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I have a question, has anyone else noticed this?

Axo1989

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Because I thought the question was...."HOW do we measure soundstage".....??

If there is nothing real to compare it to, nor any unit of measure......

I never said I cared or not about it being real or not, but I thought we were discussing how IT can be measured was my only point.
Quantifying stereo image performance of a given reproduction chain (remember we need to include setup and room) would be complex, simply because here are many different elements to consider. Getting hung up on a single unit of measure is as others have said, a misunderstanding of the problem. But the test signal/s shouldn't be a problem, should they? You'd set that up like any controlled experiment. You'd likely start with recorded tones and claps, not FKA twigs.

 
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MattHooper

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Pop music, in general, messes with perspectives and balances deliberately. I'm thinking of a recent Analog Planet post. There were two different LP remasterings of Carol King's "Tapestry", Mikey posted needledrops of the two with a poll for preference. I went to YouTube to compare to the official streamed version. It sounded better than either of the two (very similar) needledrops [bass summed to mono, reduced bass levels, more distortion] but that's not the point. This very popular album is an example of standard, non-audiophile pop production that has been ubiquitous for a very long time: up close and top of the mix for a voice that requires amplification anyway, every instrument mic-ed in mono and pan-potted into position, most instruments with close mic-ing that destroys perspective, every element compressed into place. That sort of production is not concerned with how the recording sounds played back over the best equipment---it's a lot more concerned with how the recording will sound on the worst equipment, like a car radio. That's because the producers of this album were aiming for a hit, so they worked at coming up with a sound that would grab people's ears if they overheard the song on the radio. And that's SOP for pop and that's why so much pop has crappy sounding production. This is not something recent, something we can blame on "Digital", but the way things are for the most popular music and have been all the way back to the beginning of commercial recording.

The best modern pop production creates soundscapes that would otherwise be impossible and are their own reward. As regards the audiophile concept of the "pure" recording with minimal microphones---like ORTF or coincident miking---that can be a fun illusion on good playback gear and is somewhat closer to "reality", but ultimately the coloration of the microphone and the pick-up pattern of the microphone guarantee that the resultant sound will be a distant cousin to the real thing. In any case, that sort of production applies to genres of music that will not sell in massive quantities, chamber music of various sorts, some Jazz, some folk.

I’ve been vibing on two different recent takes on disco from Dua Lipa (Future Nostalgia) and Kylie Minogue (Disco) and, artificial or not they create some gorgeous soundstaging and imaging on my system. Big deep expansive, almost symphonic at times.
 

maverickronin

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Because I thought the question was...."HOW do we measure soundstage".....??

If there is nothing real to compare it to, nor any unit of measure......

I never said I cared or not about it being real or not, but I thought we were discussing how IT can be measured was my only point.

This is really just about comparing different reproduction systems to each other since there are no standards for this in music, nor would they be practical either.
 

beagleman

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Think of it as deliberate CG[Sonic]I in the realm of creating a soundstage.

Reality is passé, we can do better.

I suppose there might be a handbook for soundstaging, particularly for mixing movies for surround, but remember that it is all illusion, artifice. I suspect the people creating these soundscapes might have parameters within to develop sonic effects. If you're really looking for numbers that apply to soundstaging you might want to look in that direction.


I think we are ALL in agreement actually......

Soundstage is not measurable, but CAN be manipulated to "appear" certain ways to most listeners.

Just one of several stereo "illusions" that are heard by the end user, but are not a reality.
A mic hears sound from 2 speakers, but in our mind we hear a "phantom center image",. Just with soundstage, a mic will not hear this, as it is processed in our head, to represent images beyond or behind the speakers, but only from a human persepecitve.
 

Timcognito

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Two identical mics 7-8 ft apart, 3 ft high, 12 ft from a musical group (same as your speakers from you in your chair in a large room) can reproduce very accurate soundstage, not an illusion, unless one excepts that every part of recorded playback is an illusion. It is part the recording process and any good measuring speakers, accurate and dynamic, will reveal it. Measurement is possible but difficult and non-standard. Illusionary soundstage can also be manufactured during a recording or mixing session.
 

beagleman

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Two identical mics 7-8 ft apart, 3 ft high, 12 ft from a musical group (same as your speakers from you in your chair in a large room) can reproduce very accurate soundstage, not an illusion, unless one excepts that every part of recorded playback is an illusion. It is part the recording process and any good measuring speakers, accurate and dynamic, will reveal it. Measurement is possible but difficult and non-standard. Illusionary soundstage can also be manufactured during a recording or mixing session.


I get what you say for sure, but would having mics where an actual listener is be more or less accurate?

I mean someone sitting there listening to the original event, would have their ears less than a foot apart to hear the actual event. Would spacing the mics that far apart be more or less accurate to how we hear?
 

Robin L

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Two identical mics 7-8 ft apart, 3 ft high, 12 ft from a musical group (same as your speakers from you in your chair in a large room) can reproduce very accurate soundstage, not an illusion, unless one excepts that every part of recorded playback is an illusion. It is part the recording process and any good measuring speakers, accurate and dynamic, will reveal it. Measurement is possible but difficult and non-standard. Illusionary soundstage can also be manufactured during a recording or mixing session.
No they wouldn't.
Do you have any actual experience recording?
 

Timcognito

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Same theory as biaural recording except that the speakers are broadcasting exactly what the mics took in. Yes there would be differences in volume because I did't account for the additional space instruments to mics and speakers to listener
My experience does't matter to science and geometry and all can say is 2 classes in acoustics with labs when I was a ME student at UC Berkeley in the '70s. Many labs involved recording and playback.
 

Robin L

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Same theory as biaural recording except that the speakers are broadcasting exactly what the mics took in. Yes there would be differences in volume because I did't account for the additional space instruments to mics and speakers to listener
My experience does't matter to science and geometry and all can say is 2 classes in acoustics with labs when I was a ME student at UC Berkeley in the '70s. Many labs involved recording and playback.
Sorry, two Shure SM 58s set up as you describe will sound like shit. And if one were to randomly grab two "identical microphones", odds are they would be the ubiquitous SM 58s.

Most recordings that give a good sense of stereo imaging that I have encountered involve some variation of small diaphragm condenser microphones in a near-coincident pattern, such as ORTF. The wider the spacing of the microphones, the vaguer the sonic image. What I have heard of middle-side recordings has pin-point imaging, but at the expense of hall ambience. Any recordings using small diaphragm microphones will be limited in potential levels of bass, but often that isn't a factor---don't need 20hz for a string quartet or solo guitar. The RCA Living Stereo recordings were built out of a main ORTF pair with additional spot microphones. The famous three microphone recordings from Mercury had widely space omnis, that gives a good sense of space but imaging can be wonky. Decca came up with a novel solution that might have the best sonic imaging of all---three wide cardioid large diaphragm condensers, near coincident but more like three feet apart than the 7" of ORTF.
 

Timcognito

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Not going to argue over best stereo microphone placement and ORTF may be the best, better than the spaced pair I described, as I was trying point out that two microphones can reveal an accurate image. That image is not some kind of illusion and one can place each instrument in space on playback as it was on the session if properly recorded. There are variations and reasons for choosing one microphone placement technique over another type of microphone, physical size of group, number of different or variation in instruments sound, how much room sound contribution is desired, etc. There have several posters arguing that because its difficult measure it doesn't exit. It is easy to hear on certain recordings. Also, that different speakers are better at revealing it, true, accurate ones that Amir and Erin test all of time. Soundstage does exist as a property of good stereo recording and also made up in mixing but is not in anyway a property of the speakers or added by speakers, however speaker placement and room acoustics can enhance or inhibit how much is heard.
 
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clearnfc

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It is possible to measure auditory localisation. But it needs a proper scientific approach with careful attention to controls and is a non-trivial process. Here is an example of some typical research from the past decade:
View attachment 196918

There's no reason this sort of research couldn't be adapted to compare different loudspeakers using locales that are simulated using stereo imaging. It would require considerable work. And frankly there's a pretty high chance that you'd end up with a null result.

I think the keyword "objectively" has been largely omitted in discussions...

There is currently no way to use equipment to measure the audio coming from the 2 speakers and discern where a person would perceive the sound to be. The only way today is have a person listen to it and tell you what he/she perceives the sound to be.

I call this "hash problem". Its easy to generate intended acoustic effects but its extremely difficult to measure these effects (just lile hashing).
 

pseudoid

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...he thinks one can measure the soundstage in the music/amp/speaker, but conveniently it's a "complex function" that is never revealed. For some reason he can not accept that soundstage is something that happens exclusively and entirely in his brain, not the music/amp/speaker. If it was, we would be able to measure and predict it by now.
I guess recording studios or hardware manufacturers would pay top dollar for such a measurement.

I think we are trivializing the power of our own built-in instrument, which is as good as sum AudioPrecision APx555.
Our internal instrument can differentiate stuff like flanging (@0.1mS - 20 mS), or doubling/chorus (@15 - 35 mS), or echo/reverb (@50 - 100 mS), all the way to discrete delays (@>80mS).
When this precision instrument is coupled with TWO very sensitive pick-up devices; they most certainly can tell us all the directional cues and clues that are essential in re-creating the 3D soundstage… which the 'recording studios" AND "hardware manufacturers" DO use to create the soundstage in the first place.
bunk?
 

beagleman

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Not going to argue over best stereo microphone placement and ORTF may be the best, better than the spaced pair I described, as I was trying point out that two microphones can reveal an accurate image. That image is not some kind of illusion and one can place each instrument in space on playback as it was on the session if properly recorded. There are variations and reasons for choosing one microphone placement technique over another type of microphone, physical size of group, number of different or variation in instruments sound, how much room sound contribution is desired, etc. There have several posters arguing that because its difficult measure it doesn't exit. It is easy to hear on certain recordings. Also, that different speakers are better at revealing it, true, accurate ones that Amir and Erin test all of time. Soundstage does exist as a property of good stereo recording and also made up in mixing but is not in anyway a property of the speakers or added by speakers, however speaker placement and room acoustics can enhance or inhibit how much is heard.


I think you are missing the idea, that there is no real thing called SOUNDSTAGE, it is merely something as a human listener we "Perceive" in our mind. Like headphones with a mono signal "APPEARS" to be in the middle of our head........

That is all an illusion we perceive in our brain. Instruments are NOT above or behind speakers EVER, but merely radiate from the speaker. It is called the Stereo illusion, that we as the listener "Imagine or perceive" to be some actual soundstage in our mind.
 

Timcognito

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It is called the Stereo illusion, that we as the listener "Imagine or perceive" to be some actual soundstage in our mind.
It's created with two microphones being at different distances from a point source like a drum on left and guitar on the right. The fact that we have two ears one on each side of our head enables it. So when a car drives by you left to right your brain is creating an illusion that you hear it going left to to right and all sound is an illusion. It can be an illusion when the recording engineer remixes multiple microphones it to emphasize on instrument or voice biased to left right or center. There is a whole group of devotees who try to perfect real soundstage with binaural recordings.
 
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Axo1989

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I think you are missing the idea, that there is no real thing called SOUNDSTAGE, it is merely something as a human listener we "Perceive" in our mind. Like headphones with a mono signal "APPEARS" to be in the middle of our head........

That is all an illusion we perceive in our brain. Instruments are NOT above or behind speakers EVER, but merely radiate from the speaker. It is called the Stereo illusion, that we as the listener "Imagine or perceive" to be some actual soundstage in our mind.
Next you'll be telling me there are no people playing musical instruments or singing in my room ... :cool:
 

beagleman

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It's created with two microphones being at different distances from a point source like a drum on left and guitar on the right. The fact that we have two ears one on each side of our head enables it. So when a car drives by you left to right your brain is creating an illusion that you hear it going left to to right and all sound is an illusion. It can be an illusion when the recording engineer remixes multiple microphones it to emphasize on instrument or voice biased to left right or center. There is a whole group of devotees who try to perfect real soundstage with binaural recordings.


I "Think" we agree.

I am must saying, one can not measure something as in an objective way, as to how we perceive a soundstage.

I get what it is and how it all works, but part of it is real, as to where sound emanate, AND part is only in our heads.
 
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