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Bigger soundstage means less tight musically.

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

By tight I mean precision in timings of multiple instruments/sounds relative to each other. 

 

 

My hypothesis is as the title of the thread states: Bigger soundstage means less tight musically.

 

My rationale is that the relative perceived distances from the ear of different sounds affect the perception of timing of those sounds due to when the sound is perceived. i.e. if two sounds are produced simultaneously but one sound is perceived to be relatively further away then the latter will be perceived as occuring earlier.

 

E.g. If a guitar is strummed at the same time as a snare drum is hit, but the guitar appears deeper (within the soundstage) than the snare drum then the snare drum will be perceived first. 

 

Thus a tight recording will sound tighter the smaller the soundstage.

 

This isn't completely speculative wondering; it is an explanation for the phenomenom I've noticed that tight recordings actually (seem to) sound tighter (to me with my gear) when the soundstage is smaller.

 

Debate away.

 

:-)


Edited by Noob Meister Jr - 12/20/13 at 10:48pm
post #2 of 66
Thread Starter 

how do headphones actually make some sounds appear further away?


Edited by Noob Meister Jr - 12/21/13 at 12:36am
post #3 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob Meister Jr View Post

By tight I mean precision in timings of multiple instruments/sounds relative to each other. 


My hypothesis is as the title of the thread states: Bigger soundstage means less tight musically.

My rationale is that the relative perceived distances from the ear of different sounds affect the perception of timing of those sounds due to when the sound is perceived. i.e. if two sounds are produced simultaneously but one sound is perceived to be relatively further away then the latter will be perceived as occuring earlier.

E.g. If a guitar is strummed at the same time as a snare drum is hit, but the guitar appears deeper (within the soundstage) than the snare drum then the snare drum will be perceived first. 

Thus a tight recording will sound tighter the smaller the soundstage.

This isn't completely speculative wondering; it is an explanation for the phenomenom I've noticed that tight recordings actually (seem to) sound tighter (to me with my gear) when the soundstage is smaller.

Debate away.

:-)





Good question.. what factors determine a good soundstage.
Yes, timing must play an important part, it is mainly what DSP's mess around width to create artificial soundstages.

Then we have natural soundstages from live recordings where the width/depth/height and is determined by mic type(s) and placements, musical timing doesn't come into it here as the soundstage is already pre-determined . On playback, the perceived soundstage is then determined mainly by the dynamic range and detail resolution of your kit and speakers/headphones.
post #4 of 66
With detail rendering tweaks, you can achieve greater PRaT and soundstage at the same time.
post #5 of 66

If we agree that the size of a soundstage depends on the reflections, reverb of the room, then of course a large hall will give you bigger soundstage and a recording in a small room will give you a much smaller soundstage. If you generate the soundstage by panning instruments to either side without adding reverb then you'll get extremely tight sound but no real soundstage.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob Meister Jr View Post
 

My rationale is that the relative perceived distances from the ear of different sounds affect the perception of timing of those sounds due to when the sound is perceived. i.e. if two sounds are produced simultaneously but one sound is perceived to be relatively further away then the latter will be perceived as occuring earlier.

 

E.g. If a guitar is strummed at the same time as a snare drum is hit, but the guitar appears deeper (within the soundstage) than the snare drum then the snare drum will be perceived first.

 

 

Thus a tight recording will sound tighter the smaller the soundstage.

 

This isn't completely speculative wondering; it is an explanation for the phenomenom I've noticed that tight recordings actually (seem to) sound tighter (to me with my gear) when the soundstage is smaller.

 

Whether an instrument might be perceived earlier at the same distance might depend on the main frequency content and attack times:

a 500 Hz cycle takes 2 ms, a 5 kHz cycle only 0.2 ms.

Our brain needs a couple of cycles to even detect it as a tone, so there may be a small delay simply for the fact that the snare drum produces much higher frequencies. Also, the attack time on a snare drum hit is much shorter.

 

But both has nothing to do with soundstage per se. As far as I can tell, soundstage is primarily a function of frequency response (including phase) differences between your left/right ear plus the reflections/reverb the room adds.

post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

If we agree that the size of a soundstage depends on the reflections, reverb of the room, then of course a large hall will give you bigger soundstage and a recording in a small room will give you a much smaller soundstage. If you generate the soundstage by panning instruments to either side without adding reverb then you'll get extremely tight sound but no real soundstage.

 

 

 

Whether an instrument might be perceived earlier at the same distance might depend on the main frequency content and attack times:

a 500 Hz cycle takes 2 ms, a 5 kHz cycle only 0.2 ms.

Our brain needs a couple of cycles to even detect it as a tone, so there may be a small delay simply for the fact that the snare drum produces much higher frequencies. Also, the attack time on a snare drum hit is much shorter.

 

But both has nothing to do with soundstage per se. As far as I can tell, soundstage is primarily a function of frequency response (including phase) differences between your left/right ear plus the reflections/reverb the room adds.

The confounding factor with soundstage, IMO, is the angle at which the sound waves hit your ear. Pinnae reflections can play a huge role in the localization is sounds. I think this is the logic behind the Ultrasone S-Logic.

post #7 of 66

True soundstage is really limited to speakers. If you get a big soundstage, it can still be controlled, you just need to make sure you don't have a dead spot on the phantom center, a balanced response, and no troublesome room reflections.


Edited by bigshot - 12/21/13 at 4:52pm
post #8 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

With detail rendering tweaks, you can achieve greater PRaT and soundstage at the same time.


Could you elaborate? what are "detail rendering tweaks", where/when and to what are they done?

post #9 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

If we agree that the size of a soundstage depends on the reflections, reverb of the room, then of course a large hall will give you bigger soundstage and a recording in a small room will give you a much smaller soundstage. If you generate the soundstage by panning instruments to either side without adding reverb then you'll get extremely tight sound but no real soundstage.

 

 

 

Whether an instrument might be perceived earlier at the same distance might depend on the main frequency content and attack times:

a 500 Hz cycle takes 2 ms, a 5 kHz cycle only 0.2 ms.

Our brain needs a couple of cycles to even detect it as a tone, so there may be a small delay simply for the fact that the snare drum produces much higher frequencies. Also, the attack time on a snare drum hit is much shorter.

 

But both has nothing to do with soundstage per se. As far as I can tell, soundstage is primarily a function of frequency response (including phase) differences between your left/right ear plus the reflections/reverb the room adds.


Interesting. Whether the differences in perception time for different frequencies has any effect on the sense of timing for the end listener then would depend on whether the soundstage presented to the band or the mixer was different to that of the end listener.

post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanjiWatsuki View Post
 

The confounding factor with soundstage, IMO, is the angle at which the sound waves hit your ear. Pinnae reflections can play a huge role in the localization is sounds. I think this is the logic behind the Ultrasone S-Logic.

The angle is fixed with headphones. Also, the angle doesn't really change if the distance is 10m or 20m.

 

But yes, localization (which is only part of the soundstage) does happen by the pinna producing different frequency responses depending on the direction the sound is coming from plus different time delays between your ears. Since there's hardly any crosstalk between ears and the angle is fixed I prefer to say that with headphones you only get a "headstage". A proper soundstage you'll only get with speakers or headphones plus some DSP magic.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob Meister Jr View Post
 

Interesting. Whether the differences in perception time for different frequencies has any effect on the sense of timing for the end listener then would depend on whether the soundstage presented to the band or the mixer was different to that of the end listener.

What you'd need to do is test how many cycles you need for different frequencies to perceive them as tone instead of a *click*. If you need more for high frequencies than that might compensate for the longer duration of a cycle of lower frequencies and render my idea from above as wrong.

 

Engineers usually listen with speakers. They might check if the mix works okay on headphones but often that's about it.

post #11 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

 

What you'd need to do is test how many cycles you need for different frequencies to perceive them as tone instead of a *click*. If you need more for high frequencies than that might compensate for the longer duration of a cycle of lower frequencies and render my idea from above as wrong.

 True

Quote:
Engineers usually listen with speakers. They might check if the mix works okay on headphones but often that's about it

True.


:-)

 

Quote:
But yes, localization (which is only part of the soundstage) does happen by the pinna producing different frequency responses depending on the direction the sound is coming from plus different time delays between your ears. Since there's hardly any crosstalk between ears and the angle is fixed I prefer to say that with headphones you only get a "headstage". A proper soundstage you'll only get with speakers or headphones plus some DSP magic.

I'm not sure I understand this.

post #12 of 66
Thread Starter 

I've been doing some thinking...

 

Just to reiterate the original theory first....that the greater the relative perceived distances of multiple sounds within a soundstage/headstage the looser the coincident timings of multiple simultaneous sounds...and now to offer another explanation for why bigger soundstage might mean less tight....

 

Perhaps when you hear instruments seperated it is harder to focus on all of them at once, perhaps this means that either; you don't notice how they coincide so easily, or your brain/consciousness perceives the one you are more focused on earlier. Or maybe a bit of both.

 

Food for thought?

post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

The angle is fixed with headphones. Also, the angle doesn't really change if the distance is 10m or 20m.

 

But yes, localization (which is only part of the soundstage) does happen by the pinna producing different frequency responses depending on the direction the sound is coming from plus different time delays between your ears. Since there's hardly any crosstalk between ears and the angle is fixed I prefer to say that with headphones you only get a "headstage". A proper soundstage you'll only get with speakers or headphones plus some DSP magic.

 

 

What you'd need to do is test how many cycles you need for different frequencies to perceive them as tone instead of a *click*. If you need more for high frequencies than that might compensate for the longer duration of a cycle of lower frequencies and render my idea from above as wrong.

 

Engineers usually listen with speakers. They might check if the mix works okay on headphones but often that's about it.

Essentially, we need to introduce crossfeed in a really intricate way to truly emulate the soundstage of speakers?

 

i.e. a system that not only takes into account your position, but also when you move your head, etc, etc.

post #14 of 66

Yeah kinda.

 

When taking into account the orientation of your head the term crossfeed doesn't fit anymore, since you also have to change the frequency response. Basically you're emulating your personal HRTFs.

Just doing that may still result in a too dry sound, i.e. too little room acoustics, so this is another thing to think about adding.

 

The Smyth Realiser combines all that. It measures the speaker's sound signature in your room arriving at your ears at any given orientation of your head. During playback it filters and mixes the left/right channels according.

post #15 of 66

Headphones do not have electronic delay lines nor distances to introduce transit times. Perhaps in this case spacial presentation has more to do phase differences which are too small in time to be perceived by humans as time differences. We use phase differences to perceive direction, hence spacial placement.

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