Gaz38

Soundstage

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9 hours ago, Gaz38 said:

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? 

I was listening to radio 3 once and they were walking round the turbine hall in the Tate modern looking at art (I presume, the imaging wasn't that good), I wasn't really paying that much attention, but this strange effect, I could the feel the whole acoustic of the turbine hall moving around, especially when moving between exhibits, but also rocking a little when they were talking. very odd. I can only presume it was recorded with a single point stereo hand held mic... 

To achieve this uncanny realism I was using a small pair of time aligned speakers (firing diagonally across the room) and an 18" sub (firing on the tangential axis) that was flat to lower than I could measure (<20Hz). 

I think good LF response and time aligned speakers work the best for this kind of thing, otherwise the location cues the brain is trying to interpret are all messed up

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Super Wammer

The copy of Hifi plus (April 2019) that some of us grabbed via back issue order on their website, which has the freebie system setup cd, has some great tracks on it for experiencing spacial clues and 3D. The tracks for setup use voice and castanets to illustrate the principles and can be quite eirrie hearing what can be achieved with panning and reverb. 

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This website has some interesting test sounds:

Left / Right (Stereo) Sound Test

https://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_stereo.php

LEDR™ - Listening Environment Diagnostic Recording Test

https://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_ledr.php

Stereo Perception and Sound Localization

https://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_stereophonicsound.php

.

The door knock test is particularly startling with headphones.

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8 hours ago, Mr Kipling said:

The soundstage doesn't have to be either a fabrication, effect or a trick - it can be real, depending on how the recording was made in the first place. The Soundfield Mic was invented as far back as the late 70s by Michael Gerzon and it captures a full 360° soundfield. This can then be folded down to 5.1, stereo, mono or whatever. I'm not sure now if Ambisonics (remember that?) came out as a means to show what it could do. I think s full Ambisonic set-up employed 10 speakers! 6 on the ground and 4 mounted above. Not exactly home-friendly.

Nobody remember Q Sound? A system for producing 360° sound from 2 speakers using multiple mono sources. Roger Water's Amused To Death typically gets mentioned with it. Pink Floyd's Pulse also used it. There's others.

Search 3D sound on YouTube. The infamous example is the barber shop, which is pretty effective on headphones. Remember Madcon's version of Beggin' ? That was 3D. There's a wick of them AMSR , or whatever on YouTube now. Binaural.

Back in the early 80s I discovered a unique speaker set-up which came about due to the lack of space I had in my bedroom. I produced a soundstage that freaked me out! Really! It produced a rock-solid palpable centre image and images outside the speakers. I remember listening to Gladys Night. She was rock-solid centre, and The Pips were individually spaced 1, 2, 3, in a lateral plane on her left, my right. It was unreal. Images existed in their own time and space. I raced about it to mags - but no-one took me seriously, naturally.

I do love it when everyone and their Granny comes out with the comment about the Beatles' early albums and the hard panning use of stereo. (I prefer them to the mono.) It wasn't just the Beatles that had such mixes. Really it wasn't!! Any number of artists had the same sort of mixes done with their material. Should start a thread.

Sent from my K3 using Tapatalk
 

Even though it is possible to capture the original soundfield of an musical event like a piano recital or a violin concerto (studio recordings are not usually the result of a single event where all musicians are playing simultaneously), this recorded soundfield cannot be reproduced by a pair or speakers or five.

The reason for this is that sound/music produced in a venue consists of direct sound, reflected sound and reverberation as can be seen in the figure below but with a pair of speakers all cues, even the audience clapping will be generated by the speakers and coming from the front of the listener:

JMFB9He.jpg

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To capture the original soundfield one would need a spherical mic array and to reproduce it one would have to sit inside a spehrical array of speakers with the same amount of tracks/channels, preferably in an anechoic chamber, not the most practical of setups:

DSC_0647.JPG?itok=1KPhjP_w

Eigenmike attached to seat in the audience

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Array1.jpg

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lydd%C3%83%C2%B8dt-rum-anechoic-chamber-

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On this subject I'd like to suggest a paper by Siegfried Linkwitz called "Hearing spatial detail in stereo recordings" which can be downloaded here (scroll down to no. 33)

He's got lots of information about it on his website, for example here, but sometimes things get a bit too technical.

This is another interesting piece that is an easy read: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/Recording/phantom images.pdf

Edited by tuga
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I  my younger days I recall being fascinated by various papers about the finer points of  Stereo and Binaural recording ....it was quite a popular topic in some circles.

I suppose the whole idea of recording a natural acoustic became kind of academic when multi track  studio recording became the norm for most music...with the recording and the image created then becoming somewhat contrived almost by definition.

I kind of lost interest in the topic as the years went by

That said, the "Soundstage" we perceive as listeners is  a significant part of the listening experience .  That audible image is  defined in essence  by what is on the recording but it's also affected by what the playback system and listening room do with it .

The biggest area of taste here is I think what we might perceive as "presence"  and the illusion of how far away the musicians appear to be .

For me , systems perhaps fall into one of  two  categories in the way they present the overall soundstage . Some systems kind of bring the musicians into your room , whilst others let you listen into an imaginary world, outside your room, where the musicians are playing.

For me the latter is preferable .   I prefer that slightly more distanced  sound , which for me allows the music to hang together rather than be pulled apart and dissected.   Others I know prefer that immediacy and  illusion of musicians being present in the room.

Edited by Smokestack

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Super Wammer
25 minutes ago, Smokestack said:

I suppose the whole idea of recording a natural acoustic became kind of academic when multi track  studio recording became the norm

This in fact aided the producer/engineer in simulating the natural acoustic but in a small recording studio.  Even at a concert where microphones are placed strategically to capture the acoustics the final finished product and how it sounds is still in the hands of the recording engineer at the controls of the mixing desk.

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48 minutes ago, Smokestack said:

Some systems kind of bring the musicians into your room , whilst others let you listen into an imaginary world, outside your room, where the musicians are playing.

This depends on the recording above all else and results from the amount of ambience and detail.

With documental recordings (i.e. classical music) the engineer/producer may choose to place the mics close to the instruments and add little ambience (hopefully he will not touch the reverb). In such cases the instruments will sound subjectively closer to the listener and the original ambience will not interfere with your room's acoustics giving an idea that "the musicians are here". The opposite would be producing a "from the audience" soundscape and the result would be the listener being perceptually transported to the venue where the recording took place (my preferred approach).

Multi-track studio productions always have more detail because of close mic'ing but the amount of reverb and delay among other effects can create a sense of the recording having taken place in a real venue, so you may still feel transported to a different space.

The only way to reproduce an instrument in our room would be to record it inside a sphere of mics and then used a spehrical speaker array to reproduce it because instruments and humans radiate sound in different directions at different frequencies:

Spherical-microphone-array-used-to-recor

.

670350p963EDNthumbNTi-Audio-DS3-PA3-6701

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dJN38qY.png

Edited by tuga

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11 hours ago, Gaz38 said:

I'm not saying you're wrong but as I mentioned earlier how does this work with headphones AND speakers? 

As the source of the sound is rotated 90 degrees surely so must the soundstage be? 

As an example if when listening through speakers the drums appear to be central and behind the speakers if you listen to the same track through headphones (effectively speakers rotated 90 degrees with you between them) where would those drums now appear to be? Logically they should appear to somewhere to the far left and right. 

Obviously that isn't the case but why? 

Also thanks for being the first to actually name a track giving an example of what your hear

Did you try listening to the track I suggested?

I'd forget about headphones. The 'soundstage' is totally different as it's 'in your head' rather than in front of you. My comments earlier in this thread were all specific to speakers.

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11 hours ago, tuga said:

I should have quoted your message because you posted about subs before I finished my message.

.

But my opinion backed by listening experience stands that two mone subs are better than a single stereo one.

OK. Where the confusion arose is that you presented a requirement for stereo subs as a logical extension of bass being panned left or right rather than dead center, and it was this I didn't agree with.

There are good reasons to favour two subs over one, although more strongly so when both fed a mono signal. This is probably a discussion for another time though :).

Edited by MartinC
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5 minutes ago, tuga said:

This depends on the recording above all else and results from the amount of ambience and detail.

With documental recordings (i.e. classical music) the engineer/producer may choose to place the mics close to the instruments and add little ambience (hopefully he will not touch the reverb). In such cases the instruments will sound subjectively closer to the listener and the original ambience will not interfere with your room's acoustics giving an idea that "the musicians are here". The opposite would be producing a "from the audience" soundscape and the result would be the listener being perceptually transported to the venue where the recording took place (my preferred approach).

Multi-track studio productions always have more detail because of close mic'ing but the amount of reverb and delay among other effects can create a sense of the recording having taken place in a real venue, so you may still feel transported to a different space.

The only way to reproduce an instrument in our room would be to record it inside a sphere of mics and then used a spehrical speaker array to reproduce it because instruments and humans radiate sound in different directions at different frequencies:

dJN38qY.png

Yep, that's  from the recording end ...but the system and listening room also have a say in our  final perception of the image and depth of soundstage.

Some of it is simply down to the overall slope of the frequency response, the listening room acoustics  and the dispersal characteristics of the speakers.

We've all for example heard the soundstage retreat further behind the speakers with increased toe in , as less sound is thrown out towards the side wall boundaries.

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This Spotify playlist compiled by What HiFi would make a good test set for soundstage.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6952XgGTcmJJkaC3A1f6LH

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23 minutes ago, uzzy said:

This in fact aided the producer/engineer in simulating the natural acoustic but in a small recording studio.  Even at a concert where microphones are placed strategically to capture the acoustics the final finished product and how it sounds is still in the hands of the recording engineer at the controls of the mixing desk.

PlayClassics has an interesting approach to recording.

They built a hall and calibrated it to remove the resonances for a fixed microphone position (explained here)

They use a single pair of mics into two-track and don't add any post-processing.

What you get is exactly what the mics captured, and they're some if not the best/most realistic recordings I've listened to:

http://www.playclassics.com/streaming

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14 minutes ago, Smokestack said:

Yep, that's  from the recording end ...but the system and listening room also have a say in our  final perception of the image and depth of soundstage.

Some of it is simply down to the overall slope of the frequency response, the listening room acoustics  and the dispersal characteristics of the speakers.

We've all for example heard the soundstage retreat further behind the speakers with increased toe in , as less sound is thrown out towards the side wall boundaries.

Linkwitz talks about reproduction in those links I posted above.

There's a narrow band in the audible frequency range responsible for a subjective impression of distance to the music scene called the "presence" region which engineers can exaggerate or tone down to move the image forwards or back (see here Audio Spectrum Explained).

The BBC Research Department was one of the first to take advantage of this psychoacoustic effect and they should have known what they were doing because they were the only ones able to compare live music with a feed:

1blX1Gh.jpg

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Room reflections can also create multiples of the images being reproduced by our speakers which helps the speakers disappear and can produce an impression of tridimensionality akin to the ghosting in old analogue TV broadcasts when the antenna wasn't properly setup.

Bare walls increase the soundstage effect, as do speakers with a wide dispersion pattern.

GBk5WMb.png

Just like TV in the old aerial days:

DshQyn6.png

Edited by tuga
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11 hours ago, Gaz38 said:

I'm not saying you're wrong but as I mentioned earlier how does this work with headphones AND speakers? 

As the source of the sound is rotated 90 degrees surely so must the soundstage be? 

As an example if when listening through speakers the drums appear to be central and behind the speakers if you listen to the same track through headphones (effectively speakers rotated 90 degrees with you between them) where would those drums now appear to be? Logically they should appear to somewhere to the far left and right. 

Obviously that isn't the case but why? 

Also thanks for being the first to actually name a track giving an example of what your hear

I have a track that demonstrates Soundstage and "Effects Steering"*

Crazy Girls by True Stories. 

They really are playing around with the listener's head! Very early in the song when the singer takes a sharp breath... 

Have a listen! 

*I think that's the proper term. Please correct me if it isn't! 👍 😎

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