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SO ... HOW do we measure soundstage???

pablolie

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Respectfully disagree per the above points. :) I don't think this is a full and definitive test of stereo / soundstage / imaging capabilities, but I like it because it seems like it would reveal flaws quickly. For me, that's the utility of any material used for a listening test. I don't like to sit there judging nuances of sound quality subjectively, but rather go down a list eliminating flaws via stress tests, first.

Listening to a myriad of test tones and tracks is an inevitable thing when setting up a system. That's the only time I play my Sheffield Labs reference set-up tracks (there are others, of course).

BUT... Using *only* white noise to establish imaging aka stage is complete nonsense. You listen to right channel, left channel, in phase, out of phase (the latter two are typically based on some noise patterns) etc etc etc until you have set those up -along with your fav reference tracks- to your preference.
 

kemmler3D

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Listening to a myriad of test tones and track is an inevitable thing when setting up a system.

Using *only* white noise to establish imaging aka stage is complete nonsense. You listen to right channel, left channel, in phase, out of phase etc etc etc until you have set those up -along with your fav reference tracks- to your preference.
Definitely not the only thing I would use, but to me it seems good as a quick check for issues. Haven't tried it, though.
 

pablolie

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Definitely not the only thing I would use, but to me it seems good as a quick check for issues. Haven't tried it, though.

If you haven't tried it... how do you know?

I think the basic in=phase and out=of=phase tests are very useful, and they typically involve some sort of white or pink noise. You can hear it completely focused between your speakers (in phase) or coming from nearly all around (out of phase), the latter one is quite helpful, but you need the former for contrast and to make sure you're not going overboard, otherwise you may end up with a mess.
 

kemmler3D

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If you haven't tried it... how do you know?
Well, playing any signal in mono on stereo speakers ought to result in a rock-solid image coming from dead center. Any deviation would show a problem with stereo reproduction... white noise would probably just make it more obvious because it's a tricky signal with a ton of high frequency energy compared to music, and you can check the whole spectrum at the same time.
 

Anton D

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Listening to a myriad of test tones and tracks is an inevitable thing when setting up a system. That's the only time I play my Sheffield Labs reference set-up tracks (there are others, of course).

BUT... Using *only* white noise to establish imaging aka stage is complete nonsense. You listen to right channel, left channel, in phase, out of phase (the latter two are typically based on some noise patterns) etc etc etc until you have set those up -along with your fav reference tracks- to your preference.
That’s the weakness of internet communication. No one mentioned *only* using this method. I would also not pick just one of the things you mention to call nonsense. That would simply be a pedantic exercise.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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"... because there is no magic."

On another audio site, a forum member insisted he found the Topping D90SE DAC to have a shallow and unsatisfying soundstage despite superb measurement here at ASR. He thus meant to assert the insufficiency of measurements in general.

A good buddy of mine there, as part of his rejoinder posted they following ...

QUOTE ...

{Redacted} says soundstage is a "psychoacoustic" phenomenon, (I agree) ... but seems to imply that it is ultimately unmeasurable, (I disagree).

Note: a few days ago I improve my soundstage, (perceptively wider, deeper), by moving my speakers a little farther apart; no components were changed. However {redacted} is talking about differences in soundstage on account of individual components. (Are these different things? I thinks so.)

So how might we hope to measure the soundstage contribution of individual components? Seems to me ..
  • Either we find some presently mysterious direct soundstage measurement (analogous to, but not, harmonic distortion),
  • Or we find that some existing measurement(s) that correlate with the soundstage phenomenon.
So for example, (to press a point on which still not everyone agrees), tube qualities, such as "warmth", correlate with relatively high low order harmonic distortions and relatively low higher order HDs.

Possibly but hypothetically, another tube quality which {redacted} has described as "layered imaging", others as simply "depth", is another correlate of harmonic distortion profile. I've heard phenomenon myself and personally believe it was related to my tube preamp versus s/s and passive preamps that I compared. Thus I call it "reverberation effect" and consider it an "artifact" or "fake" in that I don't believe its on the recording itself.

... END QUOTE.

Anyone here have thoughts??
Speaker/room stereo separation at the listener position *if* we are talking strictly two channel stereo. That is pretty much the measure.

It is important to understand that it’s a measure of sound stage and imaging capability. The sound stage and imaging are always a function of the recording.
 

Chromatischism

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I'm not convinced that it's any more than frequency and amplitude over time, since that's all that arrives at our ears. What we call soundstage would then be a psychological construct and not measurable in the traditional sense without a concerted study to correlate the effects we perceive, one variable changed at a time. And, results would vary from person to person.
 

kemmler3D

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I'm not convinced that it's any more than frequency and amplitude over time, since that's all that arrives at our ears.
Yep, agree, it's definitely not something other than sound. ;)

What we call soundstage would then be a psychological construct and not measurable in the traditional sense
Agree, but that's also true of pitch and rhythm, which are our subjective experiences of frequency and timing, both of which are easy to quantify and correlate with our experiences. Soundstage is probably harder to quantify, but I'd guess not categorically so.

I think the bigger problem is semantics, we're using one term to refer to at least 2 or 3 different perceptual phenomena.

1) Ability to specifically localize audio in space, i.e. "pinpoint imaging"
2) Overall perceived width / breadth of audio in space, i.e. "soundstage width"
3) Sense of depth and/or "space", i.e. recreation of the reverberant soundfield on the recording (if it exists)

There might be more. Just for example though, all of those get lumped into "soundstage" in casual discussions. I think first we need to nail down whatever it is we would intend to quantify, before we discuss whether we can, and how to quantify it.
 

restorer-john

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Separation and crosstalk vs frequency, low level noise and THD, frequency response deviations, overall channel balance, volume control tracking over the range, the accuracy of the crossovers and drivers relative to one another etc. ALL those things play into the presentation of the "soundstage" regardless of the content of the recording.

There's a lot to it, from the source to the speakers and when the stars align- it can be perfect, but most of the time, regardless of how good we think our gear is, the "soundstage" is non-existent or compromised by the nature of the recording itself.

The entire chain must be considered.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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I'm not convinced that it's any more than frequency and amplitude over time, since that's all that arrives at our ears. What we call soundstage would then be a psychological construct and not measurable in the traditional sense without a concerted study to correlate the effects we perceive, one variable changed at a time. And, results would vary from person to person.
You are missing one big component. Head transfer function
 

OldHvyMec

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I'm not convinced that it's any more than frequency and amplitude over time, since that's all that arrives at our ears. What we call soundstage would then be a psychological construct and not measurable in the traditional sense without a concerted study to correlate the effects we perceive, one variable changed at a time. And, results would vary from person to person.
You are missing one big component. Head transfer function

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I don't know what head transfer function is, but "a concerted study to correlate the effects we perceive, one variable changed at a time. And, results would vary from person to person." is the only way to measure "soundstage" and that is PER individual. Nothing is written in stone and all things that can be heard by just one person
is why one person is a sonar operator and Joe Blow isn't. He/She can hear a sound and adjust a way to record it more precisely. Yes, No?

Regards
 

Justdafactsmaam

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You are missing one big component. Head transfer function

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I don't know what head transfer function is, but "a concerted study to correlate the effects we perceive, one variable changed at a time. And, results would vary from person to person." is the only way to measure "soundstage" and that is PER individual. Nothing is written in stone and all things that can be heard by just one person
is why one person is a sonar operator and Joe Blow isn't. He/She can hear a sound and adjust a way to record it more precisely. Yes, No?

Regards
Head transfer function is the effect our heads and ears physically have on the sound waves. Consider for a moment what is between your left ear and a sound source to your extreme right. Your head. Consider what may be the difference between a sound source directly in front of you, directly behind you and directly over your head. It isn’t amplitude or arrival time. All three are easy to identify. HTF is the difference.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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Matters for headphones, but with speakers your head is already in the game.
Yes but the actual sound sources, the speakers are not where the imaging is supposed to come from. And HTF tells us that quite clearly.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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Well, in one sense, that's true- the "image" is reconstructed in the brain.
It’s true because the speaker locations will be exposed by our HTF. It’s why hard pans sound like they are coming from the speaker that’s been panned to.
 

Mikig

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Well, playing any signal in mono on stereo speakers ought to result in a rock-solid image coming from dead center. Any deviation would show a problem with stereo reproduction... white noise would probably just make it more obvious because it's a tricky signal with a ton of high frequency energy compared to music, and you can check the whole spectrum at the same time.
yes, I confirm. I tried a few years ago, I was still using the turntable, or rather I was still playing with it. I had bought a Denon DL102 mono, used. Very strange effect. A circle before your eyes with all the musical information. A sort of poster hanging in the space between the speakers and the wall.
 

Mikig

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however, I can point to the "stereophony" page on the wiki: it is not a treatise, but it seems easy enough for anyone to understand and sufficiently exhaustive.
 
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