed 48 channels, and in speaking with Echo's technical support, they couldn't guarantee me that four AudioFire 12 units would work, even if spread across multiple FireWire cards. At the time, they had only tested up to three AudioFire 12's together. You can mix different AudioFire units on the same FireWire chain. The Echo has slightly better audio specs, while the MOTU supports cable lengths up to 60 feet. I've had the 24I/O's for over a year, and they have performed absolutely flawlessly on OS X.

In your case, I'd probably go with the Echo AudioFire 12 and some of the active monitors others have recommended here.
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:22 am

As I understand it, the best scenario listening to wet sets, is to listen in near field using monitors designed for such. In this listening arrangement one wants to keep from exciting any room reflections, etc. in other words exactly the opposite of what bipolars will do.

I too as Joe has mentioned am using 2nd hand Mackie HR824's and find they give a very accurate, clear and neutral sound. Mackie guarantee's them to be +- 1.5 db flat across the board. I'm making this statement in comparison to the Behringer B2031A's which give a minor nasal quality to the sound pretty much across the board, and no flatness spec. although for the money I feel they are a good bargain and can give satisfaction for ears that aren't as picky as mine.

Of course with sub bass room resonances always become an issue either way.

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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby toplayer2 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:32 pm

Clinton,

Thanks for mentioning that the cable for the MOTU can be up to 60 feet. The cable that came with my unit is fifteen feet. Will the PCIe card work with generic FireWire cables or is there something special needed?

Thanks,
Joe
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby TheOrganDoc » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:59 pm

Hi,

I like Mackie products, but I have no experience with the 824's,
also each and every Behringer B2031 comes with its own plotted response curve chart in the box.

I am using eight B2031's with my organ !

Best wishes, Mel
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby jonr » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:28 pm

toplayer2 wrote:Glad to hear that you are considering a VTPO.

Joe,

I love both classical and theatre organs, although in the past I only played electronic "classical" organs. I recently joined the organ crew at a local school which has a Kimball (3/66) so I could learn a little about organ consoles. It has been quite an experience and the best thing is that I get to hear the organ nearly every week. The console and registration is still quite intimidating. It is very different from a classical organ. I am learning a little at a time while checking for dead notes and referencing the rank data manual. It is a whole new world!

Thanks for your insights regarding the speakers. From all the responses it looks like the bipolar speakers would not be a good choice for my circumstances.

Regards,
Jon
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby jonr » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:43 pm

Thomas, Joe, François, Clinton, Eric and Mel,

Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and experiences. It looks as if bi-polar speakers are not a good fit for my circumstances, so I will begin to concentrate on near-field monitors. I have pretty much decided to go with an Echo Audiofire 12. I want to stay with one of the recommended interfaces, and it seems like the Audiofire is used by a lot of folks. I am thinking that perhaps I can use my M-Audio BX5a and BX10s speakers for rear speakers. Although I am not sure how compatible they might be with whatever speakers I get for the main speakers. Will have to wait and see. Thanks again.

Jon
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby schantzplayer » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:02 pm

I use a pair of Carver AL-III. These are true bipolar. This just means they speak from the front and the back. The driven element is a mylar ribbon. These don't necessarily have an advantage in HW use. They are just something I had on hand and they fill the room and handle lots of power.
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby sipirc » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:20 pm

I am using two HR824s with a DefTech Supercube I (Trinity or Reference are a still a dream at this financial stage as the 32-RAM custom-built new PC and the console ate up most up my budget...). They work fine, the Supercube is a truly great sub for 16' and 32' pedal stops! The sound card is Fireface 400.
I am yet to set up the crossovers and eliminate some popping in pleno/tutti playing - any hints?
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Re: Bi-polar speakers???

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:46 pm

jonr wrote:Thomas, Joe, François, Clinton, Eric and Mel,

I have pretty much decided to go with an Echo Audiofire 12. I want to stay with one of the recommended interfaces, and it seems like the Audiofire is used by a lot of folks.


That is what I am using. It's a very fine interface.

I am thinking that perhaps I can use my M-Audio BX5a and BX10s speakers for rear speakers. Although I am not sure how compatible they might be with whatever speakers I get for the main speakers. Will have to wait and see. Thanks again.
Jon


If you are using them for just the rear as a surround, then there really isn't a compatibility issue as such. It's mainly when you have a number of speakers set up with a cyclic algorithm that they should be matched.
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