holographic soundstage?

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What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording re:separation
and detail? I am using a Jolida 102b tube amp with a Jolida CD Silver
Reference, moon silver coated interconnects with MIT Ter3 biwired
speaker cables and Wharfedale Anniversary 8.1's. I am still breaking
them in, but I am not getting the jutting soundstage that I'm seeking.
I was using an Acurus Dia 100 and it did not make any difference enen
though it was twice the power. My office is 6x9 drywall.
 
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In article <c620vf09mp@news4.newsguy.com>,
Philip Meech <macmeech@adelphia.net> wrote:

>What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
>power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
>tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording re:separation
>and detail?

What follows is my semi-informed opinion, not Gospel by any means.

All of the above are probably contributors. The process of learning
(yours - the listener's) is another part.

Fundamentally, a "holographic soundstage" from a stereo source and
stereo reproduction system is a psychoacoustic illusion. It's not
actually possible for a stereo system to accurately reproduce the
actual sound field of an orchestra or other sound source in
3-dimensional space. The stereo record-and-playback system will
always introduce anomalies (e.g. delayed and reflected sound-paths)
which weren't present in the original sound-field.

[Picture the sound paths from the instruments to your ears, as if you were
sitting in the original venue. Then, picture the sound paths from
those instruments to any set of mikes, located wherever you choose,
and then picture the paths from your stereo speakers to each of your
ears. You'll see that there's no way to reproduce the original-venue
sound paths with complete accuracy.]

Creating a playback sound field which _seems_ three-dimensional to
the human ear/brain systems is a tricky thing. From what I
understand, it's partly a matter of providing sonic cues which promote
the sense of a three-dimensional space larger than the listening room -
e.g. a balance of direct and reflected sound present in the original
venue, which conveys a sense of the size of the original venue. This
particular cue system is one which comes via the original recording
and mastering.

Similarly, the recording ought to reflect the sonic characteristics of
instruments which are "near" and "far" from the listener... in a real
venue, instruments which are towards the back of the stage might have
a different frequency balance (a bit more attenuation of the treble
due to the distance), and the direct-path sound level from those
instruments would be lower than for instruments towards the front of
the stage. This will help create the proper illusion of depth. Once
again, this is a matter for the original recording and the mastering.

The playback and reproduction equipment should, I believe, generally
try to be as honest as possible - not introducing its own sonic
character any more than is strictly necessary. In particular,
maintaining an even frequency balance (and dispersion, if possible) at
a speaker's crossover point(s) can probably make a big difference in
the naturalness of the soundstage. If there are abrupt changes in
amplitude or in horizontal or vertical dispersion patterns of a
speaker system at any frequency, an instrument may seem to "wander" in
space as it plays up and down across the anomaly, or might seem to be
stretched or pulled if (e.g.) the bass notes seemed to come from a
different direction than the midrange or treble notes. This will tend
to spoil the illusion.

A speaker with abrupt horizontal or vertical lobing in its dispersion
patterns may present other problems... an overly-small "sweet spot".
If you move your head back and forth by a foot or so, you might find
that the soundstage changes abruptly, with instruments seeming to
"move around" in an unrealistic fashion. Speakers with a somewhat
more even dispersion pattern might not have this problem.

Speakers with low distortion levels, and wide dynamic-range capability
probably do a better job than more limited speakers. The sounds of
individual instruments will be less likely to interfere with one
another (e.g. a bass-drum whack or tuba blatt won't cause the apparent
character and position of a viola to wander).

The amplifier is, I think, less critical. As long as it's got enough
clean power to drive the speakers to the desired playback level
without clipping or distorting, and has no other objectionable
characteristics, then you'll probably be fine. More power probably
won't help matters.

Setting up the room so that you avoid excessive "early" reflections
can be helpful... e.g. put a rug on the floor between you and the
speakers, to tame any reflections from the floor. The brain can learn
to ignore "early" reflections to some extent, but they might tend to
spoil the illusion of having a coherent sound-field. Similarly,
moving speakers around or experimenting with wall treatments may be
beneficial in managing the inevitable reflections created by your
room's walls.

Finally, learning and training are probably quite important. When you
"break in" a new stereo system (especially if it's in a new room) you
are often breaking in your own ear/brain system as much as you're
breaking in the equipment (or even more). Over time, your ear/brain
system will adapt to the sound field being created by your system -
it can learn to ignore some of the anomalies created by your listening
room and equipment, and pick out those characteristics of the sound
field which create the satisfying perceptual illusion you're looking
for.

--
Dave Platt <dplatt@radagast.org> AE6EO
Hosting the Jade Warrior home page: http://www.radagast.org/jade-warrior
I do _not_ wish to receive unsolicited commercial email, and I will
boycott any company which has the gall to send me such ads!
 
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On 4/19/04 10:13 PM, in article c620vf09mp@news4.newsguy.com, "Philip Meech"
<macmeech@adelphia.net> wrote:

> What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
> power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
> tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording re:separation
> and detail?

YES! Illusion that it may be (since the goal of an audio enthusiast is to
create a convincing illusion of the band being *right there*) - it is all
these things. I think also the element of being "drawn in" to a favorite
piece of music and being amazed at the detail and the sound of a once
familiar piece of music!

>I am using a Jolida 102b tube amp with a Jolida CD Silver
> Reference, moon silver coated interconnects with MIT Ter3 biwired
> speaker cables and Wharfedale Anniversary 8.1's. I am still breaking
> them in, but I am not getting the jutting soundstage that I'm seeking.
> I was using an Acurus Dia 100 and it did not make any difference enen
> though it was twice the power. My office is 6x9 drywall.

You may never get the convincing "illusion" except from a special recording.
The only way to really throw a 3-d image is to get everything *just* right.
Still, hearing a good recording of a good soundtrack - that you like - is
the ticket!

A lot of people will tell you the geometrically it is "impossible" - but to
our ears - two sensors - have managed to hear that way.
 
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Bromo <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> On 4/19/04 10:13 PM, in article c620vf09mp@news4.newsguy.com, "Philip Meech"
> <macmeech@adelphia.net> wrote:

> > What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
> > power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
> > tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording re:separation
> > and detail?

> YES! Illusion that it may be (since the goal of an audio enthusiast is to
> create a convincing illusion of the band being *right there*) - it is all
> these things. I think also the element of being "drawn in" to a favorite
> piece of music and being amazed at the detail and the sound of a once
> familiar piece of music!


I have achieved 'holographic' imaging with modest equipment -- NAD
integrated amp, NHT speakers, Pioneer CD changer -- so I conclude that it's mainly
down to speaker placement/room treatment, since I only ever achieved
it by altering these (for nearfield listening).


--

-S.

"They've got God on their side. All we've got is science and reason."
-- Dawn Hulsey, Talent Director
 
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Steven Sullivan ssully@panix.com wrote:

>Bromo <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>> On 4/19/04 10:13 PM, in article c620vf09mp@news4.newsguy.com, "Philip
>Meech"
>> <macmeech@adelphia.net> wrote:
>
>> > What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
>> > power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
>> > tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording re:separation
>> > and detail?
>
>> YES! Illusion that it may be (since the goal of an audio enthusiast is to
>> create a convincing illusion of the band being *right there*) - it is all
>> these things. I think also the element of being "drawn in" to a favorite
>> piece of music and being amazed at the detail and the sound of a once
>> familiar piece of music!
>
>
>I have achieved 'holographic' imaging with modest equipment -- NAD
>integrated amp, NHT speakers, Pioneer CD changer -- so I conclude that it's
>mainly
>down to speaker placement/room treatment, since I only ever achieved
>it by altering these (for nearfield listening).

Speaker placement and listener positions are the key elements. My favorite was
to ensure a holographic sound stage is called multichannel.
 
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"Steven Sullivan" <ssully@panix.com> wrote in message
news:c661pm01931@news3.newsguy.com...
> Bromo <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> > On 4/19/04 10:13 PM, in article c620vf09mp@news4.newsguy.com, "Philip
Meech"
> > <macmeech@adelphia.net> wrote:
>
> > > What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
> > > power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
> > > tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording
re:separation
> > > and detail?
>
> > YES! Illusion that it may be (since the goal of an audio enthusiast is
to
> > create a convincing illusion of the band being *right there*) - it is
all
> > these things. I think also the element of being "drawn in" to a
favorite
> > piece of music and being amazed at the detail and the sound of a once
> > familiar piece of music!
>
>
> I have achieved 'holographic' imaging with modest equipment -- NAD
> integrated amp, NHT speakers, Pioneer CD changer -- so I conclude that
it's mainly
> down to speaker placement/room treatment, since I only ever achieved
> it by altering these (for nearfield listening).
>
>

I concur with Steve on this. I have taken exactly the same audio gear into
different environments. In one, with careful placement and room treatment,
I was able to achieve this effect. I've also heard it at a friends house,
and in two dealer show rooms. In all these cases we were pretty much
dealing with dedicated listening rooms where conventional constraints did
not have to apply.
 

alex

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Mar 31, 2004
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I think the most important factors are phase and frequency response, and the
matching of responses between channels.

If there is a phase shift, the instruments (or voice) do not seem focussed.
Bass and treble appear to be coming from different points.

Most high end speakers have driver pairs accurately matched which helps
further to focus the object.

Of course room factors have an effect. But for my tastes I prefer a
completely inert well damped room. Some people try to create ambience in the
listening room. I think it should be created at the recording stage. In this
regard I am constantly amazed how many hi-fi stores (at least in australia)
have very poor listening environments. One would think that the dealers
don't want to sell their equipment. They are so poorly set up.

Alex


"Philip Meech" <macmeech@adelphia.net> wrote in message
news:c620vf09mp@news4.newsguy.com...
> What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
> power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
> tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording re:separation
> and detail? I am using a Jolida 102b tube amp with a Jolida CD Silver
> Reference, moon silver coated interconnects with MIT Ter3 biwired
> speaker cables and Wharfedale Anniversary 8.1's. I am still breaking
> them in, but I am not getting the jutting soundstage that I'm seeking.
> I was using an Acurus Dia 100 and it did not make any difference enen
> though it was twice the power. My office is 6x9 drywall.
 
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"Alex" alexpaynter@hotmail.com wrote:



>I think the most important factors are phase and frequency response, and the
>matching of responses between channels.
>
>If there is a phase shift, the instruments (or voice) do not seem focussed.
>Bass and treble appear to be coming from different points.
>
>Most high end speakers have driver pairs accurately matched which helps
>further to focus the object.
>
>Of course room factors have an effect. But for my tastes I prefer a
>completely inert well damped room. Some people try to create ambience in the
>listening room. I think it should be created at the recording stage. In this
>regard I am constantly amazed how many hi-fi stores (at least in australia)
>have very poor listening environments. One would think that the dealers
>don't want to sell their equipment. They are so poorly set up.
>
>Alex

Over the years I've moved from the overdamped (even sound-proofed) 2-channel
room to preferring a more lively environment for multichannel playback. It
seems that with more sound sources playing different sound that the room makes
less overall contribution and a more lively environment enhances envelopment.
 
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"Alex" <alexpaynter@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<c6ggqk09t2@news3.newsguy.com>...
> I think the most important factors are phase and frequency response, and the
> matching of responses between channels.
>
> If there is a phase shift, the instruments (or voice) do not seem focussed.
> Bass and treble appear to be coming from different points.
>
> Most high end speakers have driver pairs accurately matched which helps
> further to focus the object.
>
> Of course room factors have an effect. But for my tastes I prefer a
> completely inert well damped room. Some people try to create ambience in the
> listening room. I think it should be created at the recording stage. In this
> regard I am constantly amazed how many hi-fi stores (at least in australia)
> have very poor listening environments. One would think that the dealers
> don't want to sell their equipment. They are so poorly set up.
>
> Alex
>

In my own experiments, damping is best suited against the wall where
the speakers are, and the floor. This "opens up" the room, creating an
artificial stage extending behind the wall where the recording
ambience can be heard. The other half of the room is in my ears better
with som reflections and not so much damping. In surround sound or
matrix decoding, reflections would be more important to create a
"diffuse field", but can be compensated for by using multiple surround
speakers.

T
 
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My personal experience is that it's mainly a matter of geometry and
avoiding the distortions that Mr. Platt mentions in his post.

For instance, I have created quite a good soundstage with car speakers
and a cheap amp in several rooms just by making an equilateral triangle
of the speakers and my listening seat and sitting in the near field to
avoid reflections. I've created the same thing at my bath room sink.
With a pair of powered computer speakers, a portable CD player and
careful placement the stage seems to start a fair distance behind the
mirror. These are pretty cheap, unrecognized brand name speakers and a
cheap RCA player that I got as a 10 year "reward" from my company. I did
the same thing in a friend's home, and then he moved the stuff back
where he had it because he LIKED boomy bass with the speakers in the
corner of the room.

How GOOD everything sounds is heavily dependent on all the othe stuff
you mention. Just try creating an equilateral triangle with your
speakers and your "own self", as they say for the soundstage. You may be
surprised.

-- Bob T.

Philip Meech wrote:

> What is the cause of the holographic soundstage? The push of amplifier
> power, the positioning of speakers in a small room, the quality of the
> tweeter and mid bass driver, the quality of the recording
> re:separation and detail? I am using a Jolida 102b tube amp with a
> Jolida CD Silver Reference, moon silver coated interconnects with MIT
> Ter3 biwired speaker cables and Wharfedale Anniversary 8.1's. I am
> still breaking them in, but I am not getting the jutting soundstage
> that I'm seeking.
> I was using an Acurus Dia 100 and it did not make any difference enen
> though it was twice the power. My office is 6x9 drywall.
 

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