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Do loudspeakers need to image precisely?

Stonetown

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An interesting juxtaposition of statements, because if so, the conclusion would have to be that speakers should emit an inverted version of the signal out of the back, to bounce around the room and mix with the non-inverted version at the front. Even if one espouses the conventional view of audio as being only about phase-free frequency response magnitudes (I don't), such a system produces radical comb filtering all around the speaker (like listening to two speakers wired in anti-phase) and this is reflected off the walls, floor and ceiling to the listener. This is a radical modification of what I would think was the obvious requirements of a speaker!

I just don't get this argument about self-evident 'boxy' speaker sound. I listen to box speakers, and if they are reasonably designed and constructed, to me they disappear and image well.

My understanding of audio would be that you would mess with anti-phase at your peril: in order for your hearing to separate direct sound from the room, it needs the reflections to be facsimiles of the direct sound, particularly in regard of time domain asymmetry and 'envelope'. We know that the way to create 'surround sound from stereo' is to use anti-phase. It's unstable, and not artefact-free. The open baffle speaker is like adding a few random speakers behind the main speakers, emitting an antiphase version of the signal, like an ad hoc 'Superwide Stereo (TM)' system.

Maybe it sounds 'like really spacey, man' but I think this is arbitrary spaciousness (kind of) and not proper stereo imaging.
As I wrote here in the thread before, the reflections from the walls makes our brain calculating where the speaker is standing. You can hear exactly where it is when not looking. Compared to directional speakers (or damped room) where de reflections are much less and you cannot hear where the speaker is placed. -You just hear a stereo image in front of you. Regardless of speculating how the waves are reflecting inverting etc, thats what happens for your brain. I have tested it. Try the comparison if you have the possibility.
Of course the amount of echo smearing the sound is affected by the reflections also, but in that case the rooms acoustic is really this bad and we talk about something else: useless listening room. ;) However it helps a lot if the speakers are narrow. A combination with good acoustic in the room (reasonable damped) and narrow speakers are best, of course. I think most of us understand that.
Cheers,
/Per
 
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Hugo9000

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Once the rear wave bounces off a wall and reflects forward it isn't reverse phase any more. It will create filtering like effects. So will non-inverted rear reflection. Like the old Mirage speakers which were bipolar.

Maybe dipoles do a better job delineating to our hearing just what is the room and what isn't letting us hear thru to the real signal with less difficulty. Harman experiments be damned!
I'm not surprised that M-L does poorly with the Harman listening tests. The sound is "foreign" compared to the experience most of us have all our lives filtering/interpreting/correcting/correlating to "live sound" in our brains what we've been hearing with conventional drivers. Isn't it reasonable that the sound of an electrostat would be rated lower on these samples played in the listening tests? Due at least in part to the "alien" aspect of the sound on the first impression? Also, I think the correlation between mono and stereo is likely to be different with electrostats or ribbons compared to dynamic drivers due to directivity etc. I have never found the sound in front of a single electrostatic speaker to be all that impressive, but it's been quite a number of years since I've heard any, and I never owned a set.

I have no formal testing to back this up, so my speculation is worthless in any real sense, but I wonder if these are potential issues that have been addressed in the tests. Has Harman ever manufactured or researched and rejected making electrostatic or ribbon loudspeakers?
 

Juhazi

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Google found this discussion https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...aker-test-was-wrong-for-dipole-planers.19353/

I have never heard ML panels, but many other dipole speakers. Dipoles aren't the best for sharp imaging, because they utilize reflective walls. Instead, they perform the disappearing act in a normal room, when played single and give widened image in stereo. Without reflections their sound balance will not be what was intended and the spaciousness will be lost. Harman's test rooms were heavily treated.

 

RayDunzl

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@Cosmik

I don't understand the emphasis you put on the reflection's source being in or out of phase with the primary (direct sound) source.

The "phase" of the reflection, for any fixed lengths of direct and reflection at some measuring (listening) point, will vary with frequency.

Move the speaker or move the listener a foot and a different set of phase relations occur.

I'm not sure I see how either type has an advantage in the recombination of reflection with direct unless the calculation is performed for all distances and all frequencies, along with some criteria for which set is "better", along with which postion is "better", and is likely a waste of cpu cycles to compute.
 

Ilkless

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How many people here know that Blumlein stereo imaging is 'true' in the sense that it reproduces the angles subtended by the actual acoustic sources at the microphone? (with restrictions, such as the maximum extent due to the angle of the speakers which - I think I am right in saying - should technically be at +/-45 degrees to the listener). And that this is a fairly robust mechanism that doesn't fall apart with minor shifts in position of the listener or turning of the head.

Time-of-arrival at the ears only tells you that an acoustic source lies somewhere along a straight line radiating out from the listener, so by creating a 'fake' time-of-arrival difference at the listener's ears using level differences between the speakers (no delay difference, and the acoustic crossfeed between channels is part of the mechanism not a defect), the Blumlein mic pair & stereo speaker configuration does much more than just give you some left, right and a blob in the middle. The brilliant, fine separation and stable placement of the sources that you hear with good imaging isn't just your imagination: it's 'real' (or can be). And the humble panpot is the 'correct' way to create artificial stereo placements that, too, are stable for the listener when listening over speakers.

It is one of those things in audio that works much better than we might expect from just hearing a description of it.
Precisely. I'm not saying imaging should be the end goal, but a loudpeaker definitely can and should be judged on whether it favours the creation of these spatial cues that are intrinsic to recording, processing and playback technique - at least wrt smooth dispersion without a wildly-different off-axis response.
 

Stonetown

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@Cosmik



The "phase" of the reflection, for any fixed lengths of direct and reflection at some measuring (listening) point, will vary with frequency.

Move the speaker or move the listener a foot and a different set of phase relations occur.
YES! I 100% agree. The thing is to find the "sweet spot" in the room. Try to move more far or closer to the speakers (still in centre between them of course), and turn the (hopefully narrow) speakers toward you in every position and probably you will find a point with the best sounding/flattest frequency response. Mostly the bass is affected by this movement. This is a good exercise :)
Cheers!
Per
 
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March Audio

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My understanding of audio would be that you would mess with anti-phase at your peril: .
I read:

My understanding of audio would be that you would mess with anti-matter at your peril

But sadly I am a bit of a Trekky

 

Cosmik

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RayDunzl said:
I don't understand the emphasis you put on the reflection's source being in or out of phase with the primary (direct sound) source.

The "phase" of the reflection, for any fixed lengths of direct and reflection at some measuring (listening) point, will vary with frequency.

Move the speaker or move the listener a foot and a different set of phase relations occur.

I'm not sure I see how either type has an advantage in the recombination of reflection with direct unless the calculation is performed for all distances and all frequencies, along with some criteria for which set is "better", along with which postion is "better", and is likely a waste of cpu cycles to compute.
The simple answer to that is to say: wire one of your speakers backwards and see if you can hear the difference. And then move around relative to the two speakers and see how that sounds. Or get an assistant to move one of the speakers around the room. (Also, try wiring one channel of a pair of headphones backwards and see if you can hear the difference. Yes you can! Even though no physical comb filtering has occurred).

Or, to simulate one aspect of open baffle speakers, take some normal box speakers wired in phase, and add a second pair of speakers wired in antiphase to those and get an assistant to place those in various positions around the room. Then switch between in-phase and anti-phase compared to the main pair. Are you going to hear a difference? Yes. What would be the justification for adding those second speakers? Non-existent, I think. But open baffle speakers do it anyway.

The reason why I claim that antiphase in audio is as dangerous as antimatter (@March Audio :)) is that it breaks the time domain mechanisms in the brain and ears that allow the location of sound sources in a reflective environment - and also the mechanisms that allow stereo to fool us. Apart from the unexpected comb filtering in the frequency domain, the reflection of a transient out of the back of the speaker no longer resembles the direct sound from the front. Any hearing mechanism that is looking for a time domain match in certain aspects of the envelope or the polarity of a leading edge of a transient in order to eliminate a reflection from the location of a source, will struggle.

As we know, identical sounds from stereo speakers form a very strong, stable image in the centre. Sounds in antiphase form an unstable non-image that is 'everywhere and nowhere'. A system that mixes in-phase and anti-phase, mixes those two effects arbitrarily.

Sadly, I have to report that my one and only experience with the Kii so far, was compromised - I think - by not using them in free space, and so the antiphase out of the back didn't cancel fully (and I am assuming that when used properly it does, more or less...). I experienced an unpleasant 'antiphase sensation' of image-less audio originating 'in my ears'. Switching back to a pair of ordinary speakers was a relief: the image snapped back into focus. However, my listening companion was not really aware of this effect, so sensitivity to it varies, I think.
 
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Juhazi

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^It is not quite that simple. Our perception of binaural listening, in brains, is more clever than a microphone. Time window for "direct sound" varies with frequency too. And humans are perhaps different from barn owls!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precedence_effect

"The precedence effect appears if the subsequent wave fronts arrive between 2 ms and about 50 ms later than the first wave front. This range is signal dependent. For speech the precedence effect disappears for delays above 50 ms, but for music the precedence effect can also appear for delays of some 100 ms."

I listen to dipoles in a "normal" untreated living room. RT30 is around 0.45. Speakers are on the long wall, distance to side walls is 2m, listening distance 2.7m. Stereo image is mostly very clear and precise, but some sounds appear to come outside of the triangle. Previously I had normal 2-way spakers with subwoofer. The difference is not striking, but clear. Which sounds better is a matter of taste, but all listeners like how classical music sounds with dipoles. With pop/rock etc. synthetic material, opinions vary. It is a funny feeling when you walk close to a dipole speaker and move your head around it - very difficult to say where the sound originates. PS. Mono sound stays smack dab in the middle - I'm listening to Ruth Brown now!

This is a recording done with a Zoom Q3 which has x-y mic. The sound listened with headphones or speakers is nothing like with ears!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzUGcoofhVkAYUlYX2dyRE1jRUU/view?usp=sharing
 
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Cosmik

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^It is not quite that simple.
I didn't realise that what I had said was simple! :)

I was meaning that hearing is an evolved and trained system that allows a human to locate the sources of sounds in reflective environments. We can create an artificial system to do it, but
Blind deconvolution is not solvable without making assumptions on input and impulse response. Most of the algorithms to solve this problem are based on assumption that both input and impulse response live in respective known subspaces.
To work, our brains and ears need the world to fit the model it is familiar with.

Fortunately, our hearing can be 'played' by creating a situation that does not occur in nature: two speakers producing an identical sound will be interpreted as a sound coming from in between the speakers at a distance implied by cues of reverberation, EQ, amplitude, etc.

Other man-made situations that do not occur in nature will also fool it - or confuse it: anti-phase* bamboozles its direction-finding abilities (try mis-wiring a speaker, etc.), if not inducing nausea!

I am quite sure that a person living in a world of spontaneous acoustic anti-phase emissions would learn to navigate them, as long as most of the elements of the acoustic scene remained solid and predictable. But in audio, why should I have to learn to cope with an arbitrary, radical, unnatural modification of the acoustic scene if I don't have to?

*(For sure, there will be some specific instances where nature produces some anti-phase from a sound source, and indeed, our hearing may be confused by it. But individual objects doing this within 'the mix' is not the same as *everything* we are listening to producing the same anti-phase reflections.
 

Stonetown

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I didn't realise that what I had said was simple! :)

I was meaning that hearing is an evolved and trained system that allows a human to locate the sources of sounds in reflective environments. We can create an artificial system to do it, but

To work, our brains and ears need the world to fit the model it is familiar with.

Fortunately, our hearing can be 'played' by creating a situation that does not occur in nature: two speakers producing an identical sound will be interpreted as a sound coming from in between the speakers at a distance implied by cues of reverberation, EQ, amplitude, etc.

Other man-made situations that do not occur in nature will also fool it - or confuse it: anti-phase* bamboozles its direction-finding abilities (try mis-wiring a speaker, etc.), if not inducing nausea!

I am quite sure that a person living in a world of spontaneous acoustic anti-phase emissions would learn to navigate them, as long as most of the elements of the acoustic scene remained solid and predictable. But in audio, why should I have to learn to cope with an arbitrary, radical, unnatural modification of the acoustic scene if I don't have to?

*(For sure, there will be some specific instances where nature produces some anti-phase from a sound source, and indeed, our hearing may be confused by it. But individual objects doing this within 'the mix' is not the same as *everything* we are listening to producing the same anti-phase reflections.
Why not be more specific and not be too general and discuss the actual situation for a normal human being who's normal experienced brain is using the reflections to tell us where in the sound is originating from, and how that implies with the sound image and can be compared to a echo free room or headphones? I believe such a discussion is more in contact with the reality and not so abstract.
Cheers
/Per
 

Cosmik

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Why not be more specific and not be too general and discuss the actual situation for a normal human being who's normal experienced brain is using the reflections to tell us where in the sound is originating from, and how that implies with the sound image and can be compared to a echo free room or headphones? I believe such a discussion is more in contact with the reality and not so abstract.
Cheers
/Per
I think we need to ask what the purpose of the stereo system is. If the aim is to reproduce the recording perfectly then, as you say, you could use an echo-free room and recordings created for replay over speakers, or headphones and recordings appropriate for those. Other possibilities would include simply sitting close to small speakers, or creating phased arrays that focus narrow beams to the listener's ears with the minimum of interaction with the room.

But I don't think that is what people really want, even though their quest for 'perfect' in-room measurements suggests it is. What people are really after - I think - is a 'lifestyle' system that blends a recording of some event with their own comfortably-furnished room. The image from the mid-20th century that resonates with most audiophiles is - I think - the sophisticated person, drink in hand, listening to a symphony orchestra filling their sophisticated room. They don't want to be bolted into a central seat, and they would like other sophisticated people to share the experience (if they know any :)).

The pair of standard box speakers is the perfect compromise that fulfils this requirement:
  • capable of fine imaging for the critical listener in the central seat, with a static image that remains stable with head turning and minor shifts of position
  • speakers that 'disappear'
  • room-filling sound, essential for other people to listen as well
  • not so big that they dominate the room
  • compatible with a room that has average acoustics suitable for comfortable living
  • a two-way interaction with the recording whereby the listeners' own voices share the same room acoustics
  • real, dynamic interaction with real acoustics (the room) when the listener turns their head or moves around; this is overlaid on top of the static acoustics of the recording
Really, I don't think it could be any better if specifying requirements for the ideal system from a blank piece of paper.

For me, deviations from this easily-achievable ideal would have to be justified. For example, if the system gave supposedly 'perfect' measurements when measured with a microphone and laptop but caused strange sensations in the ears when shifting position or turning my head, I wouldn't use it. Or if shifting position caused the speakers to 'un-disappear'. Or if I found that my own voice sounded strange in comparison to the recording, etc.

There are all kinds of ways in which an audio system might achieve supposedly (I would suggest delusory) better measurements and maybe even sharper imaging when sitting in a very small sweet spot, but would it be compatible with reasonably normal living?
 

Stonetown

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I think we need to ask what the purpose of the stereo system is. If the aim is to reproduce the recording perfectly then, as you say, you could use an echo-free room and recordings created for replay over speakers, or headphones and recordings appropriate for those. Other possibilities would include simply sitting close to small speakers, or creating phased arrays that focus narrow beams to the listener's ears with the minimum of interaction with the room.

But I don't think that is what people really want, even though their quest for 'perfect' in-room measurements suggests it is. What people are really after - I think - is a 'lifestyle' system that blends a recording of some event with their own comfortably-furnished room. The image from the mid-20th century that resonates with most audiophiles is - I think - the sophisticated person, drink in hand, listening to a symphony orchestra filling their sophisticated room. They don't want to be bolted into a central seat, and they would like other sophisticated people to share the experience (if they know any :)).

The pair of standard box speakers is the perfect compromise that fulfils this requirement:
  • capable of fine imaging for the critical listener in the central seat, with a static image that remains stable with head turning and minor shifts of position
  • speakers that 'disappear'
  • room-filling sound, essential for other people to listen as well
  • not so big that they dominate the room
  • compatible with a room that has average acoustics suitable for comfortable living
  • a two-way interaction with the recording whereby the listeners' own voices share the same room acoustics
  • real, dynamic interaction with real acoustics (the room) when the listener turns their head or moves around; this is overlaid on top of the static acoustics of the recording
Really, I don't think it could be any better if specifying requirements for the ideal system from a blank piece of paper.

For me, deviations from this easily-achievable ideal would have to be justified. For example, if the system gave supposedly 'perfect' measurements when measured with a microphone and laptop but caused strange sensations in the ears when shifting position or turning my head, I wouldn't use it. Or if shifting position caused the speakers to 'un-disappear'. Or if I found that my own voice sounded strange in comparison to the recording, etc.

There are all kinds of ways in which an audio system might achieve supposedly (I would suggest delusory) better measurements and maybe even sharper imaging when sitting in a very small sweet spot, but would it be compatible with reasonably normal living?
We have an expression in Sweden, translated to English:" You cannot eat the cake and still have it".... but we can always wish of course... but you must choose, and you will have to choose perfect reproduced audio or the compromise. Thats why I have two rooms. One listening room for perfect audio with one sweet spot for one person. This is perfect both for live concerts and studio recordings, and I have one living room, for socializing with friends, with a decent HIFI equipment with compromising omnidirectional speakers for music and high quality movie watching, music videos etc.

What do you choose/want? Remember, you cannot eat the cake and still have it.. ;) Lets talk reality. Ok?
Cheers!
/Per
 

sergeauckland

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@Cosmik. ^ This totally!!!

For me, the room has to be suitable for everyday speech and domestic noises, and sound 'correct' for those first. Then, a good stereo system will fit into that room also 'naturally' such that the acoustic space is seamless between reproduced sounds and 'normal' sounds. That's why I don't use 'room correction' as I don't want the room to sound different whether I'm hearing reproduced sound or domestic sound. I've equalised my 'speakers to be flat anechoically, so they fit into the room as real sound generating objects.

S
 

Cosmik

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One listening room for perfect audio with one sweet spot for one person.
Why 'a room'? Why not just 'a chair' with speakers mounted a couple of feet in front of the listener? Or an 'apparatus'?

Because, I think, sound is not the only consideration.

I think there are varying degrees to how perfect the reproduction could be in a dedicated room. An anechoic room, for example, would potentially give you perfect measurements - depending on whether one accepted that 'perfect' included the acoustic crossfeed that stereo speakers gives (and which is an integral part of the Blumlein stereo system).

You could take it even further, like BACCH et al., and attempt to eliminate or control the crossfeed using radical DSP algorithms and head tracking, ultimately ending up with binaural headphone sound without having to wear headphones.

Some of these methods, I think, might work, but would make the experience less pleasant and less 'natural'. If the sound doesn't change in a natural way when you turn your head, for example, how does that feel?
 
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Stonetown

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Why 'a room'? Why not just 'a chair' with speakers mounted a couple of feet in front of the listener? Or an 'apparatus'?

Because, I think, sound is not the only consideration.

I think there are varying degrees to how perfect the reproduction could be in a dedicated room. An anechoic room, for example, would potentially give you perfect measurements - depending on whether one accepted that 'perfect' included the acoustic crossfeed that stereo speakers gives (and which is an integral part of the Blumlein stereo system).

You could take it even further, like BACCH et al., and attempt to eliminate or control the crossfeed using radical DSP algorithms and head tracking, ultimately ending up with binaural headphone sound without having to wear headphones.

Some of these methods, I think, might work, but would make the experience less pleasant and less 'natural'. If the sound doesn't change in a natural way when you turn your head, for example, how does that feel?
Ok ... It sounds great what you say .. But I like to be more hands-on and not just talk, What practical tests have you done to verify these speculations? What equipment? What have you done? Can you tell us anything about the tests you did and the conclusions of the practical tests?
Cheers!
/Per
 
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Shadrach

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A recent editorial:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/clowns-left-me-jokers-right

A case is made that in except for a few seats image locations are not precise in a symphony. Rather, it is a shapeless monophonic mass. I have noticed this myself although it is more true of typical amplified music played in small venues. What is it we are in search of, and is it the right quest? Does this shed any light on why the overwhelming majority is happy with low data rate lossy recordings and earbuds? Is it the lurid colored neon lights, cheap beer, barmaids in shorts, and hot breeze on Austin's 6th street which makes the music incredibly special? Is what we are craving mostly the magic of some really talented recording engineers?

The editorial does provide various counter arguments.
No, they don't.
The problem is often audiophiles are looking to reproduce what they consider to have been an event where a number of instruments were played.
@RayDunzl makes the only relevant point and that is what is it you are trying to recreate; being at the venue when the music was recorded, or have the musicians playing in your room?
You won't achieve either. If you could I doubt very much if you would like the experience.
Go to a busy recording studio and see what actually happens. Don't worry about which microphone they are using or where they are placed. Don't worry about if half the band aren't there. Don't worry whether it's digital or analogue. What happened in the studio for the vast majority of recordings bears little, or no resemblance to what finally ended up on the media of your choice. You may well find that even the different media sounds different to each other and you can often pick this out in an ABX session.
Even with empathetically recorded live sessions you would have to specify a listening point at least and account for every reflection at that point. It just doesn't happen.
Next get a few mates round who play some instruments; a tenor sax, a violin and a cymbal would be my immediate choices. If you've a sound pressure meter and a analogue to digital recording unit you can record a session. They don't need to play a tune. Oh, you'll be needing some ear plugs and a dentist appointment because the cymbal, and sax in particular, are likely to rip your fillings out. Are you still sure you want that 'live' experience?
Now play the recording you made and match the sound pressure levels. What do you think? Hi Fidelity or not?
I've written this before but if we could just forget about the music and just deal with the signal processing then we might just be able to reproduce the signals that are on the chosen media accurately; until it gets to your loudspeakers and room of course.
So the imaging that you may be searching for, where is it? Is it in your loudspeaker placement? Where you sit or stand relative to them. Is it partially in the way the engineer constructed the final mix? If it has little bearing on what happened at an event at a time unknown and it's an illusion and you know what happens to people that chase them.
It's a stereo system, not a time travel machine.:)
 

Cosmik

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Ok ... It sounds great what you say .. But I like to be more hands-on and not just talk, What practical tests have you done to verify these speculations? What equipment? What have you done? Can you tell us anything about the tests you did and the conclusions of the practical tests?
Cheers!
/Per
Sorry, only you can say why you dedicate a whole room to a single seat in which to listen to music. What scientific tests did you do in order to conclude that you needed a whole room, and not, say, a pair of headphones? Probably none: it was just your preferred way of listening to music, combining not wanting the sound to emanate from 'inside your head'; lifestyle, aesthetics, what you find peaceful; what makes you feel secure; isolated but not too isolated, etc.

In an earlier post I outlined why I prefer listening to box speakers in a comfortably-furnished room compatible with normal living. In the next post I described why I wouldn't want to listen to systems that might achieve a more direct connection between the stereo channels and my ears. These are my personal, reasoned preferences. I don't need to do a scientific experiment to know that I don't like being in an anechoic chamber, no matter how text book the measurements might be!
 

sergeauckland

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Sorry, only you can say why you dedicate a whole room to a single seat in which to listen to music. What scientific tests did you do in order to conclude that you needed a whole room, and not, say, a pair of headphones? Probably none: it was just your preferred way of listening to music, combining not wanting the sound to emanate from 'inside your head'; lifestyle, aesthetics, what you find peaceful; what makes you feel secure; isolated but not too isolated, etc.

In an earlier post I outlined why I prefer listening to box speakers in a comfortably-furnished room compatible with normal living. In the next post I described why I wouldn't want to listen to systems that might achieve a more direct connection between the stereo channels and my ears. These are my personal, reasoned preferences. I don't need to do a scientific experiment to know that I don't like being in an anechoic chamber, no matter how text book the measurements might be!
Having been in an anechoic chamber a few times, it's not a pleasant environment. It messes with one's senses as visually having walls and a floor, (albeit strange ones) but at the same time not having walls and a floor as they don't return any energy and it's unreasonably quiet. I'd much rather have a benign comfortable room that I'm happy spending time in, whether with or without music. Headphones don't do it for me at all, due to the 'in the head' effect so only use them when necessary, for example monitoring a live recording when loudspeakers can't be used, or rarely at home, when trying not to disturb others. I'd rather listen quietly on loudspeakers than loudly on headphones....kinder to my ears too.

S.
 

Stonetown

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Sorry, only you can say why you dedicate a whole room to a single seat in which to listen to music. What scientific tests did you do in order to conclude that you needed a whole room, and not, say, a pair of headphones? Probably none: it was just your preferred way of listening to music, combining not wanting the sound to emanate from 'inside your head'; lifestyle, aesthetics, what you find peaceful; what makes you feel secure; isolated but not too isolated, etc.

In an earlier post I outlined why I prefer listening to box speakers in a comfortably-furnished room compatible with normal living. In the next post I described why I wouldn't want to listen to systems that might achieve a more direct connection between the stereo channels and my ears. These are my personal, reasoned preferences. I don't need to do a scientific experiment to know that I don't like being in an anechoic chamber, no matter how text book the measurements might be!
As I told I have 2 rooms with HIFI-equipment. One with normal "box" speakers, TV-set, blue ray player, sub bass etc. This comfy living room has a lot of fabrics (furnitures curtains, carpets etc) so it is resonable damped and it also have an acoustic absorbing ceiling which looks like normal standard white ceiling. I also have the special listening room (HIFI-room) with the narrow phase linear speakers (yes they can deliver square wave acoustically) to compare with. You can be at least 3 persons in the sofa in this room with still good quality audio, but it is best image for the center person, and here in this sweet spot there is an unbeatable sound stage, not comparable with anything I have heard so far.

It is also very fun when we can go from one room to the other, with same good frequency response in the both rooms, but with different phase and directivity characteristics from the speakers.
Living room: Audio is very good with clear in all registers with deep bass. Everyone likes it.
HIFI-room: Audio is same in frequency response but more distinct dynamic, no echoes smearing the small gaps in the silence in the music. Very stable "dry"deep bass with no echoes, and super clear echo free mid and highs like when listening with best earphones available.
In the living room you clearly hear where the speakers are standing, but in the HIFI-room you cannot tell where the speakers are. You just have a wall of audio in front of you and this audio image is wider than the distance between the speakers.

What more can we do? Maybe I am the only lucky one to be able to have two rooms for HIFI? I doubt..

Anyway I am curious what other here have done to have their best audio image. In real life. Not in their dreams! Any? What experiences?

I don't believe it is ever is possible to achieve the sound stage we have in the "one person" HIFI-room in a living room for many. You cannot have the cake and eat it. Am I wrong?

Cheers!
/Per
 
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