Have you ever heard sound coming from the front with headphones.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by ginetto61, Apr 29, 2015.
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  1. bigshot
    It was a chesky buzz cutter. Not exactly the most pleasant thing to listen to!
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    you would need a different signature for starters, but even then, it seems like some people just never get the far forward experience with binaural records. in my case, with most of my headphones(which happen to have similar signatures because that what I like), I tend to feel like that the sound is going up instead of in front of me with binaural albums. changing the frequency response can bring it back at eye level(or way down for fun), but it doesn't really help push things at a distance. changing the frequency response isn't enough for me to get that.
    if you're curious you can look this up https://www.head-fi.org/threads/frontal-sound-and-correct-frequency-response-with-eq-only.853443/ and ask for the little app Griesinger developed(you have to ask him by mail, don't really know why, but that's how he rolls ^_^).
    it's not really simple or easy, if you're not very familiar with the use of EQ, it will probably take a few trials to get something convincing, but the general idea is solid. you put a speaker in front of you, and will through a process, try to adjust your headphone to have the same frequency response as the speaker when you're looking at it. it could let you check if that's really all you need for a good binaural experience, or if you're just one of the unlucky guys who will need more advanced stuff like the Realiser A16 (planned to come out sometime in 2018), to simulate speakers on your headphone(including room reverb, head tracking and so on to make it more likely to trick your brain).
  3. jgazal
    You are asking for something against the odds, in other words, to find a recording that match your HRTF.

    In theory you can increase your chance by searching binaural recordings or using HRTF filter plugins.

    But the vast majority of professional binaural recordings are done with pro audio microphone manekins (perhaps three or four in the market designed with the average of a certain population). So if you already listened to a good number of binaural recordings, chances are that your HRTF don’t match those from such manekins.

    With filter plugins you also need to search for a similar HRTF.

    I know that you want to leave headtracking aside, but you will find incredible how much the externalizations of frontal sounds, mainly in the “cone of confusion” (a region where interaural time differences and interaural level differences are ambiguous), come from your brain analyzing tiny movements of head and the changes such movements imprint in sounds. That is completely lost with headphones, unless you use headtracking.

    I have tried to put together all those problems of immersive sound in a single post, that also has an example of binaural recording (done with a Kemar mannequin, so if you already heard a recording from such mannequin, do not feel much expectation): A layman multimedia guide to Immersive Sound for the technically minded.

    You will find in that post a lot of research that very smart/clever people have done to solve the same quest you started in this thread. If you read the texts, listen to the podcast and watch all the videos in the links it will take some time and that is, I think, one reason why it is not so popular. But I guess it is a good walk through the challenges of immersive audio.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  4. ginetto61
    Thanks a lot for the helpful reply. I wonder how did they get that.
    However in the meantime i have found something here

    at 2:10 the CEO says about "a natural sound that extends several feet in front of me". That sounds Amazing.
    Never listened to this system by the way. But it sounds intriguing.
  5. ginetto61
    Hi and thanks for the very interesting advice. I will read the link for sure. It looks like a big challenge to get this frontal sound. I can say that if i fix myself on this issue i cannot listen to HPs for long. In general no more than 1/2 hours. Then i feel a little stress. I got nervous. i admit that an out of the head sensation is already a big step towards real satisfaction.
    I think that the virtual reality business will drive the development of 3D headphone systems in an Amazing way. Maybe HPs of the future will look more like an helmet ? let's wait and see.
  6. ginetto61
    Hi ! i think i have to study this HRTF issue a little more. It is getting complicated :triportsad:
    I already have some tracks that have a great soundstage depth with speakers. Maybe i could start with those and applying some DSP try to emulate the effect also with HPs ?
    In general, and even with speakers, depth of soundstage is the most challenging things to get. I read an article on a different subject about the high quality digital transfer of great LPs.
    The soundstage depth was one of the characteristic most difficult to mantain in the digital copy of the analog tracks.

    i confirm. At least those uploaded on youtube. Absolutely great out of head sound, great lateral effects and even behind the head sometimes. But never from the front. Not even once.

    actually my dream would be to get a more speakers like listening experience also with HPs.
    While keeping all the advantages of the listening through HPs of course.
    Playing back stereo tracks with some audio player sw with some kind of dsp.
    I guess i have to live with just out of head sound, that is already something anyway.

    Thank you very much indeed. I will read it carefully in the next days. The argument is very important to me.
    I have to rely on HPs listening not to disturb neighbours. But in general i think that music is a very personal experience and i like immensely the HP concept.
    As i said before the big business of virtual reality is pushing the development of innovative playback systems. And the dsp sw expand what is possible even with HPs.
    Delay, eq, filters ... a lot of tools are already available. But one has to know what he is doing of course.
    Thanks a lot again. Regards, gino :)
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  7. exdmd
    Sure often with my HD800S. There is no headphone I have tried that images better than the HD800 and HD800S. You do need to use a top shelf DAC and tube amp though. Might be out of your price range. You can get a good taste just pairing the HD800S with a Vali 2 then scale up as you are able.
  8. bigshot
    I don't think the ability to put across binaural effects clearly depends on the headphones. You should be able to EQ any decent pair of headphones to work. I think it has more to do with how the listener's brain interprets the sound. You're asking your ears to believe something your eyes tell you is a lie. That sets up problems for some people because their brain fights the illusion. With me, the effect snaps back and forth in front of me and behind me. That's my brain struggling to reconcile where the sound is. For me, that is a tiring thing to go through. Other people's brains don't fight it and it sounds more natural to them. I really think it's a perceptual thing.

    But even working perfectly, headphones are incapable of producing true soundstage. Proper soundstage should be at least 8 to 10 feet in front of you in the shape of an equilateral triangle with the left and right speakers and the listener at each point. No headphone on earth is able to do that.

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  9. Whitigir
    You should try and learn to locate the positioning of things in real life by sound only without your eyes “like daredevil” and then you will hear the headphones soundstage better :) as your brain will actually get more experiences
  10. bigshot
    I can sort of do that if I focus on it, but it's a strain to listen to music like that, so I haven't made much effort in that direction. Speakers are much more comfortable.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  11. Whitigir
    That is comparing apples to oranges, surround system comparing to stereos. Headphones is stereos, and with angled drivers, better if specially tailored to your own head and ears physical builds, it can present good soundstage
  12. bigshot
    Just ignore the center and rear channel speakers. Without those it's proper stereo soundstage. That's the standard music is mixed for. Angled drivers can't recreate physical space. They can only indicate direction... and not the multiple directions sound is reflected from in a good listening room.

    If you've only ever owned headphones, it makes sense that you wouldn't use the term soundstage correctly. But when you hear a good speaker system, the difference is obvious.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  13. Whitigir
    Older mix and records, sure. Many new tracks are mixed using headphones too! Especially modern pops. Regardless, there are pros and cons from a good high-end stereos loudspeakers VS headphones system. Preferences based on facts and practicality will determine which system for whom.

    Then again, I don’t agree about Headphones having no soundstage, or can’t reproduce it. It is a matter of the system to be able to or not. If a person who can hear soundstage from a stereo setup, he can also hear it on the headphones too. Yes, Volume loudness and presentations will be different, but none the less, there are soundstages. For my own personal experiences, soundstage is better presented on headphones than loud speakers, then loud speakers has better dynamic and energies. Probably due to me having no 300-500k stereos Speakers. So settled with a good headphones system does it just fine

    Soundstages are all illusions from the brain processing received data
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  14. bigshot
    What albums have been mixed for headphones? I know they're mastered for them, but they still mix on speakers.

    Do you have a good speaker system or have access to one? If so, take your favorite album and play it sitting at the optimal listening point and have headphones in your lap playing the same thing. Pop the cans on and off. You'll clearly see the limitations of headphones when it comes to soundstage. There really is no contest. It's more expensive to put together a good speaker system, speakers aren't easily portable, and the sound might bother others. Those are the drawbacks of speakers, but none of those things have anything to do with soundstage or audio fidelity.

    Soundstage isn't an illusion at all if the speakers are physically twelve feet in front of you. It's a very real and tangible thing. Just like multichannel and sound fields.

    Headstage = a straight line through the center of the head (headphones)
    Soundstage = a flat plane of sound in front of you at a distance (stereo speakers)
    Soundfield = a dimensional space with placement of sound within that space (multichannel speakers)
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  15. jgazal
    No headphone on earth without DSP is able to do that. :ksc75smile:

    Although visual cues really play a role in perception, I don’t know if they are that much stronger than the perception head movement allows.

    I am so curious too know your opinion after you try headtracking crosstalk cancellation with speakers or or headtracking convolution with headphones.

    I know they are expensive and a pita to try it in canjams, but please let us know if and when you do it.

    Still, I guess that even after you try headtracking convolution with headphones you are going to say you prefer not wearing headphones. Point already taken.
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