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Samples of various crossfeed versions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by jan meier, Jul 8, 2013.
  1. Jan Meier Contributor
    Dear headfellows,
    most of you probably know what crossfeed is, but have you ever heard its effects? Or have you ever been able to compare different implementations?
    The basic theory behind crossfeed is quite simple, you may check out the “crossfeed” page at my website for info, if needed (www.meier-audio.com). However, there are many choices to make when implementing crossfeed: intensity, frequency-characteristics, time-delay (if any), digital or analog, anomalies effecting mono-signals (combfilter-effect), …. Be assured that the effects of crossfeed filters vary strongly!
    For some reason it seems that till now samples of crossfeed recordings have never been made public on this forum or elsewhere on the internet. So I made a start and updated my website with a few examples. You will also find links to these samples below, together with a short explanation/description.
    Unfortunately I can only provide you with samples of my own natural crossfeed implementation. I do not have any device that has other implementations of crossfeed. But that is where you guys may step in. If you have a crossfeed version that you like very much, please take the three stereo-files below and make recordings with your crossfeed activated. Next place them in this thread with an explanation how these recordings were made. Please use compressed MP3-files. Not everybody has fast internet-access!!
    Should you not be able to host your recordings, just drop me a mail at meier-audio@t-online.de. I’m more than willing to help you out.
    Acknowledgement/attribution: The original music recordings below are all “free music” and can be found at:
    Have fun listening,
    Note: All recordings are made with the use of the CORDA DACCORD, which offers three crossfeed settings: stereo, medium, high.
    The sample below offers you a voice that is first heard in the left and in the right channels consecutively. Through headphones this feels rather awkward. There is an unnatural "pressure" on the ear and the positioning of the narrator is not very accurate. Next the voice comes as a mono-signal from both channels and is clearly placed at the middle of the soundstage.
    The second sample shows the effect of the extended natural crossfeed filter at medium level. The "pressure" on the ear is strongly reduced and positioning of the narrator is more accurate. Also note that the "color" of the voice placed at the centre does not change when compared to the recording without crossfeed. The natural crossfeed filter only effects signals placed outside the middle of the soundstage!
    The third sample is made with the crossfeed set to a high level. The "pressure" on the ear is eliminated and the voices are well positioned. Again the "color" of the voice at the centre has not changed. Compared to the stereo-recording the off-centre voices may sound a little bit light , but that's only because the low frequency components no longer stick out but are naturally integrated into the soundstage.
    Especially early stereo-recordings often have an extreme left-right panning of the musicians which makes it very difficult to listen by headphones. The samples above demonstrate well how crossfeed can alleviate the problems with these recordings. But also some modern stereo-recordings can have extreme placement of the musicians/instruments and are not easy to listen to by headphones. Please have a listen to the samples below.
    This recording presents a number of drums in a wide soundstage. It is easy to give the central instruments an exact position but this is hardly possible for the left-most and right-most instruments. They seem to have a wide "floating" body and produce "pressure" on the ears.
    With the natural crossfeed filter set to its high level soundstage has changed considerably. It now is possible to position each instrument more precisely. Pressure on the ears (which easily results in listening fatigue) is eliminated. Listening has become more relaxed. (Note: To prevent the crossfeed to make the overall sound a little bit light "tonal control" on the STAGEDAC was activated).
    Most modern stereo-recordings normally have less extreme placement of the musicians and are more easy to listen to by headphones. The effects of a crossfeed filter becomes more subtle and sometimes very hard to hear. However, even then crossfeed does have an advantage. The spatial clues are offered more naturally which is well picked up subconsciously. Listening becomes more relaxed and listening fatigue is reduced. Please have a listen to the samples below.
    This recording by Gilberto Gil and an ensemble of instruments and vocalists can well be enjoyed by headphones. However, some instruments, especially at the intro, are placed wide outside and do sound somewhat awkward. They're not very easy to the ear.
    Again, setting the natural crossfeed filter to its high level changes soundstage noticably. The intruments at the intro become more logically integrated into the soundstage. The crossfeed may make overall sound a little bit "lighter" but it was decided to keep the "tonal control" de-activated in order not to alter the color of the prominent central voices and instruments.
    To be added: Samples of other crossfeed implementations ................
  2. pietcux
    That is a very interesting listen, Jan. I have the Stepdance and was always curious about the effect of crossfeed. I will dig deeper into this later on the next weekend probably.
  3. RazorJack
    Honestly I actually think the effect off crossfeed can take away the sense of spaciousness. This is particularly noticeable in your last two samples, Jan. And yes I turned off the crossfeed and tonal balance on my Stagedac when listening :)
    I have never experienced any kind of fatigue due to too much channel separation. Some music styles, like psychedelic trance, really sounds better without crossfeed, way more trippy [​IMG]
  4. Jan Meier Contributor
    Dear Razorjack,
    it is true that the crossfeed takes away some of the extreme high level of spaciousness. But in real life or with a loudspeaker setup this extreme level is never achieved and simply is not natural. Crossfeed simply wants to make the listening experience more natural.
    The appreciation of crossfeed is a very personal one. Of my customers roughly one third don't use/like it all, another third use it occasionaly, and the last third can't do without. We all listen differently, to different music, with different focus of attention. There is no better or worse, just different.
    But the advantage of having crossfeed on your amp is, that it can be turned ON/OFF and that you have the choice. Without  crossfeed there is nothing to choose!
  5. pietcux
    Hi Jan, are you planning on releasing something like the Stepdance with crossfeed? I would love to get one.

  6. RazorJack
    So I've been doing a bit of an experiment the past couple of months. I've been listening to music on my main rig (Stagedac > Concerto > T1) with crossfeed turned on with both the Concerto amplifier, and Stagedac with delay and intensity and also tonal balance on the highest settings.
    If you read my previous post you'd think this is something that I would dislike. And while at first it did sound a bit awkward, I just kept doing it. What I noticed is that it is much more audible if you disable crossfeed while listening to music, compared to enabling it. When taking away the effect it's as if all of a sudden some kind of a humming sound is audible at the far left and right of my head. Don't know if that's the most accurate way to describe it but that is really what it sounds like to me..
    Long story short, I now much prefer to listen to music with crossfeed on my Meier amp and dac enabled. Took me about three years to figure this out [​IMG] 
    Now if only the PCSTEP also had crossfeed [​IMG] 
  7. SunTanScanMan
    Can I ask what the delay feature does? I don't think that is a feature in the daccord or the classic.
    I've been experimenting with crossfeed ever since I bought the stack. It's the first equipment I've had that has had the effect. I've mixed and changed the settings, but currently I have low intensity crossfeed and high tonal balance on the daccord. The classic is left on default. 
  8. RazorJack
    The crossfeed delay switch lets you vary the time delay of the crossfeed effect; the time between adding (or subtracting, in the case of speaker mode) the portion of the signal from one channel to the other.
    To my ears, it seems that a shorter delay time narrows down the perceived soundstage a bit.
    I think Jan decided to not include delay and intensity switches on the Daccord, but designed it in such a way so that the effect would be compareable to a Stagedac set to high delay and low intensity.
  9. thuNDa
    Interesting thread, unfortunatly without much attention.
    I adapted the passive version of John Conovers crossfeed filter(http://www.johncon.com/john/SSheadphoneAmp/), to work with my O2:
    I equalized the frequency response deviations of the filter digitally tho, or else:
    (recorded the output of my O2, with my onboard-soundcard)

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