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Properties of speakers that creates a large and precise soundstage

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sigbergaudio

sigbergaudio

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This is one of the "extremes" to me. The voices repeating the "Jam" are phase manipulated and all over the map, also present throughout the entire track. Hear if they are audible most of the time, floating in mid air, or mostly masked by the music:


It's moving around, but at least in my living room system it doesn't move beyond the speakers (to the left or right), but maybe that's not what you meant by extreme. :)

The interesting thing by some of these effects (for instance the "Stole the night" track I mentioned above) is that it is so room dependent that it may occur in different places due to the room. A friend who tested it got it to the left and floating around more, while here it is distinctly to the right.
 

audiofooled

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It's moving around, but at least in my living room system it doesn't move beyond the speakers (to the left or right), but maybe that's not what you meant by extreme. :)

No, I meant floating mid air and close to the listening position, even though speakers are far away.
The interesting thing by some of these effects (for instance the "Stole the night" track I mentioned above) is that it is so room dependent that it may occur in different places due to the room. A friend who tested it got it to the left and floating around more, while here it is distinctly to the right.

I agree that image shifts are room dependent, depth perception as well, that has been my experience too. Putting the same setup in a different room, nothing jumps forward but is localized entirely behind the loudspeakers, them being positioned further into the room. It's about how you balance direct/reverberant field.

Both cases I have imaging precision and I think this is more loudspeaker than room dependent. It's just that in my living room setup is close to the front wall and my perception is such that it's hard to suspend disbelief that anything can be localized further in depth than the front wall is located.
 

mj30250

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This track is good for testing dynamic capabilities. If you want to test/compare speakers for imaging precision, and width of the presentation, may I suggest this:


There are many other tracks from the same performer which are done very well, with female vocals panned far left and right, but are very much coherent. You may compare with your different setups if the panned vocals are coherent or more diffuse.
A lot of her material is demo-worthy indeed.

This track in particular is fantastic for testing the topics under discussion simultaneously. I listened to it with the volume up very high and with my eyes closed...the soundstage seemed massive, but at the same time, most of the multiple instruments and vocals that weave in and out of the track are located extremely precisely and have the dimension and solidity that you would expect from the actual sound sources being in your room. There is some extremely dynamic and punchy bass guitar as well as drums involved that help ramp up the sense of scale. Around a third of the way through the track, a ride cymbal comes in that is beautifully recorded. The stick definition is located at a single point in space, but the cymbal's wash slowly radiates outward across the soundstage and progressively dissipates, much as it would in-person. It's all extremely impressive when paired with a system that can take advantage.
 

tmuikku

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My experience so far has been that multipolar radiation designs have greater 3D (especially depth) and generally immersive characteristics compared to any forward firing box speaker in my direct A/B comparisons. As noted in my most recent post, the AMT dipoles have better image precision and width spread than the onmis. I’m going to replace the Omnis right now with some forward firing box speakers and do a soundstage characteristics evaluation and comparison. Clearly, not all forward firing designs will produce the same imaging precision and soundstage effects, so the BMR Monitors I am using next for my “box” candidate are not going to be exactly the same as your SBS.1 referenced. That said, they are regarded for their wide dispersion soundstage by many, including Erin’s review, an often referenced source on the forum—soundstage review comment excerpt from his review pasted below.



Parting / Random Thoughts​

As stated in the Foreword, this written review is purposely a cliff’s notes version. No order; just some random notes from my listening. For details about the performance (objectively and subjectively) please watch the YouTube video. But a few notes:

  • The wide soundstage and the openness is remarkable. It may very well be something others love; I know that is a cool effect I like to hear and it was really awesome on certain tracks which are panned hard to either side. However, this does seem to come at the cost of imaging focus. While I generally listened to these speakers on-axis, I did try towing them out (facing more into the room) and it didn’t help improve the focus (no surprise, but just addressing it for those who may wonder). With all that said, I dig the width but I’m not sure I’d trade it for the lack of focus it seems to present. I seem to be getting closer to finding that maybe 60° to 70° dispersion angle is my preference and a good sweet spot for trading off soundstage width for focus/imaging precision. This is a preference thing. There is no wrong answer here.
Hi,
Parting/Random thoughts you've quoted from Erin is an example of confusion in my view. I think "wide soundstage with openness" and "lose of focus" describe state of auditory system and is not necessarily a property of the speakers!

"Lose of focus" and "wide soundstage" are descriptions of perception, not descriptions of property of speaker, and would happen when our auditory system cannot pick any important sound from all sounds around us. When auditory system doesn't consider direct sound important you'll perceive just that, a sound somewhere over there in front of you without too much detail. Conversely, detail, clarity and localization happens when auditory system can notice a sound sticking out, do stream separation, provide focus on direct sound lifting it into your consciousness above all the noise in the room, stick it into your perception taking full attention.

As Griesinger writes stream separation happens in auditory system when original sound harmonics are preserved well enough so that all the harmonics line up in phase and superimpose forming a huge amplitude peak on every fundamental period, which makes the sound source stick out above all sounds around, providing enough SNR. Basically, auditory system notices there is sound in close proximity, provides it with it's own neural stream, makes your mind pay attention to it because it's likely something that's important for survival. Now, there is more clarity (and envelopment, engagement, sharp localization, focus, the adjectives) in your perception.

It feels intuitive to me to think auditory system a layer below our consciousness and what we perceive is what the subconscious auditory system let's us to perceive, let's into our reality we have our mind observing on. I like to think our conscious mind listens the auditory system, not the pressure variation at ear drum. The stream separation is just a tool for auditory system to prioritize sound over another, allocate more processing power and attention to important sounds, while suppressing the other sounds, the unimportant ambience.

Allright, wrangled harmonics could be a property of speakers, like edge diffraction, bad crossovers, what ever issues that mess up original harmonics. But it could be also the room, early reflections do this as well as per Griesinger studies on Auditory Proximity. Stereo setup is particularly fragile as the phantom image depends on two sound sources and not just one. The worse the speaker, the worse left/right are matched, the louder and shorter the early reflections, the closer you'd need to get to speakers in order to have a chance for well enough preserved harmonics to have auditory system handle provide full detail. At least this is how I've understood it.

What I'm trying to promote here is that knowing the auditory system is a filter to your perception, you can go and exploit it to your advantage: if you want to hear clarity just get close enough to speakers to force your auditory system to enable it for you. Or, if you want perceive washed relaxed sound and focus on something else, just stay far enough not to allow stream separation happen to prevent too much attention.

Adaptation in spades? There is enough difference in sonic characteristics to notice when doing an instantaneous A/B comparison, but that fades quickly. This will be very interesting to see if the box speakers going in the A/B comparison today will give themselves away on soundstage, or whether adaptation obscures the deference.
Room sound in spades? no stream separation is my bet while also adaptation to sound plays a role, there is rarely just one effect at play but multitude of. Have you tried to find the transition where stream separation happens? Which side are you making the quoted observation, or both, stream separation or without? I think I've asked this before but not sure if you returned :)

I'd bet that all of your speakers have slightly different max stereo triangle size where stream separation happens. Ideal omnis would have smallest, ideal dipoles would have largest as long as toe-in and position is optimized. It could be possible, that the real world speakers themselves hamper original harmonics and alter the results though.

It would be great if you could find transition distance (size of stereo triangle) for each of the different radiating speakers you have!
I have only one pair currently... so all I write has a lot of reliance on what Griesinger writes is true, and what I perceive with my setup is what Griesinger writes about.

I’m only talking that immersion aspect of soundstage, not the image localization and precision.
If the stream separation is true thing I would think immersion can only happen with sharp image localization and precision! I think immersion as having a feeling of me inside the recording. Not having sharp localization and precision means it's spacious sound of the local environment, and not that which is embedded in the recording, which to me means there cannot be immersion, you stay in your room and not drift away to somewhere else. Perhaps you and I have different meaning for immersion? nevertheless a case of confusion that could be removed with common understanding about how the perception changes with stream separation.

---
I'm sorry the post got very very long, but it's hard to write about the stuff shorty and that's because I think this subject makes great confusion all around the forums, seen almost daily, many many threads I have no time to write on, so hopefully occasional long post gets some attention :D
 
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tmuikku

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When you say your speakers have an ultra-wide soundstage, what other speakers do you compare them to?
To get meaningful answer we must also ask what's the positioning and room acoustics, right? Sound stage is either between the speakers, or could be between speaker and wall, regardless of speakers. None of this matters as technical detail though, it's about perception, right? I mean, you'd want perceived width be natural to you of course, not too narrow or too wide and you could adjust width with positioning and toe-in.

Although not mentioned in your quote, I've noticed people mention some sort of merit to get sound extend outside speakers, which is something that relates to visual perception? As long as you can position the speakers anywhere you want, you could always tune to natural width stereo image, with or without stream separation, just by moving speakers and yourself in relation to the speakers. Image could be too wide, or too narrow, or what ever, all one need to do is make it nice by positioning. However, it is another matter to tune this even further having nice envelopment as well, which should provide even better feeling of space if that is what you mean with stage, and having envelopment I think means stream separation, which means you don't get the stage beyond speakers by early reflections, since it's mutually exclusive by Griesinger. I don't understand why the sound would need to go beyond speakers, but I understand it would be cool to have kind of other world experience in a way, captivating sound what ever that is, just nice stereo image no matter what speakers and where, all I want is good sound, right?

If someone want's to hear beyond visible width of speakers, it's good excersise to think what if speakers were invisible? I bet widest and biggest sound happens with stream separation, when the local room has very low influence on what you perceive other than helping with envelopment so that you would have a possibility to perceive some other space you are currently in, the one that the engineers tried to capture on the recording. In this sense one could get ultrawide soundstage with any speakers except the extra envelopment would add to, and not only that but also the recording needs to have it.
 
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tmuikku

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It's moving around, but at least in my living room system it doesn't move beyond the speakers (to the left or right), but maybe that's not what you meant by extreme. :)

The interesting thing by some of these effects (for instance the "Stole the night" track I mentioned above) is that it is so room dependent that it may occur in different places due to the room. A friend who tested it got it to the left and floating around more, while here it is distinctly to the right.
Is the whole image inverted or just the single sound effect? That's peculiar.
 

tmuikku

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No, I meant floating mid air and close to the listening position, even though speakers are far away.


I agree that image shifts are room dependent, depth perception as well, that has been my experience too. Putting the same setup in a different room, nothing jumps forward but is localized entirely behind the loudspeakers, them being positioned further into the room. It's about how you balance direct/reverberant field.

Both cases I have imaging precision and I think this is more loudspeaker than room dependent. It's just that in my living room setup is close to the front wall and my perception is such that it's hard to suspend disbelief that anything can be localized further in depth than the front wall is located.
Cool cool, the long post I wrote above is quite a simplification in a way that there is likely plethora of all kinds of effects to sound that change with positioning and directivity, especially with eyes open as you say. How much have you experimented with the seutp, what if you toe in the speakers 90deg and go standing between, eyes closed, still feel the sound is there on the wall or perhaps beyond? inside the head?:)
 
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audiofooled

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Cool cool, the long post I wrote above is quite a simplification in a way that there is likely plethora of all kinds of effects to sound that change with positioning and directivity, especially with eyes open as you say.

With my current setup and eyes closed perceived image depth is no longer limited by the front wall location. Also ASW is some degrees greater if I were to point and then open my eyes. I believe it has something to do with the fact that when you open your eyes, then your brain has also visual stimuli to process and, since it's all an illusion anyway, the localization is a bit different, but not too much.

To me this is not surprising at all, since there are also mechanisms in the brain to fill in the information that is missing, also to omit some other information that are deemed unnecessary for the current focus of attention. One thing I like about music is that, the more complex it is, the more of a "brain game" it is. I find that very rewarding. But most peculiar experience to me is, on some very good recordings, a sense that the sonic image is actually there, but the source is nowhere to be seen. A confusion of the senses, I guess.

I also believe that everyone's perception is different. So what I hear may be different from what you hear. All subjective things and a lot of misunderstanding may arise from it.

But still, loudspeakers should be able to do things they are supposed to do, to make it all a believable illusion. Some either don't or ain't set up right.

Have you experimented with it, what if you toe in the speakers 90deg and go standing between, eyes closed, still feel the sound is there on the wall or perhaps beyond? inside the head?

I never tried standing in between with 90 deg. toe in, but I suspect it would be mostly inside my head.

Edit: standing in between? I thought sitting (brain fart). My setup is such that, anywhere I walk around the room, anywhere but sitting at MLP, all that I get is a very solid and intelligible phantom center, the same tonality everywhere. Speakers are never localized as an apparent sound source, no matter if I were to stand in between them or walk away. So to answer your question, the sound is summed to a phantom center in between the speakers. Pretty sure it would be the same if I pointed them at each other and stand in between.
 
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Westsounds

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This track is good for testing dynamic capabilities. If you want to test/compare speakers for imaging precision, and width of the presentation, may I suggest this:


There are many other tracks from the same performer which are done very well, with female vocals panned far left and right, but are very much coherent. You may compare with your different setups if the panned vocals are coherent or more diffuse.
Lovely sound on this, thanks for sharing :cool:
 

goat76

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To get meaningful answer we must also ask what's the positioning and room acoustics, right? Sound stage is either between the speakers, or could be between speaker and wall, regardless of speakers. None of this matters as technical detail though, it's about perception, right? I mean, you'd want perceived width be natural to you of course, not too narrow or too wide and you could adjust width with positioning and toe-in.

Although not mentioned in your quote, I've noticed people mention some sort of merit to get sound extend outside speakers, which is something that relates to visual perception? As long as you can position the speakers anywhere you want, you could always tune to natural width stereo image, with or without stream separation, just by moving speakers and yourself in relation to the speakers. Image could be too wide, or too narrow, or what ever, all one need to do is make it nice by positioning. However, it is another matter to tune this even further having nice envelopment as well, which should provide even better feeling of space if that is what you mean with stage, and having envelopment I think means stream separation, which means you don't get the stage beyond speakers by early reflections, since it's mutually exclusive by Griesinger. I don't understand why the sound would need to go beyond speakers, but I understand it would be cool to have kind of other world experience in a way, captivating sound what ever that is, just nice stereo image no matter what speakers and where, all I want is good sound, right?

If someone want's to hear beyond visible width of speakers, it's good excersise to think what if speakers were invisible? I bet widest and biggest sound happens with stream separation, when the local room has very low influence on what you perceive other than helping with envelopment so that you would have a possibility to perceive some other space you are currently in, the one that the engineers tried to capture on the recording. In this sense one could get ultrawide soundstage with any speakers except the extra envelopment would add to, and not only that but also the recording needs to have it.

I don't get this obsession with an “ultra-wide” soundstage. With a “correct” stereo image the soundstage will vary a lot with the content, and larger variations between recordings can maybe be seen as an indication that you get close to that correct stereo image.

I would be a bit suspicious if I changed to a pair of speakers where most of the content all of a sudden sounded ultra-wide.
 

Suono

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if the sound comes between the wall and the speakers it means that the early reflections have too much energy. In stereo, no sounds can exist outside the speakers except by playing with the phase being recorded. wide and coherent dispersion is desirable. A speaker with wide dispersion and dealing with early reflections is preferable.
 

tmuikku

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I don't get this obsession with an “ultra-wide” soundstage. With a “correct” stereo image the soundstage will vary a lot with the content, and larger variations between recordings can maybe be seen as an indication that you get close to that correct stereo image.

I would be a bit suspicious if I changed to a pair of speakers where most of the content all of a sudden sounded ultra-wide.
Oh yes, natural is key, what ever feels right. And you are right, not only size but all qualities of image would vary with recording as long as local room does not overwhelm the perception.

Assuming what Griesinger writes is true and happening here, it's by definition so: if local room sound is too loud compared to direct sound, the stream separation is not happening which means there is perception of one sound, the noise in the local room. Contrary, when the stream separation is happening, the sound of recording is forefront in the perception while local room sound is suppressed to background, by auditory system. These both can happen with same setup without changing speakers or room or speaker position, but taking a step closer to speakers, moving over transition relying on auditory system do it's job.

Point is, one doesn't have to passively wonder if the image is "good" and varies per recording, but can actively strive towards it at will. Not necessarily by purchasing stuff but just listening and adjusting the current setup, finding the transition and then utilizing it my moving listening position over to either side. I think it's quite easy to hear when stream separation happens, but not sure if it happens with most speakers and domestic rooms. I think it could as indeed change in perception seems to be property of auditory system and correlates what Griesinger writes, and not property of speaker or room, and happens with the small sample set I and all of my few local friends have been exposed to. Perhaps some combinations are poor and it never happens, or while on some rooms acoustics is such it always happens anywhere in the room.
 
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tmuikku

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In the vein of topic "Properties of speakers that creates a large and precise soundstage", I think the answer is that only property needed from speaker is not to ruin original harmonics too bad, and consistent enough quality that left/right are closely matched in order to be able to facilitate stream separation, which means accurate perception of image, precise soundstage. Now one could have precise stage just by positioning, almost no matter what room or speakers, just arrange small enough listening triangle and make stream separation happen by listening.

And when the precise sound stage is happening it means the local room is not affecting the size almost at all, the Large, which needs to be adjusted by chaging the azimuth angle the speakers are to your ears mostly, the base width. Also envelopment is part of the large I think, which the room "noise" has now turned into with stream separation, except the direct sound that got it's own neural stream. This one could adjust further with acoustic treatment, speaker directivity, perhaps additional speaker channels, and so on.

Anyway, that's it. To make it practical, one would likely want some more properties from speakers like smooth off-axis response in order to be able to utilize toe-in to optimize it all, and perhaps narrow coverage to extend the stream separation far enough into the room and further juggle things for nice experience. Also room treatment could help with it all. Envelopment is at least partly low frequency stuff, so perhaps separate low frequency system optimized for envelopment (and room modes) could be a nice thing affecting largeness.
 
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jim1274

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The BMR seems to be my best alternative of box speakers on hand to use for the comparison.

I’m still thinking that on the immersive aspects created from the added rear (dipole) or full 360 degree (onmi) reflective sound will not be matched by any monopole box speaker, no matter their forward dispersion characteristics. I’m only talking that immersion aspect of soundstage, not the image localization and precision. I’ve already seen the shortcomings of the Omnis on that aspect. The AMT dipoles do much better on that aspect, so will use them initially for the A/B comparison to the forward firing BMRs. Pulling them into place right now…

I need to make a correction/addendum to my comments on soundstage comparison of Omni vs the AMT dipoles:

When I recently switched out the Omnis to the BMR monitors, I instantly realized a flaw in my testing methodology. Obviously there are placement compromises when doing an A/B vs just one set of speakers. The Omnis were inside the AMTs aligned same distance from the front wall, so for ease I just intially placed the BMRs in the inside position, with less than optimal spread. In that location, the image collapsed to the center, much like the onmis presented. Clearly, I should have tested by swapping speaker sets from inside to outside position and noted the difference, which I will do on the current AMT/BMR comparison and go back and do the same on the prior OMNI/AMT comparison set.
 

goat76

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Oh yes, natural is key, what ever feels right. And you are right, not only size but all qualities of image would vary with recording as long as local room does not overwhelm the perception.

Assuming what Griesinger writes is true and happening here, it's by definition so: if local room sound is too loud compared to direct sound, the stream separation is not happening which means there is perception of one sound, the noise in the local room. Contrary, when the stream separation is happening, the sound of recording is forefront in the perception while local room sound is suppressed to background, by auditory system. These both can happen with same setup without changing speakers or room or speaker position, but taking a step closer to speakers, moving over transition relying on auditory system do it's job.

Point is, one doesn't have to passively wonder if the image is "good" and varies per recording, but can actively strive towards it at will. Not necessarily by purchasing stuff but just listening and adjusting the current setup, finding the transition and then utilizing it my moving listening position over to either side. I think it's quite easy to hear when stream separation happens, but not sure if it happens with most speakers and domestic rooms. I think it could as indeed change in perception seems to be property of auditory system and correlates what Griesinger writes, and not property of speaker or room, and happens with the small sample set I and all of my few local friends have been exposed to. Perhaps some combinations are poor and it never happens, or while on some rooms acoustics is such it always happens anywhere in the room.

I have come to the same conclusion as you have. My room is acoustically treated and I have a short distance of 2 meters to my speakers in an equilateral triangle, this gives me a high ratio of direct sound and I very much prefer the sound inside that critical distance, which you often talk about. This makes significant variations from recording to recording when it comes to soundstage width and depth, it's simply more of a high-fidelity sound where I have a clearer view "into" the recordings instead of a "listening to music in my room" type of sound.

Some recordings have a very tight and narrow soundstage, while other recordings can have a wide sound with envelopment almost as if it was a multichannel recording. I like these large variations between different recordings which also often suit the structure of the songs well, some will simply work better with a wide soundstage while others will work better with a tighter and more intimate arrangement.
 

MattHooper

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I have come to the same conclusion as you have. My room is acoustically treated and I have a short distance of 2 meters to my speakers in an equilateral triangle, this gives me a high ratio of direct sound and I very much prefer the sound inside that critical distance, which you often talk about. This makes significant variations from recording to recording when it comes to soundstage width and depth, it's simply more of a high-fidelity sound where I have a clearer view "into" the recordings instead of a "listening to music in my room" type of sound.

Some recordings have a very tight and narrow soundstage, while other recordings can have a wide sound with envelopment almost as if it was a multichannel recording. I like these large variations between different recordings which also often suit the structure of the songs well, some will simply work better with a wide soundstage while others will work better with a tighter and more intimate arrangement.

I like reading about your, and other people's goals and approach. It's interesting to also see if there's any contrast to how I approach the issue too. I try a balancing act between "accuracy to the recording" and "achieving my preferred sonic presentation." To that end I generally don't like heavy toe in on most speakers, ones I've owned especially, because it tends to squeeze the sonic images and soundstage too tight. I like either pointed straight ahead, or at least some toe-out, until for instance central vocals sound to me more naturally sized and "relaxed." And toeing out also "relaxes" the soundstage (probably due to a little more sidewall reflections and slight off axis to tweeters?) and so I find the soundstage expands and feels less stuck in the speakers. I seek a sense of "instruments and voices occurring in real space" and a too tightly squeezed version of recordings for me works against this.

On the other hand, I want a good level of accuracy, because I love the sound of different recordings (especially because I love a genre of music that specializes in really extreme swings of production styles during the 60's to 80s). So I don't want everything sounding the same, and want to maximize the difference between recordings. If a pair of drums were recorded very strangely in an old recording, off in some isolation booth, panned hard left in the back corner of the soundstage with a dollop of idiosyncratic reverb added, that's what I want to hear. So my ideal is to be taken to the event, like I'm "in" the particular recording, hearing real sounds, not just sort of seeing pictures of different recordings in a detached manner. (Which means getting a "live" timbral quality too).

Fanatical attention to this particular goal has, I find, really paid off. I brought a recording over to a pal's place to listen to on his KEF LS50s which was really fun. It was an old late 60s/early 70's style all vocal harmonies record, very well recorded. It sounded really nice on his set up, very much like a "good recording." But played on mine it's just a different experience, the sense of the space behind the speakers melting away, no particular boundary to the recorded space, like the room just becomes the recording studio, with voices sounding so naturally "there"completely irrespective of the speakers, occupying that space.
 

jim1274

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A lot of her material is demo-worthy indeed.

This track in particular is fantastic for testing the topics under discussion simultaneously. I listened to it with the volume up very high and with my eyes closed...the soundstage seemed massive, but at the same time, most of the multiple instruments and vocals that weave in and out of the track are located extremely precisely and have the dimension and solidity that you would expect from the actual sound sources being in your room. There is some extremely dynamic and punchy bass guitar as well as drums involved that help ramp up the sense of scale. Around a third of the way through the track, a ride cymbal comes in that is beautifully recorded. The stick definition is located at a single point in space, but the cymbal's wash slowly radiates outward across the soundstage and progressively dissipates, much as it would in-person. It's all extremely impressive when paired with a system that can take advantage.

This is now one of my favorite demo/test tracks. I’m using as we speak for my BMR box/AMT dipole comparison, switching speakers position, alternating from inside to outside for soundstage characteristic comparison with the different speaker distance spreads.
 

jim1274

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Hi,
Parting/Random thoughts you've quoted from Erin is an example of confusion in my view. I think "wide soundstage with openness" and "lose of focus" describe state of auditory system and is not necessarily a property of the speakers!

Lots to chew on here, for sure. I’m not sure if I agree with this completely. I find a notable difference in characteristics of the soundstage between the BMR “box” speaker and both the Omnis and AMT dipoles, assuming I’m getting it right on what you say. There certainly are recording specific characteristics in play, but I’m only talking direct A/B comparison on specific tracks.
"Lose of focus" and "wide soundstage" are descriptions of perception, not descriptions of property of speaker, and would happen when our auditory system cannot pick any important sound from all sounds around us. When auditory system doesn't consider direct sound important you'll perceive just that, a sound somewhere over there in front of you without too much detail. Conversely, detail, clarity and localization happens when auditory system can notice a sound sticking out, do stream separation, provide focus on direct sound lifting it into your consciousness above all the noise in the room, stick it into your perception taking full attention.


I’m currently only talking the AMT dipole compared to BMR box currently. (Given the Omni and AMT dipole had similar soundstage characteristics, much would apply

As Griesinger writes stream separation happens in auditory system when original sound harmonics are preserved well enough so that all the harmonics line up in phase and superimpose forming a huge amplitude peak on every fundamental period, which makes the sound source stick out above all sounds around, providing enough SNR. Basically, auditory system notices there is sound in close proximity, provides it with it's own neural stream, makes your mind pay attention to it because it's likely something that's important for survival. Now, there is more clarity (and envelopment, engagement, sharp localization, focus, the adjectives) in your perception.

It feels intuitive to me to think auditory system a layer below our consciousness and what we perceive is what the subconscious auditory system let's us to perceive, let's into our reality we have our mind observing on. I like to think our conscious mind listens the auditory system, not the pressure variation at ear drum. The stream separation is just a tool for auditory system to prioritize sound over another, allocate more processing power and attention to important sounds, while suppressing the other sounds, the unimportant ambience.

Allright, wrangled harmonics could be a property of speakers, like edge diffraction, bad crossovers, what ever issues that mess up original harmonics. But it could be also the room, early reflections do this as well as per Griesinger studies on Auditory Proximity. Stereo setup is particularly fragile as the phantom image depends on two sound sources and not just one. The worse the speaker, the worse left/right are matched, the louder and shorter the early reflections, the closer you'd need to get to speakers in order to have a chance for well enough preserved harmonics to have auditory system handle provide full detail. At least this is how I've understood it.

What I'm trying to promote here is that knowing the auditory system is a filter to your perception, you can go and exploit it to your advantage: if you want to hear clarity just get close enough to speakers to force your auditory system to enable it for you. Or, if you want perceive washed relaxed sound and focus on something else, just stay far enough not to allow stream separation happen to prevent too much attention.


Room sound in spades? no stream separation is my bet while also adaptation to sound plays a role, there is rarely just one effect at play but multitude of. Have you tried to find the transition where stream separation happens? Which side are you making the quoted observation, or both, stream separation or without? I think I've asked this before but not sure if you returned :)

I'd bet that all of your speakers have slightly different max stereo triangle size where stream separation happens. Ideal omnis would have smallest, ideal dipoles would have largest as long as toe-in and position is optimized. It could be possible, that the real world speakers themselves hamper original harmonics and alter the results though.

It would be great if you could find transition distance (size of stereo triangle) for each of the different radiating speakers you have!
I have only one pair currently... so all I write has a lot of reliance on what Griesinger writes is true, and what I perceive with my setup is what Griesinger writes about.


If the stream separation is true thing I would think immersion can only happen with sharp image localization and precision! I think immersion as having a feeling of me inside the recording. Not having sharp localization and precision means it's spacious sound of the local environment, and not that which is embedded in the recording, which to me means there cannot be immersion, you stay in your room and not drift away to somewhere else. Perhaps you and I have different meaning for immersion? nevertheless a case of confusion that could be removed with common understanding about how the perception changes with stream separation.

---
I'm sorry the post got very very long, but it's hard to write about the stuff shorty and that's because I think this subject makes great confusion all around the forums, seen almost daily, many many threads I have no time to write on, so hopefully occasional long post gets some attention :D
 

jim1274

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Hi,
Parting/Random thoughts you've quoted from Erin is an example of confusion in my view. I think "wide soundstage with openness" and "lose of focus" describe state of auditory system and is not necessarily a property of the speakers!

"Lose of focus" and "wide soundstage" are descriptions of perception, not descriptions of property of speaker, and would happen when our auditory system cannot pick any important sound from all sounds around us. When auditory system doesn't consider direct sound important you'll perceive just that, a sound somewhere over there in front of you without too much detail. Conversely, detail, clarity and localization happens when auditory system can notice a sound sticking out, do stream separation, provide focus on direct sound lifting it into your consciousness above all the noise in the room, stick it into your perception taking full attention.

As Griesinger writes stream separation happens in auditory system when original sound harmonics are preserved well enough so that all the harmonics line up in phase and superimpose forming a huge amplitude peak on every fundamental period, which makes the sound source stick out above all sounds around, providing enough SNR. Basically, auditory system notices there is sound in close proximity, provides it with it's own neural stream, makes your mind pay attention to it because it's likely something that's important for survival. Now, there is more clarity (and envelopment, engagement, sharp localization, focus, the adjectives) in your perception.

It feels intuitive to me to think auditory system a layer below our consciousness and what we perceive is what the subconscious auditory system let's us to perceive, let's into our reality we have our mind observing on. I like to think our conscious mind listens the auditory system, not the pressure variation at ear drum. The stream separation is just a tool for auditory system to prioritize sound over another, allocate more processing power and attention to important sounds, while suppressing the other sounds, the unimportant ambience.

Allright, wrangled harmonics could be a property of speakers, like edge diffraction, bad crossovers, what ever issues that mess up original harmonics. But it could be also the room, early reflections do this as well as per Griesinger studies on Auditory Proximity. Stereo setup is particularly fragile as the phantom image depends on two sound sources and not just one. The worse the speaker, the worse left/right are matched, the louder and shorter the early reflections, the closer you'd need to get to speakers in order to have a chance for well enough preserved harmonics to have auditory system handle provide full detail. At least this is how I've understood it.

What I'm trying to promote here is that knowing the auditory system is a filter to your perception, you can go and exploit it to your advantage: if you want to hear clarity just get close enough to speakers to force your auditory system to enable it for you. Or, if you want perceive washed relaxed sound and focus on something else, just stay far enough not to allow stream separation happen to prevent too much attention.

Accidentally hit reply in middle of my response..

So, are you saying clarity and “washed relaxed sound” are necessarily a trade-off? Before I swapped positions of the AMT and BMR from inside to outside, I moved my listening position up to an equilateral triangle position while BMR was still in the inner narrower separation position. I really did not notice much difference in instrument position on width, just more a reduction in depth, the speakers not disappearing as much as in a more farfield listening position. I also didn’t notice a distinct loss in clarity.

Room sound in spades? no stream separation is my bet while also adaptation to sound plays a role, there is rarely just one effect at play but multitude of. Have you tried to find the transition where stream separation happens? Which side are you making the quoted observation, or both, stream separation or without? I think I've asked this before but not sure if you returned :)

I'd bet that all of your speakers have slightly different max stereo triangle size where stream separation happens. Ideal omnis would have smallest, ideal dipoles would have largest as long as toe-in and position is optimized. It could be possible, that the real world speakers themselves hamper original harmonics and alter the results though.

Before I moved to this phase of direct A/B comparison between the 3 types of speakers, mostly with the Omnis and then the dioples and box later, I did more extensive placement location testing. I adjusted distance from side and front wall and listening position closer or further until I found the right balance (reflective delay time?) for best sound. Is that what you are getting at, the point where the direct to reflected energy and time affords best soundstage and clarity, timber and such? I did find that finding the best positioning made a big difference.




It would be great if you could find transition distance (size of stereo triangle) for each of the different radiating speakers you have!
I have only one pair currently... so all I write has a lot of reliance on what Griesinger writes is true, and what I perceive with my setup is what Griesinger writes about.


If the stream separation is true thing I would think immersion can only happen with sharp image localization and precision! I think immersion as having a feeling of me inside the recording. Not having sharp localization and precision means it's spacious sound of the local environment, and not that which is embedded in the recording, which to me means there cannot be immersion, you stay in your room and not drift away to somewhere else. Perhaps you and I have different meaning for immersion? nevertheless a case of confusion that could be removed with common understanding about how the perception changes with stream separation.

---
I'm sorry the post got very very long, but it's hard to write about the stuff shorty and that's because I think this subject makes great confusion all around the forums, seen almost daily, many many threads I have no time to write on, so hopefully occasional long post gets some attention :D
 

jim1274

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To get meaningful answer we must also ask what's the positioning and room acoustics, right? Sound stage is either between the speakers, or could be between speaker and wall, regardless of speakers. None of this matters as technical detail though, it's about perception, right? I mean, you'd want perceived width be natural to you of course, not too narrow or too wide and you could adjust width with positioning and toe-in.

Although not mentioned in your quote, I've noticed people mention some sort of merit to get sound extend outside speakers, which is something that relates to visual perception? As long as you can position the speakers anywhere you want, you could always tune to natural width stereo image, with or without stream separation, just by moving speakers and yourself in relation to the speakers. Image could be too wide, or too narrow, or what ever, all one need to do is make it nice by positioning. However, it is another matter to tune this even further having nice envelopment as well, which should provide even better feeling of space if that is what you mean with stage, and having envelopment I think means stream separation, which means you don't get the stage beyond speakers by early reflections, since it's mutually exclusive by Griesinger. I don't understand why the sound would need to go beyond speakers, but I understand it would be cool to have kind of other world experience in a way, captivating sound what ever that is, just nice stereo image no matter what speakers and where, all I want is good sound, right?

Is there a negative in having a wider and deeper soundstage while retaining instrument spacial localization precision? I mean the individual instruments spread further left to right and front to back as more centrally crowded together.


If someone want's to hear beyond visible width of speakers, it's good excersise to think what if speakers were invisible? I bet widest and biggest sound happens with stream separation, when the local room has very low influence on what you perceive other than helping with envelopment so that you would have a possibility to perceive some other space you are currently in, the one that the engineers tried to capture on the recording. In this sense one could get ultrawide soundstage with any speakers except the extra envelopment would add to, and not only that but also the recording needs to have it.

I will say that in certain situations, my early Omni experiments created some extremes in soundstage depth, sounding odd. Well before I did any testing inside, the first set of Omnis (Duevel Planets) were tested out on the deck and the band sounded like they went well into the kitchen. Don’t recall exact postioning distance from the house wall for that effect. I abandoned them for outdoor use due to lack of SPL capability and low end response. As for width, the listening position was the whole backyard, so never really evaluated the soundstage width from the center sweet spot.
 
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