Gaz38

Soundstage

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, MF 1000 said:

I find that the perceived soundstage definitely varies with recordings....with some on my system the placement of instruments is pin sharp and with others it's quite diffuse or even split so much it can make the system sound poor.  I remember Bencat (Andrew) coming round a couple of years back fir a listen to an active system as he was then considering going active.  One CD we listened to was a 'Best of' Bill Withers' ....Andrew reluctantly commented that he didn't like how my system sounded as it felt like there were two Bill Withers singing such was the poor imaging  etc.

Give this man a cigar.

.

Yes!

Soundstage depends above all on ... cue drums ... the recording.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gaz38 said:

But would it? 

If you went to a live performance blindfolded could you identify where the individual musicians are? 

I doubt it very much, for one thing it would depend where you are sitting. 

I go to a lunchtime recital at least twice a month.

It's in the very reverberant space of an old church.

If I sit close I can hear the violin to the left of the piano (my left) with my eyes closed. If I sit halfway down the aisle then I can't.

The same happens with real stereo recordings: place the mics too far and the positioning of the two instruments merges.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Gaz38 said:

I'm genuinely not trying to be argumentative here but another point that I curios is the concept of a 3 dimensional soundstage. 

I'll openly admit that I simply cannot hear this on any 2 speaker system I've ever heard, in fact I find the concept a little far fetched. I simply can't fathom how sound can appear to be coming from behind a front firing speaker but perhaps that's just me? 

Another interesting point is the difference between speakers and headphones and their orientation in relation to the listeners' ears. Let's say the engineer mixes a track to give the impression the bass guitar is to the left of the left speaker, if that speaker is rotated 90 degrees, as it would be in the case of headphones, that bass guitar is now behind the listener's left ear. 

Not sure it's quite that easy, but others will chip in. What I will say is a brief acquaintance with trance and similar genres will demonstrate the engineers ability to delude the listener. I have an album that consistently locates the resting place of a 'flying' instrument just behind the listeners left ear, and is fully 3d. I'm not suggesting my kit is 'superior' since the family rig does this as well and it is not at all special. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also to get the ambience cues of the original venue you must strike a balance: place the mics too close and you lose the cues, place the mics too far and the instruments will sound too distant and put of focus.

This is why engineers add a pair of ambience mics.

But mic too close and you affect the timbres and pick up mechanical noises that would never be audible from the audience, even first row seats.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, zee9 said:

Every channel on a sound engineers mixer has multiple buttons and knobs. From my old sound engineer days when we recorded to a Analog 2” tape I remember we mike’d each instrument individually and a drum kit had multiple mics. We used the Pan knob to space everything out or else everything sounded dead center during the final mix and a lot of sounds got hidden or masked. Panning instruments or different mike channels not only created soundstage but it also helped with any cancellations etc. it made more sense to pan something even a degree or 2 off instead of raising gain on that channel.

Reverb and echo also helped with the depth of the stage.

I also remember my teacher reminding me to write down the instruments and musicians from left to right during the recording process and to assign channels in that same order so as to be a guide when panning.

KrCxwyw.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gaz38 said:

That's a good point. 

Let me stress I'm certainly not suggesting any negativity in the principle or suggesting people are foolish in believing what they hear. 

Soundstage is an effect but we perceive it as real. Stereo is a trick that works.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
3 minutes ago, Jazid said:

Not sure it's quite that easy, but others will chip in. What I will say is a brief acquaintance with trance and similar genres will demonstrate the engineers ability to delude the listener. I have an album that consistently locates the resting place of a 'flying' instrument just behind the listeners left ear, and is fully 3d. I'm not suggesting my kit is 'superior' since the family rig does this as well and it is not at all special. 

It's certainly possible, I agree.

I can't find it now, but I have the system testing CD that was mentioned in a thread here somewhere. One track demonstrates a sound that appears to circle around the room, and certainly appears to move to a position behind the speakers and then in front of them.

Of course it's a trick, but it's a very convincing one. However, I have found that speaker setup (positioning, etc.) needs to be absolutely spot on and room interractions are crucial.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, AntA said:

Early stereo Beatles recording definitely had soundstage, music out the left speaker, singing out the right!

Awful stuff if you listen to a CD but vinyl has poor channel separation, 30dB tops 20dB more likely vs. >90dB for CD (less than that for AN stuff).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gaz38 said:

I'm genuinely not trying to be argumentative here but another point that I curios is the concept of a 3 dimensional soundstage. 

I'll openly admit that I simply cannot hear this on any 2 speaker system I've ever heard, in fact I find the concept a little far fetched. I simply can't fathom how sound can appear to be coming from behind a front firing speaker but perhaps that's just me? 

Another interesting point is the difference between speakers and headphones and their orientation in relation to the listeners' ears. Let's say the engineer mixes a track to give the impression the bass guitar is to the left of the left speaker, if that speaker is rotated 90 degrees, as it would be in the case of headphones, that bass guitar is now behind the listener's left ear. 

Stereo is 2 dimensional: front to back and side to side.

The position is fixed.

If both speakers reproduce the same signal/sound at the same level the image/instrument will be positioned exactly in the centre (assuming that both speakers have identical response and sensitivity).

If the left speaker is reproducing the same signal at the lower level the image/instrument will move closer to the right.

If no sound comes from the left speaker the image will coincide with the right speaker.

Edited by tuga
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gaz38 said:

Another interesting point is the difference between speakers and headphones and their orientation in relation to the listeners' ears. Let's say the engineer mixes a track to give the impression the bass guitar is to the left of the left speaker, if that speaker is rotated 90 degrees, as it would be in the case of headphones, that bass guitar is now behind the listener's left ear. 

The speaker would have to be behind the listener for that to happen.

If you reverse the wires left amplifier out to right speaker and right amplifier out to left speaker the stereo image will mirror (not that simple but almost).

For the instrument to play outside of the space between the speakers you have to play with phase. It's a bit more complicated than pan-potting which is almost like playing with the balance control of your amplifier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
2 hours ago, tIANcI said:

It is purely imaginary ... an illusion. But once you say bass guitar is left of centre and slightly behind the singer ... you may be moving into the realms of hallucination.

I personally find it hard to believe a 2 channel system actually will create such a sonic 3D effect.

The problem with bass is it is less dirctional .. upper bass can be directed to one side or the other but usually tends to be in the middle if below certain frequencies (unless you are very close to the loudspeaker) and can be behind the singer if the mixing engineer records it at a lower volume than the singer (so it appears to be further away).

The depth and width is all to do with the recording process and where the recording engineer sets the levels and the pan (left or right) to create an illusion of depth and width through recording levels and recording techniques.  

It is a kind of hallucination but it is real .. if you do find that 2 channel recording cannot create an image with width and depth to provide an illusion of instrument placement then you are either; listening to the wrong recordings (lots are just a wall of sound with little depth but may have width), listening to poor equipment or badly set up one, or your hearing is shot to pieces ... 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How can we "enhance" the soundstage effect?

Some signal-correlated distortions like harmonic distortion produce an effect that's not too different from reverb.

Phase and frequency response anomalies can bring the scene close or further from the listener (the BBC dip) or widen the soundstage.

Room reflections in the mids and treble can help make the speakers disappear and be perceived as adding depth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, uzzy said:

The problem with bass is it is less dirctional .. upper bass can be directed to one side or the other but usually tends to be in the middle if below certain frequencies (unless you are very close to the loudspeaker) and can be behind the singer if the mixing engineer records it at a lower volume than the singer (so it appears to be further away).

This used to be true in the vinyl days because bass has to be cut in mono below 100Hz but with digital that has changed.

And why people who use digital sources must use a pair of subs.

The double basses in an orchestra are usually positioned to one side and this is obvious with any competent CD player.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gaz38 said:

'll openly admit that I simply cannot hear this on any 2 speaker system I've ever heard, in fact I find the concept a little far fetched. I simply can't fathom how sound can appear to be coming from behind a front firing speaker but perhaps that's just me? 

It absolutely is a 'real' phenomenon. We aren't all just making up that we hear a sense of depth to recordings :). It is something that will vary between systems though, and generally speaking better performing systems will make it more obvious in my experience. (Which is not to suggest my system is amazing, it's not. I've heard much better.)

I've just had a quick go at trying to find an example track to demonstrate the effect for you. Do you have access to Beth Hart's Bang Bang Boom Boom album? (You can get to it on Spotify Free if nothing else although the effect may be lost/diminished I guess.) Have a listen to track 4, Caught out in the rain, and see what you think of where the drums sound like they are. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, tuga said:

This used to be true in the vinyl days because bass has to be cut in mono below 100Hz but with digital that has changed.

And why people who use digital sources must use a pair of subs.

People don't need to if the left and right signals are combined to feed a single sub, as I do. You're absolutely right about not being able to assume that low bass signals are panned dead centre though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.