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I think I understand how speakers could affect soundstage, but I read many reviews of cables and electronics where the reviewer goes on about how XYZ Cables or a ABC Amplifier provide much a better sound stage.


My question is doesn't this mean inferior cables and electronics have poor designs that allow signals for one channel to bleed over into the other.


Would someone please educate me.
 

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You ask a question that doesn't have a really easy answer. And I'm sure you will get a lot of different responses. But the number one thing that has the most effect on the size of your sound stage is speaker placement. Listener position is number 2. Everything else can vary widely on what effect it will have on your sound stage once you have your speakers positioned optimally.
 

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I would argue that room acoustics would affect the sound stage even more than speaker placement. The cheapest upgrade to your sound is quite likely some room treatments. After that's taken care of, upgrading speakers or sources (including buying better recordings!) would probably be the second most effective upgrade.


Somewhere towards the bottom, amplifier design also matters. Cables, however, once they're out of the Design by Klutz department, have never been shown to perceptibly affect the sound in a double-blind A/B/X test.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwatte /forum/post/15492058


I would argue that room acoustics would affect the sound stage even more than speaker placement. The cheapest upgrade to your sound is quite likely some room treatments. After that's taken care of, upgrading speakers or sources (including buying better recordings!) would probably be the second most effective upgrade.


Somewhere towards the bottom, amplifier design also matters. Cables, however, once they're out of the Design by Klutz department, have never been shown to perceptibly affect the sound in a double-blind A/B/X test.

jwatte, you make some very good points, and I agree with everything you're saying. 'EXCEPT' (you knew there had to be an except, didn't you.
), the reason I place speaker placement as 'number 1' is because even if you have everything else in place as you described, you can blow the sound stage all to hell by shoving the speakers flat against a wall. And even in a room with bad acoustics, I can still get a large soundstage with speaker placement. Everything else might sound like crap... but there will be a soundstage.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jz4h3m /forum/post/15488935


I think I understand how speakers could affect soundstage, but I read many reviews of cables and electronics where the reviewer goes on about how XYZ Cables or a ABC Amplifier provide much a better sound stage.

That is pretty much fantasy. Cables and amplifiers are among the most technically perfected parts of your audio system.


There is not even a generally-agreed-upon definition of what soundstaging is. Everytime I tell a cable or amplifier high priest what I think soundstaging is, they say I'm wrong.


In fact I work with soundstaging all the time. Besides being an audiophile, I regularly mix live sound and do all sorts of recording. When I'm working with multiple mics (up to 35 at a time) I have these little balance controls that let me move musical sounds across a virtual soundstage as I choose. I have pretty much free choice about which mics I use and where I put them. It all effects soundstaging.


If I'm doing a gig with just a coincident pair of mics, then I do similar things by aiming and positioning and elevating and lowering the mic pair. Trust me, its not a religious rite. It's not rocket science. It's not overly complex, and it just works.


Imaging is actually very robust.


An example of of the robustness of the imaging of music is the fact that vinyl LPs reproduce pretty fair (but not the best) imaging, and they ruin the purity of audio signals pretty much every way you can think of. If a cable does 0.0001% and an amplifier does 0.01% damage to the signal, then the vinyl format does about 3% damage to the signal.
 

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Quote:
you can blow the sound stage all to hell by shoving the speakers flat against a wall

Actually, I have my speakers wall mounted. It does help that they are highly directional, and that that wall is actually 6" of acoustic absorbent material, though ;-)


Granted, though -- it's important that you get speaker placement at least reasonably right. In the end, speaker placement and room reflections work together, not in isolation, to give you the sound you hear.
 

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Cheap cables could possibly affect the signal that makes it to your speakers, if some noise got on the line by being routed near a dirty power signal. This still would not affect your sound stage. It would mostly affect the tonal quality of some instruments or sounds. You might even hear some static sounds. I have used lamp cord as speaker wires, and had great sound, once I placed my speakers properly.


Ultimately, a decent set of shielded cables should be able to handle most electrical noise situations, leaving speaker placement to be more critical. Even if a room has bad acoustics, you can still improve the sound by testing many speaker positions and angles to your listening position. Some absorptive and/or deflective panels can improve bad room acoustics dramatically. I have noticed a difference in sound stage with even as small as a half a degree angle change. Furniture and other wall coverings can affect the sound stage as well.


This is half the fun of audio, seeing how good you can make your sound, even if it isn't the top of the line most expensive system out there.


Most of this applies to car audio as well.
 

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Speaker placement is key along with acoustic treatments.Absorb,diffuse and trap bass.


The speaker system must be able to have two qualities.First band width.That would be from 20hz to 14khz (none of us hear beyond that)(I love super tweeters 40khz{silly}) Then it must play that band width fairly flat and loud enough to convince you that what you are watching is really happening.Thats different from one person to the next.Amplification needs to be able to drive all said speakers and subs well beyond what you are use to listening to give you the headroom you need (gas in the tank). You need to feed big amps electricity.Good 20a dedicated services can help them deliver.


Simple huh ? Took me about 25years to get that accomplished.


Then a big screen and the speakers behind it ( acoustically transparent ) Comfortable seats.A dark room.A good remote makes you communicate well with your gear.


Kg


Speaker wire, interconnects need to be good quality, but that can be had at Walmart or rat Shack.Neither have added up to a hill of beans in my book next to the things i've mentioned.



This is paramount....educate yourself.I never learned more than the years spend in front of this screen.There are guys here who give some real sage advice......and I use to sell guys solid silver AudioQuest speaker wire that cost well into $2,500.00.....I now go to church and god has forgiven me!!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgveteran /forum/post/15513515


Speaker placement is key along with acoustic treatments.Absorb,diffuse and trap bass.


The speaker system must be able to have two qualities.First band width.That would be from 20hz to 14khz (none of us hear beyond that)

You mean you personally, or "us" humans?
 

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none of us hear beyond that

Last I tested, I went up to about 17 kHz. Surprising given the habits I had during my younger years, really.


Also, there are some hints that we may be able to perceive, rather than hear, higher signals; similarly, if you're looking at transient response then phase might matter to perception too, and you can't capture transient phase with only 14 kHz. So, given that most sources will let you go to at least 20 kHz anyway, aiming for that is not totally useless.
 

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I know I can hear up to about 19.5kHz, but there are many people out there that can only hear to 13 or 14 kHz.


jwatte brings up a valid point regarding perceiving transients. That is what helps sounds actually sound realistic.
 

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cables are made of different materials (silver versus copper vs combination alloys etc and have different capicatance and other characteristics. some argue this makes a difference others dont. no one would argue with the fact that placement and room acoustics make a hige difference in imaging (i.e. the specific location of instruments in the soundfield, how 3 dimensional the soundfirld is, and how wide it is AND the fidelity of the reproduced image to what is recorded on the disk/record.


solid state amps can have the same differences as cables and even more--i have a sunfire amp with voltage source versus current source outputs--if people believe amps dont sound different i welcome anyone to come and listen to how 1 amp can sound different from itself...nonetheless placement, toeing, and room acoustics will likely yield the biggest and most malleable changes in imaging and soundfield (not to mention speaker choice).


experiment and see for youurself--its not subtle.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denophile /forum/post/15517775


cables are made of different materials (silver versus copper vs combination alloys etc and have different capicatance and other characteristics. some argue this makes a difference others dont. no one would argue with the fact that placement and room acoustics make a hige difference in imaging (i.e. the specific location of instruments in the soundfield, how 3 dimensional the soundfirld is, and how wide it is AND the fidelity of the reproduced image to what is recorded on the disk/record.


solid state amps can have the same differences as cables and even more--i have a sunfire amp with voltage source versus current source outputs--if people believe amps dont sound different i welcome anyone to come and listen to how 1 amp can sound different from itself...nonetheless placement, toeing, and room acoustics will likely yield the biggest and most malleable changes in imaging and soundfield (not to mention speaker choice).


experiment and see for youurself--its not subtle.

Not only do the Sunfire's two output sound different, they measure very different when connected to a speaker ( for the same reason that S.E.T. amplifiers sound different than solid state amplifiers. It's the high output impedance or series resistor)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine /forum/post/15493883


Room acoustics and speaker placement. That's how it works.

Speaker placement is first. Room treatements are not always needed.

If you can setup the main L/R speakers far enough away from the side walls, wall treatments are not needed. Assuming the room is not loaded with windows, block walls, hardwood/tile floors.

If the total distance (speaker to wall to seat) of the reflected sound travels 5.6 ft more than the direct sound the brain will gnore the reflected sound.
http://www.audiophysic.com/aufstellung/index_e.html


If one takes the width of the room and multiplies it x .276 the resulting number is how far the speakers need to be in from the side walls.


Example: 17.5 ft (210") wide room x .276 = 58". That also left me with 96" between the speakers.

That will give you the widest possible soundstage for that room. And the reflected sound (with the seat 9ft away from the speakers, in this case) will be 6.6 ft longer than the direct sound.


If you want to get the deepest soundstage for the example room then the speakers would have to be out from the end wall about 93" (210" x .447). Most room situations won't allow this location. I don't use it in my room, only have them out about 54".


Even when using onwall or inwall speakers for the main L/R you still want to have them mounted so they are set to that first distance, in this case, 58" to gain a wide soundstage. Or st least as close as possible.
http://www.cardas.com/content.php?ar...ing=Room+Setup


When I first read the two links I have posted, I compared the results of those theorys to my room and the locations I already had for my main speakers. For the speaker to side wall dimensions, my speakers were within 1" of the optimal 58". And I already mentioned I was short on the dimension out from the back wall.

I had played around with my speaker placement for that room and felt that those locations, especially to the side walls, were best. So I then knew those two theorys, in fact work.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgveteran /forum/post/15519630


Why did I know you zealots would jump on the 14khz....ok I'l give you the 17khz.....but now back to the OP.........................

Think a bit higher


Technically, a young human with good hearing can hear 20 khz. I personally can hear up to 18 khz. Its hard to argue what others actually hear
 

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Quote:
If one takes the width of the room and multiplies it x .276 the resulting number is how far the speakers need to be in from the side walls.

I don't know where this nonsense came from. As with anything which appears to simplify acoustics, it's full of flaws. A couple come to mind:


1. That "rule" fails to take into account the FR of the speakers which impacts SBIR;

2. Fails to address listening angle with respect to the speakers (ie, seating distance);

3. the last think you want are reflections off walls (floor/ceiling) from any speaker with an off axis response significantly different than on axis (shape of off axis response plots).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine /forum/post/15523166


I don't know where this nonsense came from. As with anything which appears to simplify acoustics, it's full of flaws. A couple come to mind:


1. That "rule" fails to take into account the FR of the speakers which impacts SBIR;

2. Fails to address listening angle with respect to the speakers (ie, seating distance);

3. the last think you want are reflections off walls (floor/ceiling) from any speaker with an off axis response significantly different than on axis (shape of off axis response plots).

I knew that response was coming from you, as this is your sig. "D. Erskine

The Erskine Group

Architectural Acoustics

Cinema Design/Build - Worldwide"


But in fact the info I provided does work. The proof is in my LR. I already had my system set up, for 9 years, before I read those two articles. I ran the numbers and compared them to what the actual distances were from my speakers to the side walls. And as I said the speakers were within an inch of what the resulting calculation.

As for seating distance I think most people sit within or near a 60* triangle. My speakers are spread 8ft and my seat 9 ft from the speakers, so that's about 50*.


If your telling me that placing speakers next, or close to walls and then throwing up some acoustic panels is just as good as placing speakers a proper distance away from the walls, well, I'm not buying it.

I've heard such setups and the soundstage was narrow and pinched, compared to what I listen to every day.
 
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