Placement of Leonard Cohens Hi Hat

Hi, no puns please. I’ve put this on hifi thread as it regards my system and not the music.

On Leonard Cohen’s album Popular Problems, Almost Like the Blues - outstanding audiophile quality, I need reassurance where the hi hat should be heard in the audio landscape.

(I’ve just rearranged my system and what I hear through my Grado GS3000e and my 552 + 300 is different.)

Now I thought headphones were the benchmark, but I’m hearing the hi hat in the centre through the headphones, but between the centre and the right with the 552 + 300. Let me add in the latter case, this is not skewed, as there is a symmetrical soundscape. Yet through the headphones, the hi hat is in the centre - still sounding good I must add.

So please advise! It’s a superb quality track albeit poignant, which I always use to show guests, but I’m not sure whether I’ve got the tweaking wrong!

Cheers, Jon.

Not a track i know but just had a listen through my headphones (Focal Clear MG).

As a first point i’m not sure that is a high hat, sounds more like an egg shaker to me, but thats by the by.

IN terms of placement on the Focals its definitely in the centre right.

Are we talking LP, CD or streaming? I have the CD and listening to the rip the percussion is to the left facing the speakers. It is also placed there, streaming from Qobuz. I don’t have a test CD but using the HiFi Sound test LP my LP12, amp and speakers are correctly set up left and right. I’m using a SuperLumina DIN-DIN interconnect for streaming so it seems unlikely the channels would be reversed.

It’s a while since I listened to this but it is very well recorded - on the CD the track simply credits Patrick Leonard for ‘Music’ so the percussion may be synthesised rather than an actual instrument.

Qobuz through NP5 and ndac, I’m hearing it on the left. Although I’m using mono amps so there’s a chance I’ve connected incorrectly. But definitely not central.

I also don’t think they hi hats.

Qobuz again; for me it is on the left, if anything top left behind the voice.
Great album.

Have you tried reversing the headphones.

I’m relieved that you and @Camphuw are also hearing the percussion on the left!

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Hi all thanks for the comments and apologies for my English. Yes it is a shaker towards the centre mid and between the top of the speaker and the ceiling.

I hear percussion to the left centre, and voice in centre so I’m now thinking the headphones + Astell & Kern CA1000 are the issue.

(It’s based on downloaded 25/96 on HDX which I convert with NDS into the 552 and 300.)

Thanks again.


Tidal - shaker on the right…

(L/R confirmed correct using two different test disks - albeit both from Tidal!)

Edit - is the A&K doing some binaural/crossfeed processing?


Fascinating. I’m using Qobuz and hearing the shaker to the right of centre. Flipping balance all the way to left and then right suggests the mix is biased slightly to the right channel. :man_shrugging:t2:

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Agree it’s more an egg shaker. Qobuz streaming definitely right (quite a bit) of centre

Could we be confusing left and right.

I’m hearing the sound on my left, when facing the speakers.

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Shaker to the left as I look at the speakers using Qobuz. Also centre left on headphones from iPad on Qobuz. Test disc confirms left/right channel correct on the system. R & L on headphones confirms I’m wearing them correctly.

Edit to say I’ve had a head cold. Managed to pop my ears this evening. Shaker now in its rightful place centre right. Good job I wasn’t auditioning hifi.

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Very interesting - and great track, btw. On my 24/96 download it’s very solidly on the inside right of my r/h speaker, about 30-40 cm above the speaker. And yes, it’s a shaker.

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Firstly can I say thanks for making me check this out ,have not played it for a while .
Ok Cd version shaker to right .
Tidal stream shaker to right
LP shaker to right .

And oh how the LP trounces the rest .


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Just double checked I had the speakers wired correctly (yes they are) and egg shaker definitely on right hand speaker when I’m sitting facing the speakers (Qobuz streaming)…strange?

Using my 24 bit 96k WAV file, the shaker is on the right - I would say just to the left of the right speaker (looking at my speakers). The percussion is on the left and occupies the space from left to roughly one third of the way towards the centre. I am sitting directly between the speakers. Hope this helps.

Great thread! Well done, Jon.

Tidal via iMac and ancient Sennheisers, it’s centre right. I must try this on Tidal/ND5XS2 etc. after breakfast.

Test disc required methinks… is the Sheffield Labs A2TB disk on Qobuz?