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
    I'm not sure how I would feel with head tracking. Never had an opportunity to try it. I've found that speakers and headphones serve different purposes for me. I like speakers for listening to music for pleasure. I like the kinesthetic bass feeling and the sense that the music is enveloping me. I prefer headphones for listening to lectures from the internet and for editing audio or doing noise reduction. In those cases, the isolation is desirable and I can focus in on details that need to be cleaned up. I guess what I'm saying is that they're two different tools for two different purposes and I don't really need one to emulate the other. I don't know if making a hammer work like a wrench would really make it a better hammer, if you know what I mean.
    jgazal likes this.
  2. ginetto61
    Hi ! thanks for the valuable advice. I have read about the great ability of the wonderful HD800s to provide and out of the head sound, but also a frontal sound ?
    i would like to ask you to direct me kindly to any track in which with you rig you can perceive clearly a sound placed in the front.
    A cd, a track on youtube ... everything. Just to check if with a more basic rig if the effect is still perceivable..
    I would tend to believe that is impossible but ...
  3. ginetto61
    Hi ! just to say that with speakers in some occasions i have got a sensation of almost physical presence of instruments and singers in and outside the room (i mean in depth Beyond the front wall). Really Amazing experience.
    Especially in one occasion i was shocked. There were these two huge speakers and switching off the lights it was like seeing in the hall of the theater. Speakers were big JBLs monitors. Even if they were imposing they disappeared sonically.
    The sounds were clearly coming from behind them. Amazing.
  4. bigshot
    With multichannel that is even more pronounced. I have an Elton John album in 5.1 where a guitar solo starts out seemingly beyond the front wall and walks forward to the center of the room. At the end of the Beatles' Good Morning in 5.1, the fox hunt crosses diagonally across the center of the room. It's a bit of a trick to get all the speakers balanced properly so the handoff is seamless, but it sure is impressive when it works.
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    as mentioned, the frontal localization is special because the loudness level between each ears will be about the same, and there will be no delay between left and right ear for the brain to play the triangulation game. to put it simply, what will matter is mostly the signature and how much you depend on the information you get moving your head. the ideal signature should be based on your own body, not on some general idea of good headphone. as for moving your head, if your brain relies on that a lot, then you'll never get anything out of your head in front so long as you don't have head tracking.
    so while the hd800 is a very nice headphone(I hate the signature, but everything else is great), and tends to indeed give a sense of wider placements than most other headphones, at least for me that did not apply to the frontal. because the signature is important and different people need a different signature, you're probably going to have someone who has amazing "depth" with the hd800, and many who haven't.

    all in all it's only mysterious because we're lacking the tools to look at your head and say "you need that sound", but the mechanisms for the most part are well understood and modeled with success by a few smart people. aside from what I already suggested to try for the signature that is at the very least needed to get frontal objects at the right vertical angle, you could also demo the waves NX head tracking stuff(they have 2). they sell the apps and a Bluetooth tracker that's ... well ok if you move slowly. but if you have webcam with a good deal of FPS, a well lit room and reasonable CPU for the webcam tracking is really CPU hungry, you can just demo the app using the webcam.
    that way my first suggestion let you try the signature you need, this one let you check how dependent you are on head movement. and both together might just do the trick for cheap.
    I wouldn't spend the money needed for a hd800 just for the hope that it will give good frontal image. again it's a great headphone and it would probably make other speaker simulation solutions work amazing, but the hd800 alone is probably not the answer to your problem.
    jgazal likes this.
  6. Whitigir

    So I take that you are using the Headstage Vs Soundstage is because of this article


    IMO, I disagree with this. This doesn’t make sense to me and my observation, perception of the soundstage. Yes, I do have Large Speakers and while they are not 300k-400k, they are loudspeakers that is capable of 2000W itself.

    Without derailing the topic, all I can say is that the soundstage from Headphones is more intimidating, immersive and more vivid than speakers. Be it watching a movie, or listening to loud speakers. Speakers can be said to have this illusions being portrayed out of the head, but it is artificial, and is not intimidating or immersive. This is why I always prefer headphones rather than loud speakers. The only technical answer for me to take up loudspeakers is the potential of damages to the ears by how close the headphones are to the ears, and that I always have to limit my time, and volume with headphones.

    The rest of the stuff that my brain can process from Audio alone are vividly realistic to me enough to be immersive and intimidated either by watching a movie, or listening to a song. I always have a sense of involvement into whatever I am enjoying. The movie, I can hear someone creeping behind me, or in the music it can depend on the way it was mastered and engineered, I could have a sense of me being on the stage with the singer, or first row watching the show.

    Sure, personal preferences can be different, but I would never put the Speakers to be having soundstage and headphones to be having headstage. It is all the illusion of the brain to visualize the directional of sounds from a 3D space. Again, different presentation, but is still soundstage and not headstage because really, there is nothing inside the head, it is all coming from around me, and can be realistic enough to make me turn my head and take a look. That is definitely not something that happened within the head. Unless, we are talking about realism vs illusions, then the brain knows what to do, then unless it is messed up and can no longer accurately processing the data (drunk or drugged....etc...) then it could be different.

    So, after all the reading, and experimenting for myself, I conclude that headphones in fact has the most immersive and intimidating soundstage in comparison to loudspeakers, and this is why I love headphones more than loudspeakers. Also, the answer to the topic again is that yes, I do hear sound coming from the front with Headphones, not far and far away, but it definitely is coming from outside my head.

    My question is “have you ever heard sound coming from the rear or your back with stereo loud speakers being 10-15 feet away from you ?” My answer, Nope! Only headphones can do this, or unless I am listening to Surround system (Multiple speakers) with however way it is set up.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  7. ginetto61
    Hi ! yes with speakers is just a matter of choosing the right recording and treat the listening room a little and then almost all decent speakers can give back a great soundstage also in the depth direction Beyond the front wall, an Amazing sensation for me because it seems that the room has no physical boundaries, actually the very best systems place in a great listening room can transport litterally in the concert hall. Amazing !!!
    The day HPs will be able to do this i will be very happy. I have not lost all hopes. Technology evolves rapidly.
  8. ginetto61
    Hi ! then why not apply some level of delay ? i would start with just one channel playing and recording, with the help of a dummy head with mics, what reaches one ear and what reaches the other and comparing level and delay. That would give some sort of information i guess.

    i would tend to disagree. I am sure that at least once i experienced a quite frontal sound in a youtube that i do not remember. I am sure that with different Hps and for different people the effect would be clear the same. Like with speakers. Unless someone has an impaired ear they sould all be able to perceive this effect.

    Thanks a lot indeed for the very valuable advice. It is an interesting subject. For instance it is a very important confirmation that for a real virtual reality the sound effect is of paramount importance. A natural sound is a very fundamental attribute of reality.
    Next life i will try to be a sound engineer. I love nice voices (good ones of course). Regards, gino
  9. RRod
    See here for a nice free reference on virtualization. Here's a relevant quote:

    It is true, however, that the spectral cues of the HRTF are used for front/back disambiguity:
    Still, head movement dynamic cues would provide front/back disambiguation even if our pinnæ were not asymmetric front/back.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
    jgazal likes this.
  10. ginetto61
    Hello, just to say that i know what front image is. As i said above in some occasions i have been able to perceive that astonishing sensation of the front wall disappearing and being able to see the concert hall. It is not easy to get that because sound reflections on the boundary walls can create secondary sounds that confuse the ears. Said very trivially I guess that we see a wall when it reflects sound. I understand that a listening room with all the walls acoustically not reflecting can sound dull. But i would take any time a dull room with an astonishing rendition of the soundstage that a more lively room with poor rendition of the soundstage. I like when walls disappear (and i usually listen in the dark not to get distracted by the visual aspect). It is a completely absorbing and moving experience. The feeling of being transported where and when the event has taken place. Astonishing.
    If one day i will get that sensation with HPs i will be done. A real virtual reality :L3000:
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  11. bigshot
    Speaker systems are a lot more than just speakers. The room itself is just as important as the equipment. and multichannel audio squares the experience because you are able to skew the time cues to simulate the sound of a larger room. People who are unfamiliar with speaker systems see articles on room treatment and they think that rooms are nothing but problems. But they're also the main advantage of speakers. A dead room is just as undesirable as a room that is too live. You want a room that suppresses unwanted reflections without suppressing all reflections. Headphones eliminate the acoustic problems of rooms, but they also eliminate all of the advantages of room acoustics too.

    You need space for sound to occupy to fully appreciate soundstage. Sound in a good room blooms and reflects and surrounds you- even with a single mono speaker in front of you. Yes, I have heard sound behind me with stereo speakers. I hear the natural acoustic envelope of the room wrapped around the recording. That adds life and spontaneity to the sound.

    As I said before there are levels of sophistication when it comes to sound presentation. Headphones present a straight line through the center of the head. Stereo presents a flat plane like the proscenium of a stage in front of you from left to right. 5.1/7.1 extends that plane out into the room and behind you. Atmos adds the vertical dimension to create a three dimensional box around you. Each one of these steps offers a degree of realism that the previous ones can't.

    You have to hear music played through a good multichannel system to understand what you're missing out with on with headphones.

    That is the big advantage of multichannel. You can dial out your own room's limitations and create a simulation of a much better room.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  12. ironmine
    Yes, I have.

    I am able to achieve this sensation whenever I do eyes-closed lying-in-the-dark critical listening with headphones at home. You just have to lie still and listen to music and do not think about the big ugly world outside. Your mind will find itself in a new reality and it will quickly adjust to it. Soon you will feel the soundstage all around you. You mind will build it with available spatial and temporal cues.

    I also highly recommend using a high-quality crossfeed plugin. I've tried many, but my ultimate choice is 112dB Redline Monitor.

    Being in a relaxed untroubled mood also helps a lot. A cup of wine or a glass of beer before a listening session seems to be also very conducive towards achieving the desired effect (of "being there").
  13. bigshot
    Sounds like you're focusing on secondary depth cues and making your brain fill in the gaps. That isn't the same as real depth cues that are based on head movements.
  14. ironmine
    Why would I want to move my head when I sit or lie in my dark room, for Charles Darwin's sake? I've been moving my head all day long in the crazy office, now I just want to remain still and listen to Robin Trower :)
  15. bigshot
    Moving your head is how you discern distance and direction.
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