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Has anyone heard speakers with a wider soundstage than Revel's?

symphara

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Not under 3k but I heard the Persona 3F after the Revel 208 and it was incomparable. The Persona had this surreal, holographic sound stage.

I've never heard anything like it and I have friends with the likes of B&W Nautilus and Von Schweikert.
 

Thomas_A

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Somehow I feel this issue is related to the ratio of direct:reflected sound as in other threads. However, I am confused about the terminology used.

Soundstage or imaging is to me related to placement of various sound sources in the phantom image. Good imaging implies a linear on-axis/listener window response, absence of early reflections from the frontal arrived sound. A narrow dispersion is beneficial.

A sense of being there is related to the envelope, i.e. later reflections from the walls having similar frequency content as the direct sound. A wide dispersion is beneficial, ideally having the same linear frequency response as the direct sound.

Having both worlds means that you need an "untouched" direct sound within the first 2 ms or so, combined with delayed and lower power envelope reflections from the side-walls ideally with the same frequency response as the direct sound (at least up to 8 kHz or so). A different solution is to go three-speaker or surround using stereo recordings which will make both wider soundstage and more envelope to the scene. This will be better provided that there are good down-mixing algorithms and suitable recordings.

So I do not think envelope reflections have anything to do with increasing stereo width, but it masks the errors of the stereo system and increases the illusion of a musical event happening in front of you. Perhaps this is actually the "sound stage" which will differ from the term imaging?
 
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nerdoldnerdith

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Somehow I feel this issue is related to the ratio of direct:reflected sound as in other threads. However, I am confused about the terminology used.

Soundstage or imaging is to me related to placement of various sound sources in the phantom image. Good imaging implies a linear on-axis/listener window response, absence of early reflections from the frontal arrived sound. A narrow dispersion is beneficial.

A sense of being there is related to the envelope, i.e. later reflections from the walls having similar frequency content as the direct sound. A wide dispersion is beneficial, ideally having the same linear frequency response as the direct sound.

Having both worlds means that you need an "untouched" direct sound within the first 2 ms or so, combined with delayed and lower power envelope reflections from the side-walls ideally with the same frequency response as the direct sound (at least up to 8 kHz or so). A different solution is to go three-speaker or surround using stereo recordings which will make both wider soundstage and more envelope to the scene. This will be better provided that there are good down-mixing algorithms and suitable recordings.

So I do not think envelope reflections have directly anything to do with increasing stereo width, but it masks the errors of the stereo system and increases the illusion of a musical event happening in front of you.
I consider soundstage and imaging to be different things. A system can have precise imaging without the soundstage being especially wide or deep. A system can also sound very wide and/or deep while also being hazy in being able to represent things within that space.

Based on my experience I would say it definitely has to do with reflections. When those reflections match the direct sound they add to the soundstage and make it wider. When they don't match they interfere with it and muddle things up. The more reflected sound energy you have timbrally similar to the direct sound, the larger the soundstage is.

My Morrison Audio omnidirectional speakers have reflected sound identical to the direct sound. When you listen to them you get more reflected energy than basically any other speaker. This has the effect of creating an enormous soundstage stretching wider than the room itself and infinitely deep. Because reflected sound is timbrally similar imaging is also very precise.
 

Thomas_A

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I consider soundstage and imaging to be different things. A system can have precise imaging without the soundstage being especially wide or deep. A system can also sound very wide and/or deep while also being hazy in being able to represent things within that space.

Based on my experience I would say it definitely has to do with reflections. When those reflections match the direct sound they add to the soundstage and make it wider. When they don't match they interfere with it and muddle things up. The more reflected sound energy you have timbrally similar to the direct sound, the larger the soundstage is.

My Morrison Audio omnidirectional speakers have reflected sound identical to the direct sound. When you listen to them you get more reflected energy than basically any other speaker. This has the effect of creating an enormous soundstage stretching wider than the room itself and infinitely deep. Because reflected sound is timbrally similar imaging is also very precise.

Would you say that soundstage is both imaging and envelope combined? Besides omni speakers, I think that in- or on-wall speakers with near 180° uniform dispersion will perform better in small rooms, without the problem of front wall reflections. Omni speakers would typically need large rooms.
 

nerdoldnerdith

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Would you say that soundstage is both imaging and envelope combined? Besides omni speakers, I think that in- or on-wall speakers with near 180° uniform dispersion will perform better in small rooms, without the problem of front wall reflections. Omni speakers would typically need large rooms.
Omni speakers don't need large rooms to get the massive soundstage effect. I don't know how they sound in large rooms. My room isn't particularly large, but the are pulled out quite a bit from the front wall.

That's true about on wall speakers. I am designing a speaker that will do just that. We will see...

I'm not sure what you mean by envelope. That's not a term I use. I think we are speaking accross terms here.
 

Thomas_A

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Omni speakers don't need large rooms to get the massive soundstage effect. I don't know how they sound in large rooms. My room isn't particularly large, but the are pulled out quite a bit from the front wall.

That's true about on wall speakers. I am designing a speaker that will do just that. We will see...

I'm not sure what you mean by envelope. That's not a term I use. I think we are speaking accross terms here.

It is used as a term of sounds coming from everywhere;

https://asa.scitation.org/doi/10.1121/1.3647866
 

steve59

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Strangely my salon 1 and 2 didn’t soundstage though they imaged like crazy. My performa 2 f52 was one of the most amazing at soundstage and imaging and at $2500 used they fit the price constraint, but they were intimate and did depth like no other. My persona 7f was as good as those f52’s and even more specific, agreed I had to mess with toe in but well worth it. Maybe my meridian dsp 8000’s and kef blades have side firing woofers idk can hi fq’s ride the wave? Both those speakers soundstage beyond the speaker boundaries.
 

puppet

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With good use of EQ you can get an even mediocre set of loudspeakers to supply spaciousness. If you take several measurements (one enclosure at a time), mostly off axis (to 10, 20, 30 degrees both ways at least and maybe one at 45 degrees between the pair), and average the responses ... killing any major peaks in each loudspeaker, you'll eventually get a nice smooth reflective response that will match the on axis response (in shape) pretty well. The coloration pretty much goes away (the 45 degree shot between the pair will reveal this). This works well in reflective rooms. Ultimately, your on axis response may not be exactly flat anymore but the overall in room response will be real close. As a last measurement, I'll take one where the loudspeakers responses cross (mic pointed at the front wall). You should see a nice downward trend in both left/right responses as well as the combined L/R response.

Takes a little time but IMO it's worth it. You'll be able to hear the same tonal response no matter where you are in front of the pair.
 

richard12511

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Hmm. In my experience with the Beolab 90, increasing dispersion (which can be manipulated) did increase the width of the soundstage but at the expense of detail, imaging and specificity.
Interesting, and that's probably the perfect speaker to test with. Your experiences exactly match my own. My narrow dispersion(60° beamwidth) speakers have by far the best imaging and clarity. My Revels have the widest soundstage of any speaker I own. The Revel's imaging is the least precise, but, not by much, and I find they have an overall excellent balance between image precision and soundstage width.

Perhaps there are optimal values, depending on room dimensions and boundaries.

I tend to think there is, but I also think it depends on the listener, as well as the number of speakers. As the number of speakers decreases, the advantage of wider dispersion increases. Did you get a chance to test the Beolab in mono? I wonder if the wide or omni modes might be preferred over the narrow for mono single speaker listening?

For stereo, I find my 8351s probably strike the best balance of soundstage width and imaging, followed by the Revels(I don't have TOL Revel's like you). The image specificity and clarity of the 60° JTRs is intoxicating in it's own way, but the width is lesser. For reference, looking at reviews here, specifically at 2-10kHz and the -6dB point:

Genelec 8351b: ~100°
JBL 708p: ~100°
Revel F328Be: ~100-140° (140 most of the way)
Focal Solo Be: ~140-180°
Neumann KH310: ~95-105°
KEF R3: ~80-100°

From memory(you can correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll edit the post), the narrow, wide, omni options for the Beolab90 were 100(or 110)° , 180° , and 360°, respectively.

The Genelec and JBL stand out for being near perfect in terms of consistency, but not as wide as some of the others. The interesting one to me is the Revel vs KEF comparison, as I see them as competitors. They're similarly neutral, so it's nice to have well designed wider and narrower option in the passive market. Might also have something to do with the target audience, as well. I would expect KEF to throw a more precise center image(especially with coax), and the Revel to throw a wider soundstage.

I think the Genelecs are ~105-110°, Revels are ~130-140°, Focals (less even, but wider in that soundstage portion) ~120-180.

P.S.: To answer the question in the thread title, I have not yet heard any speaker with a wider soundstage in my listening room.

Only thing I've heard that's wider than Revels is the big MBLs at a show, but I found that they sacrificed too much in the imaging department. I know @echopraxia had an Revel F206 and Ascend Sierra Tower at the same time, and the Ascend was (IIRC) preferred in a blind test :), due in part to the wider horizontal soundstage. I'm really looking forward to seeing spins and beamwidth charts for the Philharmonic BMR Tower, that thing could be a real steal for wide dispersion lovers if it does well.
 

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richard12511

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I consider soundstage and imaging to be different things. A system can have precise imaging without the soundstage being especially wide or deep. A system can also sound very wide and/or deep while also being hazy in being able to represent things within that space.

Based on my experience I would say it definitely has to do with reflections. When those reflections match the direct sound they add to the soundstage and make it wider. When they don't match they interfere with it and muddle things up. The more reflected sound energy you have timbrally similar to the direct sound, the larger the soundstage is.

My Morrison Audio omnidirectional speakers have reflected sound identical to the direct sound. When you listen to them you get more reflected energy than basically any other speaker. This has the effect of creating an enormous soundstage stretching wider than the room itself and infinitely deep. Because reflected sound is timbrally similar imaging is also very precise.

This aligns very well with my own experiences. Between your Salon2 and Morrison Audio, which would you say strikes the best balance?
 

nerdoldnerdith

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This aligns very well with my own experiences. Between your Salon2 and Morrison Audio, which would you say strikes the best balance?
The Salon2's are more accurate for sure. The Morrison's sound gigantic, but this is an exagerrated sense of space that doesn't work for most content you throw at them. They will take whatever space is in the recording and enlarge it. Vocals and instruments that naturally have narrowing directivity don't sound quite right. On the other hand, drums, piano, and instruments that are omnidirectional image with a sense of realism that I've never heard from another audio system. With the right music it sounds basically you have for example a live jazz band in your room.

I can use my Salon2's for pretty much anything and they will sound great. For certain music they won't be as enjoyable as the Morrison's, but for most music they sound better and more accurate.
 

Thomas_A

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True omni will give higher an envelope of higher SPL and if the reflections are too early or too loud they will most probably interfere with the localisation cues/precedence. So omni-directional speaker may blur imaging, especially in small rooms or in rooms where reflections near speaker not absorbed.

So while you can say that there is balance between imaging and envelope, it will depend strongly on how of the reflections are dealt with. It should be possible to have high quality of both worlds, but it needs careful balance between room size, listening distance, acoustic treatment and speaker dispersion characteristics. IMO.

An interesting review of Amir was that of the IKEA on-wall speaker, in mono:

"Dispersion was broad which gave a very nice feeling to sound. It is like an open window to what is playing."

1631168874496.png
 
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Kal Rubinson

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Did you get a chance to test the Beolab in mono? I wonder if the wide or omni modes might be preferred over the narrow for mono single speaker listening?
I never test in mono because it is not directly relevant to how I listen to music. I listen most in multichannel and a bit less in stereo. Never mono.
From memory(you can correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll edit the post), the narrow, wide, omni options for the Beolab90 were 100(or 110)° , 180° , and 360°, respectively.
According to B&O, they are 90°, 180° , and 360°.
Only thing I've heard that's wider than Revels is the big MBLs at a show, but I found that they sacrificed too much in the imaging department.
Yes and even the validity of the wide expansion itself is challenged by comparison to discrete multichannel.
 

ferrellms

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Let's say under $3k. I've heard a good number of speakers but Revel's had the biggest soundstage and was curious if anyone has heard something that had a noticeably wider soundstage?
Bose 901s reflected off the back wall and made a giant soundstage. But really, the answer to your question is so dependent on the room and the source material and where the speakers and listeners are located in the room that it can't be answered meaningfully.

On some recordings my old Genelec 8040's in a treated room (reduced early reflections and diffuse later in time) in a near-field as recommended by Genelec (high ratio of direct to room sound) and with DRC (reduced room coloration, EQ, and time coherence) will produce a subjective "soundstage" that envelops the entire front half of the room with each sound source clearly and solidly placed within it - but only on some recordings. On others, the "soundstage" is smaller. If you have a proper room and good speakers and the speakers and you are placed appropriately, you will hear the stereo image that is actually in the recording as opposed to one artificially created by room colorations, as did the Bose 901s by design.

Recording studios and monitors are expected to do this kind of accurate imaging in a professional environment. Home entertainment gear ("audiophile" stuff no matter how expensive and imposing) in a living room, not so much.

But now, thanks to cardioid speakers that direct sound forward only and as a result reduce room effects, and use DSP for time correction and EQ (like Kii and DutchDutch), perhaps we can have accurate imaging AND a system that works in a living room!
 
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mononoaware

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What about constant directivity. . . does it have any effect on soundstage?
I saw these recently which looked interesting.

Presonus CDL12P. These seem to be a lower cost version of their CDL12 constant-directivity PA speaker.
I wonder how a pair of these would fit into the living room (lockdown ideas).
presonus-cdl12p-34R_big.jpg

https://www.presonus.com/products/CDL12P/features

Can anyone explain some Pros and Cons to these speakers in a living room?
 
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ferrellms

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What about constant directivity. . . does it have any effect on soundstage?
I saw these recently which looked interesting.

Presonus CDL12P. These seem to be a lower cost version of their CDL12 constant-directivity PA speaker.
I wonder how a pair of these would fit into the living room (lockdown ideas).
presonus-cdl12p-34R_big.jpg

https://www.presonus.com/products/CDL12P/features

Can anyone explain some Pros and Cons to these speakers in a living room?
These are designed to fill an auditorium with sound. They will direct sound straight at an audience and keep it from ceilings and floors and provide a lot of coverage deep into a very big room at very high volumes. Aside from the looks, not really appropriate for a living room unless you want the loudest home stereo in your town.
 

blestin

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From someone who owns Revel bookshelf, owned and sold Revel F226be, own BMR bookshelf and Philharmonic BMR Towers I can definitely say that the BMRs have the biggest sound stage. The towers sound huge and go low.
 

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