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how to figure out sound stages

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey. in headphones how do people consider how good sound stages are? I know its one thing to say a sound stage is good when you own it but how do you consider it when you dont own it 

post #2 of 25
Most discussion of sound stage around here misuses the term. They confuse soundstage with phase effects. Real soundstage is a dimensional spread in front of you created by the placement of the speakers in the room, the left right placement in the stereo spread and subtle acoustic clues in the recording that create the illusion of depth.

Headphones point directly into your ears, so they can't create soundstage like speakers do. They can do an approximation with careful binaural miking, but that is a function of recording techniques, not the headphones themselves.
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Most discussion of sound stage around here misuses the term. They confuse soundstage with phase effects. Real soundstage is a dimensional spread in front of you created by the placement of the speakers in the room, the left right placement in the stereo spread and subtle acoustic clues in the recording that create the illusion of depth.
Headphones point directly into your ears, so they can't create soundstage like speakers do. They can do an approximation with careful binaural miking, but that is a function of recording techniques, not the headphones themselves.

Correct!

 

Just to add...some headphones are better than others at reproducing soundstage. Some, like the HD800, exaggerate the soundstage. Others, like the LCD-3 tend to smear with certain recordings. Yet other, like the BEATS, have little to no soundstage. Usually, open headphones like the STAX headphones or Grado HP-1, tend to have the most accurate and realistic soundstage.

post #4 of 25

maybe the senior headfiers should come together n recommend one or two reference CDs...

from which discussion/reviews can be made on how wide/tall/deep the soundstage a particular headphone produced.

 

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post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

so how am i able to compare to headphones sound stage

post #6 of 25

As a general rule of thumb, you will get more soundstage from Open headphones.

 

Keep in mind,

When recording engineers are trying to create a soundstage, they usually assume you will be playing back the recordingc thru a pair of loudspeakers.

post #7 of 25
Headphones are generally pretty lousy at reproducing soundstage. It's funny that people would discuss it at such length and in such detail. If soundstage is important to you, you should listen using speakers, not headphones.
post #8 of 25
Another reason your question might be difficult to answer with precision is that headphone "soundstage" as is discussed around here will not exist in real space. I tend to believe that since it is created by the listener's brain and collapses to the impression of having come from inside your head if you start analysing it in real time, impressions of dimension and realism are going to be subjective. Quite subjective. The best you can hope for is a loose concensus; measuring it in the sense of it being so wide, so deep and so high is impossible.

With speakers that can create a pinpoint image, you can observe, for instance, that a particular instrument on a particular recording seems to be three feet outside the right speaker. To demonstrate that it is still an illusion, it collapses back between the speakers when you turn to look at it. The speaker created image is still virtual but can be pointed at in real space. The image we hear in headphones does not lend itself to that level of precision, so descriptions by other listeners don't either. Individual mind/ brain combos are quite variable. No two are alike.

To nip a bogus response in the bud, notice that you need to physically turn your head to collapse some features of speaker imaging. With headphones, simply suspending your disbelief within your conciousness will collapse the image to between your ears. You might say it's the thought that counts. Factor in that most recordings now assemble artificial sound fields from isolated, close miked tracks of individual sound sources. Precision and objectivity will not be hallmarks of the perception of "headstage" by individual listeners.
Edited by Clarkmc2 - 7/15/12 at 7:09pm
post #9 of 25
The best way to determine what kind of soundstage your headphones produce is to play some mono music through them.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post

Another reason your question might be difficult to answer with precision is that headphone "soundstage" as is discussed around here will not exist in real space. I tend to believe that since it is created by the listener's brain and collapses to the impression of having come from inside your head if you start analysing it in real time, impressions of dimension and realism are going to be subjective. Quite sbjective. The best you can hope for is a loose concensus; measuring it in the sense of it being so wide, so deep and so high is impossible.
With speakers that can create a pinpoint image, you can observe, for instance, that a particular instrument on a particular recording seems to be three feet outside the right speaker. To demonstrate that it is still an illusion, it collapses back between the speakers when you turn to look at it. The speaker created image is still virtual but can be pointed at in real space. The image we hear in headphones does not lend itself to that level of precision, so descriptions by other listeners don't either. Individual mind/ brain combos are quite variable. No two are alike.
To nip a bogus response in the bud, notice that you need to physically turn your head to collapse some features of speaker imaging. With headphones, simply suspending your disbelief within your conciousness will collapse the image to between your ears. You might say it's the thought that counts. Factor in that most recordings now assemble artificial sound fields from isolated, close miked tracks of individual sound sources. Precision and objectivity will not be hallmarks of the perception of "headstage" by individual listeners.


Does anything actually exist to you? It seems everything you write about is created everywhere except reality.

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post


Does anything actually exist to you? It seems everything you write about is created everywhere except reality.
Sure. Everything except headstage. It only exists inside your head, so I doubt there are little elves building things in there. Out in the room there is a physical dimension to things. Air is moving.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 View Post


Sure. Everything except headstage. It only exists inside your head, so I doubt there are little elves building things in there. Out in the room there is a physical dimension to things. Air is moving.

I see what you mean now.

post #13 of 25

The most obvious difference that can be noticed is based on the distance of transducers from your ears, and their direction.

Mostly you'll see the soundstage will change as you move from IEM-> Headphone -> Monitors -> Floor/Standing Speakers

With headphones its more of an issue of transducer design. The HD800 for example has a very good/accurate transient response, which makes it easier to perceive time/phase delays.

Speakers tend to create the best illusion because they project the sound from the front, And also because the time-delays between left and right channels are more pronounced due to the distance.


Edited by proton007 - 7/16/12 at 5:58pm
post #14 of 25
That's why the best way to tell what kind of soundstage a pair of headphones produces on its own is to compare them using mono music. The distance of the transducers from the ears And direction will be the only sort of soundstage cue, so you can tell how much of a difference it is.

(hint: absolutely zip, zilch, nada, bupkis...)
Edited by bigshot - 7/16/12 at 6:23pm
post #15 of 25

call it headstage or soundstage..its not redundant, its just appreciating each catergory of music making equipt for what its worth.

headfones or speakers...i appreciate them for their perculiarities. very enjoyable to me.

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But the quest i believe is still to put a band before u...when u close your eyes.

headfones are getting better and better...

recordings are getting better and better...

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now to find a reference music from which all of us can benchmark against.

 

meanwhile, we are just sharing our joys n frustrations here..still, a great passtime.

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