Crossfeed ... worth it?
Nov 24, 2008 at 8:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

USAudio

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Several amps out there have a cross-feed filter to improve the perception of a sound stage.
Amps from Meier-Audio, HeadRoom and Grace all offer this feature.
I suppose it could be implemented in software as well ...

But, is it really worth it?

Do folks that have this feature really use it much or at all?

What are it's advantages and disadvantages in your own experiences?

Thanks!
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Nov 24, 2008 at 8:33 PM Post #3 of 14

nikongod

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its all conditional on the music.

Advantage: tracks with allllllll the bass stacked on one side become less weird to listen to.

Disadvantage: small smearing to the sound. narrows soundstage somewhat.

You pick. The good news is that its usually switchable 100% out of the circuit when you dont need it.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 8:37 PM Post #4 of 14

Jaska

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Quote:

Originally Posted by USAudio /img/forum/go_quote.gif
is it really worth it?


You mean "bass reducer / 1dB subtractor?"
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My wife and I tested this together, covering a lot of recordings going back to the 60's and early 70's with extreme channel separation, and we noticed absolutely no advantages to using crossfeed. We did notice the drop in bass and volume, though.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 12:48 AM Post #6 of 14

Arkku

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I recently built a SOHA II amplifier with crossfeed based on the Meier-Audio CROSS-1. This is my first and only experience with crossfeed, and I haven't had it for very long, but my initial impression is that it generally makes the sound less “tiring” and therefore more suitable for background music. However, I usually turn it off for “active” listening, as most tracks do suffer a loss of depth because of the bass reduction.

In any case, I recommend that the crossfeed filter (whether hardware or software) you decide on be easily bypassable, because it is definitely not good for all tracks. (Not all the hardware circuits have a true 100% bypass which completely disconnects the two channels from one another.)

Despite the downsides, I'm still glad that I included it in my amp. Give it a try, especially if you use the headphones for prolonged periods while doing something other than just listening to music.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 3:45 AM Post #7 of 14

Alydon

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USAudio,

The answer to your questions depend on what kind of music you listen to and which crossfeed technology you are using. Meier crossfeed <> Headroom as they use different methods to achieve the same goal so they have slightly different effects. I presume the Grace crossfeed is different as well.

I for one use the Meier crossfeed and love it (both old and new types, I have a "Blue" modded Corda HA-1 and a Corda Opera) and find it indispensable for listening to a lot of the classic rock I own and for (most ppl don't know this) FPS gaming.

Advantages: Music recorded with extreme stereo separation (like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, etc)where specific instruments or singers are exclusively in one channel (left or right) sounds unnatural and fatiguing without crossfeed. With crossfeed, since part of each channel is inserted into the other channel (after attenuating and delaying certain freq's of the signal), the soundstage and imaging becomes much more natural, coherent, and easy to follow from side to side.

For FPS gaming, 3D positioning and imaging is greatly improved. Directional and distance queues are more precise and more natural. To my ears it's a much more accurate solution than either CMSS3d on the X-Fi (creative or the prelude) or Dolby headphone (think Asus Xonar) - and yes I have used them all.

Disadvantages: For the Meier Corda Aria and later (I think that's when the new crossfeed got introduced) there is an ever-so-slight reduction in treble energy/clarity. It's VERY small though - for example, for me switching to a better power cord on the Opera made a bigger difference (which in itself was slight).
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For the earlier Meier models , you'll get a slight but noticeable reduction in perceived bass presence, and a soundstage that has a little more depth, but is not as wide.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 7:32 AM Post #8 of 14

Uncle Erik

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For me, crossfeed reduces the fatigue in long listening sessions. Crossfeed is something of an acquired taste. I first heard it on the HeadFive, but wasn't crazy about the slight fuzziness and narrowed soundstage. I later built a Meier Cross-I and eventually grew to appreciate the sound. I'd recommend trying out one of the software filters before investing in hardware. You won't know if you like crossfeed until you've listened to it for awhile.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 1:06 PM Post #10 of 14

cotdt

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After trying out several different crossfeed implementations, my conclusion is that the transfer curves still need work. All the points posted in this thread like a smeared sound, narrowed soundstage and reduced bass (with some implementations) point to the idea that more complex processing is required (perhaps the time domain should also be involved).

Overall though, crossfeed really does reduce listening fatigue and makes the sound more natural.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 1:12 PM Post #11 of 14

pataburd

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Crossfeed is best for treating recordings with stark L/R channel separation and effects a collapsing/puckering of the soundstage, the degree of which may vary from recording to recording.

I've had mixed feelings about crossfeed, but always appreciated at least having the option when I owned Meier amps. Right now I have an HA-1, MKII, that [AK]Zip built; it's fed by my computer disc drive and it [the HA-1] in turn feeds a pair of SR-80. I've been using the crossfeed option for the last week or so, and have gotten used to it. Admittedly, it does seem to reduce listening fatigue.

FWIW, my Fitz-Max Jr. Bada PH-12 will eventually have a Meier, 3-stage crossfeed circuit built into it. : )
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 1:48 PM Post #12 of 14

plonter

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I also use crossfeed in my ultra mucro amp and hd595 and it sounds great in all kinds of music genres.
with my denon ah-d5000 though, i dont like it because it puts more bass to the sound, and the denons have enough of that!

but with the hd595 its just great. making the sound more fun.
dont know about natural though...
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 8:08 PM Post #13 of 14

JayW

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The correct answer is "it depends". A *lot* of the music out there is already mixed with crossfeed on the masters. In those cases, turning on your own can muddy the imaging and sounds "overdone", like most effects. On recordings where the engineer/artists kept the channel unnaturally isolated, adding a little crossfeed can make it sound more "familiar" because natural due to the way we hear and because we are used to the crossfeed sound. I believe this to be the biggest reason people disagree on crossfeed.. I bet those that don't like it tend to listen to music that already has some added in the studio.

Personally, I wouldn't be without it, but only if I can switch it out. I'm one of those people who feels like the music is between my ears without it, so to me crossfeed provides a much more natural and pleasing soundstage. I'm a bit of a purist, though, so if it helps I feel guilty enjoying it
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As an aside, crossfeed will totally ruin binaural recordings. Remember to disable it if you are listening to binaural material.

I prefer analog crossfeed to digital - The digital stuff seems to leave artifacts. I'm still looking for a commercial crossfeed processor/device - the ones I use now I made myself.

Edit: RockBox lets you add some cross feed to an iPod or other personal music player.
 

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