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Why, Where and When Does Soundstage Morph Into Simply Stage?

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  • Why, Where and When Does Soundstage Morph Into Simply Stage?

    It's a pretty safe bet that everyone knows or has experienced--whether it's important or not--what constitutes soundstaging. Everyone to some extent or another has experienced music played back through a transparent, low noise system. But how many have heard a system where it's like there are no speakers in the room and one can close their eyes and if even only for a moment, you are at concert? In reality, very, very few speakers fit the bill. Maybe a handful? Perhaps the best example I've heard of this were the MBL X-tremes a year so ago using tape as source where I didn't even need to close my eyes and imagine I was at concert.

    So what does it take to take a system to this point? Certainly this quality transcends but has to include transparency. But oh-so many other things too! What else in your audio journey?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    MikeL's current setup is there IMO. The experience I had with Mike's system - the painting was presented to my ears between the two speaker towers. It could be that I was listening to mostly small scale music but what I heard, I could outline the performer(s) without noticing the mountains of speakers in the room. What it took to get there? We need Mike to elaborate.

    Comment


    • #3
      So what does it take to take a system to this point?
      I'd say a minimum of $500,000 for equipment plus whatever it takes to create a decent acoustic environment for the system....

      Comment


      • #4
        I think there's a difference between the soundstage portraying the concert hall vs having the performers in your room. The latter is easier to achieve (and less expensive).
        Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

        Comment


        • #5
          Mike B system in Sarasota FL is as close as I have heard when to comes to sound stage done right. Even looking at the speakers they just were not noticeable. Between his equipment, his room treatments and a JIm Smith room/equipment setup its truly magic.
          Chris
          ----------------------------------------------------------------
          Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Madfloyd View Post
            I think there's a difference between the soundstage portraying the concert hall vs having the performers in your room. The latter is easier to achieve (and less expensive).
            Can't you have both Ian?
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cpp View Post
              Mike B system in Sarasota FL is as close as I have heard when to comes to sound stage done right. Even looking at the speakers they just were not noticeable. Between his equipment, his room treatments and a JIm Smith room/equipment setup its truly magic.
              I think you're getting at what I am trying to insinuate. Moving from soundstage to stage involves how the speakers interact with the room (design considerations), the room and treatment. I do think there's something to the use of rounded enclosures and the elimination of standing waves between the outside (as well as inside) of the cabinet and the room and diffraction.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                those OMG moments when a system truly disappears are special. the sound is not only totally detached from the speakers but it extends beyond the outside edges and the rooms boundaries just melt away. listening to antiphone blues with Arne Domnerus over a system which included Celestion SL700 driven by Ralph's MA-1 100w OTLs did that. I achieved a similar result many years later in my own listening room with Joseph Audio Pulsars, the rendering and scale of the chorus on Rutter's Requiem (reference recordings) was off the charts stunning.
                TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

                "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

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                • Guest's Avatar
                  Guest commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Wonderful amps. Would you choose the MA-1s to drive your Sound Labs?

                • Rob
                  Rob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I tried MA-1s on Soundlab A-3, no highs no lows must be Bose (mine were early models w/ orig back plates and a torturous impedance curve), The Atmas had no where near enough juice for A-3s, it was a fail. Ralph had the 200 watters but my dealer didn't have demos to try out this was around '91-93. At the time I used a krell KSA-250 and then a pair of MDA-500s, tons of drive and head room with those and excellent SQ for SS.

              • #9
                Originally posted by Rob View Post
                those OMG moments when a system truly disappears are special. the sound is not only totally detached from the speakers but it extends beyond the outside edges and the rooms boundaries just melt away. listening to antiphone blues with Arne Domnerus over a system which included Celestion SL700 driven by Ralph's MA-1 100w OTLs did that. I achieved a similar result many years later in my own listening room with Joseph Audio Pulsars, the rendering and scale of the chorus on Rutter's Requiem (reference recordings) was off the charts stunning.
                Easier to attain with small monitors or large speakers?
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                  Easier to attain with small monitors or large speakers?
                  for mere mortals with regular sized or 'normal' listening rooms, yes.

                  If I had a huge dedicated listening space again, i'd have soundlabs once more. this time id have Soundlab Ultimate PXs and call it a day. so yes, IMO when it's an all-out assault in recreating the scale (believability) of the recorded event or venue then size ultimately matters
                  TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

                  "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I had a friend, who plays jazz flute professionally, come by for an evening of vinyl rotation. Of the many complimentary observations, he repeatedly commented on the disappearance of the Avalons. And, although Avalon is recognized for their staging and imaging, the room they occupy is anechoic...a mostly dead response to hand clap. But...replicating the live experience is yet something of another realm. Occasionally, I may bullshit myself that the body, density, tonality is that of a true instrument/voice, but I eventually open my "eyes".
                    Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Easier for quartets than orchestras. There's been a few evenings I could swear Grumiaux's was on the other side of my lids.

                      I (think) I hear more soundstage from my stereo than in the concert hall. I suppose that's your (Myles) point. But its a difference in kind. And I don't have an ear for every mic.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        You really need a great room, and perfect setup to get anywhere close, but that being said, a person walking into a room blindfolded will always be able to tell if music is live or reproduced. We just haven;t caught that level of magic yet.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I've been lucky to hear two rooms, not just completely disappear but also recreate the venue of the recording to perfection. The University of the South music room in Sewanee TN. It's a million dollar large room in room build. The other is the new YG Acoustic XV speakers and AudioNet electronics in the big room at Bill Parish's GTT audio in NJ. Two completely different systems able to create the same results.
                          When I visited YG during RMAF, they were using almost the exact same system Bill uses at his place and couldn't get the same results he gets in his room.
                          SOURCE: VINYL - EAT C-Sharp with, EAT LPS power supply, My Sonic Lab Signature Gold
                          DIGITAL - Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Roon Nucleus w/EAT Lps power supply. Auralic Aires G1
                          PHONOSTAGE: AudioNet PAM G2 with AudioNet EPX power supply.
                          PREAMP: Audionet PRE G2.
                          AMPLIFIER: Audionet MAX monoblocks.
                          SPEAKERS: YG Acoustics Anat III Signatures (upgraded to Sonja 1.2) JL Audio F112 V2 (x2)
                          CABLES: Kubala-Sosna, Kubala Sosna Xpander.....Audio Desk Systeme RCM, Adona Rack, GIK & Acoustimac room treatment, Isoacoustics

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                          • #15
                            In my experience in both home audio and sound reinforcement it is the point of equilibrium between ITD and ILD. Soundstage is dependent mainly on the time differences between channels. When ILD comes into play and the level differences in the summing and cancelation areas become "fully formed", that is when the speakers will disappear. Think of the speakers as the two elements of binoculars and adjusting focus between the two of them. Consider that the area of perfect summing is 3dB higher. If the shading between channels is done properly that extra 3dB to play with will basically override anything that is not hard panned. Speakers? What speakers? No surprise then that wide dispersion speakers like Omnis typically do the trick better than very directional loudspeakers in the area of scale projection even if they might be out gunned in areas like definition of low level events of short duration. Rear out of phase energy from the likes of dipoles also tend to help along these lines since there is more energy in the sum/cancel regions between the speakers. At this point depending on the size of the loudspeakers one either gets a sphere of sound between the speakers if they are small or if large, coherent wavefronts. Just as with any speaker however, one still has to sweat the small but important stuff, noise, artifice, excessive decay time, speaker focus, choice of listening position, et al. That's not to say CD loudspeakers can't stage. They surely can, they just stage more forward into the listening space than conventional loudspeakers. Seating positions should just be adjusted accordingly. It just takes getting used to since if one is used to conventional speakers the visual dissonance can be disturbing for a few minutes.

                            Put in another way, it is the point where what you hear and what you expect to feel through the rest of your body intersects. It doesn't need to be very loud but it would imply that at lower volumes the system should be able to push enough air so the bass isn't left behind. Personally I went with a tail up RT60 in my room precisely so things will sound okay if not exactly spot on when playing well below my reference calibration SPL of 85dB with Pink Noise. I just chose to use room gain/ boundary reinforcement to my advantage instead of fighting it. It's just a choice.

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