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Just checking -- is it widely accepted that a $1,000 speaker system will sound better than a $1,500 headphone? - Page 5
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with 5:1 it adds the third dimension... side to side soundstage and front to back phase too
5:1 is as great of an improvement over stereo as stereo was over mono. With mono, sound was one dimensional... coming from a single point. With stereo, you get two dimensions... a straight line from speaker to speaker. with 5:1 it adds the third dimension... side to side soundstage and front to back phase too. Ideally, an 9:1 system with high and low mains and rears would give you up and down phase as well. That would be true 3D sound. I'm sure that will eventually happen.
I have a quick nit to pick:
A point is zero dimensional; thus, think of the sound as a scalar
A line is a one dimensional object. The origin of the sound can be controled along a single degree of freedom.
The 5.1 configuration allows sound to be located in the plane, i.e. a two dimensional effect. Front/back and left/right are two degrees of freedom.
Like you said, speakers above and below would present a "3d" sound image.
I think it would be pretty neat to have a nice 5/7.1 system, although i could scarcely afford it. I just added the "1" to my powered monitors for 2.1 and now i need a good crossover which puts me far over budget. I can think of some other things that might help the sound more than 3 or 5 more speakers and would certainly be much more cost effective. And take up less desk space than a big receiver/ DSP!
anyway, there's more to sound reproduction than just spatial cues. I think headphones offer an advantage in performance/ cost for reproducing details vs speakers since they dont have to be high powered and have good crossovers and multidriver design. Niavely, i expect new headphones to outperform speakers from the detail/frequency response/distortion perspective vs new speakers at the same price point; however , things in this hobby are often over priced so it's not a hard and fast rule. Price does not indicate the sound quality of an item (cables comes to mind) so just because something is expensive doesnt mean it will sound good. Honestly, the whole question of comparing two anonymous items only by their price on paper sums up everything wrong with the mentality on this forum.
PS running the subwoofer while listening to my headphones with crossfeed is pretty satisfying.
My paradox headphones isolate pretty well, but have good low frequency extension and the sub adds the vibrations. It's still only 2.1, but it's very immersive.
Edited by ab initio - 3/23/14 at 12:42am
Once you have a good pair of mains, the next best thing to do to improve a speaker system is to add a sub so the mains don't have to work as hard pushing out frequencies that require a lot of power and cone real estate to pull off.
At that point, jumping to 5:1 is an even bigger leap forward in sound quality. But it throws you back to the beginning again when it comes to EQ and balancing. It can also open up a new can of worms when it comes to room treatment. The advantage is the huge leap forward in dimensionality and size of soundstage I outlined above.
I don't see much point to 7:1 unless your room is VERY large and you find it difficult to get fronts and rears to mesh. But for music, that shouldn't be a problem, because the rears are basically just ambience. I think 7:1 is more for home theater where you want to place off screen sounds out in the middle of the audience.
Speakers can be expensive, they can require a bit of space, and they can be very very difficult to properly EQ and balance. But once you've done that and built a perfectly calibrated 5:1 system, headphones are like toys, and the only thing better is live performers in front of you.
Few people have heard a 5:1 system designed for music playback though. Most of the surround installations are goosed for Home Theater application. I started with music reproduction first and foremost and then just added the screen, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that while a home theater surround system doesn't make a very good music listening system, a 5:1 music listening system makes a fantastic home theater setup.
It took me thirty years to finally get the listening room I want, but at this point it's damn near perfect.
Edited by bigshot - 3/23/14 at 2:26am
Edited by bigshot - 3/23/14 at 2:39am
If folks are interested, I'd be happy to kind of consolidate my notes into a single thread though.