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02-03-2008 Post mapped to 3 branches of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 6539
Reply to: 6539
The nature of "soundstage" in audio.

I would like to take my views about the subject of the thread:

Be careful: Imaging vs. Compression

… a little further into radicalism, or closer to the naked truth. It might be (and most likely) will not agreed or in some cases not understood, still it is my conviction.

People who read my site know that I am a vocal and consistent opponent of “soundstage”. Imaging is a different category but I would like to keep Imaging out of scope of this conversation. The recent years some audio writing monkeys began to make fashionable to brag in their audio publications that they got less stupid and that “soundstage” is not their priority anymore. The sad irony is that it is not really true – they use to sell to fool-subscribers the notion of “soundstage” for years and now they just trying to use a new marketing tool: do not sell “soundstage”. Speaking personally with some of those people I realized that behind the empty words the new soundstage-haters have nothing, not to mention that understanding of the soundstage’s benefits AFTER soundstage rejection is too advanced subject for them to absorb.

Anyhow, I intend to rule out all existing explanations of Soundstage as dimensionality of audio recording and the explanations of it as a bi-product of stereophonic phase processing. I nominate a new cause of soundstage – a compression. I will not explain it – you do it, as well it is up to you to think further about the relation between soundstage  and compression. Still, here is a tip for further thinking: Imaging compete against compression but soundstage is benefited by compression…

Good luck.
Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
el`Ol
Posts 225
Joined on 10-13-2007

Post #: 2
Post ID: 6541
Reply to: 6539
Definition, please
Would you please define the difference between imaging and soundstage to those who haven´t been around here for long?
02-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 6542
Reply to: 6541
It is not about the Definition but about Purpose.

Imaging is a property of listening perception. The soundstage is a property of sound reproduction.  Let me be a cryptic here and would give not the answer but a lead to the answer. Do you familiar with Home Theaters? It is absolutely imposable to build a properly performing Home Theater. Think why and founding the right answer you will found an algorithm to crack the Imaging vs. soundstage case.

Rgs, Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 487
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 4
Post ID: 6543
Reply to: 6542
The artificial nature of the soundstage
Well, correct me if I am wrong, but I would say that imaging relaies heavily on the differences in timing and amplitude between the two sides and with secondary reflections.  This leads to a perception of sound wherein we are able to localize individual instruments and such with focus and clarity, in the same way that one might bring the lens of a camera into focus.

The imaging of a stereo is not the same as that of a live musical experience, and it is my sense that imaging has nothing to do with Sound.  Focusing on imaging can lead you a great sounding stereo that has nothing to do with the Sound of the live music.

With the soundstage, this to me is an artifact of the recording and reproduction that is one such way of going astray.  It may be that compression is responsible or something else, but in any event, I describe the effect like putting a fish-eye lens on your camera.  It is not so much that it is in focus or not, but gives a very distinct view with specific features and boundaries that are by-products of the process but have nothing to do with the original event any more than a fun house mirror has anything to do with your own reflection.  The mirror distorts all images it reflects in a particular way.

Adrian
02-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 6544
Reply to: 6543
Imaging, soundstage, compression....

To assess how far audio imaging from sound of a ”live” musical presentation we need to subtract visual experiences from perception, including the long-lasting visual experiences. I would agree that focusing ONLY on imaging can lead attention off beam, but it is no different from focusing on any other ONLY thing. Still, imaging is a playback is a phenomenal debugging tool that is one of the most sensitive tools to indicate problems. Does imaging exist in “live” sound? Sure, it does, we just do not acknowledge imaging as it is a natural part of our visual perception. However, the imaging-scenic perception is a process of recognition, contrary to soundstage -scenic perception that is a process of positioning.

Anyhow, I would not argue the subject of imaging vs. soundstage; I did it before many times, including the stolen by AA dirt debate in 2001. The subject that I would like accent in this thread is the relationship between compression and soundstage. I propose that soundstage is a derivative property of compression. Stripping compression destroys soundstage, increasing of compression makes soundstage more tangible. However, a mitigation of compression has practically no effect upon imaging. That was a point of my argument.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 487
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 6
Post ID: 6545
Reply to: 6544
Compression experiment
 Romy the Cat wrote:
I propose that soundstage is a derivative property of compression. Stripping compression destroys soundstage, increasing of compression makes soundstage more tangible.

Yes, I have no argument with anything you have said.  As I said before, I think the soundstage is an artificial distortion of the imaging, like a lens bending light.  I am inclined to agree since compressoin will shift frequencies, which are ultimately affecting timing.  And it is subtle timing changes with reflections that affect the imaging.  Is it possible that a simple experiment can be done with cassette players and the Dolby filter since this equalization affects compression for example? Adrian
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
el`Ol
Posts 225
Joined on 10-13-2007

Post #: 7
Post ID: 6546
Reply to: 6545
Imaging and resolution
In my audiophile past with poor resolution speakers (Spendor BC1) I used to listen to puristic recordings like Telarc with compressor to get the late reflections on audible levels. I felt that distorted imaging is better than no imaging. I loved eastern European recordings because of their far less damped concert halls. I still find them very good, but not as superior as then.
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 8
Post ID: 6547
Reply to: 6545
Cassette experiments
 drdna wrote:
Is it possible that a simple experiment can be done with cassette players and the Dolby filter since this equalization affects compression for example? Adrian
If you are referring to the "soundstage" quality of such playback -- yes an experiment can be done and, incidentally, has been done this past W-E at my home. I hooked up a c-player

The "soundstaging" was very complete, as would be expected. SO was the compression, btw. We may postulate that compression does not interfere with soundstaging or even compression is beneficial for soundstaging.
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 6548
Reply to: 6547
How to measure Soundstage

 Gregm wrote:
We may postulate that … compression is beneficial for soundstaging.

... You are right and it is very simple to witness. A high dynamic range creates less soundstaging and more imaging. Higher compression kills imaging and moves soundstaging forward. It is no surprise that to “sell the soundstage” is the most beloved deed for the Morons-reviewers who have been shilling crappy acoustic systems to public.

So, talking about postulating – I say that compression is proportional to soundstage. Here is the fanny part - compression is easy to measure. However, if the soundstage is proportional to compression and the compression is objectively measurable then why do not measure compression and just to calibrate the measuring instruments in “quantities of soundstage”.

I would even propose a fundamental unit of soundstage that I feel should be listed in the famous “Le Systeme international d'unites”. The unit of soundstage measurement should be a Moron and the following: nanomoron, micromoron, millimoron, kilomoron… etc… The device that measure the soundstage should be called Moronometer and any industry participant shell ware a Moronometer permanently attached to owner's pocket protector.

Rgs, Romy the Cat

PS: BTW, in my old product I had a means for soundstage adjustment:  http://www.romythecat.com/Commerce/AD1.aspx


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 10
Post ID: 6549
Reply to: 6548
Soundstage, imaging, ambiance, width, depth, height?
The thought of an arrary of images well forward of the speakers is troubling, but - other factors being equal - I love it when I get +/- that sort of thing behind the speakers along with sound energy from the "performance" that fills the room, even in front of the speakers, more or less apropos the "performance".  I actually prefer it when the "sound field" pushes past my chair and gets "behind" me, etc.  The Mercury Living Presence "Rigoletto" is an example of a "large scale" recording I can get this sort of illusion from, when the electricity is good, but this sense is also available under the right conditions from works of a "smaller scale".

There are certainly areas more important to me than imaging, but isn't the sense of immersion and "presence" we get from some "good" stereo recordings a good thing?  Who does not like the uncanny sense that he is attending a "properly-scaled" performance, including the delectable "sense of space" via ambient energy and "ambiance" along with the "imaginging"?

I must be unclear about the term "soundstage" as it is being used here.

Best regards,
Paul S
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 11
Post ID: 6550
Reply to: 6544
What does exist? About the blindness of Audio
 Romy the Cat wrote:
To assess how far audio imaging from sound of a ”live” musical presentation we need to subtract visual experiences from perception, including the long-lasting visual experiences.
OK, Soundstage is a BS category and I kind of trying to present Imaging as not BS category. One might argue that Imaging does not exist in real life and here where I proposed above to exclude the long-lasting visual experiences. Let me to explane. The closing eyes when we are in Symphony Hall is NOT enough to erase own mind’s visual perception. We need to be blind form the beginning of the entire event in order to stop extrapolating space with our vision and switch to sound recognition only. It means: we need to be brought to a NEW listening hall blinded, or preferably be blinded from birth – then we USE acoustic imaging and process the reflections and delays like the only commodities, like bats do. Do not forget that audio is inherently blind by birth.

Rgs, Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 269
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 6551
Reply to: 6550
As I understand it
Imaging is what you experience from a good mono recording, which is closer to reality in a live performance, but kind of narrower. Soundstage is what you get from most hifi systems, a quite false illusion of music happening into its own fake, delimited space, detached of the acoustic space of the room where the system is placed. Probably it has some relation with compression and many other audio-performance factors, but IMO getting imaging from a stereo system, instead of soundstage, requires a good amount of knowing your room, placing well your speakers and having some properly performing sources, like the TU-X1 for instance.

Rgrds.
09-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
ArmAlex
Iran
Posts 71
Joined on 02-15-2009

Post #: 13
Post ID: 11722
Reply to: 6541
Soundstage vs. Imaging
fiogf49gjkf0d
I think soundstage is artificially "injected" during recording. But Imaging is natural by product of proper speaker placement.

09-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 11723
Reply to: 11722
Incorrect.
fiogf49gjkf0d
 ArmAlex wrote:
I think soundstage is artificially "injected" during recording. But Imaging is natural byproduct of proper speaker placement.
Imaging is a natural outcome of transformation of Random Reality into three-dimensional reproduction. Soundstage is just a byproduct of stereo reformation of space. None of them have anything inherently to do with speaker placement. Imaging exists it reality everywhere. Soundstage exists only during audio reproduction.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,283
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 15
Post ID: 11728
Reply to: 6539
The Federated Mike’s take on Soundstage...
fiogf49gjkf0d

Mike, the speaker and other audio gear reseller, disagrees with me

http://audiofederation.com/blog/archives/595

He proposed his own take:

  Federated Mike wrote:
Soundstaging: as the location on a virtual 3D stage of where a sound is coming from, usually on the side of the room where the speakers are

Imaging: as the spacial and textural definition of the musician and or sound - their outlines, their weight, etc.

I am not accustomed to have debate with somebody for whom Audio is just a next mortgage payment. Still, having the Trade English as my sixths language I feel I need to translate the Federated Mike’s ideas into common-sense English. If to do so, then what Mike said would be the following:

Soundstaging: a tradable commodity that easy to demonstrate and to quantify to an ignorant customer.

Imaging: non-tradable useless notion as it does not allow sticking a merchant nose into somebody’s listening experience.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
tuga


Posts 172
Joined on 12-26-2007

Post #: 16
Post ID: 11729
Reply to: 11728
Wagner's view
fiogf49gjkf0d
As Wagner once said to his friend Nietzsche at the Festival Theatre in Bayreuth

"remove your spectacles, music is only to be listened to"

Cheers,
Ric


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira Pascoaes
09-15-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amir
Iran
Posts 124
Joined on 02-11-2009

Post #: 17
Post ID: 11746
Reply to: 11729
Realism in sound reproduction
fiogf49gjkf0d
I had no time to read romy article about imaging and soundstage and could not say any thing here but this link seems be useful about Realism in Sound Reproduction.

http://www.stereotimes.com/comm0899.shtml

we read in this Article :

What is Realism in Sound Reproduction?

Realism in staged music sound reproduction will usually be understood to mean the generation of a sound field realistic enough to satisfy any normal ear-brain system that it is in the same space as the performers, that this is a space that could physically exist, and that the sound sources in this space are as full bodied and as easy to locate as in real life. Realism does not necessarily equate to accuracy or perfection. Achieving realism does not mean that one must slavishly recreate the exact space of a particular recording site. For instance, a recording made in Avery Fisher Hall but reproduced as if it were in Carnegie Hall is still realistic, even if inaccurate. While a home reproduction system may not be able to outperform a live concert in a hall the caliber of Boston's Symphony Hall, in many cases the home experience can now exceed a live event in acoustic quality. For example, a recording of an opera made in a smallish studio can now easily be made to sound better at home than it did to most listeners at a crowded recording session. One can also argue that a home version of Symphony Hall, where one is apparently sitting tenth row center, is more involving that the live experience heard from a rear side seat in the balcony with obstructed visual and sonic prospect. In a similar vein, realism does not mean perfection. If a full symphony orchestra is recorded in Carnegie Hall but played back as if it were in Carnegie Recital Hall, one may have achieved realism but certainly not perfection. Likewise, as long as localization is as effortless and as precise as in real life, the reproduced locations of discrete sound sources usually don't have to be exactly in the same positions as at the recording site to meet the standards of realism discussed here. (Virtual Reality applications, by contrast, often require extreme accuracy but realism is not a consideration.) An example of this occurs if a recording site viewed from the microphone has a stage width of 120° but is played back on a stage that seems only 90° wide. What this really means in the context of realism is that the listener has moved back in the reproduced auditorium some fifteen rows, but either stage perspective can be legitimately real. Being able to localize a stage sound source in a stereo or surround multi channel system does not guarantee that such localization will sound real. For example, a soloist's microphone panned by a producer to one loudspeaker is easy to localize but almost never sounds real.

In a similar vein, one can make a case that one can have glorious realism, even without any detailed front stage localization, as long as the ambient field is correct. Anyone who has sat in the last row of the family circle in Carnegie Hall can attest to this. This kind of realism makes it possible to work seeming miracles even with mono recordings.





I Love My Mom
09-15-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,052
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 18
Post ID: 11750
Reply to: 11746
Shades of Sea Cliff
fiogf49gjkf0d
Wow, what an intresting post, in its own right!

But then I wonder, what about the Music?

Count me in as a total slut that enjoys any "realistic" element of Sound I can gather as a significant part of a Musical performance.

At the same time, count me as again among those who have no time or patience for this sort of sophistry unless I can relate to the performance via the Sound, no matter the disparate number of "realistic" cues involved.

Taken at face value, this post reflects the sort of perspective that finds an army of "audiophiles" listening to "Casino Royale" and the Mercury "Pines of Rome" over and over again.

While nothing about these observations is "wrong", it still somehow makes me uncomfortable to read this stuff out of a much broader, more comfortable (to me) context.

Basically, while I am OK thinking of myself as an "audiophile" (or OCD hi-fi nut-bag) in search of Music at home, I am uncomfortable giving others the same slack.

Amir, please also say something that suggests you "get" the "Music" part of hi-fi, too, because, although it is interesting, this sounds pretty "detatched" from Music to me right now.

In other words  (and making no conclusive assumptions about this...), if not for Music, why bother? (And where does the Music enter the picture?)

Best regards,
Paul S
09-16-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Markus
Posts 68
Joined on 03-07-2007

Post #: 19
Post ID: 11754
Reply to: 11750
To repeat what I've said elsewhere
fiogf49gjkf0d
I don't want to hear where a musician is on stage, I want to hear why he is on stage.
09-17-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amir
Iran
Posts 124
Joined on 02-11-2009

Post #: 20
Post ID: 11770
Reply to: 6545
Soundstage
fiogf49gjkf0d
 drdna wrote:
 Romy the Cat wrote:
I propose that soundstage is a derivative property of compression. Stripping compression destroys soundstage, increasing of compression makes soundstage more tangible.

Yes, I have no argument with anything you have said.  As I said before, I think the soundstage is an artificial distortion of the imaging, like a lens bending light.  I am inclined to agree since compressoin will shift frequencies, which are ultimately affecting timing.  And it is subtle timing changes with reflections that affect the imaging.  Is it possible that a simple experiment can be done with cassette players and the Dolby filter since this equalization affects compression for example? Adrian


It seems that I should agree
me and my friend Armen in process of speaker placement have found a place for speaker that in that place soundstage was superb. there was a illusion of precision in soundstage and sound was very lean, hyper detailed .
amplifier of system was a push pull triode tube but on that place sound changed to a lean solidstate amplifier.

soundstage was best in it's means but sound was so impressive at first but so boring after minutes.

maybe these good soundstage killed micro dynamic of sound and compressed it.

in my idea the best way to identifing the less compresion in dynamic is sense of relaxing in sound with no hearing sound from speaker.
in some places speaker sound as it seems that sound come not from a speaker.

Amir



I Love My Mom
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   Target    Threads for related reading   Most recent post in related threads   Forum  Replies   Views   Started 
  »  New  Preamplifiers: keys to mystery. (Lamm L1, L2)..  In analog domain...  Audio Discussions  Forum     2  36008  11-14-2004
  »  New  Be careful: Imaging vs. Compression..  Compression vs. imaging...  Playback Listening  Forum     23  115098  10-24-2005
  »  New  Contributing factors in compressed sound..  Contributing factors of compressed sound....  Audio Discussions  Forum     3  24454  08-23-2007
  »  New  Attention Sound Engineers (compression and loudness)..  Injection channel and Romy's rules...  Playback Listening  Forum     48  172857  09-09-2007
  »  New  The mystery of reversed imaging...  Catastrophic reduction of sound quality.......  Playback Listening  Forum     2  15476  11-26-2007
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