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Debate: Soundstage vs Imaging. Which is more important and why?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I thought this may be an interesting debate. Recently I modded a Fostex T50rp and have been primarily using it instead of the Q701 I had been using. Now, comparing the two, it's obvious that between these two traits the T50rp wins in terms of accurate imaging, and the Q701 wins in terms of overall soundstage size, but mainly for it's width. The T50rp is a closed can so it's not as big and spacious sounding as the Q701, but the soundstage is more upfront and it's easier to pinpoint things on stage. The Q701 is big and wide and almost makes it sound as if the sounds are floating around you, but nothing is placed with pinpoint accuracy, and the width is definitely greater than the depth. 

 

So the question is, which is more important? More accurate imaging and staging, or just a bigger soundstage size overall?   

post #2 of 8

Great idea for a thread.

 

For me personally - I'd prefer accuracy with imaging, and a balance of both width and depth.

 

I love my K701 for what they are - the sound stage is expansive, and can be very fun for both gaming, and for (IMO) most genres.  But if I close my eyes and listen - while I very much enjoy the presentation, it doesn't actually take me there.

 

The HD600 is far less wide but (again IMO) has great imaging (and tonality) for it's price.  Compared to the K701 it gives me far better accuracy at the cost of some stage width.  More importantly - and especially with live performances - at times I can close my eyes, and I am actually in the audience.

post #3 of 8

I'd be inclined to agree. I don't always want a large soundstage; sometimes I prefer a smaller one. But there's never an instance in which I want the imaging to be less accurate.

post #4 of 8

Although the two aren't really truly applicable for headphones, I get what's being said.

 

I prefer to have a headphone with solid imaging and good layering.  It can make the sound sound overall more clear, dynamic and even at times spacial, than a truly expansive soundstage headphone-- which often-time can sound too diffused.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsujigiri View Post

I'd be inclined to agree. I don't always want a large soundstage; sometimes I prefer a smaller one. But there's never an instance in which I want the imaging to be less accurate.

 

The underlined part is something I couldn't have said better myself; worse imaging means that the headphone in question is unviable for gaming, and I simply cannot have that. Pinpoint, shoot-people-through-walls-blindfolded levels of imaging (even if it takes A3D or CMSS-3D Headphone or whatnot to accomplish that) is expected of all my headphones.

 

As for soundstage size, I do prefer it large enough to where it doesn't sound like it's coming directly from next to my ear, but not at the cost of imaging. Fortunately, my prized SR-Lambda has plenty of soundstage (more than the AD700, in my book) to go with its laser-like imaging, resulting in a "Holy crap, I'm there!" sort of immersion.

post #6 of 8
High end stax imaging over hd800 soundstage for me :-)
post #7 of 8
I've always been tempted to judge soundstage as a bigger criteria on headphones, because I wanted the sound to be as out of head like speakers as possible. As much as sounstage is important though, I think a headphone that images better is always the best bet.

So I'll go with the imaging.

A good example of imaging prevailing over soundstage would be the LCD2. Although it sort of sounds like a closed headphones at times, its ability to portray depth and layering/placement of instruments is what made it so popular. I still think the soundstage is too small on them however.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

anybody else have any words on this subject?

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