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Properties of speakers that creates a large and precise soundstage

theREALdotnet

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There have been attempts on ASR off and on to get a handle on what’s required for soundstage and imaging, but the problem seems intractable. On top of that, discussions are often hampered by the denial of the existence of imaging, and the ridiculing of the idea, by some.
 

tmuikku

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Exactly, the confusion I've been referring to. Listening skill and understanding/definition of written concepts vary between individuals with experience they've had and it is hard to relate to each other remotely over forum as we do not share auditory experience with the text.

We all have different rooms and speakers and positioning, and different ideals and ideas about various concepts like image so there is very little common ground in sense, except our auditory system which we all share through evolution. There are countless of discussion where I see people talk about stereo stuff, but without communicating the positioning too accurately let alone which side the transition they base their text on, and this is severe problem as it makes the communication confusing, it's just noise if no-one can relate each others perception.

When I learned that I can change state of my own auditory system at will by moving a little, and that the two states are very different perceptually with distinct on/off feel to it, and both perceptions (stream separation or not) have their own properties and that system can be optimized for both states somewhat separately, I started to see which side of the transition everyone are basing their talk on. At least so I think :D Maybe I don't, but at least I have no confusion understanding the discussion and which state everyone's auditory system is just by assuming everyone is talking their truth that they perceive and looking from Griesinger paper which side they must be on.

When the auditory system state is unknown in discussion there is confusion, because nobody knows their own state or each others state and the communication becomes noise basically. And it's not just discussion but also reviews you consume! do you know which state the reviewer auditory system was and if that is the state you prefer? If you happen to share common state, the review could be relevant to you, but if not knowing nothing about states it's just luck, random. Imagine a digital computer who didn't know it's states, difference between 0 and 1, outcome would be just nonsense, sometimes true, sometimes false but without any particular reference to anything. Understanding the two states of auditory system enables use of logic with perception and figure out if something is relevant to you or not, it's connection between written concepts and perception. Logic enables development of listening skill, and applying it into practice.

If every participant on a confusing discussion knew about the stream separation, the transition, and had experimented with it so that they understood their own perception better and could name things they either hear or not, the communication would step to another level, confusion gone as everyone could understand what everyone else is talking about by relating text to their own perception with logic based on auditory system we all share. State of auditory system enables mutual understanding, since differences in rooms and speakers and positioning are lumped into the transition basically, everything in the system is condensed into the single perceptual event, stream separation switching on/off.

Well, I'm talking here with great confidence but truth is I'm hobbyist and enthusiast like anyone else on this forum and not really knowing all the details. I haven't heard other than handfull of systems. I'm trying to understand what I hear and what it means, and what Griesinger writes is about only thing I've been able to relate my perception to. Now that I think I understand some of what I perceive and what I think is paramount to the understanding, I try to promote this as much as possible in order to get more discussion around. Hopefully everyone who are interested on any of this read some of Griesinger papers and more, and get their listening skill and setup to next level by noticing the transition :) if nothing else, then at least fun time with the hobby hopefully improving listening skills anyway.
 
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tmuikku

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So, the knowledge is the real power here. Example, my main system is just normal living room and practical positioning is such that I do not have 3D perception of stereo sound at sofa although I liked to, but I know the sound I want is available at will. I just need to move myself bit closer to speakers where the perceptual transition happens, go sit on the foot rest. I listened where the transition is, then optimized toe-in and some furniture locations utilizing the transition and logic as much as I could so far. As the system is setup I'd move my self to a position where the recording sounds best with the mood I'm currently having, go sit either on the sofa or in front. I'm not locked in to one sound, neither are the recordings I listen to, or my mood. I think this is something that just strips away a bulk from the circle of confusion.

I've written so much lately I need to step back so everyone can have their turn, and some space for individual thinkin :D Have fun!
 
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program2000

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Once in my life I experienced holographic imaging and out of four pairs of speakers placed next to each other, only one played in 3D. The rest is a flat wall of sound. So I know speakers, room and positioning matters.
 

Suono

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Direi che gli MBL non sono mai stati all'altezza dei miei altoparlanti Thiel,
MBLs have great ability to recreate a focused and spacious acoustic scene. have greater need for acoustic treatment in the room.
 

MattHooper

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Exactly, the confusion I've been referring to. Listening skill and understanding/definition of written concepts vary between individuals with experience they've had and it is hard to relate to each other remotely over forum as we do not share auditory experience with the text.

We all have different rooms and speakers and positioning, and different ideals and ideas about various concepts like image so there is very little common ground in sense, except our auditory system which we all share through evolution. There are countless of discussion where I see people talk about stereo stuff, but without communicating the positioning too accurately let alone which side the transition they base their text on, and this is severe problem as it makes the communication confusing, it's just noise if no-one can relate each others perception.

You might find a couple of my posts earlier in this thread a bit interesting. I'm curious about your take:

Attempt to get the best of both worlds:


The goal:

 

tmuikku

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yeah i can relate to your posts, what you describe seems very plausible, i can well imagine the sound, almost fully relate except some tests I haven't done, like adjusting whats between speakers. You have clearly went much further than I and have very sensitive hearing regarding these things.

Crazy ss it seems I've used the transition so much I can almost see the sound, how the blurrines creeps in from the edges in a way, very much like in your picture analog. Sitting at the transition and moving head just a little I can adjust this feeling in realtime. I wonder if this is same effect you describe on the second post. This is easy realtime adjustment as I don't have to move any objects, just my head.

Have you ever tried this: put noise playing only on one speaker, left or right, move back and forth over the transition or abput at your main listening position to expose yourself to the early reflections and heighten sense to them, and listen whether you can mute some of reflections, like from opposite side wall, or from floor, ceiling, behind. I would be curious what you find out with positioning you prefer with real music, and how this relates to the curtain trick and so on. You could use eq filters try and learn more, what bandwidth seems to be the most sensitive and so on. Mainly to learn more about early reflections, and which seem to matter and how much. Does it make sense?
 
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ahofer

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Given that people value the experience/illusion of instruments in a large space so much, you’d think there might be more research readily available. But perhaps we should all be thinking about surround instead.
 

program2000

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Given that people value the experience/illusion of instruments in a large space so much, you’d think there might be more research readily available. But perhaps we should all be thinking about surround instead.
It's not about the sound around us, it's about the sound that "materializes" so much that we feel like we can touch it. And I'm not kidding here, it's a true illusion of physical sound sources at various distances from the listener in all directions.
 

MattHooper

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It's not about the sound around us, it's about the sound that "materializes" so much that we feel like we can touch it. And I'm not kidding here, it's a true illusion of physical sound sources at various distances from the listener in all directions.

Yes. Surround produces immersion but it doesn't automatically address better imaging and soundstaging (i.e. the precision of locations within a soundstage and the spatial relationships of the sonic images in that soundstage).

I watch lots of music performance on youtube in my home theater in surround. But the most convincingly "I am there, hearing musicians actually playing" has come when I switch over to putting the performances through my 2 channel system, while watching the video. There is a spatial and imaging coherence that the surround doesn't match.
Though, in other ways, other times, I can prefer the surround.
 

MattHooper

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yeah i can relate to your posts, what you describe seems very plausible, i can well imagine the sound, almost fully relate except some tests I haven't done, like adjusting whats between speakers. You have clearly went much further than I and have very sensitive hearing regarding these things.

Crazy ss it seems I've used the transition so much I can almost see the sound, how the blurrines creeps in from the edges in a way, very much like in your picture analog. Sitting at the transition and moving head just a little I can adjust this feeling in realtime. I wonder if this is same effect you describe on the second post. This is easy realtime adjustment as I don't have to move any objects, just my head.

Have you ever tried this: put noise playing only on one speaker, left or right, move back and forth over the transition or abput at your main listening position to expose yourself to the early reflections and heighten sense to them, and listen whether you can mute some of reflections, like from opposite side wall, or from floor, ceiling, behind. I would be curious what you find out with positioning you prefer with real music, and how this relates to the curtain trick and so on. You could use eq filters try and learn more, what bandwidth seems to be the most sensitive and so on. Mainly to learn more about early reflections, and which seem to matter and how much. Does it make sense?

I haven't listened to just one of my speakers, with the exception of the occasional track which might begin with a sound hard panned to one side.

But I certainly do move my head around to note imaging differences. For instance I have plenty of tracks where the image seems to extend well beyond the side boundaries of the speakers, like some soundtracks with tympani that sounds like it's coming from a distant corner of the soundstage beyond the right speaker. If I sway my head more towards the right speaker, putting myself more on axis to it, some of that illusion collapses a little bit, sounding more direct in line from the speaker position.

BTW, I can't remember if I mentioned it in those linked comments, but I also take advantage of other acoustics: what I have behind my head when listening.

I had my sofa custom designed to have a high back up to about my shoulders, for good support listening to music and watching movies. But also didn't want anything behind my head to affect acoustics for sound timbre or imaging. But I've come to enjoy laying my head back to listen and stretch out more, and found that - to no surprise - modulating the reflection behind my ears changes the sound. So I have one narrow head pillow I place behind my head which tends to produce a certain timbre in the sound and produces the most image focus. Another that is softer that slightly changes the timbre but also seems to make the images a bit more diffuse and 3D. Or I lay my head on the main wide sofa pillows which produces a nice wide sound spread. I actually dialed in the positions of my speakers for listening "with head against a pillow" for the best effect.
 
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jim1274

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Don’t forget the listening position that is equally or even more important than the room acoustics and the speaker position. According to Jesco at Acoustic Insider, finding the best listening position in a room should always be the starting point if that is possible, which of course is way easier to do if the room is fully dedicated to music reproduction.

Well, since I am limited to a given listening location by room furnishings/arrangement, I’m going to systematically adjust speaker distances (to my fixed listening position) from front and side walls to find best location. I’ll lay out a grid and note results of all 3 speaker types at the the various locations. I did this with the Omnis already but in a less systematic manner.
 

ahofer

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It's not about the sound around us, it's about the sound that "materializes" so much that we feel like we can touch it. And I'm not kidding here, it's a true illusion of physical sound sources at various distances from the listener in all directions.
Not sure I understand what sort of distinction you are drawing. When there are “ sound sources in all directions at various distances” it seems like “sound around us”.
 

jim1274

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Yeah, in the end its all kind of subtle, and many people are just unaware of such details even exist in a way, and this this is the audiophilia thing except we are not buying gear here but learning to listen. I think our systems are only as good as our listening skill, which is always optimal isn't it, as good as it has ever been :) Removing confusion from the stereo/spatial auditory experience is huge boost to listening skill, connects logic to perception, builds trust, which enables effective use of perception. But it's not all of course, seek for Harman How to listen software for example.

The best part of this whole comparison journey has been developing listening skill, already informing me of how to approach more challenging “rooms”, now knowing what best dispersion pattern to use and best prospective speaker locations to try.
 

jim1274

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All that depends on if you mostly want to hear the recorded space (or reverb), or if you mostly want to hear the acoustics of your own listening room.

The added reverberation you get with your dipole and omni speakers can likely be to your liking, but it will also introduce more “sameness” to everything you are listening to.
With the forward firing speakers and you in a position and an acoustically treated room with a high ratio of direct sound vs reflected sound, you will get a clearer view into the recorded space and you will hear more variations from recording to recording. This is most likely the sound the mixing engineer heard while making all the sound decisions for the mix.

I don't see anything wrong with either approach, whatever rocks your boat the most is the thing you should go for. :)

I’m understanding this much better now. I also need to try moving both the Omnis and dipoles closer to the listening position to see the effects on soundstage and things like clarity with a higher direct to reflected ratio.
 

jim1274

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If you found 3D kind of a feeling of space, you have very high chance the transition is right behind you! I urge you to find the transition, where 3D feeling collapses back to 2D.

Try if you can collapse the feeling of 3D space into more 2D, that is in front of you, just by getting bit further away, should happen quite fast, maybe within few feet. I don't know what your current positioning is, but assuming you pulled the speakers few feet closer to you the transition is within the few feet behind you I think and you could go standing behind your chair and try to spot it. If you like to listen seated, try moving the speakers bit further away from you, like half of what you moved them in to get the 3D. Idea is to get the transition about at your listening chair so that you can lean forward to zoom in to get the 3D sound, lean back to get 2D. It's lots of fun, could be like sticking your head inside the sound in a way :)

I did a combination of both, leaning forward a couple feet from the couch listening position as well as putting a folding chair in front of the coffee table to get a even a couple more feet closer to speakers . It would be easier to do with coffee table gone, but that is where my testing DAC, amp and A/B speaker switch are located—gotta be able to have the A/B at hands reach.
 

jim1274

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Yes. Surround produces immersion but it doesn't automatically address better imaging and soundstaging (i.e. the precision of locations within a soundstage and the spatial relationships of the sonic images in that soundstage).

I watch lots of music performance on youtube in my home theater in surround. But the most convincingly "I am there, hearing musicians actually playing" has come when I switch over to putting the performances through my 2 channel system, while watching the video. There is a spatial and imaging coherence that the surround doesn't match.
Though, in other ways, other times, I can prefer the surround.

That’s consistent with my experience too. I’ve found many true discrete multichannel format recordings to be very artificial, as far removed as you can get from a realistic soundstage. I mean, when you put all the horns or whatever in the side surrounds, how is that realistic in any way? The worst are ones that pan and bounce instruments front to back. I find the best ones use surround channels as lower level fill to create ambience and sense of envelopment and spaciousness. Some more recent ATMOS live recordings do that in spades, but not so much on a lot of older quad recordings.
 

jim1274

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There have been attempts on ASR off and on to get a handle on what’s required for soundstage and imaging, but the problem seems intractable. On top of that, discussions are often hampered by the denial of the existence of imaging, and the ridiculing of the idea, by some.

I’m learning that the hard way…
 

jim1274

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Exactly, the confusion I've been referring to. Listening skill and understanding/definition of written concepts vary between individuals with experience they've had and it is hard to relate to each other remotely over forum as we do not share auditory experience with the text.

We all have different rooms and speakers and positioning, and different ideals and ideas about various concepts like image so there is very little common ground in sense, except our auditory system which we all share through evolution. There are countless of discussion where I see people talk about stereo stuff, but without communicating the positioning too accurately let alone which side the transition they base their text on, and this is severe problem as it makes the communication confusing, it's just noise if no-one can relate each others perception.

When I learned that I can change state of my own auditory system at will by moving a little, and that the two states are very different perceptually with distinct on/off feel to it, and both perceptions (stream separation or not) have their own properties and that system can be optimized for both states somewhat separately, I started to see which side of the transition everyone are basing their talk on. At least so I think :D Maybe I don't, but at least I have no confusion understanding the discussion and which state everyone's auditory system is just by assuming everyone is talking their truth that they perceive and looking from Griesinger paper which side they must be on.

When the auditory system state is unknown in discussion there is confusion, because nobody knows their own state or each others state and the communication becomes noise basically. And it's not just discussion but also reviews you consume! do you know which state the reviewer auditory system was and if that is the state you prefer? If you happen to share common state, the review could be relevant to you, but if not knowing nothing about states it's just luck, random. Imagine a digital computer who didn't know it's states, difference between 0 and 1, outcome would be just nonsense, sometimes true, sometimes false but without any particular reference to anything. Understanding the two states of auditory system enables use of logic with perception and figure out if something is relevant to you or not, it's connection between written concepts and perception. Logic enables development of listening skill, and applying it into practice.

If every participant on a confusing discussion knew about the stream separation, the transition, and had experimented with it so that they understood their own perception better and could name things they either hear or not, the communication would step to another level, confusion gone as everyone could understand what everyone else is talking about by relating text to their own perception with logic based on auditory system we all share. State of auditory system enables mutual understanding, since differences in rooms and speakers and positioning are lumped into the transition basically, everything in the system is condensed into the single perceptual event, stream separation switching on/off.

Well, I'm talking here with great confidence but truth is I'm hobbyist and enthusiast like anyone else on this forum and not really knowing all the details. I haven't heard other than handfull of systems. I'm trying to understand what I hear and what it means, and what Griesinger writes is about only thing I've been able to relate my perception to. Now that I think I understand some of what I perceive and what I think is paramount to the understanding, I try to promote this as much as possible in order to get more discussion around. Hopefully everyone who are interested on any of this read some of Griesinger papers and more, and get their listening skill and setup to next level by noticing the transition :) if nothing else, then at least fun time with the hobby hopefully improving listening skills anyway.

I found the Griesnger work illuminating, one of the most helpful on this subject. I think it might have been suggested by Duke. Checked—yep—January 9 from Duke. It was a YouTube lecture/presentation:


I need to watch again for a refresher. I suspect everyone here has seen it or studied his other works, but if not, well worth the 20 minutes or so for sure.
 

jim1274

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Given that people value the experience/illusion of instruments in a large space so much, you’d think there might be more research readily available. But perhaps we should all be thinking about surround instead.

As soon as the placement locations of the Omni/dipole/unipoles are dialed in better, an A/B vs DSP multichannel processing of stereo sources will be coming. This should be interesting.
 
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