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Soundstage does it exist with headphones ? - Page 3

post #31 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxide View Post

To get to the soundstage level you really have to push the boat out with patience, cash, and careful audio route planning. It's not all about the headphone. If things were only that simple.

First of all, the musical detail has to be present in the music track that would allow for a realistic soundstage. Don't expect anything from mp3. FLAC, WAV, APE are the kind of formats you need to look at.

 

..This isn't convincing. Because there is no discussion of what this information might be or of the large difference between a 320 lame and 64 old-skool mp3. Even worse, there's no discussion of the fact that no one can tell (i.e. in a blind test rather than in their imagination) the difference between 320 aac/mp3/ogg and cd/wav/flac. If soundstage was so different wouldn't this in fact be very easy?

 

Quote:

 

Next you need a DAC that can dig down to the soundstage bit level and reproduce it without any artefacts that could misalign the soundstage.

 

A bit is a bit; all DACs look at all the bits - and their behaviour at this level is determined entirely by $1-$5 chips that provide all their core functionality.


Edited by scuttle - 3/4/13 at 1:03pm
post #32 of 88

There's only one way to get an actual soundstage from headphones. The Smyth Realizer. 

post #33 of 88

For the OP: you might want to try a player with Meir Crossfeed - anything with Rockbox will do.

 

http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/crossfeed.htm
 

post #34 of 88

I really like seeing everything I have read in this thread. It almost reminds me of 2008-2009, when folks would all chime in with slightly different takes on the same subject. Everyone seems to all feel different on the subject but still respects the posts before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that this always ends being a very colorful thread discussion topic. Amazingly everyone always has their own idea.

 

 

 

I have heard a VPI hotrod-tube speaker rig before, sadly I don't think you'll will get exactly close to it with headphones. We can pull our puds here and we can try to fool ourselves, but at the true end of the day, when all is said and done, there is really just no comparison. The good side of things start to become apparent when you do find how close you can get for 5-10K. My head-stage results were very different from what I have read so far. Just like so many peoples ideas here, it seems that the question of head-stage is intrinsically bound to other facets of the complete sound. To try and get to the point here, after trying lots of different stuff, my head-stage did not reveal itself until I found the correct power-cord and interconnects.

 

For me the power-cord to the W-5 LE made all the difference in the world. The RCA interconnects did the rest. From what I understand, I always had head-stage potential in my rig, but needed the right tweeks to fully hear what was there. In the end I liked the head-stage from closed back headphones better than open k701s. Still though I think it's a matter of preference between choosing open or closed backed headphones. AH-D 7000s are closed but have maybe some open back characteristics too.

 

The point being that even with all this talk of soundstage, you can bet the OP had a smoothness in the original home speaker rig, a suppleness of response that was just as important as soundstage? It's that buttery tone from a great vinyl source combined with the warm and clear tube sound that starts to get you there. I just have not found it yet in a solid-state headphone amp. I'm still searching though. It's that suppleness that when you still have all the headphone-soundstage there is, your missing the effect, without the right "tone".


Edited by Redcarmoose - 3/4/13 at 1:46pm
post #35 of 88

almost all music is made for speaker reproduction. It is mostly recorded with multiple mics and  mixed by a sound engineer by monitoring on Near field monitors. No way i can get that recording sounding the same on headphones.  I did try to make some Binaural recordings... like : www.lttan.com/Audio/Binaural/DR0000_0012.mp3 and www.lttan.com/Audio/Binaural/DR0000_0014.mp3

The pulsating noise is caused by poor recording level setting.... sorry about that but was my first try.


Edited by LTTan - 3/4/13 at 1:56pm
post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

..This isn't convincing. Because there is no discussion of what this information might be or of the large difference between a 320 lame and 64 old-skool mp3. Even worse, there's no discussion of the fact that no one can tell (i.e. in a blind test rather than in their imagination) the difference between 320 aac/mp3/ogg and cd/wav/flac. If soundstage was so different wouldn't this in fact be very easy?


A bit is a bit; all DACs look at all the bits - and their behaviour at this level is determined entirely by $1-$5 chips that provide all their core functionality.

First, a 320kbps cd/wav/flac is just an mp3 file which has been converted. CD/WAV/FLAC files are generally ~1000kbps+, and you will get much more data to the headphones. In a 192kbps mp3, a fifth of the data is being lost, and when compressing audio soundstage is one of the first parts of the music to go.
post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

 

So a headphone would probably be as "correct" as it could get when the driver is sitting on the ear. I think the only way you could "shrink" the image would be to get the driver past the eardrum.

That's nonsense, I get  wide soundstage from my IEM the yamaha eph-100, and they put the driver very close to the eardrum.

Additionally I find the soundstage of the hd25 II 1 very narrow, to the point it's unbearable to me.

 

Headphone are to me exactly the same as 3D glasses, you need two signal a bit different to let your brain have a 3D representation.

But since most music are mixed for speaker, so off course the "3D" representation with headphone might seem exaggerated (if even your brain manage to get that 3D representation) . However technically it should be possible to have a more accurate "3D sound" on headphone than with speakers.

Binaural recordings can be very impressive.

 

Now why some "3D representation" takes more space on some headphone than other (i.e soundstage)  , I guess there are different reason such like frequency response, and presence of noise/resonance/distortions.

The hd800 show good measurements for THD noise / distorsion, so it's not as if a layer of artificial details were  added to give a more pleasant soundstage, it would be even quite the contrary.  Merely the treble emphasis , participate to the perception of soundstage.

post #38 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

That's nonsense, I get  wide soundstage from my IEM the yamaha eph-100, and they put the driver very close to the eardrum.

Additionally I find the soundstage of the hd25 II 1 very narrow, to the point it's unbearable to me.

 

Headphone are to me exactly the same as 3D glasses, you need two signal a bit different to let your brain have a 3D representation.

But since most music are mixed for speaker, so off course the "3D" representation with headphone might seem exaggerated (if even your brain manage to get that 3D representation) . However technically it should be possible to have a more accurate "3D sound" on headphone than with speakers.

Binaural recordings can be very impressive.

 

Now why some "3D representation" takes more space on some headphone than other (i.e soundstage)  , I guess there are different reason such like frequency response, and presence of noise/resonance/distortions.

The hd800 show good measurements for THD noise / distorsion, so it's not as if a layer of artificial details were  added to give a more pleasant soundstage, it would be even quite the contrary.  Merely the treble emphasis , participate to the perception of soundstage.


I think there might be something to the treble emphasis helping with soundstage. I am reviewing the iCAN amp and its 3D effect seems to boost soundstage and....high frequencies. Although I think it might be the added micro-details that create the sense of more space and separation in the music. More to come with my full review.

post #39 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

That's nonsense, I get  wide soundstage from my IEM the yamaha eph-100, and they put the driver very close to the eardrum.

 

Why is it nonsense? You just pointed out exactly what I was trying to get across..

post #40 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevAmped View Post


First, a 320kbps cd/wav/flac is just an mp3 file which has been converted. CD/WAV/FLAC files are generally ~1000kbps+, and you will get much more data to the headphones. In a 192kbps mp3, a fifth of the data is being lost, and when compressing audio soundstage is one of the first parts of the music to go.


Not disagreeing with you here, just want to point out that cutting out information = cutting out bits = lower 'bitrate'

is not really 'compression'.  You can, of course, 'compress' a FLAC file (for example). 

post #41 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevAmped View Post
First, a 320kbps cd/wav/flac is just an mp3 file which has been converted. CD/WAV/FLAC files are generally ~1000kbps+, and you will get much more data to the headphones. In a 192kbps mp3, a fifth of the data is being lost, and when compressing audio soundstage is one of the first parts of the music to go.

 

Your post is full of inaccurate information - literally every sentence contains false or misleading information.

 

1 - There's no such thing as 320 kb/s CD/WAV/FLAC to begin with. CD Quality Audio (aka Red Book) is defined as 44.1 kHz, 16-bit, stereo PCM. Red Book CDs do not contain "files" either. There's also no way for a CD to have anything less than 44.1 kHz / 16-bit resolution, and 320 kb/s WAV or FLAC is an insult to both formats when they're both capable of much higher. 320 kb/s might be the maximum upper limit for MP3, but that's barely anything for either WAV or FLAC, which can both extend to ~1,411 kb/s (or higher, in the case of 96 kHz 24-bit audio).

 

2 - Typically CD, WAV, or FLAC (which are all lossless forms of audio data) are used to transcode to a lossy MP3 file. Not the other way around. Going the other way (MP3 to WAV or FLAC) will result in unrecoverable loss of audio data. And no one masters to MP3 either. Audio engineers master to uncompressed audio formats first and then transcode to MP3 if desired. Absolutely no one goes the other way.

 

3 - WAV is the uncompressed form of the PCM data encoded on a Red Book CD, in a file container format specific to Windows (or other Microsoft operating systems), typically at a constant bit rate of ~1,411 kb/s (or higher depending on the sampling rate & bit depth). Although WAV can have lower bit rates due to either a lower sampling rate, or smaller bit depth, or just being mono-channel, or a mix of all three (to save on filesize), in this context it refers to the data from a Red Book audio CD.

 

4 - FLAC is a lossless compressed form of WAV that contains more header data than WAV (effectively allowing it to be tagged) and has an inherently variable bit rate according to the input stream from WAV. There's no "general" bit rate for FLAC. (Because if there were, every 5-minute FLAC file would have the exact same filesize.) Its bitrate can go as high as 100% of the input or as low as 0 (to encode silence).

 

5 - Your implication that data is "lost" at any kind of rate from transcoding to MP3 is wrong. MP3 does not discard data at a mathematical rate. MP3 is a form of downsampling from WAV and also provides the user option to completely discard audio below or above a certain specified frequency. Second, while it's true that MP3 is lossy, and does lose some data, it's completely false to say that it "loses" that data at any kind of mathematical rate. If that were true, every 1-minute 192 kb/s MP3 file would have the exact same filesize. Except that's never the case. The amount of MP3 compression depends on other factors (i.e., its algorithm), not a fixed rate.

 

6 - Apparently you didn't even check your own math either. 192 kb/s MP3 achieves a compression ratio of ~7:1 with respect to WAV.

 

7 - Soundstage is uncorrelated to MP3 audio compression. Any soundstage in the audio is pre-defined within the recording by whoever mixed & mastered it. It will either be in the recording, or not, and the sampling rate does not affect it.

 

If I had to make a point here, it's that FLAC and MP3 aren't flat-rate compressors. It seems that a lot of people think that about FLAC and MP3. They're algorithms that will compress a WAV file based on certain factors from the signal. And FLAC is straight lossless (sort of like a ZIP format for audio) while MP3 is lossy (it discards parts of the signal - notably those outside of human hearing range, while downsampling at the same time).

 

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/mp31.htm


Edited by Asr - 3/4/13 at 10:27pm
post #42 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post


 

7 - Soundstage is uncorrelated to MP3 audio compression. Any soundstage in the audio is pre-defined within the recording by whoever mixed & mastered it. It will either be in the recording, or not, and the sampling rate does not affect it.

 

Now there is where you're wrong, but I understand why you think you're right. You're thinking what goes in, comes out. Soundstage is a result of delay, phasing, and level between left ear and right ear. If you play a sound in right ear only it sounds like a sound right next to your right ear. Add a little of that sound to the left ear but out of phase and with a slight delay, and your head interprets this as positional information and that sound will sound MORE to the right, even though you are now playing from the left as well.

 

MP3 at lower bit rates uses a form of stereo image compression which mostly does a good job of not changing the sound stage, however mp3 artifacts are MORE present in the sound field than in any particular sound. MP3 can and does effect the phasing and stereo clarity of certain sounds at lower bitrate, especially percussive type sounds like drums, cymbals etc.

 

I recently did a ABX test to spot a 128kb mp3 among a 320kb mp3 of the same song. One of the tells I found to distinguish between them was a drum part where the 16th notes alternated between left and right, in the lower bitrate there was muddying of the stereo separation making it harder to hear each individual hit. This was something in the background of the song and nearly inaudible if you weren't looking for it. It wasn't a huge difference but it was enough for me to easily spot the lower bit rate every time.

 

So I can see where you're coming from but my personal experience diverges from your assessment, stereo information and especially phasing tend to have more information lost in mp3 than other sounds making it have a noticable effect (even though it's very slight) on the sound stage.

post #43 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post

Your post is full of inaccurate information - literally every sentence contains false or misleading information.

1 - There's no such thing as 320 kb/s CD/WAV/FLAC to begin with. CD Quality Audio (aka Red Book) is defined as 44.1 kHz, 16-bit, stereo PCM. Red Book CDs do not contain "files" either. There's also no way for a CD to have anything less than 44.1 kHz / 16-bit resolution, and 320 kb/s WAV or FLAC is an insult to both formats when they're both capable of much higher. 320 kb/s might be the maximum upper limit for MP3, but that's barely anything for either WAV or FLAC, which can both extend to ~1,411 kb/s (or higher, in the case of 96 kHz 24-bit audio).

2 - Typically CD, WAV, or FLAC (which are all lossless forms of audio data) are used to transcode to a lossy MP3 file. Not the other way around. Going the other way (MP3 to WAV or FLAC) will result in unrecoverable loss of audio data. And no one masters to MP3 either. Audio engineers master to uncompressed audio formats first and then transcode to MP3 if desired. Absolutely no one goes the other way.

3 - WAV is the uncompressed form of the PCM data encoded on a Red Book CD, in a file container format specific to Windows (or other Microsoft operating systems), typically at a constant bit rate of ~1,411 kb/s (or higher depending on the sampling rate & bit depth). Although WAV can have lower bit rates due to either a lower sampling rate, or smaller bit depth, or just being mono-channel, or a mix of all three (to save on filesize), in this context it refers to the data from a Red Book audio CD.

4 - FLAC is a lossless compressed form of WAV that contains more header data than WAV (effectively allowing it to be tagged) and has an inherently variable bit rate according to the input stream from WAV. There's no "general" bit rate for FLAC. (Because if there were, every 5-minute FLAC file would have the exact same filesize.) Its bitrate can go as high as 100% of the input or as low as 0 (to encode silence).

5 - Your implication that data is "lost" at any kind of rate from transcoding to MP3 is wrong. MP3 does not discard data at a mathematical rate. MP3 is a form of downsampling from WAV and also provides the user option to completely discard audio below or above a certain specified frequency. Second, while it's true that MP3 is lossy, and does lose some data, it's completely false to say that it "loses" that data at any kind of mathematical rate. If that were true, every 1-minute 192 kb/s MP3 file would have the exact same filesize. Except that's never the case. The amount of MP3 compression depends on other factors (i.e., its algorithm), not a fixed rate.

6 - Apparently you didn't even check your own math either. 192 kb/s MP3 achieves a compression ratio of ~7:1 with respect to WAV.

7 - Soundstage is uncorrelated to MP3 audio compression. Any soundstage in the audio is pre-defined within the recording by whoever mixed & mastered it. It will either be in the recording, or not, and the sampling rate does not affect it.

If I had to make a point here, it's that FLAC and MP3 aren't flat-rate compressors. It seems that a lot of people think that about FLAC and MP3. They're algorithms that will compress a WAV file based on certain factors from the signal. And FLAC is straight lossless (sort of like a ZIP format for audio) while MP3 is lossy (it discards parts of the signal - notably those outside of human hearing range, while downsampling at the same time).

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/mp31.htm

1,2,3 - Right but irrelevant, partially wrong, right but irrelevent. It is definitly possible to have 320kbps CD/WAV/FLAC file, I have downloaded "lossless" audio countless time to find that someone has simply converted cheap mp3 files into lossless files to give the impression that you are downloading high quality files. I was speaking in relation to the situation here, not in relation to any actual test that anyone would perform, I completely agree that 320kbps is an insult to all forms of lossless audio, and I have also found that people have repeated samples to boost the bitrate of files so they can be converted to CD files, I have stumbled on loads of 1920kbps, and 1600kps files which obviously don't have the shown bitrate. There is also no 'Baseline' to WAV files, you can find them at many bitrates.

4 - Completely correct, but on average when , at least I, have downloaded FLAC ( and WAV ) files I have found them to be 44.1 - 48 Hz 900-1100 kbps files

5 - When you lose samples, you are discarding data. Some might have more data than other mp3 files of the same bitrate, but they will never have more data than their lossless counterparts Kodhifi has also indirectly answered some of this in his post.

6 - I was talking of the 1000kbps average I had given for the files.

7 - Has been addressed by Kodhifi.
post #44 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevAmped View Post


I have downloaded "lossless" audio countless time to find that someone has simply converted cheap mp3 files into lossless files to give the impression that you are downloading high quality files. I was speaking in relation to the situation here, not in relation to any actual test that anyone would perform, 

 

But that's the point - those FLACs that have been converted from MP3 are not true flac files (only in name), and if you had acquired your FLAC files from legitimate sources, you wouldn't be making this point.

In public forums people talk in absolutes, with the expectation that we're all talking about the same legitimate things. Your point on flac files bent those rules to accept something outside of those constraints.

 

An illegally (and falsely named) downloaded flac file is sure to create a bad argument. 

post #45 of 88

From what I've understood there's two compression mode with mp3, stereo and "joint stereo".

The stereo mode encode separately left & right , which is best at preserving "stereo image", but less efficient for compression at VBR.

 

The joint stereo, do first a mid side conversion before compression.

Where mid= (left + right)/2

and side = (left - right)/2

Off course the reverse conversion is straightforward too.

Often the side channel , contain less information, that's why it would compress better at variable bit rates, however with the most aggressive compression,

the stereo imaging would be more affected.

 

Now regarding mid/side encoding, you can have fun at modifying the imaging of your headphone , by using a vst like msed from voxengo.

Actually, if you want to have the illusion of bigger soundstage , you can boost slightly the treble on the side channel.

 

@Asr

 

Quote:
If that were true, every 1-minute 192 kb/s MP3 file would have the exact same filesize.

With CBR , and using same encoder , that's actually the case (I  guess there might be small differences between encoders, because of headers or whatever) . Also mp3 doesn't remove only information below and above particular frequencies, but use psycho acoustics, to disregard imformations that our brain often miss. For instance a loud sound, immediately followed by a quiet sound, often you don't hear the quiet sound.

Oh and downsampling ... not related at all.

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