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Why do some amps have a wider soundstage than others?


mr neds
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28 minutes ago, Fullrange said:

I've been a sound engineer, retail hifi salesman and musician. 

I firmly believe in my answers in this thread.

Sound stage is caused by harmonic distortion and phase oddities.

When working in a studio for 10 years I can not recall EVER discussing sound stage.

It only exists in the hifi community.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, we should not get hung up on it.

I hear clear sound stage from live music.

To me its there in the recording, if a system has the resultion to reproduce the 3d image is another thing. It's not a valve only attribute in my experience.

I have a musician friend who does alot of recording and always always uses his own recordings to check a systems image / positional ability..

Edited by steve 57
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Definitive answer IME - crosstalk, or rather lack of it.

I built a stereo Neurochrome Modulus 86 amplifier. The soundstage width was rather constrained compared to what I had heard in my system. I converted it to a dual mono with separate transformers/rectifiers and boom, the width increased a lot.

Judging by the specifications of the Neurochrome modules you would expect the channel interaction to be very small but it goes to show specs don't tell everything. I also converted my Neurochrome 286 amplifier to dual mono by shoehorning a second power supply in with the same result.

The Neurochrome 286 is end game amp, driving Quad ESL57's.

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10 hours ago, Radioham said:

For me it was Tannoy Supertweeters which lifted and widen the sound stage.

Couldn't even hear mine :rofl:

Edited by greybeard
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Nice to wake up to a swathe of opinions! Fire bottle sounds confident, as an amp builder should! Steve 57, when I was in a recording band, we’d never heard of soundstage, but we were very keen on stereo effects, like auto panners, double tracking hard left and right, phasing/flangeing etc.

I’m not hung up on it by any means, but I was very curious as to how it occurred in amps as opposed to speakers- mine are Dynaudio Emit 20’s, whoever asked that and they can’t be further apart- living room restrictions!

Thanks for all input so far- I thought this one would die a sad death at first...........

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13 hours ago, Fullrange said:

I believe phase shifting is the key here.

Most amps that I have heard have either exaggerated or diminished the sound stage. Some making sounds appear almost out of the room ( completely unnatural ) or shrunk down to a tiny spot ( again very unnatural ).

Bearing in mind what we here as a sound stage is usually not produced by the studio, it is an artifact of our hifi systems.

There could be small and subtle audio frequency phase shifts that make certain instruments appear closer or further away than our expected norms.

How about a Blumlein pair, the whole reason for using these is to recreate spatial cues in the final mix.

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For me theres two things being talked about here,, 

Theres the stereo image between the speakers, (wire one speaker out of phase an it goes !) Which should be a part of every stereo reproduction but as Alan says, cross talk spoils it

Then what I'm referring to is the room filling ability of the reproduction, they way the sound fills the room in a natural way.

to me that comes with resultion, not distortion 

They may also be two parts of the same thing..🙂 

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I think there are a few valid points here. I suspect that distortion is most likely to bring the image forward a little (based on my findings with bright amps, valve amps and a feeling that distortion can make the system sound more detailed and brighter.

I think the potential phase anomalies of the amp are interesting, as they will also be a function of the amp/speaker interaction. For example if a speaker has a more complex crossover and/or more inductive loads then some amps may deal with these worse than others and the phase issues may be more pronounced.

Conversely, an amp that has a narrow soundstage with one pair of speakers can have a wider one with another pair, and that relative difference in soundstage between the speakers might be different with another amp. It's quite possible therefore that an amp that can't handle the speakers well could have an artificially wide soundstage which many may prefer.

Definitely agree with Firebottle that crosstalk must have an effect, I hadn't thought of that until I read his post.

Sent from my BKL-L09 using Tapatalk

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I’m glad that this has become thought provoking.I think there are a lot of aspects of audio that we have have some understanding of (not many in my case!) and some that we have somewhat less of. 😉

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The most convincing recreation of an acoustic space that I have heard was through a 2.1 system with phase coherent time aligned speakers, and extremely extended low frequency response. Imagine being inside the Tate modern turbine hall in my small 10 x 11 room.

Edited by dave
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Another issue raised there- expensive amps create extended reverb/ space that cheaper amps can’t. Between my two amps, I was loaned a Simaudio Moon I-5, by the saintly Lee Norris and I was taken aback by the frequency extension at both ends of the spectrum 🤩

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20 hours ago, tuga said:

With real two-mic stereo height information doesn’t not exist.

Why?

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Never understood image height. It makes sense if using Dolby Atmos ( though I’ve never heard it) but otherwise, it just goes in the mystery pot.....

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Crosstalk?
 

L/R separation and relative  spillage from one to other and vice verse. 
 

https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/gbr/en/blog/amplifier-specifications

<<

  • Expresses “leaking” between channels; it is measured by driving a stimulus signal in one channel while listening to the other.
  • Crosstalk is expressed as a ratio between the quiet undriven channel and the stimulus in the driven channel, and given in decibels.

 

In stereo system, crosstalk is measured by driving a stimulus signal in one channel while listening to the other, therefore measuringing the amount of unwanted signal coupling. As the signal level is very small, sharp bandpass filter is used for the receiving channel – otherwise the signal would likely be below noise floor. The result is given in decibels as a ratio between the quiet undriven channel and the stimulus in the driven channel.

Signal frequency must be given when stating crosstalk.>>

Example: Crosstalk of H-DAC: -128 dB at 1 kHz, -112 dB at 10 kHz

These numbers are taken from the plot below. Crosstalk usually increases in higher frequencies as capacitive coupling increases. It is also typical to have differences between channels.

Crosstalk is one of the basic measurements on audio systems although it rarely causes any issues with modern high quality audio components.

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