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EQ sound stage

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

On an eq like the one I tunes is it best to use flat or just whatever sounds best?

post #2 of 18

A basic graphic eq like the one in iTunes is a bit limited. I'd recommend turning it off (or running flat). If you do want to make minor adjustments - remember to always adjust down. That is, if you want more bass - rather than turning up the bass, turn DOWN the mids and highs (and visa versa) - that will minimize modulation distortions. 

 

L

post #3 of 18
The EQ in iTunes is so primitive, I wouldn't use it at all.
post #4 of 18
Hey Bigshot, is there a quality, affordable (freeware would be great) software suite for digital sound shaping, just to use for playback? Protools is too steep for me. I know it is the Photoshop of audio, but way too much and way too big for home playback control.

I hesitate to go hardware for this. No fun shopping for a Meyer CP-10.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/6/12 at 11:03am
post #5 of 18

There are tons of RT plugins for sound programs. Are you mac or pc?

 

Because my system is 5:1 now, I've had to set my 2 channel hardware EQ aside for a while. I'm using the five band parametric that's built into my Yamaha receiver. It isn't quite flexible enough, but it seems like it should get me the overall curve I'm looking for. I'm still tweaking. Once I finish, I might see about plugging my hardware EQ into the two mains to do fine tuning to bumps and dips. Dunno if I need to yet. I'm not sure if I even can. Receivers don't have tape monitor any more... or at least I haven't found it in the maze of nested menus yet. very frustrating.

post #6 of 18
I am PC. I am still not sure if I will need any of this or not, as my source is 100% CD at this point. I am certainly going to, after serious and lengthly tryouts, stick with two channel. I am nuts about films. Surround sound adds nothing to a good film and can never make a bad one better.

I also have no interest in casual or background music listening; I only listen to music I am passionate about and don't bother unless I can give it all my attention. I don't multitask music.

What I am considering is tweaking the signal going to my Stax 007mk2s. It is close to perfect, but I would like to try for Nirvana. EQ would be affordable, a $5000 amp would not be. So, here I am. You can see why the Meyer is almost tempting, but I think software would be better other than having to have a PC in there (and over there).
post #7 of 18

I don't care about surround sound in films. None of the films I like originally had multichannel sound. Most were mono.

 

However, musical concerts recorded in 5:1 sound can be absolutely staggering. I have Mehta's Ring cycle on bluray, and even in the opera house, I've never heard sound that compares. Multichannel audio is as big as a leap forward over stereo as stereo was over mono. It's the greatest sound quality improvement in home audio since stereo was introduced. No lie!

 

But you need speakers...

 

Someone will probably chime in with a PC software eq soon. I'm afraid I'm mac


Edited by bigshot - 7/6/12 at 11:57am
post #8 of 18
I tried 5.1 with JBL 4345 fronts (18" four way studio monitors), 4333(15" three way) rears, etc. DVD-As had no charm for me over stereo. When I sit in front of a great mono rig I close my eyes and the soundstage appears; my experienced brain fills it in.

The secret of soundstage, separation and imaging is that if you are not hung up about it and don't think about it, it just happens. I remember when stereo came along. Hifi guys were wondering why anyone wanted it. The illusion did not compare to what our experienced (a lot of live music listening in those days) brains rendered for us.

All the prating on about soundstage on this website is pure ignorance as far as I am concerned. I am so sick of it I just skip over it. If all you believers are wondering what the hell I am talking about, two analogies.

1) You are fixated on the bug on the windshield instead of focusing on the vista beyond. If this seems inappropriate, remember that binocular vision creates a simulation of 3D reality. It is an illusion, like stereo and multichannel sound.

2) Look up willing suspension of disbelief. You thought about it and your attention snapped from the movie to the screen. You are all going on and on...and on about the screen. Be like Neo. Perceive past the illusion and see the Matrix. Everyone used to.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/6/12 at 1:34pm
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

I tried 5.1 with JBL 4345 fronts (18" four way studio monitors), 4333(15" three way) rears, etc. DVD-As had no charm for me over stereo. When I sit in front of a great mono rig I close my eyes and the soundstage appears; my experienced brain fills it in.
The secret of soundstage, separation and imaging is that if you are not hung up about it and don't think about it, it just happens. I remember when stereo came along. Hifi guys were wondering why anyone wanted it. The illusion did not compare to what our experienced (a lot of live music listening in those days) brains rendered for us.
All the prating on about soundstage on this website is pure ignorance as far as I am concerned. I am so sick of it I just skip over it. If all you believers are wondering what the hell I am talking about, two analogies.
1) You are fixated on the bug on the windshield instead of focusing on the vista beyond. If this seems inappropriate, remember that binocular vision creates a simulation of 3D reality. It is an illusion, like stereo and multichannel sound.
2) Look up willing suspension of disbelief. You thought about it and your attention snapped from the movie to the screen. You are all going on and on...and on about the screen. Be like Neo. Perceive past the illusion and see the Matrix. Everyone used to.

 

I'm not sure if I catch what you're saying Clark. I'm pretty sure I've (subjectively) experienced soundstage myself. I don't think there's any doubt that the engineer can mix the instruments to appear on the a certain side of the soundfield. Like a cymbal clash in the right corner of your room, or rolling drums that pan across the image. That's when I notice soundstage that really grabs me. Then there are other times when I make an active effort to notice the soundstage. I'll realized the bass is mixed on the left channel, the drums on the right, and the horns in the center. Of course, I could be listening to that exact same track without thinking about it and all the instruments sort of meld together, effectively creating the soundstage. Are you refuting the idea of soundstage, or am I misinterpreting you?

post #10 of 18
I agree that soundstage is a term that is often misused.

5:1 is a level of difficulty beyond stereo which is a level of difficulty beyond mono. It took me two months to just balance the levels, and I'm still tweaking the response curves. It's alot of work to get the 5:1 soundfield to mesh, but it's worth it.
post #11 of 18
Well, I don't have time right now for a detailed, thoughtful reply. I'll try to make sense briefly. Of course I have heard a soundstage from both speakers and headphones. And I was startled when my single driver rig put an instrument four feet outside the right speaker, to disappear when I turned to face it.

What I am commenting on is the moaning about how headphones suck because the sound appears to come from inside your head; and how this soundstage is bigger and that one is smaller and another one is unnatural because it is like this or that. All this comes from 1) massively overthinking this and 2) perversely, actually being lazy about it and expecting the equipment to do all the work for you.

As mentioned, using two ears to reconstruct an illusion of a reality is completely similar to using two eyes to do the same. The main difference is that there is much more information in light waves than in sound waves, so the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

When we watch a film, a movie, on a screen we allow our brain, our mind if you will, to imagine that the actual scene is before us; when something breaks it from our attention we are aware again that we are viewing a two dimensional image within a frame and we perceive that until we can ignore reality and allow the illusion to re establish in our mind. As long as we are paying attention to the methodology creating the illusion, we will not ignore it and buy into, experience the illusion itself - which exists in our minds, not in space in front of us. If you do not understand this last part, you do not understand what a recreated soundstage is at all.

A soundstage is not a precise reconstruction in a concrete sense. The important part of it is the agreement between the sound heard by the listener and the willingness and the ability of the mind to create the illusion based on it. The constant attention most listeners here give to the dimensions and orientation of the soundstage prevents the unconcious act of recreating it in your minds. You keep looking at the screen instead of ignoring it and you are supprised when the beautiful illusion does not materialize. With the actual process of the mind creating the illusion gone, all that is left is to endlessly change equipment to try and make it work by physical means. The problem is, it was never created by the equipment. That is like light on a screen. It was created by the mind.

Succeeding at this is easy, but you can't do it while thinking about the process. It sounds like all this analysis around here has led to a significant population who have seen the vase as two faces and can't ever see the vase again.

When stereo was new, the contribution was that the sound source was slightly different for each ear. (Yes, slightly. At least in my house. My father was a quality control engineer at Shure Bros. He worked with phono cartridges and microphones. We had a lot of LPs and a nice tube amplified full range and coax system, pretty hifi. While some of the first stereo recordings were goofy demonstration disks of trains and race cars panning across the speakers, or the legendary horrible recordings of something in one channel and something else in the other channel with no crosstalk or mixing, many were binaural music recordings.) The major work creating the illusion was still done by the mind, unconciously. Add seven more sources and nothing important changes. The mind is still doing all the work. Improvements in the illusion brought by adding more information are small. Two sources and two ears get you about as far as you can go. Unless you overthink it and cripple the mind's ability to perform the important part. Then you are left with all the tail chasing for tiny gains that this quest has become in this community, and in the surround sound community as well.

All this was contained in the brief remarks in my other post, but the inability to expand the examples to comprehend the situation is not unexpected given the thinking that is leading to the failure here. The mind must do the work; the process is not concrete; imagination is vital and particularization ls not. This quest does not lend itself to an exact physical solution. Good lord, have I said it enough different ways?

I possess no unusual abilities. But when I don't think about it, my Stax presents me with a nice, convincing sound field. Like the performance is in front of me. If I try to analyze the soundstage instead of listening to the music, THEN it seems to be coming from inside my head. If something is mono and I don't know or care, my mind fills in the missing information from experience and I experience it in three diminsions. There it is, simple and in few words. Don't analyze it. Don't think about it. Just try it. Anyone can do it. Everyone used to do it. Everyone.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/7/12 at 10:01am
post #12 of 18
In fact, you have all done it before. When you walk by a building and music comes from inside, say from under a door or through a crack in a window, you imagine the same band playing in real space whether it ends up being a radio or live. Do you actually think that someone ln front of their radio in the 1930s was hearing, in their mind, a dimensionless orchestra with no soundstage? Even previous exposure to a live orchestra was not necessary. Common experience listening to sounds in their environment, from a static position and walking through it, provided the necessary references.

If they had never heard that orchestra, they could not precisely locate each instrument in space. But they would always create a convincing recreation of what it might have been like. Not that they were being given no information. There is still an incredible amount of spatial information in a mono recording or broadcast, unless it was mixed evenly from mikes equally placed equal distances from each sound source. I doubt that has ever happened. When I listen to 1920s recordings of Duke Ellington (The Bubber Miley Years, great stuff!), the single microphone recordings make it EASY to hear the separation and relative orientation of every musician. I might mix up left for right, but everything else is there.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/7/12 at 8:45pm
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I agree that soundstage is a term that is often misused.
5:1 is a level of difficulty beyond stereo which is a level of difficulty beyond mono. It took me two months to just balance the levels, and I'm still tweaking the response curves. It's alot of work to get the 5:1 soundfield to mesh, but it's worth it.

Does your receiver have an automatic calibration setting?
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camjon View Post

Does your receiver have an automatic calibration setting?

Yes, it sent up all kinds of error messages and turned off my subwoofer entirely. I had to start from scratch because it just didn't work.
Edited by bigshot - 7/7/12 at 10:17am
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Yes, it sent up all kinds of error messages and turned off my subwoofer entirely. I had to start from scratch because it just didn't work.

I don't envy audio professionals all the setup they have to do, but I do envy their equipment and experience that allow them to do it!
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