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Stereo Imaging!


Madvinyljunkie
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Super Wammer

Over the last couple of weeks I've been fine tuning the placement of my Event Opals and seat positioning to try to achieve the best sound I can from my system.So by raising & lowering my speakers and altering the position in the room right down to just milimetres + increasing the isolation from my suspended wooden floor. I also now only have one seat in my listening room. All this being observed by Hilary my partner as I needed her help due to my bad hip ristricting me and she is now thinking I have finally lost the plot.

Anyway I do now feel I have achieved the best set up thats possible in my room and the last few days I have been listening to lots of my favourite music/tracks.

I have always loved good imaging and wow! Do I have it in abundance or what. It's just amazing I have just finished listening to the 'Orbital Insides' album on cd not plyed for a while and realised for probably the first time what a masterpiece in stereo imaging it is 72 minutes of musical artistry. I am finding pretty much every artist/band seems to pay attention to the imaging to a greater or lesser degree from the early music from the 60/70's in a pretty basic way to newer music being quite complex in particular Electronica.

So how important for your enjoyment is how your music is presented to you and the stereo imaging and of course depth too?

Edited by Madvinyljunkie II
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Before anyone points it out, I am well aware that the portrayal of width, depth and instrument placement is largely an illusion and that apart from some orchestral recordings, it is mostly the result of the work of the person sitting behind the mixing desk.

Nevertheless, I've always said that to me it is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Everyone has their own priorities, and I understand that. But I couldn't live without the illusion. I've got it reasonably right here. On decent recordings (mixes) you can close your eyes and instruments are positioned across the soundstage and at different depths. I could still use a little more illusion of height, but it's by no means bad.

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Of course it's an illusion. It's what good stereo hi fi is all about. Creating a believable 3D sound stage as accurately as possible within the confines of two channels! 

What one hears is a combination of the system/room, head transfer function and our brain.

Regards Andrew 

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19 minutes ago, rabski said:

 could still use a little more illusion of height, but it's by no means bad.

On my system, I can tell how tall the musicians are. They Might Be Giants sound amazing.

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Super Wammer

Stereo imaging is important to create the illusion of realism. To push the point of resolution however so the instrumentation becomes almost a seperate entity is not conducive to realism imo. It might suit the analytical among us but it's not for me. I have never heard real music projected like this ? Never have I heard the triangle at the back heard while the electric guitar & vocalist were giving it some 🤔    Hifi is a people thing though so I guess it's the same as liking watercolour paintings that are emotive & with great suggestion....or a Canaletto depiction of an old Venice.   Often imaging is best realised with your eyes closed. When open we tend to need it spelt out more ?     🙂    * I do think the industry is teaching folk bad habits to confuse & perpetuate an itch ?  If (as a whole) our systems convey the emotion or space of a recording, and we are  not even thinking hifi ,  then that's as good as it gets imo. 

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Imaging and instrument neutrality is key to creating the illusion of "being there" IMO.

I agree with the OP that speaker placement is critical to achieving good separation.

Front to back is harder to achieve, and seems more impacted by the quality of associated equipment, and less about the speakers. That's my experience anyway.

As a basic rule regarding imaging, not putting crap between your speakers is a good place to start! 

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The height illusion is mostly due to expectation from the listener. Stereo is only able position phantom images between or to the sides of the speakers because it uses 2 speakers positioned in the same horizontal plane.

panned_phantom250.jpg

To get height one would need "height" speakers positioned near the ceiling above one's main speakers:

w3952id.png

Edited by tuga
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Bands tend to attempt to play in unison, not separately. I don't enjoy systems that clinically separate every instrument. It makes it  very difficult to appreciate the music as a whole effect.

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Super Wammer
26 minutes ago, savvypaul said:

On my system, I can tell how tall the musicians are. They Might Be Giants sound amazing.

We can always rely on you to give us a different perspective Paul Thanks😝

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Good separation depends mostly on the speaker's directivity characteristics and the reflectiveness and/or proximity of the side walls.

A more reflective room will somewhat mask the stereo effect because the reflected sound reaching our ears is perceived as direct sound and thus the images become streched/wider but less focused, a bit like this:

aG8hNNm.jpg

Room resonances tend to affect perceived "clarity" and good separation also depends on the accuracy with which the electronics read and amplify the signal and the speakers transduce it.

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3 minutes ago, TIU said:

Bands tend to attempt to play in unison, not separately. I don't enjoy systems that clinically separate every instrument. It makes it  very difficult to appreciate the music as a whole effect.

There's a difference though, between clinically separating things and things being 'placed' naturally. It also depends on the music, band, etc. If the original is a 'wall of sound' type of band or production, then I expect the system to present it that way. However, a four-piece jazz group in real life has musicians located spatially, and a system should be able to replicate that.

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30 minutes ago, savvypaul said:

On my system, I can tell how tall the musicians are. They Might Be Giants sound amazing.

My system is so brilliant that if I play anything by A Flock Of Seagulls, I need to wear a hat to avoid being s**t on.

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Super Wammer
13 minutes ago, Psilonaught said:

Imaging and instrument neutrality is key to creating the illusion of "being there" IMO.

I agree with the OP that speaker placement is critical to achieving good separation.

Front to back is harder to achieve, and seems more impacted by the quality of associated equipment, and less about the speakers. That's my experience anyway.

As a basic rule regarding imaging, not putting crap between your speakers is a good place to start! 

Do you mean between the speakers like this James😲

To be honest it's not making any difference to my imaging it may be making it better🤔

5FB5667C-D29C-45A1-AA57-DF19BC9AF619.jpeg

Edited by Madvinyljunkie II
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I agree Richard. Perhaps I was referring to systems that mess up what an engineer's intentions were.

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