Originally Posted by telecaster
Edstrelow, your view on headphone Imaging differs from my point of view.
You say that both ears hearing a single speakers is an artifact, but it's false. Both microphones will hear one side as well. Two Speakers reproduce the work of two microphones.
At its creation, Stereophony wasn't meant to be only 2 speakers reproduction. Only 2 way is the cause of economics, vinyl, price, consumers ability to pay for the gear.
Headphones have no Imaging, I mean a soundstage, a scene in front of you that recreates the holographic space that were created or reproduced during the mix.
Nowadays you have Meridian that is making Trifield which walks over any two speakers configurations. YMMV.
Imagine a microphone recording a single instrument some distance ahead and slightly off to one side of center.
Each microphone will pick up the sound of that instrument (but each mic will have a different time of arrival and a difference in volume such that the mic closest to the instrument will get the sound first and have a louder signal.) The more distant mic will get the sound milliseconds later and at a lower volume. These time and amplitude differences are the main sources of directional information.
The ears operate essentially the same way.
Now play back the recorded sound on headphones. Each ear will only hear what one mic records.
However play back with speakers sitting midway between the speakers. Each ear now hears both mics. This is where the problem arises .The left ear hears the left mic and speaker first because that speaker is closest. It also hears the right mic and speaker with a slight time delay due to the extra time needed to go the extra distance accross the head. Vice versa with the right speaker.
I think the confusion on this point comes from an almost unconscious assumption that there is no overlap in the signals going into the left and right microphones. But you yourself note this happens.
If for example the left channel only carried the information for one instrument and the right channle for another instrument, then this phantom channel problem would not exist for speaker listening. Speaker and headphone listening would be same in this regard. In effect the loudspeaker would be acting more like an instrument, giving a pure rendition of that instrument. But it is rarely the case that one instrument or voice is recorded or mixed only going to one side although nw and again none hears a signal way off to the side which may be close to this.
Adding more channels, unless they are truly discreet just compounds the problem.
Fortunately, some stereo still is heard with conventional speakers. It;s just not as accurate as in the original soundfield because of the conflicting information. With my Polk speakers, I can disconnect the speakers that generate the correction signals and get ergular stero effect. Switch in the correction speakers and the image become more precisely localized and with more air between the instruments.
Speaker listening is a different acoustic experience than headphones. With respect to localization, it is not as much like being in the original sound field as headphones. However I will grant that because the speakers are off the head, they do have an advantage in not sounding constrained in your skull as you tend to get with headphones. The Sigmas are not off the head but their drivers are forward of the ears in a way that few other headphones are and give at least some of a speaker sound for that reason.