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Old 13th May 2013, 01:34 PM   #1
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Default Hand cupped to ears -what's going on here?

Hi All

For some bizarre reason that I can't remember I once tried listening to music through my speakers (in classic triangle sort of positioning-equidistant from each speak ans in same horizontal plane) but with my hands sort of cupped behind my ears -sort of like holding your hand to your ear if hard of heariong.
The effect is dramatic - essentially a much wider and deepr soundstage..
left - right image precision is slightly reduced however - it is razor sharp through noemal ears .
What's going on here - I love the added depth etc. and can live with the slightly reduced L/R precision.

Is this some enhanced ambient effect? where each ear is getting a bit of the opposite channel?

I'd like to achieve a similar effect without the silly looks...would adding an "ambience tweeter " do something similar.

Current speakers are monopole with bass and 30" ribbon to each side.
Back wave of ribbon is absorbed. design of cabinets is heaviliy influenced by WAF. (wanted narrow cabinets -narrow baffle)
I tried dipole ribbons early in construction but the room didn't seem to suit with the L/R image significantly less sharp.

any comments ?

Thanks in advance
george a
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Old 13th May 2013, 01:39 PM   #2
pkitt is offline pkitt  United States
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I've had an opposite effect; stage width decreases dramatically and the sound becomes somewhat hollow, you know "the cupped hands" effect.
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Old 13th May 2013, 02:33 PM   #3
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I'd guess you're eliminating some back wall reflection, which can really screw up how things sound if the delay is within a certain range.
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Old 14th May 2013, 04:29 AM   #4
jamikl is offline jamikl  Australia
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As someone who had lost a lot of high frequency hearing ability I wonder if that is what has happened to you without you being aware of it. When I first started doing this, hands cupped to ears, I wondered if something might be going on with my earlobes. I have found now that if I just put a finger behind each ear and tilt the lobe very slightly forward I get the same effect. This has lead me to wonder about so called "TIN EARS" and whether the increased perception of highs that some have is due to the shape of their earlobes. I'm serious, not kidding.
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Old 14th May 2013, 04:03 PM   #5
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My guess...
As the 30'' ribbon produces some kind of cylindrical source, by puttin hands as ear cups, George is forcing himself to single point source ...narrower
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Old 14th May 2013, 04:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by george a View Post
I'd like to achieve a similar effect without the silly looks...would adding an "ambience tweeter " do something similar.
I'm pretty sure that would do the opposite. Speakers with much narrower horizontal directivity and more absorption to the rear and sides of your room would probably be more the effect you're looking for.

If you cup your ears the right way, you can increase your ability to localize and discriminate sounds in the forward direction - that's why some animals have large, cupped ears that they rotate in the direction they are trying to hear. Of course, since your brain didn't learn to hear with cupped ears, there will be some illusions happening at the same time.

You could try wearing headphones shoved behind your ears to give you protruding ears. I guess that would be a different kind of funny looks.
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Old 20th May 2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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Actually Dumptruck- maybe not completely silly idea- remember the Stax "Earspeakers " which placed the diaphrams in front of your ears instead of along side.
You can get an idea of this effect by trying with a normal set of headphones - interesting effect....
george a
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