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QuackQuack

What makes a good soundstage for speakers?

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OP is asking about soundstage but with descriptions about imaging as well.

 

Many of the full range electrostatic speakers image better than Magnepans and along with Quad 57 ESLs the vintage Acoustat can be very close with more bass, highs and louder. Rob McKinlay ESLs In WA image extremely well and I would expect the more expensive full range Martin Logan’s and hybrids are good also but they can cost anything from $5-7k up to $20k.

 

In terms of cone speakers those with coaxial woofers such as the Kef Ls50 image significantly more than standard two way or three way driver designs, although still fall short of a panel design speaker.

 

The JBL LSR305 is a quite a cheap base model conventional active two way driver speaker and could never be expected to image that well.

 

In order of imaging comes ESLs, ribbon panels, coaxial woofers, a small number of special conventional two or three way driver cone box designs usually quite expensive, then lastly with below average imaging are the vast number of mediocre conventional cone speakers ranging from expensive to the very cheap end.

Edited by Al.M

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14 hours ago, almikel said:

 

the 57 is a truly great speaker - possibly better than the 63 - in their sweet spot, just sublime.

 

 Unfortunately move left or right 500mm and the image collapses to one side, and they won't cop SPL.

 

I have ultimate respect for Peter Walker, his speakers and amps, but 57's wouldn't survive in my setup when the volume is elevated - unfortunately....

....but in my setup  I can move way off axis and the image never collapses to one side - all the electros I've listened to (Quad 57's, 63's, Martin Logans) all suffer from the image collapsing once  you get off centre.

 

Fine if you're listening alone in the sweet spot - with 2 people on a couch each person hears 1 speaker - this is not ideal.

 

Mike

 

A couple of points to make, there. Firstly, there is no system (at least none that I've ever heard) where there isn't a sweet spot and that always involves single person listening. Listening in any other position.....other than the sweet spot.....is a compromise. Yes, it's true that some systems allow more latitude in these matters than others, but the fundamental fact remains....there is only one sweet spot.

 

It's been my experience, that audiophiles fall (largely) into two categories...those who prefer Hi Fi and those who want to hear music. If music is your preference, then a speaker like the Quad 57 is hard to beat. If on the other hand you prefer Hi Fi.....by that I mean those who prefer to hear their equipment over other considerations.....would do well to look elsewhere for a speaker. Quad 57s (and ESLs in general) don't move much air, so they are not ideal speakers for reproducing rock music and the like.

 

The above is not meant to be a putdown, just an observation.

 

 

Edited by MusicOne

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The Magnepan SMG's were incredibly good with classical music in  a quiet room and relatively low volume for reproducing beautiful nuance and dynamics of even orchestral performances without compromising the imaging.

 

Late at night listening was always a real pleasure.

 

 

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Interesting topic. I recall reading about some research from David Griesinger which found that “envelopment” required late 10-20ms reflections. Perhaps, in the set-ups mentioned, it is a case of the front wall reflection from Magnepan speakers set well into the room being of long enough time to create this effect? One interesting attempt to utilise this finding is http://www.audiokinesis.com/dream-maker-lcs.html is to combine a constant directivity horn speaker (that minimises short duration side wall reflections) with an effects speaker that creates the long lag reflections. I’ve often thought of attempting to trial this effect via adding some effects speakers that are directed at the ceiling and, via DSP, delayed.

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@zydeco Thanks for pointing us to an interesting link.

I have been using an upwards / rearwards firing ribbon speaker for some time.

 

My u/r firing Neotech JP3 ribbon has no delay, points towards the ceiling behind the main speakers and is the same electric polarity as the main Raven R2 ribbon.

Raven-Neotech_1_SNA_s.jpg.49ca49b602273b9b0113145ba5b73d45.jpg

 

I could connect the u/r firing ribbon via a separate amplifier and use a delay (miniDSP), reverse the polarity (miniDSP), something to try as well as various orientations of the second ribbon.

 

Is this sort of thing possible to try in your case @QuackQuack ?

Of course after you have tried the Soundoctor method.

It would be an interesting experiment.

Edited by soundbyte

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I am similar obsessed with imaging and in particular the phantom center. My room is far from ideal and is currently, largely unfurnished/finished. Nevertheless through continual movement of speakers very small amounts and my listening , cough, seat, I can achieve quite good imagining as in the speakers do disappear. The sound-stage is not wide beyond the speakers, which I think is a characteristic of my room, but there is depth. What I found made an amazing difference to how solid the phantom center sounded was leveling my turntable. CDs always sounded fine but this little detail really made things a lot tighter. I have not heard electrostatics and I have no doubt they do what everyone says but in my modest system and less than ideal environment I have been able to achieve a bit of what you are looking for.

 

 

3 hours ago, MusicOne said:

It's been my experience, that audiophiles fall (largely) into two categories...those who prefer Hi Fi and those who want to hear music. If music is your preference, then a speaker like the Quad 57 is hard to beat. If on the other hand you prefer Hi Fi.....by that I mean those who prefer to hear their equipment over other considerations.....would do well to look elsewhere for a speaker. Quad 57s (and ESLs in general) don't move much air, so they are not ideal speakers for reproducing rock music and the like.

 

The above is not meant to be a putdown, just an observation.

 

 

This isn't meant to be a put down either but that is a typical put down. My HiFi is a means to an end. The term means hi fidelity. The act of getting as close to the original source. Now that does get lost in the translation but it is quite patronising to simply dismiss the pursuit of "accurate" reproduction of "music" as an alternative to listening to "music". The illusion of "stereo" was created to make a recording sound more life like. It fails a lot due to the various mixing philosophies in the studio but it should when used correctly make a recording sound more like "music".

From what I've read and what you say the 57 is good at reproducing band width limited music that nevertheless exhibits a particularity HiFi characteristic of a wide sound-stage. Does this then make it a HiFi listeners speaker or a "music" listeners speaker? :thumb:

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2 hours ago, crisis said:

This isn't meant to be a put down either but that is a typical put down. My HiFi is a means to an end. The term means hi fidelity. The act of getting as close to the original source.

I dont think he was meaning to be patronising and understand what he is saying but I agree with you it’s all the same for audiophiles and there are more than just two types and many shades in between as well as tending towards one end or the other.

 

I love the Quad 57 and its a great example of imaging and incredible midrange, however there are more problems with them that outway owning them as well, lack of treble extension, one note bass, drive, maintenance and inconsistency of sound among may different pairs due to age, appearance. Unless you don’t mind throwing money, time and frustration at keeping them going.

 

The best the OP can do with the JBLs in addition to what he has done is move them around the room to find the best position, use better imaging amps and sources, which will only go so far and defeats the purpose so money spent on amps etc will be a waste, better to spend on changing speakers. Since he has been spoilt with Magnepans the only solution is another one, ESLs a step up, or unusually good imaging cone speakers as mentioned which will still fall short of any panel speaker. A good coaxial cone speaker could get to within about 70-80% to a panel speaker.

Edited by Al.M

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2 hours ago, soundbyte said:

@zydeco Thanks for pointing us to an interesting link.

I have been using an upwards / rearwards firing ribbon speaker for some time.

 

My u/r firing Neotech JP3 ribbon has no delay, points towards the ceiling behind the main speakers and is the same electric polarity as the main Raven R2 ribbon.

Raven-Neotech_1_SNA_s.jpg.49ca49b602273b9b0113145ba5b73d45.jpg

 

I could connect the u/r firing ribbon via a separate amplifier and use a delay (miniDSP), reverse the polarity (miniDSP), something to try as well as various orientations of the second ribbon.

 

Is this sort of thing possible to try in your case @QuackQuack ?

Of course after you have tried the Soundoctor method.

It would be an interesting experiment.

Works very well can vouch for the ribbon arrangement, had a few hours in front of that particular system

Relaxed, accurate and engaging, stages very well and has been through many abortions to get to that point over years. 

 

Step up in my honest opinion is a Cinema horn or similar, 70mm dia. loaded professional titanium compression driver, there is only one other for image that comes close and that's a panel speaker.

Playing about with toe in can work and the case here in a small room, crossing the on axis toed in speakers just in front of the sweet listening zone is way better than the speakers firing straight into the room. Wall first reflection is a massive contributor to poor stage image, mostly negated if 

1, the speakers are toed in and exhibit controlled directivity (best situation) with panels/horns, which are both types of controlled or narrow dispersion type speakers.

2, Walls are treated for this anomaly and speakers are again, toed in to minimise this boundary interaction. (ring and unloaded/un guided compression drives)

 

Peace to All 

 

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2 hours ago, crisis said:

I am similar obsessed with imaging and in particular the phantom center. My room is far from ideal and is currently, largely unfurnished/finished. Nevertheless through continual movement of speakers very small amounts and my listening , cough, seat, I can achieve quite good imagining as in the speakers do disappear. The sound-stage is not wide beyond the speakers, which I think is a characteristic of my room, but there is depth. What I found made an amazing difference to how solid the phantom center sounded was leveling my turntable. CDs always sounded fine but this little detail really made things a lot tighter. I have not heard electrostatics and I have no doubt they do what everyone says but in my modest system and less than ideal environment I have been able to achieve a bit of what you are looking for.

 

 

This isn't meant to be a put down either but that is a typical put down. My HiFi is a means to an end. The term means hi fidelity. The act of getting as close to the original source. Now that does get lost in the translation but it is quite patronising to simply dismiss the pursuit of "accurate" reproduction of "music" as an alternative to listening to "music". The illusion of "stereo" was created to make a recording sound more life like. It fails a lot due to the various mixing philosophies in the studio but it should when used correctly make a recording sound more like "music".

From what I've read and what you say the 57 is good at reproducing band width limited music that nevertheless exhibits a particularity HiFi characteristic of a wide sound-stage. Does this then make it a HiFi listeners speaker or a "music" listeners speaker? :thumb:

 

Get out on the wrong side of bed, did we?

 

Have a beer and relax....and maybe listen to some 57s.:)

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1 hour ago, 125dBmonster said:

been through many abortions

?? iterations , re-births ??

Lots of changes though, most for the better.

 

Best result for no money was from the Soundoctor method. :)

 

Still trying to nut out the IB @125dBmonster.

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6 minutes ago, soundbyte said:

?? iterations , re-births ??

Lots of changes though, most for the better.

 

Best result for no money was from the Soundoctor method. :)

 

Still trying to nut out the IB @125dBmonster.

Keep going with the IB Russell :) 

Those Twins are alive, well one but running. Tests later with a class D amp for a couple of clean watts and do the tests outside on the edge of the cliff yard I have. Play some REW Sweeps to the neighbourhood. 

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49 minutes ago, MusicOne said:

 

Get out on the wrong side of bed, did we?

 

Have a beer and relax....and maybe listen to some 57s.:)

haha. Had a great sleep in this morning.  Not intended to offend but I stand by my comments. I enjoy robust discussion, we are all mature adults (or at least one of either of those)..

I need no encouragement to have a beer and one day I hope to listen to the famous 57s. :thumb:

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5 minutes ago, crisis said:

haha. Had a great sleep in this morning.  Not intended to offend but I stand by my comments. I enjoy robust discussion, we are all mature adults (or at least one of either of those)..

I need no encouragement to have a beer and one day I hope to listen to the famous 57s. :thumb:

 

Cheers, @crisis  No offence taken mate....and if I still had a pair of 57s, you would be more than welcome to come over....oh, you're in SA....might have been a bit of an obstacle.

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@crisis I don't have 57s but I do have their descendants the 2905s if you want to hear imaging, clarity and bass.  In a pretty well sorted environment. 

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OK, so because of this discussion I dragged the SMG's out and hooked them up, divorce proceedings are now in train but that is neither here nor there when discussing sound stage.

 

Didn't take too much care as regards the set up as the Maggies are pretty forgiving and I have had enough experience to know roughly how to get the best out of them. First thing for me is always to reverse left for right and bring the tweeters to the inside as it gives  considerably more treble to the otherwise listener head cold quality to female vocals and frees the tinkle of the piano.

 

The bass is as one poster noted, is one note like. On every other speaker I have the contour, burr, bend and grip of the bass particularly double bass is much better than the SMG's. For 50Hz though it sounds a lot deeper and low notes on piano are pretty convincing. But I have quite an imagination and so am able to initiate psycho-acoustics at will :cool: which is the budget conscious audiophile's saving grace and works pretty well.

 

But the imaging is second to none especially for depth of the sound stage and as I have said before at low volume simply splendid.

 

So they'll remain up for a couple of days until I turn off the psych-o-acoustics on the Maggies and turn my attention to and psychoacoustics on to turn my Paradigm Atoms V3 (another fantastic imaging speaker) into a pair of Duntech Sovreigns.

 

 

 

 

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If you get the opportunity, try an open baffle design. I went from Maggie 1.7’s to Spatial M3’s. Better WAF, better bass, just as good, if not better, imaging and 3D soundstage, and much better if you like to belt out a bit of rock now and then.

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On 14/01/2018 at 10:48 AM, soundbyte said:

@zydeco Thanks for pointing us to an interesting link.

I have been using an upwards / rearwards firing ribbon speaker for some time.

 

My u/r firing Neotech JP3 ribbon has no delay, points towards the ceiling behind the main speakers and is the same electric polarity as the main Raven R2 ribbon.

Raven-Neotech_1_SNA_s.jpg.49ca49b602273b9b0113145ba5b73d45.jpg

 

I could connect the u/r firing ribbon via a separate amplifier and use a delay (miniDSP), reverse the polarity (miniDSP), something to try as well as various orientations of the second ribbon.

 

Is this sort of thing possible to try in your case @QuackQuack ?

Of course after you have tried the Soundoctor method.

It would be an interesting experiment.

I actually do have a minidsp, so funny you should mention it! People always say that the Maggies sound better further away from the wall, and I guess the idea is to put enough delay into the sound from the first reflection so that it doesn't muddy the direct sound. How are you finding your ceiling firing tweeter?

 

23 hours ago, blybo said:

If you get the opportunity, try an open baffle design. I went from Maggie 1.7’s to Spatial M3’s. Better WAF, better bass, just as good, if not better, imaging and 3D soundstage, and much better if you like to belt out a bit of rock now and then.

Wow, that's an interesting design. Similar to the Maggies both in the sense that you have dipole sound, but also a very large surface area for the source sound - I wonder if this helps with the imaging too. Has anyone ever listened to a dipole speaker outside? It would make for an interesting comparison.

 

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6 minutes ago, QuackQuack said:

How are you finding your ceiling firing tweeter?

I find it just adds that little bit of extra "air, ambience" difficult to describe in meaningful words, but take it out and you notice it immediately.

I am yet to try using it with delay via miniDSP, may get to that later this week.

Making the most out of the present good weather and am out searching for orchids most days.

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On 1/14/2018 at 3:23 PM, davewantsmoore said:

Equal frequency and phase response for the L and R speaker.

Can I also add one needs to have their head equi-distance from each speaker?  I find it mildly irritating when someone has a listen to a system and makes a judgement without ever sitting in 'the chair.'  I have heard good speakers and rooms that produce nice tone away from the sweet spot, but rarely image or stage well from the side of the room  such (as heard whilst scoffing chips from the side table at a GTG).  :) 

 

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