As far as I can see "soundstage" is a term the headphones enthusiasts have taken from loudspeaker enthusiasts who use it to mean the placement of instruments when listening to stereo sound.
Definition: Soundstage is the ability to visualize the placement of musical instruments and vocalists in a music recording. A good soundstage also allows the listener to perceive the size and space of the performance venue in which the recording was made.
In fact, I can understand two loudspeakers needing to be matched in order to match phase but surely this doesn't even apply to headphones?
I've been helping my teenage nephew choose some headphones. He's been doing some research and has picked up the concept of "soundstage".
What I really suspect is that listener A might get a better soundstage from headphone A (or speaker A) and listener B might get a better soundstage from headphone B (or speaker B). And in general, some listeners will get a better soundstage illusion than other listeners.
I've reversed the phase of one speaker before and I know what that does to the sound. I've never tried that with headphones, but the result would be less dramatic because the left & right sound waves never combine. I would not expect to hear any difference at all.P.S.QuoteI've been helping my teenage nephew choose some headphones. He's been doing some research and has picked up the concept of "soundstage".90 percent of what you read from the 'audiophile community is total nonsense!
Just because we all can agree that there really are audible differences between headphones doesn't mean we suddenly no longer have to guard against all the same common pitfalls we do in say a comparison of amplifiers. The same rules apply even though they are much more difficult to pull off.
This leads me to believe that this "soundstage" effect is simply derived from amplitude/phase response of a headphone (in my case muffling reflections within the ear-cup).
In other words, how the listener happens to be feeling at the time influences how the sound field is perceived.
I guess this is why some listeners like a blend control on their headphone amp, but again this doesn't bother me... I like the fact that I can hear some sounds clearly from the left or right.
I've never heard a binaural recording, and that's the big problem..
We are not always aware of the reverb unless you are thinking about it.
QuoteI've never heard a binaural recording, and that's the big problem..There's a popular example of binaural recording example called "Virtual Barber Shop".You can find it on youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IXm6SuUigI
Friends of mine claimed they could locate some sounds coming from the front.I wonder why I can't. For me the coronal plane is the limit. The soundfield never extends in front of my head.
I wonder why I can't. For me the coronal plane is the limit. The soundfield never extends in front of my head.
Soundstage is an illusion and I don't know of any way of measuring, quantifying, or specifying it.
With stereo speakers, you CAN reliably make the sound seem to come from near the center even though there is no center speaker. You can also go far-left or partially-left, etc. But other than that, positioning gets a little vague. And in general, we aren't as good at "locating" a "phantom image" between the speakers as we think.*
* Moulton Labs has a good article about panning (placing a phantom image in the stereo field during production/mixing). The author did some careful experiments and he was surprised how imprecise it is. His main point is that audio engineers are wasting their time f they try to perfectly position every instrument across the soundstage.
If you are talking specifically of the "virtual barber shop" recording
Again, I can clearly hear hard-panned sounds coming directly from the left & right speakers (not very "realistic" either). But if there is a singer in the center, I can't pinpoint the exact location.
If the music has been engineered to sound good with headphones then room acoustics could be considered a detriment, but since most music has been engineered using speakers, then the engineer is basically depending on room acoustics to complete the sound that he himself is hearing.