Originally Posted by rhythmdevils
Yes that's a good point, they may be slightly related, but I wonder if the loss of imaging in the HD800 is directly related to the huge soundstage, or if it is just the way they got that soundstage, or something else entirely. The K1000 has a huge soundstage, and it gets it in a similar way to the HD800 (angled drivers, very open air, distance from ears) yet I believe it has some of the best imaging out there. Though I don't have tons of experience with the K1000.
2 headphones I can easily think of with great imaging and small soundstage would be the HP1000 and K240 Sextett.
Much of the imaging capability of the K1000 is due to the natural crossfeed that this design produces. The perception of natural imaging is due to this type of crossfeed and enables our brains to more accurately detect instrument placement or locations of other sounds. Much of this ability is based on psychoacoustics that are as individual as our fingerprints. A very good explanation of this natural ability to localize sounds is found in the K1000 user manual.
Without this natural crossfeed, our ability to accurately determine the location, both in width and depth, is lost, and the sound tends to become 2-dimensional, rather than 3-dimensional. Most conventional headphones do not allow for our ears to receive this small amount of crossfed sound, hence the perception of the music is contained largely within the space between the ears.
I have found by considerable experimentation that it is possible to recreate quite accurate imaging in most circumaural headphones by the use of an appropriate amount of crossfeed and an appropriate volume setting. A device such as the Corda Cross-1 allows one to determine the appropriate amount of crossfeed for ones own ear physiology. Additionally, it is necessary to select a volume level that approximates what one hears live for a given type of sound, as our brain uses varying levels of amplitude in conjunction with the natural crossfeed to accurately determine placement of individual sounds. I equate the adjustment of volume level to the focus of a telescope...the image will be blurred both with focus too short and too long, but at the proper focus, the image just snaps into clarity.
A good example of this would be to compare the ability to localize individual instruments in a string ensemble playing at a typical moderate volume to that heard at a rock concert with extremely high volume levels. At this higher sound level, it becomes nearly impossible for the ear to accurately determine the placement of the individual instruments, rather it becomes a palette of wall-to-wall sound whereas at the lower volume the string ensemble or jazz group, it is quite easy to localize specific instruments.
Given the appropriate level of crossfeed and the appropriate volume setting, our brains are "tricked" into perceiving this scenario as a real event and can more accurately produce a much more realistic sense of placement width and depth.
What all of the above accomplishes is artificially creating to some degree what is heard in a binaural recording, using microphones that are mounted in the ears of an artificial head. Binaural recordings are able to recreate a 3-dimensional images that are almost unbelievable.
Edited by HiFlight - 7/11/11 at 7:27pm