best speakers for imaging (soundstage - 3d) and "being there" effect? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 31 Old 03-26-2019, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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best speakers for imaging (soundstage - 3d) and "being there" effect?

Hello. One of the things I enjoy the most while hearing music is the imaging (or soundstage or 3d effect), closing my eyes and feeling like the band is in front of me playing a song, with e.g. the singer on the center in front of me, the piano on the left, guitar on the right, chorists on the far right, etc. etc. As of today my speakers consist of a pair of Triangle Titus 202 bookshelf speakers and Triangle Zerius 202 floorstanding speakers.

I'm in the search of NEW speakers and while I got really impressed hearing a pair of Polk Audio speakers (model S60) and how remarkably good they imaged, in leaning towards KEF AUDIO speakers, basically the R3 bookshelf or the R7 floorstanding ones.

Do you have any recommendation of speakers models known to be great at imaging and reproducing the feeling of "being there" in front of the band playing? I know all stereo speakers SHOULD do this but I guess there are better speakers than others in that matter. Thank you very much!
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post #2 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 02:23 AM
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Also check into the Revel speakers -- Concerta and Performa3 series

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post #3 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by obonillaf View Post
Hello. One of the things I enjoy the most while hearing music is the imaging (or soundstage or 3d effect), closing my eyes and feeling like the band is in front of me playing a song, with e.g. the singer on the center in front of me, the piano on the left, guitar on the right, chorists on the far right, etc. etc. As of today my speakers consist of a pair of Triangle Titus 202 bookshelf speakers and Triangle Zerius 202 floorstanding speakers.

I'm in the search of NEW speakers and while I got really impressed hearing a pair of Polk Audio speakers (model S60) and how remarkably good they imaged, in leaning towards KEF AUDIO speakers, basically the R3 bookshelf or the R7 floorstanding ones.

Do you have any recommendation of speakers models known to be great at imaging and reproducing the feeling of "being there" in front of the band playing? I know all stereo speakers SHOULD do this but I guess there are better speakers than others in that matter. Thank you very much!
Your current speakers are very nice; maybe something with a RAAL tweeter?

Sierra 2?

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages.../spkrlist.html
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post #4 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 11:37 AM
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If you have a good sized room AND can place the speakers and your seating well out into the room, then you might consider Magnepan. If both the aforementioned are true AND you can sit and listen in ONE spot, then look at Vandersteen.
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post #5 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by obonillaf View Post
Hello. One of the things I enjoy the most while hearing music is the imaging (or soundstage or 3d effect), closing my eyes and feeling like the band is in front of me playing a song, with e.g. the singer on the center in front of me, the piano on the left, guitar on the right, chorists on the far right, etc. etc. As of today my speakers consist of a pair of Triangle Titus 202 bookshelf speakers and Triangle Zerius 202 floorstanding speakers.

I'm in the search of NEW speakers and while I got really impressed hearing a pair of Polk Audio speakers (model S60) and how remarkably good they imaged, in leaning towards KEF AUDIO speakers, basically the R3 bookshelf or the R7 floorstanding ones.

Do you have any recommendation of speakers models known to be great at imaging and reproducing the feeling of "being there" in front of the band playing? I know all stereo speakers SHOULD do this but I guess there are better speakers than others in that matter. Thank you very much!

Yep, and until we're exposed to what's possible, we don't know what we don't know.

"great at imaging and reproducing the feeling of "being there" in front of the band playing"

This has been my lifelong pursuit. I go to great effort to make this happen.

"Triangle Zerius 202 floorstanding"

you're already pretty close, are you not?
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post #6 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 12:38 PM
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What you are describing to me "the being there" type sound, only comes from big speakers, and usually ones connected to a good amount of power too.

PSA's would be worth a look - https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...ducts/mtm-210t

A well treated room and good speaker placement will all help contribute to the overall sound.
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post #7 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 12:43 PM
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How do you have your speakers setup in your room and how is your seating position setup? I have found that this makes the biggest difference. This will all be for nothing if you can't do good placement because your seat is against the wall and you can only have your speakers 5 feet apart when you are sitting 10 feet back.
A lot of great speakers have been mentioned but what you are after can be done with your current speakers.

I followed this guide and I swear to you with 2 channels only I keep having to check if my surround speakers are on because of the sound coming from all around me. Some tracks even place background singers behind me and to the left… its crazy.
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post #8 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by marantz545 View Post
What you are describing to me "the being there" type sound, only comes from big speakers, and usually ones connected to a good amount of power too.

PSA's would be worth a look - https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...ducts/mtm-210t

A well treated room and good speaker placement will all help contribute to the overall sound.
Not generally true. In fact smallish monitors can 'do it' better. Only issue there is they do it as a point source, which isn't true all the time. They don't do 'scale' that I've ever heard. Large wood bodies instruments with large sound boards should not sound like a point source. I'm talking concert/Imperial grand, viola, double bass, etc. Brass instruments should sound the size of the bell, which will also vary from a piccolo to a tuba. This is very hard to do lifelike. And then there is the positing within the soundstage. And then venue reflections. And then appropriate depth.

Speaker placement is vital, but too well treated of a room can be to your determent.
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post #9 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Not generally true. In fact smallish monitors can 'do it' better. Only issue there is they do it as a point source, which isn't true all the time. They don't do 'scale' that I've ever heard. Large wood bodies instruments with large sound boards should not sound like a point source. I'm talking concert/Imperial grand, viola, double bass, etc. Brass instruments should sound the size of the bell, which will also vary from a piccolo to a tuba. This is very hard to do lifelike. And then there is the positing within the soundstage. And then venue reflections. And then appropriate depth.

Speaker placement is vital, but too well treated of a room can be to your determent.
I am not sure I understand your comment. Small speakers will not accurately recreate the sound of a grand piano, tuba, bass etc. Heck, even large speakers will have trouble getting it right. OP was mentioning 3D sound stage, being there in front of a live band etc. Which generally means big sound, with big dynamics.

I don't always agree with Steve Guttenburg, but he gets it right in this video-
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post #10 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by marantz545 View Post
I am not sure I understand your comment. Small speakers will not accurately recreate the sound of a grand piano, tuba, bass etc. Heck, even large speakers will have trouble getting it right. OP was mentioning 3D sound stage, being there in front of a live band etc. Which generally means big sound, with big dynamics.

I don't always agree with Steve Guttenburg, but he gets it right in this video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiw2yc0pm_0&t=316s
Exactly. Small speakers will come closer to emulating a point source instrument, big or small. Steve and I have talked about this. He understands and is saying the same thing I'm saying. Min 4:48 for what I'm talking about with little speakers. What he didn't mention is the concept of 'surface loudness' in that a sq inch of surface loudness with a large dipole can approximate a sq inch of surface loudness of a large wood bodied instrument. Can cause the speaker with a large radiating area to sound more real, provided that it doesn't bloat small instruments and vocals.

Here you go. These can get close to sounding real with pipe organ.


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post #11 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 02:28 PM
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Saw this video and did not like what he was saying but I have an open mind and think he is talking about presence, not sound stage.. Getting a 3D sound stage is all about tricking your brain. Some speakers can do this with direct sound but most it's about the other waves that are getting to your head. If they are too close together than the brain gets confused, if it's too far apart then the brain will know that it is an Echo. The real key is if the off axis bounce has the same frequency response as the main sound then the brain will be tricked and it will think the sound is in a different position. If the off axis response is off then the brain will work harder to figure it out. Smaller drivers have better off axis response. That is why you see so many 6" and smaller drivers on higher end 2-way speakers that are meant to be played in a room.
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post #12 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Saw this video and did not like what he was saying but I have an open mind and think he is talking about presence, not sound stage.. Getting a 3D sound stage is all about tricking your brain. Some speakers can do this with direct sound but most it's about the other waves that are getting to your head. If they are too close together than the brain gets confused, if it's too far apart then the brain will know that it is an Echo. The real key is if the off axis bounce has the same frequency response as the main sound then the brain will be tricked and it will think the sound is in a different position. If the off axis response is off then the brain will work harder to figure it out. Smaller drivers have better off axis response. That is why you see so many 6" and smaller drivers on higher end 2-way speakers that are meant to be played in a room.
He's talking about both. He's also talking about relative scale of objects within the soundstage.

One can also get complete images of objects well outside of the physical boundary of the speakers …. more fun yet.

Such as the Fender Rhodes about 80 degrees to your left in this one, far outside of the left speaker

https://tidal.com/track/95363398

This good for a few WTFs out of my friends. Yeah, what dewd, you think there's a speaker over there in my lampshade?
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post #13 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 03:11 PM
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Plus one the KEF's - their imaging has always been my favorite quality of their speakers.

The other speaker I've heard with uniquely good imaging was the BRM Philharmonitor by Philharmonic Audio. http://www.philharmonicaudio.com/BMR...armonitor.html Actually, to my ears, every aspect of the sound quality of that speaker was excellent. If I could figure out how to use/fit one as a center speaker I'd have already bought a set
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post #14 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Also check into the Revel speakers -- Concerta and Performa3 series
I've only read great reviews about the Revel speakers. I'm going to find a way to test them. Thanks!
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Your current speakers are very nice; maybe something with a RAAL tweeter?

Sierra 2?

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages.../spkrlist.html
Wow, those speakers look very interesting and I never knew such a thing like a RAAL tweeter existed. Interesting indeed. I'm going to find a way to test them. Thank you!
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If you have a good sized room AND can place the speakers and your seating well out into the room, then you might consider Magnepan. If both the aforementioned are true AND you can sit and listen in ONE spot, then look at Vandersteen.
Unfortunately I'm "building" a small hearing spot in my master bedroom (my wife it's ok with it) and tough it's big for a bedroom, the space I'm using in it for my stereo is small. The distance between each speaker can be really big, but the distance from the speakers to me it's not that long. Maybe the Magnepan MMGs? I auditioned the 1.7 but didn't hear any good image BUT maybe it was because of the tight location they had at the dealer...

I have a studio in my house where I have my office/gaming pc and my "personal" home theater but it is in front of my daughter's room and since I hear my music late at night I'm afraid I could wake her up...
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Yep, and until we're exposed to what's possible, we don't know what we don't know.

"great at imaging and reproducing the feeling of "being there" in front of the band playing"

This has been my lifelong pursuit. I go to great effort to make this happen.

"Triangle Zerius 202 floorstanding"

you're already pretty close, are you not?
Actually the Titus 202 bookshelf speakers sound much better to me than the Zerius 202 floorstanding speakers. Both speakers are quite old (16 years old) back when I had an "audiophile" room but then I lost interest and move to another house and the hobby was paused. A few days ago I installed the speakers again and though the Titus sound good I want to experience with new speakers, maybe more detailing and I'm leaning towards the KEF speakers. Curiously enough, without any high expectations, yesterday I auditioned a pair of Polk Audio S60 speakers and at US$1,000.oo I couldn't believe how well does they sound and the great image they provided. Only thing is that I've read that even as they project a very good image, the instruments in between left-right are not that well separated. I heard also yesterday a pair or R7 KEF speakers and the instruments separation was amazing.
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How do you have your speakers setup in your room and how is your seating position setup? I have found that this makes the biggest difference. This will all be for nothing if you can't do good placement because your seat is against the wall and you can only have your speakers 5 feet apart when you are sitting 10 feet back.
A lot of great speakers have been mentioned but what you are after can be done with your current speakers.

I followed this guide and I swear to you with 2 channels only I keep having to check if my surround speakers are on because of the sound coming from all around me. Some tracks even place background singers behind me and to the left… its crazy.
Wow! Great guide! I'm going to read it thoroughly. I'm going to take a photo of my setup but up until now the imaging I get from my speakers it's good but, as always, I want something better like we all do. Thank you!
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Wow, those speakers look very interesting and I never knew such a thing like a RAAL tweeter existed. Interesting indeed. I'm going to find a way to test them. Thank you!
The Czech built RAAL is good enough to be used in Salk's top of the line speakers as well as Selah Audio.

They are said, (I've never heard them), to be a step ahead of the AMT tweeters that I really enjoy for their detail in my LX16s.
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post #20 of 31 Old 03-27-2019, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post
Exactly. Small speakers will come closer to emulating a point source instrument, big or small. Steve and I have talked about this. He understands and is saying the same thing I'm saying. Min 4:48 for what I'm talking about with little speakers. What he didn't mention is the concept of 'surface loudness' in that a sq inch of surface loudness with a large dipole can approximate a sq inch of surface loudness of a large wood bodied instrument. Can cause the speaker with a large radiating area to sound more real, provided that it doesn't bloat small instruments and vocals.

Here you go. These can get close to sounding real with pipe organ.


I would love to have speakers like those of course given that they are not $150,000.oo! But even if they were reasonably affordable I don't have such a big space like the one shown in the photos.
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Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Saw this video and did not like what he was saying but I have an open mind and think he is talking about presence, not sound stage.. Getting a 3D sound stage is all about tricking your brain. Some speakers can do this with direct sound but most it's about the other waves that are getting to your head. If they are too close together than the brain gets confused, if it's too far apart then the brain will know that it is an Echo. The real key is if the off axis bounce has the same frequency response as the main sound then the brain will be tricked and it will think the sound is in a different position. If the off axis response is off then the brain will work harder to figure it out. Smaller drivers have better off axis response. That is why you see so many 6" and smaller drivers on higher end 2-way speakers that are meant to be played in a room.
Genius post! Thank you very much for such detailed info!
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Originally Posted by Scotth3886 View Post

https://tidal.com/track/95363398

This good for a few WTFs out of my friends. Yeah, what dewd, you think there's a speaker over there in my lampshade?
I love it whenever someone suggest good music to test drive your system. Thank you!

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I can tell you that my Aperion Audio Verus Grand Towers make me feel as though I'm literally wherever I'm watching. Highly recommend! Can learn more in my The Force Theater build thread
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Wow, those speakers look very interesting and I never knew such a thing like a RAAL tweeter existed. Interesting indeed. I'm going to find a way to test them. Thank you!
FYI - The BMR Philharmonitor speaker also use the RAAL tweeter.

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I can tell you that my Aperion Audio Verus Grand Towers make me feel as though I'm literally wherever I'm watching. Highly recommend! Can learn more in my The Force Theater build thread
Wow! Now THAT'S a home theater!
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FYI - The BMR Philharmonitor speaker also use the RAAL tweeter.
Philharmonic Audio has shut down due to ill health of the owner Dennis Murphy.

Selah Audio and Salk use RAAL.

RAAL start at just over $400 each at Madisound.

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Philharmonic Audio has shut down due to ill health of the owner Dennis Murphy...
Ah - so sorry to hear that. I had heard things had slowed down some but didn't realize it was closed. Best to Dennis.
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room placement is important regardless. My previous favorite were the revel f52. Since, i've lucked onto a pair of dsp speakers from meridian and have to say having 1 company match every component from end to end pays dividends.

Meridian dsp8000,Usher BE-20 DMD dancer, Vienna acoustics Beethoven's and (Strauss for sale), Hegel H360, Roon Nucleus, Rega jupiter cd, Revox s26 tuner,[path]salon2, salon1, f52, r105/3, ads L9e and the infamous bose 901 vI.
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post #29 of 31 Old 03-29-2019, 07:26 AM
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i know i'm Bias but the KEF Uni-Q driver's world class imaging is the primary reason i went with them. They may not be the most dynamic speakers but there are very few companies that can match their imaging capability. IMO this is one area where they're unrivaled in the low to mid price point.

Speakers: KEF Q100 / Q300 / Q750 / Q650C, Fluance Signature Series Bookshelf / SX6 / XL5F, Mirage M-190 Subwoofers: Outlaw Ultra X12 (x2), BIC H100-II Receiver: Denon AVR-X4500H, Denon AVR-X1400H Integrated Amplifier: Yamaha A-S501, Fosi Audio TPA3116 mini amp Extras: MiniDSP Umik-1 Headphones: Philips SPH9500s, Audio Tech. ATH-M40x, Takstar Pro 82.
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post #30 of 31 Old 03-29-2019, 07:31 AM
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