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Thread: Imaging

  1. #1
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    Imaging

    I recently listened to a song by Springsteen called "This Heartland" on my Paradigm monitor 9's with a new yamaha amp. I honestly had to check and make sure the center channel wasn't on by some screw up in the amp. The imaging is unlike anything I've heard, especially since it makes the vocals only sound like they're coming from the center channel which is like 3 feet back from where the fronts are. This kind of imaging makes me think that I might not be taking full advantage of the speakers. I'm wondering:

    Is it true that the distance between you and the front of the speakers should be equal to the distance they are apart?

    should they be pointed at the listening area, or just straight ahead?

    if one is in a corner and the other is 2 feet out of the corner, is that going to cause inconsistencies in sound (sp?)

    any input is appreciated.

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    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StateDJ85
    I recently listened to a song by Springsteen called "This Heartland" on my Paradigm monitor 9's with a new yamaha amp. I honestly had to check and make sure the center channel wasn't on by some screw up in the amp. The imaging is unlike anything I've heard, especially since it makes the vocals only sound like they're coming from the center channel which is like 3 feet back from where the fronts are. This kind of imaging makes me think that I might not be taking full advantage of the speakers. I'm wondering:

    Is it true that the distance between you and the front of the speakers should be equal to the distance they are apart?

    should they be pointed at the listening area, or just straight ahead?

    if one is in a corner and the other is 2 feet out of the corner, is that going to cause inconsistencies in sound (sp?)

    any input is appreciated.

    Yeah, imaging is way cool when you get quality speakers. Yes, an equilateral triangle (distance between speakers=distance to listening position) is generally ideal. You will probably want to experiment between facing the speakers straight ahead and toe-ing them into the listening position and see which position you like best. Generally, people advise that each speaker be the same distance from walls, but that's not always possible it and may effect the acoustics, like bass or increase reflections. But you have to work with what you got.

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of audio-insanity...here you'll spend countless hours with measuring tape, a laser pointer, and masking tape trying to guarantee your speakers are exactly equidistant from your listening position and each other.

    Toe-in is a brutal excercise in trial and error. Hope you have a friend with nothing better to do, preferrably one that won't make fun of you.

    As Paul said, distances to walls will affect response at some frequencies...the sound from a speaker travels in all around the speaker, and bounces off corners, walls, etc, back to the listener. Depending on proximity and geometry, the reflections can amplify the original signal or interfere with it. If possible try to keep the speakers the same distance from the rear wall, and at least 1 foot away from all walls.

    While the equilateral triangle with perfect toe-in is a recommended starting point, many speakers perform better with no toe-in at all. Likewise, some speakers prefer you listen closer than distance between them (nearfield) and others prefer you move away from them (farfield). Guess what, your room will play a big role in how your speakers behave. So will your listening preferences.

    I toe in my speakers about 20 degrees or so and I sit about 1 foot farfield by necessity. My speakers and room are forgiving of this arrangement, my previous speakers were not.

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    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Imaging

    It gets better; many recordings have artificial center fill or other mixing tricks to falsely image a band where each instrument was recorded seperately on it's own master tape track. This tends to be more true on POP recordings.

    Try to set up your system with smaller groups; Jazz or other acoustic groups with little or no processing. Or at the other extreme, stick to large orchestral works, many of them have not been helped along by a recording engineer spotlighting his company's personal brand of "correctness".

    In other words; besides moving yourself and the speakers around sort of endlessly, use multiple disks before making any final decisions. But wait, there's more - next comes the room treatments; carpets, drapes, wall hangings, bass traps, corner traps - whee. Then, try to remember how much fun you're having!


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    A website dedicated for Stereo Imaging



    Stereo imaging is presented in diagram called 'Sound Map', please click here and go to Sound Map Picture Gallery

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    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StateDJ85
    I recently listened to a song by Springsteen called "This Heartland" on my Paradigm monitor 9's with a new yamaha amp. I honestly had to check and make sure the center channel wasn't on by some screw up in the amp. The imaging is unlike anything I've heard, especially since it makes the vocals only sound like they're coming from the center channel which is like 3 feet back from where the fronts are. This kind of imaging makes me think that I might not be taking full advantage of the speakers. I'm wondering:

    Is it true that the distance between you and the front of the speakers should be equal to the distance they are apart?

    should they be pointed at the listening area, or just straight ahead?

    if one is in a corner and the other is 2 feet out of the corner, is that going to cause inconsistencies in sound (sp?)

    any input is appreciated.
    Although speaker positioning is the major factor in getting good imaging, the recording is the key. Only a live recording or recordings done with minimal miking and without overdubbing can exhibit true imaging. All else is nothing more than an engineer manipulating sliders on a mixing board. This is true for most live rock and popular recordings because the signal is taken from the PA mixing boards. For good (true) imaging try the following recording. Jacintha, Here's To Ben. This was recorded directly to 2 track. You get a sense of an actual room with performers in a real space behind and between your speakers.
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    I think most people's exposure (including mine) to "imaging" is limited mostly to the type created by the man at the board creating left, center, right etc during the mixing process. The "true imaging" referenced by joeE SP9 is something pretty rare for the average listener (though maybe not for folks on this site) to encounter. As such, the mix/recording quality can dictate a TON about what you get during final playback on your system regarding perceived imaging. All other things being equal with my system optimized for environment etc, I will generally gravitate toward recordings with better perceived imaging/accuracy over musical material that I like.

  8. #8
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    It gets better; many recordings have artificial center fill or other mixing tricks to falsely image a band where each instrument was recorded seperately on it's own master tape track. This tends to be more true on POP recordings.
    There is no such thing as "artificial fill". Panning a vocal center, and eq'ing it is a legitimate way to mix and can yield a VERY convincing center image. It is also possible to multi mike and still get full imaging.

    I think it is a huge mistake to always blame the lack of imaging on the mixing or recording itself. 95% of the time its the duplication process the introduces data errors or drop outs. I know I have sent mixes after mastering to the duplicator, and when it returned the sound was noticeably degraded.
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    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    No amount of manipultion with a mixing board or any type of electronic device can be called imaging.I mentioned a specific recording (Jacintha: Here's To Ben) because this recording done direct to two track easily demonstrates true imaging. In this recording even a modest rig will easily show imaging. There is the sense of a room full of musicians in around and behind the speakers. Using a DSP to turn this recording into multi channel only ruins the imaging. Spreading the instruments from left to right or beyond is only a small part of true imaging. One of the reasons this recording has such good imaging is that no one was allowed to get near the recording with a mixing board and do any post recording tweaking. Direct to two tracks assures this. Recordings of this caliber should be required listening for all those folks who love mixing boards, overdubbing and multi tracking. I'm not necessarily against any of those things. It's just that most of the time the alive-ness that should be there in the music gets mixed right out of it.
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  10. #10
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    No amount of manipultion with a mixing board or any type of electronic device can be called imaging.I mentioned a specific recording (Jacintha: Here's To Ben) because this recording done direct to two track easily demonstrates true imaging. In this recording even a modest rig will easily show imaging. There is the sense of a room full of musicians in around and behind the speakers. Using a DSP to turn this recording into multi channel only ruins the imaging. Spreading the instruments from left to right or beyond is only a small part of true imaging. One of the reasons this recording has such good imaging is that no one was allowed to get near the recording with a mixing board and do any post recording tweaking. Direct to two tracks assures this. Recordings of this caliber should be required listening for all those folks who love mixing boards, overdubbing and multi tracking. I'm not necessarily against any of those things. It's just that most of the time the alive-ness that should be there in the music gets mixed right out of it.
    Joe, imaging is imaging. If the instruments occupy a certain place within the mix that can easily be discerned, it is imaging. Whether it is panned in place or recorded acoustically with a phased or time arrival offset to the microphone it is called imaging.

    Since this recording that you mention has not been repurposed for multichannel, you don't really know that imaging would be ruined by the process. No one would really know until it is done. I have done many recordings where I have panned voices into position, and you would never know I did it. It is about the quality and attention to detail, not about the technology per say. Any engineer worth his salt can pan a voice or instrument into place without sounding artifical.
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  11. #11
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Imaging

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Joe, imaging is imaging. If the instruments occupy a certain place within the mix that can easily be discerned, it is imaging. Whether it is panned in place or recorded acoustically with a phased or time arrival offset to the microphone it is called imaging.

    Since this recording that you mention has not been repurposed for multichannel, you don't really know that imaging would be ruined by the process. No one would really know until it is done. I have done many recordings where I have panned voices into position, and you would never know I did it. It is about the quality and attention to detail, not about the technology per say. Any engineer worth his salt can pan a voice or instrument into place without sounding artifical.
    All the panning in the world can only do one thing. Move the apparant position from left to right. Imaging is much more than that. If you don't want to listen to Jacintha I recommend almost any Chesky title. Imaging is demonstrated quite well in their recordings. Without depth you have nothing more than cardboard cut outs in a flat plane. With my rig it is quite easy to tell when an image has been panned into position. A prime example of this is a Natalie Cole recording I have where I get a mental picture of her in a sound isolation booth holding headphones to one ear and singing into a mike with a pop guard. Incidentally one of the reasons direct to disc recordings are so popular with us old guys is because of the imaging. With direct to disc there can be no mixing or processing after the recording.
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    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    There is no such thing as "artificial fill". Panning a vocal center, and eq'ing it is a legitimate way to mix and can yield a VERY convincing center image.
    I would have to agree that the very nature of panning is artificial, convincing or not. The centered image is only there because you put it there. Similarly fore-aft artist placement requires careful level settings and uniformly applied reverb. "Apparent" stage position is determined by such post performance knob twiddling otherwise you'd get flat mono with all the instruments equally stretched across front stage.

    I'm not criticizing the craft, nor suggesting that one should limit themselves only to natural recordings that are recorded with no need for chair moving afterwards. It is a master engineer whose expertise results in a natural sounding artifice. The difference is that guys like Jack Fenner at Telarc do most of the work up front, not afterwards. The bassoonist starts off right rear behind the celli. The most holographic recordings in my experience are exclusively minimally miked, be they from Sheffied, Windham Hill, Telarc, Mercury, Reference Recordings, Everest, and others. GAF viewers get the incredible depth via two shots of the same image with the lenses separated laterally. Sound familiar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    It is also possible to multi mike and still get full imaging.
    I'm not what you mean by "full imaging"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I think it is a huge mistake to always blame the lack of imaging on the mixing or recording itself. 95% of the time its the duplication process the introduces data errors or drop outs.
    Point well taken with all digital transfer processes, including playback.

    rw

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    My view point has departed from the idea of "realistic reproduction" being an ultimate goal. The idea is based on the notion that the performance can and should be a life-like reproduction of the live performance. After 40 years of serious music listening I've moved away from that. In that older concept the live performance was the artistic work and the recording was a technologically record of the event.

    I have come to the belief that a live performance is one kind of artistic creation while a recording (I would prefer a different word) is another in it's own right. The decisions of the recording engineers are not just "technical" -- they are esthetic and artistic. These folks are as much a part of the artistic team as the musicians. The final artistic work is not just what happens at the recoding site. It is the end product -- the CD (or LP, or tape, or SACD etc.) or rather it's contents.

    Where does that leave imaging? I say it should not be evaluated by the impact on the listener. Does it distract negetively from the intended artistic result (intended by the artistic team)? Or is it consistent with that intent? Etc. Keep in mind that it may be the intent that the imaging reflect the experience of sitting in a concert hall. Or it may not. Either is potentially vald. Whether intented impact is sucessful or pleasing is another mater.
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    There is no such thing as artificial imaging. Just becasue during the mixing process the sound engineer moved certain instruments or vocals dead center with a slider does not mean that it will show up like then when played back. I can not tell you how many systems i have heard that instead of hearing a dead center image i can easily trace it back to the two individual front and left speakers. take for instace your car, absolultey zero imaging, even on musical peices that when you play them at home have a beautifil center image. That is one of the many reasons why i am really not a big fan of car audio at all.

    How well the image is portrayed is only influenced by your speakers and there positiong within your room and your listning posistion. You can get a dead center image with a properly set up pair of speakers whether it was mixed like that or not. When an engineer creates a center image it is becasue he deemed that particular peice of the music to be dead center, but you can still get a dead center image with things that were not mixed into center with a slider. If a pair of properly set up speakers are both playing the same vocal or intrument then it will appear center.

  15. #15
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    All the panning in the world can only do one thing. Move the apparant position from left to right. Imaging is much more than that.
    Imaging is nothing more than a instruments position in the soundfield. That includes left right position and its depth. Its nothing more than that.





    If you don't want to listen to Jacintha I recommend almost any Chesky title. Imaging is demonstrated quite well in their recordings. Without depth you have nothing more than cardboard cut outs in a flat plane.
    This is a rather obvious point


    With my rig it is quite easy to tell when an image has been panned into position. A prime example of this is a Natalie Cole recording I have where I get a mental picture of her in a sound isolation booth holding headphones to one ear and singing into a mike with a pop guard. Incidentally one of the reasons direct to disc recordings are so popular with us old guys is because of the imaging. With direct to disc there can be no mixing or processing after the recording.
    Whether a signal has been acoustically recorded with its imaging intact, or electronically panned, it depends on the quality of the work done. Your example is of a studio recording which would not have any natural imaging anyway. All studio recording(unless live) are tracks which are sewn together to make a package. There is nothing naturally acoustic about them except the instrument being recorded. There is no natural soundstage or soundfield.

    I have done many a LIVE gospel or jazz recording where instruments have been carefully panned into place preserving their natural placement complete with depth of field. You cannot tell whether it has panned, or acoustical imaging, not even on a $40,000 speaker system in a studio with VERY tight control on acoustics. It is all about the quality of the work, not about about the processing applied. Post production processing has gotten so good these days, that it is impossible to tell acoustic from electronic when it is used correctly. Direct to disc recording is no guarantee of audio perfection. Whether you use a mixing board, panning, or DSP processing in post, in the end it is the quality of the work and not the lack of technology that is going to make the audio sound good.
    Last edited by Sir Terrence the Terrible; 07-07-2005 at 05:55 AM.
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    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Imaging is nothing more than a instruments position in the soundfield. That includes left right position and its depth. Its nothing more than that.
    I have absolutely nothing against artistry whether it is the performer or the sound engineer, it is possible to create an enhanced musical experience with skillful manipulation of equipment.

    However having said that: a true image includes echoes and reverberation from at least the back wall but in most cases many walls. Recording someone in a sound booth and then using electronics to place the apparent sound source location in a left right and front back plane does not create an image. It will be a two dimensional facsimile of an image, even adding some reverberation delays will blur that facsimile but it will be no more real than photographing actors against a blue screen and adding a phony background later. At some point the audience is likely recognize the artificial nature of what they're being sold.

    It may still be enjoyable or entertaining, but it's not the real thing, sometimes this may improve the end result but in many cases it suffers for it.

    My original post was intended to warn the thread originator StateDJ85 not to use these artificially imaged recordings to set up his sound system with regards to speaker placement. I still feel that correct set-up is far more likely to be accomplished with recordings that haven't been "improved" by the sound engineer.

  17. #17
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    I have absolutely nothing against artistry whether it is the performer or the sound engineer, it is possible to create an enhanced musical experience with skillful manipulation of equipment.

    However having said that: a true image includes echoes and reverberation from at least the back wall but in most cases many walls. Recording someone in a sound booth and then using electronics to place the apparent sound source location in a left right and front back plane does not create an image. It will be a two dimensional facsimile of an image, even adding some reverberation delays will blur that facsimile but it will be no more real than photographing actors against a blue screen and adding a phony background later. At some point the audience is likely recognize the artificial nature of what they're being sold.

    It may still be enjoyable or entertaining, but it's not the real thing, sometimes this may improve the end result but in many cases it suffers for it.

    My original post was intended to warn the thread originator StateDJ85 not to use these artificially imaged recordings to set up his sound system with regards to speaker placement. I still feel that correct set-up is far more likely to be accomplished with recordings that haven't been "improved" by the sound engineer.
    This is a very conservative way of looking at it. IMO, most recorded music can sound far superior to the live presentation. Why? We're seeing more and artist step out of the stale, primitive, decades old belief that stereo recording are limited to trying to mimick a live peformance. What if the artistic vision of the album is such that a live venue could never deliver it?

    Live recordings without alteration make perfection impossible to achieve. Studio work can accomplish this. Because so much musical information is lost when recording live (the reverbrations and echos are rarely captured accurately), it's easy to see why studio recordings can be preferable.

    The one aspect live recordings sometime deliver is the intangible "energy" of the performance, drawing from the crowd and so forth. But a motivated musician in "the zone" in a studio can easily match this.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I would have to agree that the very nature of panning is artificial, convincing or not.
    Hi E-Stat. I would agree that the nature of panning is artificial, no matter if convincing or not. But the whole idea of audio REproduction is artifial as well. Nothing, other than the actual event is true to itself...leaving the entire recording process up to the engineer. How skillful the engineer is with the materials given to him/her, will determin if you are offered an artificial reproduction of the event that lives up to the quality to perhaps be called...good.

    Even a live recording is an artificail event that's quality is in the hands of how skilled the enginner may be. Simply by choosing the numbers of mic's...mic positioning and so forth the engineer has layed his artistic view onto the live recording.

    perhaps there are just different ways to look at this. Either way...that's my view






    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    I have absolutely nothing against artistry whether it is the performer or the sound engineer, it is possible to create an enhanced musical experience with skillful manipulation of equipment.
    Hi hermanv,

    Like I said above...no matter if the recording is a live concert, a live studio recording or a sperated studio recording the final recording is still determined by the artistry of the engineer and the equipment used. So, in a sense...all recorded music is is an enhanced musical experience.

    But don't forget to factor in your hand in the outcome. The equipment you by nd the room you put it in will all distort the recording from the final artistry that the engineer/media has created.

    happy listening>>>>>>>>



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    None sam9's Avatar
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    In some instances, I find synthetic (I like this better than "artificial") imaging separates individual voices and instuments to a degree that the listener can appreciate the individual elements of the performance to greater degree than if we were actually there.

    As far as echos and reverberations go -- what about open air concerts. I used to attend summer concerts of the Philadelphia Orch. in Saratoga Springs. The was a band shell but certainly no side or back walls. Also no imaging aty least from where I set. (Actually there was imaging -- one big mush like from a single large mono speaker.) Still the performances were much enjoyed. Realistic imaging for some one who can't afford center orchestra seats is quite different from those who can.

    On another, much more recent, ocassion I attended the Stones "Vodoo Lounge" performance in the Oakland coliseum. This was a live performance, but the sound was mixed, EQ'd and otherwise processed at least or even more extensively than the same songs were in their original studio version. So where does that leave us, exect sitting amidst even more ambiguity regarding artificial vs. real.
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  20. #20
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin
    Hi E-Stat. I would agree that the nature of panning is artificial, no matter if convincing or not. But the whole idea of audio REproduction is artifial as well.
    Perhaps you should have responded to STtT's comment where he suggested otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin
    Even a live recording is an artificail event that's quality is in the hands of how skilled the enginner may be. Simply by choosing the numbers of mic's...mic positioning and so forth the engineer has layed his artistic view onto the live recording.
    Agreed. Yet I find the realism depicted by cardboard boats on a painted sky significantly less good than those recorded in a true stereoscopic fashion demonstrating relational depth.

    rw

  21. #21
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Often, the addition of silcone to one gender looks better, but not allways

    Sorry, cheap shot

    The orignal question was something like "how do I acheive the best imaging (in my room, was implied)" Since the reproduction environment will interact with the recording to make this harder than it looks, I don't think that questions about absolute sound or accuracy really apply.

    Because it's harder than it might seem, I am stubbornly sticking with my belief that non-enhanced, non spatially modified recordings are the best shot at acheiving a good speaker placement compromise.

    I say compromise because most of us do not own dedicated rooms. We have to co-exist with the other members of the family. Additionally we have rooms that are most likely smaller than the recording venue. So I agree that both gonefishing (Hi yourself) and sam9's (Hi to you too) points that an exact result is effectively impossible are correct.

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    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    This is a very conservative way of looking at it. IMO, most recorded music can sound far superior to the live presentation. Why? We're seeing more and artist step out of the stale, primitive, decades old belief that stereo recording are limited to trying to mimick a live peformance. What if the artistic vision of the album is such that a live venue could never deliver it?

    Live recordings without alteration make perfection impossible to achieve. Studio work can accomplish this. Because so much musical information is lost when recording live (the reverbrations and echos are rarely captured accurately), it's easy to see why studio recordings can be preferable.

    The one aspect live recordings sometime deliver is the intangible "energy" of the performance, drawing from the crowd and so forth. But a motivated musician in "the zone" in a studio can easily match this.
    Boy did you ever get that right! The whole notion that the quality of a recording and its imaging properties depends solely on how well it mimics a live performance is incredibly outdated, and ignores the huge variety of sounds and musical experiences that studio recordings can produce. I'm in agreement with Sir Terrence that imaging is about audibly placing the location of a sound within a soundfield. And in that endeavor, properly speaker placement is oh so important.

    A general rule of thumb is that the speakers should be no more than 60 degrees apart before the center image becomes unstable. Multichannel setups are more tolerant of wider angle front speaker placements because of the center speaker, but the surround speakers should be no more than 110 to 120 degrees off-center.

    Albums like Dark Side of the Moon and The Final Cut from Pink Floyd layer environmental sounds with the instrumentation in a way that simply sounds unlike anything that can possibly be produced live on a static stage. In the context of limiting the entire audiophile universe to reproducing live concert hall experiences, does this therefore mean that recordings that cannot produce "true" imaging are therefore also not "true" music? It sure seems like that's the view that a lot of audiophiles are trying to convey in an underhand way.

    And even accepting that live performance reproduction is the ultimate goal, two-channel is hardly adequate to achieve that goal. If "true" imaging is about conveying depth, then two-channel has got holes galore, because it cannot convey the back soundfield nor adequately provide a solid and stable side image. Whenever I'm in a concert hall, the sound is an all enveloping experience. Even with the best recordings from Telarc, Shefield, Chesky, etc. played back on well placed high end systems, the reproduction falls far short of creating the all-encompassing imaging that you get inside an acoustically tuned concert hall, or even a local club. The best two-channel reproduction can convincingly convey much of the dynamics, the scale, and the tones of a live performance, but it falls short with the imaging and the depth perception.

    A simple comparison between the two-channel and multichannel versions of Chesky's Swing Live recording provides a good contrast in how imaging and depth greatly expand with the addition of surround channels. The two-channel recording is superb, with a very well recorded front soundfield and good imaging. But, with the multichannel version, the side imaging is solid and stable, and with that in place, the depth is far more palpable and convincing, and the width of the perceived soundfield expands greatly. This same disc also has a 6.0 version that makes use of high mounted speakers to convey a sense of height.

  23. #23
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    In the context of limiting the entire audiophile universe to reproducing live concert hall experiences, does this therefore mean that recordings that cannot produce "true" imaging are therefore also not "true" music?
    Why do you say that? While electronically reinforced music is still music, if offers zero in the way of presenting anything in the way of natural depth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The best two-channel reproduction can convincingly convey much of the dynamics, the scale, and the tones of a live performance, but it falls short with the imaging and the depth perception.
    It would seem that you haven't heard the same systems Hermanv, Joe E SP9, and I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    A simple comparison between the two-channel and multichannel versions of Chesky's Swing Live recording provides a good contrast in how imaging and depth greatly expand with the addition of surround channels.
    And I suspect that neither version is a close miked 32 track mix down.

    rw

  24. #24
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Why do you say that? While electronically reinforced music is still music, if offers zero in the way of presenting anything in the way of natural depth.
    "Natural" depth? Probably, but like my point mentioned, the whole purpose of so many well produced recordings nowadays is to introduce an experience that goes beyond what occurs naturally. To think of the performance in three-dimensions rather than strictly in terms of the "seventh row center" perspective. And the best studio recordings are hardly the audio equivalent of the cardboard cutouts that you alluded to earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    It would seem that you haven't heard the same systems Hermanv, Joe E SP9, and I have.
    And you probably have not visited the same concert halls and club venues that I have. (You don't know what I've actually listened to over the years, so you can't presume whether or not I've heard the same systems that you have) Compared to what I experience live, no two-channel listening in my 20+ years in this hobby can adequately render the imaging and the actual depth of the live performance. With a good multichannel recording and a matched speaker setup in the ITU 5.1 reference configuration, the imaging and depth perception facets of the live performance are rendered in a way that blows away anything that I've ever heard in two-channel. With a 5.1 setup with amplification and speakers that are up to the quality of the best two-channel setups I've ever heard, I would expect that the sense of scale, dynamic impact, and tonal accuracy would follow suit.

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    And I suspect that neither version is a close miked 32 track mix down.
    They weren't and that's the point. If "natural" depth and "true" imaging are viewed solely in the context of reproducing a live performance, then in that demo, the two-channel version simply falls short compared to the multichannel version. Since people are talking about "true" imaging and "natural" depth with stereo recordings, I'm simply pointing out the need for more than two channels to actually come closer to achieving those goals.

  25. #25
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Boy did you ever get that right! The whole notion that the quality of a recording and its imaging properties depends solely on how well it mimics a live performance is incredibly outdated, and ignores the huge variety of sounds and musical experiences that studio recordings can produce. I'm in agreement with Sir Terrence that imaging is about audibly placing the location of a sound within a soundfield. And in that endeavor, properly speaker placement is oh so important.

    A general rule of thumb is that the speakers should be no more than 60 degrees apart before the center image becomes unstable. Multichannel setups are more tolerant of wider angle front speaker placements because of the center speaker, but the surround speakers should be no more than 110 to 120 degrees off-center.

    Albums like Dark Side of the Moon and The Final Cut from Pink Floyd layer environmental sounds with the instrumentation in a way that simply sounds unlike anything that can possibly be produced live on a static stage. In the context of limiting the entire audiophile universe to reproducing live concert hall experiences, does this therefore mean that recordings that cannot produce "true" imaging are therefore also not "true" music? It sure seems like that's the view that a lot of audiophiles are trying to convey in an underhand way.

    And even accepting that live performance reproduction is the ultimate goal, two-channel is hardly adequate to achieve that goal. If "true" imaging is about conveying depth, then two-channel has got holes galore, because it cannot convey the back soundfield nor adequately provide a solid and stable side image. Whenever I'm in a concert hall, the sound is an all enveloping experience. Even with the best recordings from Telarc, Shefield, Chesky, etc. played back on well placed high end systems, the reproduction falls far short of creating the all-encompassing imaging that you get inside an acoustically tuned concert hall, or even a local club. The best two-channel reproduction can convincingly convey much of the dynamics, the scale, and the tones of a live performance, but it falls short with the imaging and the depth perception.

    A simple comparison between the two-channel and multichannel versions of Chesky's Swing Live recording provides a good contrast in how imaging and depth greatly expand with the addition of surround channels. The two-channel recording is superb, with a very well recorded front soundfield and good imaging. But, with the multichannel version, the side imaging is solid and stable, and with that in place, the depth is far more palpable and convincing, and the width of the perceived soundfield expands greatly. This same disc also has a 6.0 version that makes use of high mounted speakers to convey a sense of height.
    I am always amazed at how like minded we are about sooooooo many things audio.
    Sir Terrence

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