About realism in sound reproduction

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Speakers dont need to " disappear"
i think we have to agree about what this really means
I have been exposed to very good speakers like lets say Wilson Audio Watt plus Puppy
1718097718713.png

in the right room driven by the right equipment these speakes DO disappear
In the sense that i got the feeling that they were disconnected from the amps
They were not sounding but they were making the space around them sound I could hear a triangle sounding just in the space behind one speaker
The sensation was astonishing And of course they are not the only one
This what means for me to disappear To seem not be connected to the system I cannot render it with words
Sometimes the virtual sound image is so dense that indeed the singer and instruments seem to materialize in the room in front of the listeners
I have another experience to tell that shows that even big monitors can disappear
I was listening in a not particularly acoustically good room to these monitors from JBL
1718098113537.png

these things are really huge
The owners insisted that they could disappear at least sonically He invited me at his place Put a good cd on (Amps were big monos from Bryston)
At the beginning the sound was coming clearly from the speakers and i was trying not to mock him
After some minutes i guess the system warmed up and the miracle happened
My brain was in crisis I was clearly seeing these huge speakers but the sound was coming from a plane far behind them They seemed disconnected from the amps I could not localize them anymore with the ears at least
At a certain point he switched off the lights above the speakers and the sonic effect was astonishing
I was watching the concert hall emerging from the dark ... i was in awe A very moving experience
Unfortunately i have no the financial situation to afford a dedicated listening room that is the first step to get a very high quality playback
Interestingly enough the guy who is also a reviewer for audio magazines was coming from listening to very high price omnidirectional speakers and told me that with omni it is more difficult to get a similar effect The rear emission must be cancelled
I would like to add the effect was evident only with a classical cd
Then he put on some rock song and the effect went away The sound had tremendous power but no depth Probably the recording did not have it in first place Nevertheless i could appreciate immense dynamics
I mentioned this because it can be an extreme case in which visually the speakers are huge but sonically they can be not "visible"
someone talks about sound hologram to give an idea of what a good stereo reproduction system can provide
For me, an excellent and very practical solution would be a 2+1 system with two L and R speakers and a single large central woofer that combines the L and R signals into a mono signal below a certain frequency (to be established with adequate tests ) and reproduces the mono signal. In my opinion it can work very very well
Like two tower-type main speakers and a large central sub
 
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Yes most the " image" and "soundstage"

Is in the recording and will vary
according to the source or music being played.
And how the producer mixed it.

As mentioned earlier with basic widening
plugins or delay spreaders.
I could change the magic of speakers.
Since it is mainly the mix in the first place
 
My brain was in crisis
a dedicated listening room that is the first step to get a very high quality playback
Then he put on some rock song and the effect went away The sound had tremendous power but no depth Probably the recording did not have it in first place Nevertheless i could appreciate immense dynamics

Hi,
just shrink your listening triangle, which increases direct / reverb sound ratio, but also delays and attenuates early reflections. Easiest to experiment with this is to leave speakers put and just move yourself, closer or further from speakers staying equidistant to both. At some distance from speakers, that depends on your room acoustics and positioning and speakers, your perception regarding this stuff changes and is due to auditory system. Brain is not in crisis but actually is able to focus to the sound now. Your brain literally pays attention to the sound, so you'd be able to perceive this kind of stuff. Or vice versa, have the system setup "wrong" and you'd never get the perception if your brain cannot pickup the sound no matter what speakers.

What happens there is stream separation, auditory system provides the direct sound it's own separate neural stream and the local room "noise" around you gets it's own, background stream, the envelopment. Just like if you have discussion with your friend in a noisy bar, if the friend is close to you it's no problem to understand what they say and be quite ignorant what else happens around you, but take a few steps back and now all you hear is the cacophony in the room, your brain doesn't provide your friends speech to your perception anymore. Please read David Griesinger studies on auditory proximity to find out more. There is a lot of implications to this, and if you learn to listen your own auditory system like this I quarantee all of the above you wrote makes sense and you'll quickly reason it isn't anything special with the speakers, but specialty happens in your own brain. Of course the person who was able to position the system suitably for this to happen, noticed the effect themselves, is the special thing there. All you need from speakers is they are problem free, that do not ruin it already, and then use simple listening test to find out state of your auditory system what ever they are, in what ever room.

I bet you can have it with your speakers in your place as well, as long as the speakers are reasonably good and room acoustics something sensible, like domestic room with furnishing. Some setups need smaller listening triangle, while some can extend the good sound further out so a bigger triangle. There is more to this stuff of course, but this is the minimum, your brain needs to be able to focus to the sound so always first find out where the transtion is, and now you can reason with what you hear for example, find more qualities about the system like how is the envelopment tuned. You can use the "transition" and physically move back and forth to utilize your auditory system to AB test your setup, it's quite easy to listen how for example toe-in affects this stuff. If you have no dedicated listening space, but need to resort to practical positioning, the task is to figure what kind of speakers with the positioning makes the transition extend about at your practical listening spot. Lean backward for relaxed sound, lean forward for direct involving sound with max envelopment.

Well, I wrote it simplified and not sure if this stuff applies to most speakers and rooms as I have experience only from few sets in few rooms during few years, but all of my friends know now how to listen to it for example, and 100% success rate finding the transition with any set so far kinda gives confidence to write so. Griesinger is the one to resort if you need more/accurate info, I'm just messenger who thinks it is very much in core of hifi as well. Best thing here is it's just about listening, no need to know any of the processes or any technical details, just listening skill so applicable to any room with any speakers, or any situation really, like a conversation in a bar.
 
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Edit time over, I want to add when you listen close enough the sound of local room is more or less suppressed from your perception by your brain, and the spatial cues in the recording come through better as part of the direct sound and envelopment can add to it. If you listen a track with nice spatial info it can be really big sound, very enjoyable, but if the recording is some dry mono stuff it's gonna be really small, really dry and really mono. Some recordings with weird or wild panning tricks can sound too weird, where the local room early reflections would clearly help.

Point is, your brain resolves all this to you, as it can take your own room away from perception and provide the magic to you that is on the recording. Some recordings seem to sound better with or without, so there really is no one size fits all solution and best one can do is figure this stuff out, and adjust at will.
 
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Hi,
just shrink your listening triangle, which increases direct / reverb sound ratio, but also delays and attenuates early reflections. Easiest to experiment with this is to leave speakers put and just move yourself, closer or further from speakers staying equidistant to both. At some distance from speakers, that depends on your room acoustics and positioning and speakers, your perception regarding this stuff changes and is due to auditory system. Brain is not in crisis but actually is able to focus to the sound now. Your brain literally pays attention to the sound, so you'd be able to perceive this kind of stuff. Or vice versa, have the system setup "wrong" and you'd never get the perception if your brain cannot pickup the sound no matter what speakers.

What happens there is stream separation, auditory system provides the direct sound it's own separate neural stream and the local room "noise" around you gets it's own, background stream, the envelopment. Just like if you have discussion with your friend in a noisy bar, if the friend is close to you it's no problem to understand what they say and be quite ignorant what else happens around you, but take a few steps back and now all you hear is the cacophony in the room, your brain doesn't provide your friends speech to your perception anymore. Please read David Griesinger studies on auditory proximity to find out more. There is a lot of implications to this, and if you learn to listen your own auditory system like this I quarantee all of the above you wrote makes sense and you'll quickly reason it isn't anything special with the speakers, but specialty happens in your own brain. Of course the person who was able to position the system suitably for this to happen, noticed the effect themselves, is the special thing there. All you need from speakers is they are problem free, that do not ruin it already, and then use simple listening test to find out state of your auditory system what ever they are, in what ever room.
Hi thank you very much indeed for your very kind and valuable advice
This concept of the direct / reverb sound ratio i feel is fundamental and explains a lot of situations
For instance this could explain why sound engineers use often near field listening to edit their tracks And why soundstage is much more confused in a reverberant room
I think i have a chance I should try speakers with narrow emission in the H and V axys Or treat the room to tame reflections
This for soundstage
For realism i think that the key are low noise and low THD from the speakers
I bet you can have it with your speakers in your place as well, as long as the speakers are reasonably good and room acoustics something sensible, like domestic room with furnishing. Some setups need smaller listening triangle, while some can extend the good sound further out so a bigger triangle. There is more to this stuff of course, but this is the minimum, your brain needs to be able to focus to the sound so always first find out where the transtion is, and now you can reason with what you hear for example, find more qualities about the system like how is the envelopment tuned. You can use the "transition" and physically move back and forth to utilize your auditory system to AB test your setup, it's quite easy to listen how for example toe-in affects this stuff. If you have no dedicated listening space, but need to resort to practical positioning, the task is to figure what kind of speakers with the positioning makes the transition extend about at your practical listening spot. Lean backward for relaxed sound, lean forward for direct involving sound with max envelopment.
Well, I wrote it simplified and not sure if this stuff applies to most speakers and rooms as I have experience only from few sets in few rooms during few years, but all of my friends know now how to listen to it for example, and 100% success rate finding the transition with any set so far kinda gives confidence to write so. Griesinger is the one to resort if you need more/accurate info, I'm just messenger who thinks it is very much in core of hifi as well. Best thing here is it's just about listening, no need to know any of the processes or any technical details, just listening skill so applicable to any room with any speakers, or any situation really, like a conversation in a bar.
Thank you very much indeed for the very helpful advice I have a question
Do you think that all frequencies contribute at the same level to soundstage reproduction ?
To be more specific below a certain frequency the sound becomes mono ? i am thinking to a 2+1 solution where the L and R bass are mixed to give a mono signal to drive a single sub
 
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Loudspeakers that disappear, to me, mean reproduction where listener has perception that no sound is coming from the loudspeakers at all. Rather, sound is virtually emanating from the positions on the perceived soundstage, meters behind the loudspeakers. Instruments and artists are there, very real and in your room. Well, in fact outside the room, as soundstage is deeper and wider than the room. I described before, that effect is so real that I’m often simply compelled to look at the artists in front of me, to “see” them better.

This is also called sound reproduction detached from the loudspeakers. It is also important to point out, that such reproduction doesn’t mean perfection, where one can’t distinguish from the live performance. Only soundstage illusion is on the different level.

That effect should not be present only with certain recordings, rather all the time with almost every recording, no special conditions or preparations required.

IMO, loudspeaker’s ability to disappear is primarily their property by design. The rest of a system should be just good enough, without major flaws. IME, quality of the reproduction chain, before loudspeakers, does have some impact. But, there isn’t any system that can make mediocre loudspeakers to perform the disappearing act. I agree with @tmuikku that near field listening (smaller triangle) is the way to go for that effect + loudspeakers positioned >1 m from the rear wall, helps a lot.

Expensive loudspeakers are not required. Loudspeakers close to point source are preferred, like coaxial and full-range. In example, Fyne Audio loudspeakers easily have such reproduction, starting with mode F501 and up. So, 2000€ is enough to buy “disappearing” loudspeakers. You don’t have to take my word for that. Here is a review by well known Dick Olsher, where he finds exactly such detached reproduction (and much more) with Fyne Audio F501.
https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/fyne-audio-f501-loudspeaker/

What baffles me the most is that, as it seems, most members of this forum are unaware of such reproduction. Even some members here, that professionally build loudspeakers for 20 years, call this a marketing BS, despite being confirmed by leading experts in audio reproduction and psychoacoustics:
https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...pear-and-can-it-be-measured.25313/post-862567
 
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ginetto61, well, if you look into Griesinger work there is actually hint that even low bass has a lot to do with "magical stereo experience" contributing to envelopment, hence mono bass isn't best for home. Actually, the whole bass thing with room modes, power alleys and stuff is so problematic in my opinion, that perhaps anything goes until you really go deep into it and tweak it what ever means necessary :) Mono bass was thing with LP record cutting, but I think today's music made for digital are not limited by this and might have stereo bass.

Regarding the stereo image and perception / auditory system I shortly touched on previous post, it is frequency dependent stuff but I'm not sure about details. Good thing here is that you can pretty much determine yourself according to what you hear: simply, at the distance where perception changes everything that needs to happen would have. At least for me there is quite distinct location where the transition happens, one step I can step inside the sound of recording, or out of it back to the local room, and there is likely some important frequency bandwidth that is responsible for this stuff.

Some quick background and some reasoning: on high frequencies wavelength is so short brain has plenty of time process the direct sound before any reflections come in (10kHz is 3,4cm long. Earliest room reflection, like a floor reflection, might come about 30cm later). Speakers are typically more directional on highs than lows which reduces room sound on highs, absorption in air and furniture does this as well, so it's no problem have direct sound on highs. On the other hand lows have so long wavelength they do not fit into the room so basically there is never direct sound. Hence, important frequency region where the perceptual transition between "direct" and "room" sound must be between these extremes, somewhere on the mids. If you look into Griesinger papers the perception changes due to all original sound harmonics line up every fundamental cycle, and when the peaks are loud enough above all the noise around, the stream separation can happen. If you look into harmonic series of human voice for example, fundamental somewhere say at 200Hz, then harmonics would go to high mids. Preserve these well enough, what ever that is, and I speculate the magical perception should happen.
 
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Loudspeakers that disappear, to me, mean reproduction where listener has perception that no sound is coming from the loudspeakers at all. Rather, sound is virtually emanating from the positions on the perceived soundstage, meters behind the loudspeakers. Instruments and artists are there, very real and in your room. Well, in fact outside the room, as soundstage is deeper and wider than the room. I described before, that effect is so real that I’m often simply compelled to look at the artists in front of me, to “see” them better.
hi, yes I think so too that in general, when the speaker doesn't have notable sound of it's own, like edge diffraction and box resonances, any notable distortion really, then it ought to disappear. I mean, as long as the speaker doesn't draw your attention from music, it should be fine for the occasion. This means the whole chain needs to be good enough. I like to think that any speaker (system) specific sound is distraction from music, because it's not music related but speaker related. For stereo phantom images, the listener must be equidistant from both speakers and both speakers (sides) should match as well as possible, which brings to symmetric positioning in room and EQ and DI and so on, all of which one can utilize to enhance stereo image.

For speaker problems in general, depending on experience and listening skill someone might spot certain speakers sound and pinpoint it and then do something about it if necessary, but my personal experience is that many things aren't readily audible like that. I mean, there can be feeling that something is off with the sound, but cannot quite hear what is it that draws the attention. Even some familiar things, like balance frequency response balance. I think it is listening skill, which is to understand what is it that I hear, and what goes unnoticed or I just don't care. For example, portable bluetooth speakers are usually fine sounding, although there is no stereo or no real bass but that's fine. But, if you have a box store speaker which really is one note wonder it can be quite annoying, or what ever, just an example.
 
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Loudspeakers that disappear, to me, mean reproduction where listener has perception that no sound is coming from the loudspeakers at all. Rather, sound is virtually emanating from the positions on the perceived soundstage, meters behind the loudspeakers. Instruments and artists are there, very real and in your room. Well, in fact outside the room, as soundstage is deeper and wider than the room. I described before, that effect is so real that I’m often simply compelled to look at the artists in front of me, to “see” them better.
Hi and thanks a lot and yes This is exactly what i meant The "disappearing act" makes the speakers like switched off
At a certain point the effect is so evident that i tried to disconnect one ... and the music disappear So the speaker was working
This is the point when the system works or like someone says is tuned
In the guy's system with the system cold the speakers could be "heard" quite easily With the power flowing i guess they reach the right temperature and slowly they began to fade away I very impressive experience
This is very easy to perceive with clean ears :geek:
This is also called sound reproduction detached from the loudspeakers. It is also important to point out, that such reproduction doesn’t mean perfection, where one can’t distinguish from the live performance. Only soundstage illusion is on the different level.
ok it could be not perfection but it is a very nice effect to get indeed Every good system should be able to provide this effect imho
That effect should not be present only with certain recordings, rather all the time with almost every recording, no special conditions or preparations required.
thank you This i did not know I should check Maybe starting with proven tracks and then swith to some commercial CDs
I listened to a CD from Oasis with an astonishing level of distortion (i.e. Definitely Maybe) I understand it is rock but .... great music by the way
IMO, loudspeaker’s ability to disappear is primarily their property by design. The rest of a system should be just good enough, without major flaws. IME, quality of the reproduction chain, before loudspeakers, does have some impact. But, there isn’t any system that can make mediocre loudspeakers to perform the disappearing act.
I agree of course But i was surprised to see a huge speaker disappear Then i heard people say that all speakers at a point disappear
Maybe he was talking of burglars ...
I agree with @tmuikku that near field listening (smaller triangle) is the way to go for that effect + loudspeakers positioned >1 m from the rear wall, helps a lot.
Expensive loudspeakers are not required. Loudspeakers close to point source are preferred, like coaxial and full-range. In example, Fyne Audio loudspeakers easily have such reproduction, starting with mode F501 and up. So, 2000€ is enough to buy “disappearing” loudspeakers.
if we talk of full range speakers the very good ones cannot be very cheap But i am quite confident that with some DIY intervention on crossovers & cabinets and other things a speaker can be helped to disappear more easily I believe in mods Most of the commercial speakers are made at a cost
They say that the cost of components can be only 1/10 of the MRSP But the DIYer must know what he/her is doing
You don’t have to take my word for that. Here is a review by well known Dick Olsher, where he finds exactly such detached reproduction (and much more) with Fyne Audio F501.
https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/fyne-audio-f501-loudspeaker/
What baffles me the most is that, as it seems, most members of this forum are unaware of such reproduction. Even some members here, that professionally build loudspeakers for 20 years, call this a marketing BS, despite being confirmed by leading experts in audio reproduction and psychoacoustics:
https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...pear-and-can-it-be-measured.25313/post-862567
thank you very for the very useful links The Fyne looks really fine
https://www.fyneaudio.com/product/f501/
personally i would try one of these
1718122314492.png


above a bass box with a 10 or 12" woofer
I love the sat + woofer solution a lot
Thank you again for the advice and the very valuable links to articles
 
Are you talking about Digital Equipment Company, or DEC as we used to call it?
Yes, I got in 15 years there before my ex messaged me about a power supply engineer opening at Intel. Guess she didnt like bumping into me at the grocery... Got 20+ years there and am quite grateful for her life-changing prompt. Boss at DEC told me I'm the luckiest guy on the floor to have that opportunity, as they were tanking hard at the time, before Compaq bought them for their service org.

They had a nice audio forum (amongst many, many others) running on their DEC Notes Conferences product. All in ASCII. They'd have gatherings; were a reasonably social bunch. One time I won an RCA SPDIF cable by guessing closest to the frequency of a played tone. People were into all the same #$^& as today, only 30 years ago. Super shunt regulators and all - one guy told me his commercial op-amps rejected all but the most ridiculous deliberately imposed power supply disturbance - but he didnt dare say that in the forum.

Another guy told how he obsessed over the capacitor types used in his servo circuits finally arriving that the audible signal did go through them, then he finally ended up ripping them all out and replacing with PP. Stuff like that.

A gigantic thread happened when one claimed he could hear the difference when two metal 90 deg RadioShack RCA adapters were inserted, allowing his preamp to sit further back on the shelf. All the same as today and much fun was had. One time I picked a styro cereal bowl from the cafeteria, took it to the mechanical lab and cyro-treated a 3.5" CD from a bottle of liguid nitrogen they happened to have; the people in that lab didnt seems to mind. Back in the days of green marker on the CD edge and "Finyl" CD spray. Finyl - g'faw, g'faw. Even I bought a bottle.
 
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personally i would try one of these
1718122314492.png


above a bass box with a 10 or 12" woofer
I love the sat + woofer solution a lot
I can vouch for F501 only, as that is the model I have. I agree with you on subwoofer as an addition for good system. Mine F501 are accompanied by KEF KC62 subwoofer, which I find to be the perfect audiophile sub, with incredible bass definition, no coloration and unbelievable bottom end.

First try was with KEF Kube 12B, but bass was not enough precise and without box sound. Once I heard KC62, there was only one choice for me.
 
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It’s been established through many studies that our recall of specific details or characteristics of auditory events is a matter of seconds, and that the precision rapidly degrades as soon as the event has ended. One may recognize a person, instrument or environment, but the memory thereof is not like a perfect recording. Auditory memory is also largely mono.
This is why the switching in any auditory comparison, for example a DBT, ABX or simplified AB test has to be as close to instant as possible.

That is certainly not my experience.
And no one has ever said that good auditory memory should be able to mentally play back a bit perfect replica of the original sound.

Those intimately familiar with the sound of acoustical instruments need no help in determining how a reproduction compares
to live sound. There is, and has always been, a large gap.
 
Griesinger says in some of his papers/youtube videos something like for example listening teaching in a class room, it is very hard to concentrate and memorize what's being told if you sit too far regarding acoustics and have no proximity happening with the sound. Conversely, with proximity happening your brain is directly, involuntarily, connected to the talker and it's no effort to memorize what is being taught, as it all goes straight into the brain.

Think about classrooms you've been, or go into, perhaps only front row or two have this proximity happening and back row certainly doesn't, as everything is tuned with some other metrics than his (some reverberation / clarity numbers). Imagine gradual school for example, what difference it would make to whole society if the whole class could connect with the teacher due to good acoustics (and proximity happening), instead of only front row learning while back row making havoc simply because their brain isn't hearing what is being taught, thinks its noise! What an important thing. I wish I knew this stuff back when I was in university, so much wasted time sitting on the back row.
 
I don't think you have to spend a lot of money to achieve this; I can remember walking past a cheap stereo at work (I'm guessing very cheap paper full range drivers in chipboard closed boxes, capacitor coupled amp, tape deck) and I was taken aback at the realism of violins, I was about to make a remark about it to a guy into HiFi, but he beat me to it, he had also, independently thought the same. Another guy brought in a cheap portable speaker, about the size of a double cassette tape, and that sounded quite remarkable. I think the mid-range covered by one sensitive paper driver helps. My own attemps at speakers have concentrated on reducing resonances, either mechanical, or echos within the cabinet.
 
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Yes, I got in 15 years there before my ex messaged me about a power supply engineer opening at Intel. Guess she didnt like bumping into me at the grocery... Got 20+ years there and am quite grateful for her life-changing prompt. Boss at DEC told me I'm the luckiest guy on the floor to have that opportunity, as they were tanking hard at the time, before Compaq bought them for their service org.

....
I was in field sales with DEC and sold some of the first VAX models when they initially came you. I think probably before your time with them.