Phantom imaging (and what sound signature is best) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-22-2012, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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For the record, I am referring to way a recording is presented in terms of sound imaging (size, spatial location, etc) when I use the term sound signature.

I just got my speakers/components back after storing them for a few months between moves and now they're back to the original room I had them in (back after the summer). After years of wrong placement of the surrounds and sub-optimal placement of the mains, I've set out to correctly place things this time around.

So... instead of having two surrounds placed high up and aimed at the vaulted ceiling (which made them sound like they were front height, in a way) and placing the LP in the far left of the sound field (in line with the left-side speakers and far from the right), I've aimed to get everything at similar elevation and the proper angle.

My setup consists of four surrounds, two mains (phantom center), and a big sub.

This thread was created so that I could ask about ways to fine-tune the system and optimize it, specifically the imaging. As soon as I submit this, I plan to start by expanding on the idea of pink noise for stereo (linkwitzlab - accurate stereo) and using various pink noise combinations to properly aim the speakers and ensure cohesiveness and cooperation throughout the system.

How should pink noise image when solo'd on a surround speaker? I'm guessing it should sound as if it's coming from the general direction of the side for the side surrounds and to the back left/right for the back surrounds. Should pink noise played through the left main and side surround create a solid phantom image between the two speakers?

At the moment I'm having trouble getting proper phantom center in the front stage. Any tips on how to solidify the aural image of a phantom center?

It's only me using the system 95% of the time and it's often music or a music vid, maybe a movie or TV show every few days.

...
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-23-2012, 11:26 AM
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Is there a reason you don't want a center speaker? If you're always the only person listening, then a phantom center can work. But if anyone else ever watches, or your chair is not precisely centered left-right, then a center speaker really is necessary.

As for imaging, one huge contributor to poor imaging is uncontrolled reflections from the side walls. Do you have any acoustic treatment? These short articles should help:

How to set up a room
Early Reflections
Acoustic Basics

--Ethan

RealTraps - The acoustic treatment experts
Ethan's Audio Expert book

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post #3 of 3 Old 10-30-2012, 11:53 AM
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Just so you know, when listening to a Dolby Digital soundtrack, if 5 speakers are not actively configured in your processor, it automatically activates some dynamic range compression. That's not a good thing. You should really get a center speaker.
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