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Looking Back at the Concept of Stereo Imaging

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  • Looking Back at the Concept of Stereo Imaging

    Not an easy read but worth the time to slog thru.

    The author demonstrating stereo microphone techniques at an English audio show in 1981.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor,

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  • #2
    an interesting read and as relevant today as it was in 1981. Its clear that 'soundstaging' is often a psychoacoustic manipulation of the recording venue. Japanese D2D from the 70s replete with liner notes/illustrations come to mind. Drawings depicting the recording venue and how musician are positioned within 'the stage' to give the end listener a heightened realism of what the recorded venue was like, but in reality it's quite synthetic. They're usually recorded in isolation (acoustic environments) and mixed down to simulate a left-right stage with ceneterfill, depth and other effects.
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    • #3
      Indeed. Because I listen to almost exclusively music that was recorded in a studio (rock and jazz), I haven’t ever been a soundstaging freak. Tonal balance, timbre, frequency extension, dynamic swing are all more important to me than things like soundstage depth.
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      • #4
        Stereo imaging / "soundstaging" has always been a prime criteria with me. But then I realized that being an old fart, my first experiences were with the original RCA and Merc stereo record age whereby those wonderful engineers and producers set up simple equipment, tried to capture the performance as you would hear it in a concert hall environment, and didn't (know to) FUTZ with what they captured on 2/3 track tape. A lot of the orchestral recordings, Broadway recordings and operas were done in HUGE venues - and sounded so. SO even tho I had crap equipment, the experience infected and stayed with me.

        2 channel stereo IS capable of producing immense width and depth. Some would claim height, but I won't go there. Was listening last night to a Debussy string Quartet (Juilliard SQ, 60's RCA dub) and the music filled all corners of the room. I can walk down a hall at a show and can tell when the system/music playing in a room has "imaging" just by the sound coming out through the scant doorway. Anyone else experience that?

        I'd posit that the advent of multitrack recorders in the early/mid 60's "killed" imaging - certainly allowed its other "more practical" features to subsume it. I'd also make the argument that generations that grew up on rock recordings don't know and certainly don't care about depth.



        • #5
          Whew! I read this yesterday, and again this morning. All I have to say is that I dislike the fact that the engineers of many modern bands (ca Sixties onward) have spread the drum kit across the entire image.


          • #6
            An interesting addition and perspective on stereo coming of age...

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