Silly soundstage

I know it is often considered of secondary importance, but I’ve tried to have a 3 dimensional soundstage and for the most part I’ve succeeded. My system and layout are not going to change so this is merely an academic question. I have nothing placed between the speakers,and I’m sure that helps. The “stage” on my system is clearly centered behind the speakers. I was just wondering how many have that “stage” and where it is located - behind or in front of your speakers?

what do you mean by stage Benjy? i have also nothing between my speakers as i find the speakers are better breathing: the music has more air and openness. I tried recently just to place a potted plant between, but the sound was less lively.
It’s better also for imagination to have nothing but the music between.
The sound is outside on left and right the speakers, so much bigger than the space delimited between the speakers. The leading voice is centered.

Mine seems to be ridiculously wide. In fact, one of the changes I noticed when I upgraded from a CD5i to a CDX2 was the soundstage went from being wide but horizontal (i.e. everything was located on a horizontal line running between the speakers) to wide and high (i.e. same width but with real height to the image). Quite extraordinary.


By stage, I mean where the sounds are in space , where a singer stands and instruments have an almost physical presence. Their was a test cd with the last issue of hi-fi+ and one of the tests was a sound that should move from left speaker to center to right. My system did fine on that , and extension to the side, but vocals and instruments in space do come from between the speakers, but if i had to point to the where it is behind the speakers - they are only 2ft. (more or less) from the rear wall .

Ebor - There is a forced air heat vent centered between my speakers, it is about 8 to 10 inches off the floor. When I had 202/250dr. vocals and the centered music seemed to be around that height. Changing to the 282 brought the height to ear level and did quite a few other improvements

I find this varies greatly on the recording. Some go way back. Oddly enough, how far forward it comes depends a lot on the electronics in my experience. Moving from a HiCap to Supercap put the lead vocals on some tracks a couple feet forward into the room.

Soundstage is often considered artificial hifi artifice. And to be honest, pinpoint sound sources don’t exist in live music whether amped or not. Yet, I find without visual cues, it is a pretty important factor. While smaller speakers give more precise almost laser focussed sound points, larger speakers often don’t but make up for it with a more generalised substance behind a sound that often feels more believable than an ethereal pinpoint of sound.

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Yes, I like height. If you can get great imaging up there. Some tracks need to soar the sky like witches in the night.

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I really enjoy soundstage from my systems, both for music and movies. The middle section of “Arriving somewhere, but not here” by Porcupine Tree seems to come from each end of the room, which is 16m wide! Some movies seem to assault you from above and behind. Blizzare that speaker sounds can do that. I have Totems in both systems, which are known for a holographic soundstage - lots of fun.

Soundstage makes listening to music just that bit more interesting. Although if you listen out for it too much you can wish a certain instrument was in a different position from how it was recorded. Did the engineer know best?
I think it applies more in classical music. Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with off stage brass. Benjamin Britten and his Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings where in the last song the horn is instructed to play way off stage. All this audible in a concert hall setting performance.
No problem in pinpointing instruments in a horizontal plane, much less so vertically. Although a cymbal class will sound “higher up” because the tweeter is usually at the top of a box loudspeaker.
Soundstage I find extends from the front of the loudspeaker to the back. Never in front.
Just occasionally sound will come from left of the left speaker and same with the right. Is that because its out of phase? Hi-FI+ test disc shows this pretty well.
All this based in two channel stereo. What about surround sound? Something I have never got into.
Anyway, its supposed to be all about the music. I got my liking for chamber music in driving a MK 1 Ford Cortina as a sales rep with an AM radio.


A different soundstage effect is when sounds are placed well outside the speaker zone by the use of special techniques: Pink Floyd were playing with what was termed holophonics at the time of Final Cut, and subsequently Roger Waters used a similar process called Q-Sound on Amused to Death. With such techniques sound could be made to seem to come way forward of the speakers, even behind you, just from a stereo pair of speakers. An uncanny effect on the latter album is when someone starts speaking, apparently just to the left of you - you can visualise him sitting on the sofa next to you! The first time I heard it, it was quite startling!

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Q-Sound is amazing. I remember when I first listened to Madonna’s Immaculate Collection in Q-Sound on my system. Sounds were everywhere, behind me, beside me, above me, in front … literally everywhere.

I particularly like those tracks that have been cut with an elevated bassline. Maybe double tracked with deep lines running along the floor, drums in the centre and main bass melody playing overhead like a flying buttress supporting a cathedral of lush.

Which track is this?

First: Ballad of Bill Hubbard. It is Bill Hubbard who is next to you.

N.B. It seems you have to be in the sweet spot.

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I have that album. First CD I ever bought. At the time I thought the Q Sound was amazing. Then I got my first proper hifi and instantly Q Sound sounded like rubbish recorded at the bottom of a swimming pool.

Not helped by the fact it is played back via studio monitors and the re-recorded by a special microphone embedded head.

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