How do you differentiate between soundstage width and depth and accurate imaging?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Hazelhart, May 26, 2017.
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  1. gregorio
    For me, what's happened here has got nothing to do with the etiquette of any particular forum but much more fundamentally, what is science and therefore what constitutes "scientific". A basic understanding of what science is, would instantly end the majority of snake oil abuse of audiophiles. Gunwale stated "I think there is only a fine line between marketing gimmick and science.", there are certainly examples of this but generally no, there is not a "fine line" between marketing gimmick and science. It only appears like a fine line if you've got absolutely no idea what science is and in that case the fine line is arbitrary, because it can't be based on anything more than who's got the most impressive looking marketing and/or herd mentality.

  2. ev13wt
    Correct, but there is quite "set in stone" method on how to debate as well. You simply don't jump in and start blabing :)

    Gunwale stated "I think there is only a fine line between marketing gimmick and science."
    I have been wanting to comment that for days. I agree the "fine line" is only small if one is "pretty new" to the scene.

    The line between science and marketing in audio is a fking huge grand canyon. Most consumers cannot even see the other side currently!
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  3. bigshot
    If you keep replying, he'll probably come back and you can play with him again.
    ev13wt likes this.
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    science should be based on repeatable evidence and on lasting failure to disprove a falsifiable idea. that's how we get our models of reality, and they last until new information makes us reconsider.
    marketing is mostly about a guy asking his legal department "can we get sued for telling that lie?".

    anyway here we had a mix of issues.
    1/ adapting a definition of soundstage however we like. that certainly didn't make communication easy.
    2/ dealing with a subjective impression while keeping an objective approach to it. impressions of a direction or the reverb of a room when using headphones can very much change from one subject to the other. but also those impressions come from sound, and sound does follow specific objective rules. so while discussing impressions isn't always bounded by science, what a headphone does is strictly within objective reality. jumping from one side to the other also made it hard for me to discuss without disagreeing.
    3/ failing to pick a reference that can really be used before making comparisons. here we started with comparisons of feelings like we're in front of a band or with the band. while it's easy to imagine, it's a made up reference unless I was in the room with the band while they were recording that album. but I wasn't so that reference doesn't exist for me and of course any claim about how realistic something is will lead nowhere objective when even the reference is a made up subjective construct.
  5. bigshot
    The big problem is replying without really listening.
  6. gregorio
    1. To me, "sound-stage" is one of the easier audiophile terms to comprehend/define. A "stage" has a left and a right, a front and a back, just as any decent stereo mix should have. Maybe I'm missing something?
    2. That's a massive problem in audiophilia. Some aspects of the creation and reproduction of music/audio content are entirely objective, some are entirely subjective and some are a combination of both, as you say, an objective approach to "subjective impressions". It seems to me that many audiophiles are almost completely ignorant of this, either viewing the whole thing as entirely subjective or not having any idea which aspects are/should be objective, which subjective and which subjective but approached objectively. The audiophile world would be a very different place if audiophiles knew the basics of which is which.

    Often but not always, or rather, it can depend on the level of education. Two examples to demonstrate my point:

    1. Audiophile cables. One doesn't need a degree in electrical engineering to realise the psuedo-scientific claims made by many are nonsense, just a basic understanding of how science works is enough, because scientific claims require testing/experimentation, reliable data and data analysis and cable retailers never back up their claims with reliable data, just cherry picked anecdotes, reviews or nothing at all.

    2. MQA on the other hand has far more sophisticated marketing, they've taken pretty much the opposite approach to the cable industry and provided a great deal of real scientific data. The line here between science and marketing is much finer or rather, it's still quite a big gap but one needs a high level of education/knowledge of a number of different fields to be able to work it out. A number/Most of MQA's claims are nonsense not because of the lack or quality of their supporting evidence but because there are other factors (which they've omitted) which make that supporting evidence inapplicable to the specific claim in question. Their marketing has been carefully planned and executed over many years by scientists! The average consumer and even the well informed audiophile is going to have great difficulty spotting that "huge grand canyon". I don't mind admitting that while some of MQA's claims jumped out at me instantly as BS, quite a few of them had me scratching my head, following up references and doing further research.

    ev13wt likes this.
  7. Kdubbs82
    It’s unrealistic to expect live soundstaging in headphones. However, spacial clarity With instruments and vocals let’s our brains clarify all that’s happening in a mix. This is what I think people mean when they say soundstage with headphones. But too much destroys clarity and too little doesn’t allow the mix room to breathe.
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