newlash09

Imaging vs sound staging...what's the difference

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Hi all :)

I was hoping someone could educate me here. I have  a near field setup with PMC 20.26. And when I play it, in my present repositioned setup the sound is all encompassing. And I can still sense the vocals from the dead centre on some tracks and maybe little off set on some. And on most tracks I also get my bass and treble from the same location, and sometimes it moves side ways or upwards if it is in the track. So am I having good imaging or sound staging. And how to differentiate between the two. Thanks for your time and replies :)

Edited by newlash09

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Super Wammer

Stereophile has a handy dictionary of Hi-Fi jargon.  They say this:-

imaging The measure of a system's ability to float stable and specific phantom images, reproducing the original sizes and locations of the instruments across the soundstage. See "stereo imaging."
 

soundstaging, soundstage presentation The accuracy with which a reproducing system conveys audible information about the size, shape, and acoustical characteristics of the original recording space and the placement of the performers within it.
 

I would have said imaging was about focus on specific things, like a singer or an instrument, both the ability to place it accurately, and also that it makes aural sense - e.g. so that the guitar isn’t higher up than the vocal part; or the piano isn’t forty feet wide!

Does that help?

Edited by Nopiano
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NP beat me to it.

The Soundstage is the Height , Width and Depth of the Stage, that is created in front of you.

The Imaging, is the accurate placing of the instruments/performers within that stage.

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Wow..thanks a lot Nopiano and Cnoevil for the very very helpful clarification. I guess iam having both. I  had my setup placement as per Dynaudio's 1/5th room placement, and it has transformed my sound completely. Iam having a wide wider sound stage with accurate placement of instruments even in my near field setup. And sometimes the drums and vocals seem to be coming from the ceiling too. Iam enjoying it immensely, but iam finding it not very relaxing. Every instrument comes from some corner in space, and it breaks the revery with my eyes closed. I don't know if Iam making any sense. It is great to bring along a friend and show him my systems imaging and sound staging. But the constant shifting of every single instrument is not very relaxing in the long run. Any idea where iam going wrong. I know that iam probably sitting too close, but I really can't help it. My system is in my daughter's bedroom , and after sitting a month listening in her bed,. I wasn't enjoying it so much. So moved to a near field setup with a lounger in front of my daughter's bed, in the small space that I could afford. So iam wondering if this is how music is suppose to be heard. And maybe I have to get used to it :)

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IME.

Because the whole thing is an illusion, the placement of the speakers (and you), have to be pinpoint accurate, to maximise the effect - often not possible in a domestic setting.

This is where the whole equilateral triangle come in.....and depending on tweeter/midrange alignment, having the toe in just right.

Ideally, the speakers need to be in free space and you should be sitting in free space.

Remember, the mastering itself and how it was miked...and your Source's ability to extract the info, will all have its effect.

Some reading: http://www.cardas.com/room_setup_main.php

Edited by CnoEvil
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1 minute ago, CnoEvil said:

Remember, the mastering itself and how it was miked...

^This. The recording will be the biggest influence in what you are hearing.

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Soundstage is the zone from which sound waves originate and is defined by width and depth (heigth cannot be reproduced from real stereo but is possible in studio productions). It can be captured in live recordings or fabricated in the studio.

Imaging refers to the virtual sound sources generated between the speakers (with real stereo images cannot be produced outside of the space between speakers but again studio productions can do this).

Edited by tuga
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Super Wammer

@newlash09  To assess how true to life your set up is, you may find it useful to use recorded material that resembles something you’ve heard in real life.  That probably means a solo singer, or a small choir, or perhaps a solo instrumentalist.  Or perhaps a folk singer with acoustic guitar.  You know what size the image should be and how each sound should relate to the next.  

Pop and rock recordings are mostly artefacts created by skilful editing of multiple tracks, giving an illusion of placement - but it’s no more real than a CGI film!

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33 minutes ago, tuga said:

Soundstage is the zone from which sound waves originate and is defined by width and depth (heigth cannot be reproduced from real stereo but is possible in studio productions). It can be captured in live recordings or fabricated in the studio.

Imaging refers to the virtual sound sources generated between the speakers (with real stereo images cannot be produced outside of the space between speakers but again studio productions can do this).

This is something that has always intrigued me as I have albums where width, depth & height are apparent. It is a fantastic illusion and I’ve always wondered how the height aspect has been achieved as it seems counterintuitive to how a stereo system works.

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14 minutes ago, Blackmetalboon said:

This is something that has always intrigued me as I have albums where width, depth & height are apparent. It is a fantastic illusion and I’ve always wondered how the height aspect has been achieved as it seems counterintuitive to how a stereo system works.

Phase manipulation can do wonders.

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2 minutes ago, tuga said:

Phase manipulation can do wonders.

Do you have any useful links? 

I cant remember the track, but it’s an early Chemical Brothers album (I’m sure someone here will know the track) where there is a sound affect (firework/motorbike-ish) that’s pans from left to right but while doing so it performs an arc, giving a very realistic impression of height. I’ve always wondered how it was done.

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22 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

The instruments in a Symphony Orchestra should be coming from these positions:

Image result for layout of an orchestra

This diagram lets you visualise how different 2-mic setups position the sources in the space between the two speakers:

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/HejiaE.htm

Unfortunately it's not easy to find minimally mic'ed recordings of orchestral music...

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These psychological  illusions of sound can seem very solid ie as if the performers are present in room  in the best systems but only if recorded,  and if accurately reproduced. Some factors such as ear condition and their position make big differences so even a turned head will change apparent positioning imaging  depending on quality of tweeters and their solidity of fix ( no vibration of box/ stand ) . As usual it's source that matters primarily--it has to pick up the cues . For vinyl the cartridge stylus azimuths must be exact and firmly held , and cd laser readings nicely handled. Streamed needs accurate stable electronics (not necessarily exotica) , and steady mains .  When our ancestors lived in jungles full of predators those with ears that pinpointed the danger lived so we are rather good at sorting out spurious reflections and nailing the placements if a good cue is offered. 

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Just now, Blackmetalboon said:

Do you have any useful links? 

I cant remember the track, but it’s an early Chemical Brothers album (I’m sure someone here will know the track) where there is a sound affect (firework/motorbike-ish) that’s pans from left to right but while doing so it performs an arc, giving a very realistic impression of height. I’ve always wondered how it was done.

I think there's also a famous one by the Pink Floyd but I can't recall which...

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