Tag Archives: soundstage

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

From Paul.
Impossible feats

Speakers should disappear, which seems impossible. The drivers are pointing straight at us!

Much to my surprise this fact, along with another—the soundstage should come from behind the loudspeaker—continually baffles people.

I am at the Japan Audio show today and watched as two setup guys had the right combination of disappearing source and rear presentation, only to change placement to pinpoint the source and move the sound up front. When questioned they had a simple answer—it seemed more logical to them.

And so it’s true. Logic suggests the source of sound should be obvious and the fact the drivers are pointing straight at you implies the stage should unfold between you and the speaker. Logical.

But wrong.

Here’s a way of thinking about this that might help you. Picture a live group playing in the room and imagine the speakers as microphones. The “microphones” point at our band and record the sound. When we magically reverse roles, microphones back to speakers, we should expect the band’s position to remain unchanged and disconnected from the microphone/speaker.

Our goal in any recording/reproduction chain should be to recreate the live event.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Hearing vs. listening

We hear audio with our ears, we listen with our brains.

This sometimes overlooked observation explains much. For example, people with limited frequency response are often good listeners capable of discerning fine variations in harmonics, frequency response, and phase. The brain compensates for that which the ears do not properly register.

This observation also explains why it sometimes takes training to hear minute differences many among us accept as “obvious”.

I have, on numerous occasions, walked people through the process of listening by pointing out specific areas to focus on: depth, soundstage, timbre, pacing. Once they get the hang of it, wrapping their brains around the newly acquired listening skills, they become self sufficient listeners.

The same can be said about our other senses. Our tongue and nose send taste information, but it is our brains and experience that interpret them in meaningful ways. Just ask any wine taster.

The better we become as listeners, the more we demand quality hifi equipment.