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Old 24th November 2011, 03:42 AM   #1
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Default disappearing act

Some speakers have that magic ability to disappear and leave nothing but a vast soundstage which envelops you. So what allows this to happen? Some are better than others, and of course it depends on the music and placement.
And what is happening?
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Old 24th November 2011, 04:53 AM   #2
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See the thread on ideal directivity pattern.
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Old 24th November 2011, 05:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor smith View Post
Some speakers have that magic ability to disappear and leave nothing but a vast soundstage which envelops you. So what allows this to happen? Some are better than others, and of course it depends on the music and placement.
And what is happening?
Constant directivity. They allows reflections as delayed (and similar) replicas of direct sound and the ear (brain) ignores the room.

Constant directivity loudspeakers are:
- Omni-directional
- Dipole radiators
- Cardioids
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Old 24th November 2011, 07:40 AM   #4
6.283 is offline 6.283  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor smith View Post
...which envelops you.
According to Toole, real envelopment is actually a property of multi-channel reproduction. Stereo is always mainly frontal and lateral.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor smith View Post
So what allows this to happen?
- Constant or controlled directivity designs as already mentioned
- Speakers that create a sufficient level of reflections => medium or wide dispersion (as implied by omni, dipole, cardioid)
- placement of the speakers >= 1m away from walls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor smith View Post
And what is happening?
With the precedence effect at play the indirect sound does not generate additional sound sources and the increased amount of reflections also masks the speakers at least a little. Ultimately your brain dials into the phantom image / stage.
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Old 24th November 2011, 08:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gainphile View Post
Constant directivity. They allows reflections as delayed (and similar) replicas of direct sound and the ear (brain) ignores the room.

Constant directivity loudspeakers are:
- Omni-directional
- Dipole radiators
- Cardioids
I have a whole bunch of speakers that do the disappering act and none of them would fall into those categories...

A low diffraction signature is a boon to this task.

dave
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Old 24th November 2011, 10:32 AM   #6
Rudolf is offline Rudolf  Germany
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I see two different ways to make loudspeakers disappear: a brute force method and a more subtle one.

Brute force is making reflections so overwhelming that the direct response of the speakers is for the most part disguised. This will even help with recordings which have each stereo channel "glued" solely to the corresponding speaker. But you pay with a loss in definition, precision, resolution of the stereo stage or however you call that.

The subtle method is making the speakers work as smooth as possible. Avoid loudspeakers which distort, resonate or have sudden changes in their directivity. Keep the geometry of the listening environment as symmetric as possible. This will do the disappearing act and keep the precision of the recorded stereo stage. But it might annoyingly uncover recordings, where nearfield mono takes have been panned to a single stereo channel.

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Old 24th November 2011, 10:36 AM   #7
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Mine do that disappearing act quite well but they are neither omnis, dipoles or cardioids.
They are DualConcentrics with a nicely controlled dispersion, they don't care much about placing either.
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Old 24th November 2011, 01:38 PM   #8
graaf is offline graaf  Poland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudolf View Post
But you pay with a loss in definition, precision, resolution of the stereo stage or however you call that.
not necessarily, check out tinitus' and Radugazon's reports on their flooder speaker tests
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Old 24th November 2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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For me there are two issues that make a speaker dissapear. One is response related and the second is directivity related.

A speaker needs to have very low coloration, smooth response and freedom from resonances. These are all the same thing, primarily coming from smooth and flat axial frequency response. Speakers that suffer from not having smoothness end up having a "personality" that is always there reminding you that you are listening to a speaker.

I also think that a speaker with reasonably wide dispersion becomes less definite as a source in the room. This may be at odds with sharp imaging, but if you want a speaker that disappears then it tends to help.

I don't agree that flat reflections are mandated.

David S.
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Old 24th November 2011, 03:07 PM   #10
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I pretty much agree. No significant resonances is the highest criterion on my list. I also agree that in general wide dispersion speakers do the disappearing act better than high directivity ones. In my experience it actually helps to have lots of strong very early reflections. In the living room the speakers are less than 2 feet from the side-walls and they 'disappear' very well. However, with the right recording, high directivity speakers disappear equally well. That means no sharp pan-potting and lots of reverb.
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