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Are we fooling ourselves?

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Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
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Gaz37 said:
The sound of the car cannot come from anywhere further to the left than the left speaker as that is the starting point of the playback, nor can it go further to the right than the right speaker. Making something appear to move horizontally is impossible and forward and backward can only be achieved by increasing volume.
Ever heard of Q Sound?
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
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0
davidf said:
Andrewjvt said:
Howzit David

What are the pitfalls the av market created?

Regards
Just the mind set of new products every year, and generally being virtually the same, except for one superfluous feature that very few will benefit from. This just devalues a product after 6 months, because after that period of time, most just wait for discontinued products at knock down prices. You can buy a £2k receiver as soon as it's released, but the nearer you get to the next new models - which are guaranteed to come 12 months later - the less and less they're worth. And if you've had it for 3 years, you're lucky to get £500. Hi-fi doesn't suffer from that because products have a longer shelf life and are generally more reliable. 
Ok i know what you mean.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
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10,540
davidf said:
Gaz37 said:
Spatially flat and two dimensional?

Come on what does that mean?
No depth to the soundstage.
Apart from QSound mentioned above (which is just another more complex illusion which a very quick read up suggests is actually monoaural), how is "depth of soundstage" achieved?

How can, for example, it sound as though the lead singer is standing a metre in front of the backing vocals sung by the lead guitarist?

The only thing that can possibly affect the appearance of "depth" is sound levels at the mixing stage.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
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Acoustic space. Some systems are better at it than others.

The lead vocals might be closely mic' don't, whereas backing singers might be several feet away from the mic.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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davidf said:
Acoustic space. Some systems are better at it than others.

The lead vocals might be closely mic' don't, whereas backing singers might be several feet away from the mic.
I am not, really, a soundstage sort of listener. I rarely sit in the sweet spot anymore, I just don't worry about it.

That said, I am very much aware of what can be achieved if you have the space and the money, you are not going to get a 'holographic' 3 dimensional sound on a budget nor in a 'compromised' setup in a normal living room.

Given space and budget, what can be achieved is quite remarkable, image width that goes beyond the speakers and depth that can often go beyond the back wall. With decent equipment, properly set up in a sympathetic room, the speakers dissapear and the effect is one of having the performers placed in front of you, separated left and right and, yes, front to back. This is what most people expect from 'good soundstaging' and given the will (and a few £K) it is relatively easy to achieve.

There is are course different and much more sophisticated systems that take the soundstaging effect to a completely different level, in this case the individual instruments are separated and defined to such an extent that each one exists in it's own 'space', separate from, but involved with, the other instruments.

Even more remarkably, you do not need to sit in the sweet spot to experience this, the location of the instruments is so stable that you can move around the room (to a degree) and they do not move. Moving forward and between the speakers really does give the impression of 'walking into the soundstage'.

Is this an illusion? Of course it is, but it is one that many, perhaps most enthusiasts share when experiencing such a setup. Once heard, difficult to forget.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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0
Gaz37 said:
jmjones said:
Hi Gazza,

Maybe I should have been clearer, although I think we are largely in agreement.

On the soundstage bit, you have to determine exactly what you mean. Try two microphones recording a passing car. Turn them into stereo speakers playing it back and it will play back the sound you would expect. It sounds like a passing car, including the Doppler effect as it moves away. Your brain is not imagining anything,
This highlights what I mean.

In real life the car moves from left to right as does the sound it creates.

In the playback of the recording the signal starts in the left speaker then fades from left to right creating the impression that something is moving.

The sound of the car cannot come from anywhere further to the left than the left speaker as that is the starting point of the playback, nor can it go further to the right than the right speaker. Making something appear to move horizontally is impossible and forward and backward can only be achieved by increasing volume.

When I read about people thinking that they can "walk into the 3D soundstage" I'm never sure whether I envy their blissful ignorance or pity their gullibility
Come on guys, he has gone from are we fooling ourselves? to the statement above. You are not being asked for your opinion. He already has a rather strong one himself, and stating it is the sole point of this thread.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
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10,540
Gazzip said:
Gaz37 said:
jmjones said:
Hi Gazza,

Maybe I should have been clearer, although I think we are largely in agreement.

On the soundstage bit, you have to determine exactly what you mean. Try two microphones recording a passing car. Turn them into stereo speakers playing it back and it  will play back the sound you would expect. It sounds like a passing car, including the Doppler effect as it moves away. Your brain is not imagining anything,
This highlights what I mean.

In real life the car moves from left to right as does the sound it creates.

In the playback of the recording the signal starts in the left speaker then fades from left to right creating the impression that something is moving.

The sound of the car cannot come from anywhere further to the left than the left speaker as that is the starting point of the playback, nor can it go further to the right than the right speaker. Making something appear to move horizontally is impossible and forward and backward can only be achieved by increasing volume.

When I read about people thinking that they can "walk into the 3D soundstage" I'm never sure whether I envy their blissful ignorance or pity their gullibility
Come on guys, he has gone from are we fooling ourselves? to the statement above. You are not being asked for your opinion. He already has a rather strong one himself, and stating it is the sole point of this thread.
I just thought about things from a totally logical perspective and very little made sense

I would love somebody to put forward a logical argument to explain, for example, how a soundstage can possibly extend behind the speakers, or how a speaker can achieve something a human voice can't.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Gaz37 said:
Gazzip said:
Gaz37 said:
jmjones said:
Hi Gazza,

Maybe I should have been clearer, although I think we are largely in agreement.

On the soundstage bit, you have to determine exactly what you mean. Try two microphones recording a passing car. Turn them into stereo speakers playing it back and it will play back the sound you would expect. It sounds like a passing car, including the Doppler effect as it moves away. Your brain is not imagining anything,
This highlights what I mean.

In real life the car moves from left to right as does the sound it creates.

In the playback of the recording the signal starts in the left speaker then fades from left to right creating the impression that something is moving.

The sound of the car cannot come from anywhere further to the left than the left speaker as that is the starting point of the playback, nor can it go further to the right than the right speaker. Making something appear to move horizontally is impossible and forward and backward can only be achieved by increasing volume.

When I read about people thinking that they can "walk into the 3D soundstage" I'm never sure whether I envy their blissful ignorance or pity their gullibility
Come on guys, he has gone from are we fooling ourselves? to the statement above. You are not being asked for your opinion. He already has a rather strong one himself, and stating it is the sole point of this thread.
I just thought about things from a totally logical perspective and very little made sense

I would love somebody to put forward a logical argument to explain, for example, how a soundstage can possibly extend behind the speakers, or how a speaker can achieve something a human voice can't.
Might I be so bold as to suggest you go audition some decent setups?
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
Been following this thread without commenting so far but feel it's worthwhile to clarify some things you are getting both right and wrong.

First of all you're not wrong that the soundstage and such is all a trick of the brain, but for the brain to be successfully fooled relies on numerous factors including speaker positioning, quality of the speakers, stereo separation, your seating position, and so on. Your brain interprets the combined information from two distinct sources as width and depth. It's very possible in the studio to use effects that make the sound like it's coming from beyond the width of the speakers, from beyond the limits of the back walls or even from behind your head. We all know it's not really doing this unless you have lots of speakers, it's an aural illusion, the success of which is going to vary from person to person and from system to system.

You could do worse than research binaural audio.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Al ears said:
Gaz37 said:
Gazzip said:
Gaz37 said:
jmjones said:
Hi Gazza,

Maybe I should have been clearer, although I think we are largely in agreement.

On the soundstage bit, you have to determine exactly what you mean. Try two microphones recording a passing car. Turn them into stereo speakers playing it back and it  will play back the sound you would expect. It sounds like a passing car, including the Doppler effect as it moves away. Your brain is not imagining anything,
This highlights what I mean.

In real life the car moves from left to right as does the sound it creates.

In the playback of the recording the signal starts in the left speaker then fades from left to right creating the impression that something is moving.

The sound of the car cannot come from anywhere further to the left than the left speaker as that is the starting point of the playback, nor can it go further to the right than the right speaker. Making something appear to move horizontally is impossible and forward and backward can only be achieved by increasing volume.

When I read about people thinking that they can "walk into the 3D soundstage" I'm never sure whether I envy their blissful ignorance or pity their gullibility
Come on guys, he has gone from are we fooling ourselves? to the statement above. You are not being asked for your opinion. He already has a rather strong one himself, and stating it is the sole point of this thread.
I just thought about things from a totally logical perspective and very little made sense

I would love somebody to put forward a logical argument to explain, for example, how a soundstage can possibly extend behind the speakers, or how a speaker can achieve something a human voice can't.
Might I be so bold as to suggest you go audition some decent setups?
That took longer than expected, I don't see how one box can project sound behind itself better than another but feel free to explain it to me.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
MajorFubar said:
Been following this thread without commenting so far but feel it's worthwhile to clarify some things you are getting both right and wrong.

First of all you're not wrong that the soundstage and such is all a trick of the brain, but for the brain to be successfully fooled relies on numerous factors including speaker positioning, quality of the speakers, stereo separation, your seating position, and so on. Your brain interprets the combined information from two distinct sources as width and depth. It's very possible in the studio to use effects that make the sound like it's coming from beyond the width of the speakers, from beyond the limits of the back walls or even from behind your head. We all know it's not really doing this unless you have lots of speakers, it's an aural illusion, the success of which is going to vary from person to person and from system to system.

You could do worse than research binaural audio.
I did

"Binaural recording is intended for replay using headphones and will not translate properly over stereo speakers. "
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
Gaz37 said:
I did

"Binaural recording is intended for replay using headphones and will not translate properly over stereo speakers. "
Rather than just reading the literal definition I was hoping you would research what it was, which would help you to understand how the brain can interpret sound from two sources as a multi-demensional 'image' with width and depth that appears to transcend the physical boundaries of the transducers. In turn I was hoping that would help you to understand how it was partly relevant to how speakers perform similarly. You're either being purposefully obstinate, or you haven't understood the relevance.

If you need help to understand how speakers and headphones fool the brain into thinking it's listening to multi-dimentional sound, I'm happy to explain and answer questions, if I can; it's not my specialist but I know enough. Whereas if you're just being a downright argumentative c**t you're on your own. Difficult to tell on an internet forum.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
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0
manicm said:
@MajorFubar - why are you resorting to obscenities? And anyway 'Binaural audio' just seems another variation of Q Sound.
I think perhaps because the OP's circuitously negativistic behaviour is specifically "designed" to illicit such a reaction. Shame he just won.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
MajorFubar said:
Gaz37 said:
I did

"Binaural recording is intended for replay using headphones and will not translate properly over stereo speakers. "
Rather than just reading the literal definition I was hoping you would research what it was, which would help you to understand how the brain can interpret sound from two sources as a multi-demensional 'image' with width and depth that appears to transcend the physical boundaries of the transducers. In turn I was hoping that would help you to understand how it was partly relevant to how speakers perform similarly.  You're either being purposefully obstinate, or you haven't understood the relevance.

If you need help to understand how speakers and headphones fool the brain into thinking it's listening to multi-dimentional sound, I'm happy to explain and answer questions, if I can; it's not my specialist but I know enough. Whereas if you're just being a downright argumentative c**t you're on your own. Difficult to tell on an internet forum.
I'm not intending to come across like that.

The point I'm trying to make is that instead of taking it as gospel what we're being told by manufacturers and reviwers and even our own experiences, take a step back and think logically about how it can be physically possible to achieve what we think we can hear.
If a speaker projects sound forwards how can you possibly have a soundstage that extends behind the speakers?
If two speakers can produce "depth" of soundstage, ie 3 dimensional sound, why was 5.1, 7.1 or Atmos surround sound invented?
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Gazzip said:
manicm said:
@MajorFubar - why are you resorting to obscenities? And anyway 'Binaural audio' just seems another variation of Q Sound.
I think perhaps because the OP's circuitously negativistic behaviour is specifically "designed" to illicit such a reaction. Shame he just won.
That genuinely isn't the case, unfortunately it is difficult to express a contradiction or to question a response in a written format without sounding argumentative.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Gaz37 said:
MajorFubar said:
Gaz37 said:
I did

"Binaural recording is intended for replay using headphones and will not translate properly over stereo speakers. "
Rather than just reading the literal definition I was hoping you would research what it was, which would help you to understand how the brain can interpret sound from two sources as a multi-demensional 'image' with width and depth that appears to transcend the physical boundaries of the transducers. In turn I was hoping that would help you to understand how it was partly relevant to how speakers perform similarly. You're either being purposefully obstinate, or you haven't understood the relevance.

If you need help to understand how speakers and headphones fool the brain into thinking it's listening to multi-dimentional sound, I'm happy to explain and answer questions, if I can; it's not my specialist but I know enough. Whereas if you're just being a downright argumentative c**t you're on your own. Difficult to tell on an internet forum.
I'm not intending to come across like that.

The point I'm trying to make is that instead of taking it as gospel what we're being told by manufacturers and reviwers and even our own experiences, take a step back and think logically about how it can be physically possible to achieve what we think we can hear. If a speaker projects sound forwards how can you possibly have a soundstage that extends behind the speakers? If two speakers can produce "depth" of soundstage, ie 3 dimensional sound, why was 5.1, 7.1 or Atmos surround sound invented?
Look into frequencies and sound fields around a speaker to see that not all sound goes forward for a start.

5.1 etc was designed for home theatre where, in a movie, a sound might need to eminate from the left rear only. A stereo set-up couldn't do this and was never designed to do so.

Also logical thinking has no place in a hifi discussion...... ;-)
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
0
0
Gaz37 said:
Gazzip said:
manicm said:
@MajorFubar - why are you resorting to obscenities? And anyway 'Binaural audio' just seems another variation of Q Sound.
I think perhaps because the OP's circuitously negativistic behaviour is specifically "designed" to illicit such a reaction. Shame he just won.
That genuinely isn't the case, unfortunately it is difficult to express a contradiction or to question a response in a written format without sounding argumentative.
Yes, but you asked a series of question (including one about cables which is NEVER divisive) and then, with an increasingly negative tone, answered them from your own preconceived perspective over several posts. Looks argumentative from where I am typing.

Notwithstanding the above, and assuming you were trying to have a positive discussion, I am confused by your point re. 2-channel stereo being a psychological trick, and find myself wondering why you would care? Afterall, from the moment a sound is recorded its playback becomes an illusion.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
Gaz37 said:
That genuinely isn't the case, unfortunately it is difficult to express a contradiction or to question a response in a written format without sounding argumentative.
Thanks for clarifying your position. Forgive me asking where you were coming from and your motives.

The 'image' is partly caused by the fact they do of course radiate sound multidirectionally including rearwards and to the side (sound doesn't just travel in a straight line), but a lot of it is down to your brain's perception, particularly of timing differences between the left and right channels, which you can even pick up on and interpret as width and depth even if you're deaf in one ear. Now some speakers do it better than others, depending on their dispersion characterists and how you've positioned them. If you don't toe speakers in, they're often perceived as giving a wider soundstage, while toeing them in often seems to tighten the central focus (ie voices or instruments equally loud on L and R more likely seem they are coming from a fixed point in the middle) while narrowing the soundstage. But you're not wrong fundamentally that it's all an aural illusion.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Gazzip said:
Gaz37 said:
Gazzip said:
manicm said:
@MajorFubar - why are you resorting to obscenities? And anyway 'Binaural audio' just seems another variation of Q Sound.
I think perhaps because the OP's circuitously negativistic behaviour is specifically "designed" to illicit such a reaction. Shame he just won.
That genuinely isn't the case, unfortunately it is difficult to express a contradiction or to question a response in a written format without sounding argumentative.
Yes, but you asked a series of question (including one about cables which is NEVER divisive) and then, with an increasingly negative tone, answered them from your own preconceived perspective over several posts. Looks argumentative from where I am typing.

Notwithstanding the above, and assuming you were trying to have a positive discussion, I am confused by your point re. 2-channel stereo being a psychological trick, and find myself wondering why you would care? Afterall, from the moment a sound is recorded its playback becomes an illusion. 
I think the point I'm trying to make is that we are paying large sums of money for equipment that we believe to be doing something that it can't possibly be doing.
Are we being conned by manufacturers, pseudo scientists and reviwers into (genuinely) believing we hear things that just cannot be there?
I'm beginning to believe we are
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
MajorFubar said:
Gaz37 said:
That genuinely isn't the case, unfortunately it is difficult to express a contradiction or to question a response in a written format without sounding argumentative.
Thanks for clarifying your position. Forgive me asking where you were coming from and your motives.

The 'image' is partly caused by the fact they do of course radiate sound multidirectionally including rearwards and to the side (sound doesn't just travel in a straight line), but a lot of it is down to your brain's perception, particularly of timing differences between the left and right channels, which you can even pick up on and interpret as width and depth even if you're deaf in one ear. Now some speakers do it better than others, depending on their dispersion characterists and how you've positioned them. If you don't toe speakers in, they're often perceived as giving a wider soundstage, while toeing them in often seems to tighten the central focus (ie voices or instruments equally loud on L and R more likely seem they are coming from a fixed point in the middle) while narrowing the soundstage. But you're not wrong fundamentally that it's all an aural illusion.
I understand that sound will radiate from the rear of the speaker but what I don't understand is, for the purpose of soundstage,how it is possible to control exactly what sound radiates backwards?
Say the sound engineer wants to make a backing vocal (only) to sound as though it coming from behind the speaker.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Gaz37 said:
Gazzip said:
Gaz37 said:
Gazzip said:
manicm said:
@MajorFubar - why are you resorting to obscenities? And anyway 'Binaural audio' just seems another variation of Q Sound.
I think perhaps because the OP's circuitously negativistic behaviour is specifically "designed" to illicit such a reaction. Shame he just won.
That genuinely isn't the case, unfortunately it is difficult to express a contradiction or to question a response in a written format without sounding argumentative.
Yes, but you asked a series of question (including one about cables which is NEVER divisive) and then, with an increasingly negative tone, answered them from your own preconceived perspective over several posts. Looks argumentative from where I am typing.

Notwithstanding the above, and assuming you were trying to have a positive discussion, I am confused by your point re. 2-channel stereo being a psychological trick, and find myself wondering why you would care? Afterall, from the moment a sound is recorded its playback becomes an illusion.
I think the point I'm trying to make is that we are paying large sums of money for equipment that we believe to be doing something that it can't possibly be doing. Are we being conned by manufacturers, pseudo scientists and reviwers into (genuinely) believing we hear things that just cannot be there? I'm beginning to believe we are
I think you are on a loser there. People do, and will continue to, buy speakers that sound good to them regardless of whatever phenomenon they are supposed to project. This is because most actually listen to them rather than read / believe those reviews.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
Gaz37 said:
Gaz37 said:
I understand that sound will radiate from the rear of the speaker but what I don't understand is, for the purpose of soundstage,how it is possible to control exactly what sound radiates backwards? Say the sound engineer wants to make a backing vocal (only) to sound as though it coming from behind the speaker.
Trickery. Most obvious of which is stereo reverb, especially convolution reverb which models the reverberation you hear from naturally 'live' environments like halls and even canyons. The less 'dry' signal and more reverb, the further back you interpret the sound. Also EQ: stand closer to someone and they will hear more bass and treble from your voice, as you stand further back it sounds a less bassy and tinny, so engineers employ low pass and high pass filters to lightly roll off the extremes. Along with that is compression. Someone banging a drum in your ear sounds more transient and dynamic than they doing it in the next room for example. On top of that they will generally reduce the volume of backing vocals in a mix so they sit beneath the level of the lead vocals.
 

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