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Improving sound stage of full sized cans

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

So I've been listening to my 595s on my d4, and I'm finding that even though the sound stage is bigger than on my integrated card, it sounds like the musicians are all really small (if that makes sense). Rather than full sized bands and instruments at long range, it sounds like elfs playing 18 inches from my face. Looking at my 595s, the drivers don't fully cover my ears, and this lead me to think that perhaps a driver that completely covers the outer ear would combat this? I'm assuming that the way the sound wave is refracted by the moving driver, and reflected and refracted by my outer ears, that why I hear the sound as coming from headphones, rather than actual live sound. Perhaps a driver that enclosed the outer ear would produce sound waves that would be "parrelel" at the point they hit the ear, so that its the recording that dictates where the noise is coming from.

post #2 of 45

Soundstage is greatly exaggerated on this site. Really the main thing that will limit soundstage on a headphone is recording - a binaural recording like Explorations in Space and Time will present a massive soundscape, but other than that even Stax SR-007 and HD 800s don't really create a tangibly real impression of music, either in timbre or presentation on regular sound field recordings. All you can really get with any audio equipment is a very good fake, at the end of all those thousands of dollars.

 

Anyway, now I've stopped being cynical: I find that a crossfeed can greatly improve soundstage, making it wider and more directional even if it still doesn't actually give a realistic sense of space. If you're into DIY you can build an excellent Meier crossfeed for about $2 worth of components, though there are also software options like Dolby Headphone and other retail crossfeeds. The 'diminuitive band' impression is one I know very well, and something that often irks me about headphone listening. Some cans are more prone to it than others, though.

post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

Well my hope would be that you could get rid of the diminuitive band if you cover the entire ear with the drivers. And yes, by now I've figured out they all exaggerate soundstage. I'm kind of bummed about the whole issue of audio now though, speakers just aren't an option for me because of both price and the fact that everyone can hear them. The other concern I have about speakers is that I don't have any 5.1 material, and stereo speakers couldn't be much better than headphones. 

 

Anyway, do you have instructions on how to make that crossfeed?

post #4 of 45

http://www.rock-grotto.co.uk/x-feed.htm

 

It's very easy and costs basically nothing - the highest price will be for the connectors or a box to put it in.

post #5 of 45
Thread Starter 

Not a fan of the "bass enhanced" label or the fact that its rca. anything that would work for a 1/4 inch jack?

post #6 of 45

There's a non-bass enhancing cicuit here: http://gilmore2.chem.northwestern.edu/projects/meier_prj.htm (the first diagram)

You can lay it out pretty much the same as the other one but use the different values. As for the RCA sockets, you could really use it with any connector you like. As long as it has ground and two signal connections you can go to town.

post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 

Does anyone just sell a crossfeed circuit?

post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ffdpmaggot View Post

Does anyone just sell a crossfeed circuit?


 

HeadRoom, and Corda I believe include them in their amps.  If you're using a PC as a source you could look up Tone Boosters Isone VST.  If you just want something to simulate speakers I've had good experience with hardware based Dolby Headphone solutions (Mixamp, Victor (JVC) SU-DH1).  Then there's the Smyth Realizer which is another game entirely.

 

(Note about the Victor, it can be noisy if pushed too hard.  Using it as a pre or source to another amp is the best solution).

post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 

I dont want to shell out for anything. I want a ten dollar adapter. Also, the soundstage just "clicked" with me, so im fine.

post #10 of 45

One thing you should really note: Stereo speakers sound completely different than headphones.  In addition to the speakers - whose dispersion pattern, like headphones, has a large impact on the sound, the room acoustics (including but hardly limited to speaker placement and room dimensions) are vital in how speakers sound.  With a good setup - good speakers, adequate amplification for them, and a good, preferably tuned room - you get a sense of space and depth in normal recordings that even the best headphones can't provide.  Many people, myself included, think the soundstage of speakers really is that much better.  Others think the other way around, however.

 

Still, the recording plays a huge role as well.  The best stereo recordings will sound phenomenal on speakers (and different on headphones), and binaural recordings will do the same on headphones.

post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post

One thing you should really note: Stereo speakers sound completely different than headphones.  In addition to the speakers - whose dispersion pattern, like headphones, has a large impact on the sound, the room acoustics (including but hardly limited to speaker placement and room dimensions) are vital in how speakers sound.  With a good setup - good speakers, adequate amplification for them, and a good, preferably tuned room - you get a sense of space and depth in normal recordings that even the best headphones can't provide.  Many people, myself included, think the soundstage of speakers really is that much better.  Others think the other way around, however.

 

Still, the recording plays a huge role as well.  The best stereo recordings will sound phenomenal on speakers (and different on headphones), and binaural recordings will do the same on headphones.



I completely agree with this. I have been a speaker-based audiophile for a while and am new to the headphone side of things. While I love many aspects of my headphones I feel that they still don't have the presence or soundstage of a good two channel audio system. I would encourage you to experience somewhere that a good sound room is setup and audition a system to experience the soundstage yourself. 

 

Ultimately only you can decide your favorite and that is why this is so much fun!

post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 

Well I don't want to try a good pair of speakers then find out that they cost way too much for my budget afterwards, so is there a pricepoint where they'll start to surpass a pair of 595s in quality?

post #13 of 45

I didn't know what crossfeed meant, and from what I read I really can't understand how could it improve soundstage. I would have thought that the fact that sound from both speakers reaches both ears would hurt the soundstage. Someone please explain confused.gif

post #14 of 45

It's quite simple actually. In nature, you always hear a sound no matter what direction it came from with both ears. The sound usually reaches one ear with a little time difference and lower level. We humans use this information to locate where the sound came from.

 

With headphones, the left channel can be heard in the left ear only, and vice-versa of course. This unnatural stereo separation usually causes fatigue (unless you're used to it) and also creates an unnatural/artificial soundstage*. By adding some crosstalk with time delay to the stereo signal (= crossfeed) you reduce this unnatural experience and get closer to what your hearing/brain expects.

 

*) feels like sounds are coming from the inside of your head

 

If you ever sat in front of a good stereo speaker setup and closed your eyes you should know what a real soundstage sounds like.

Depending on the DSP you're using you can get close to that experience with headphones, but it requires some time and tweaking.


Edited by xnor - 6/23/11 at 7:03am
post #15 of 45
Thread Starter 

My recordings all sound just fine where stereo separation goes. If someone knows how to build a driver, I'd be willing to spend a few weeks looking into assembling a pair of headphones with circumaural drivers because nobody has answered my question and I really should just see for myself. Don't tell me that its too impractical, because ive got plenty of time and its possible.

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