Achieving soundstage depth

December 28, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

14 comments on “Achieving soundstage depth”

  1. My speakers the NHT 2.9 are designed to be placed close to the front wall but the speakers are very deep so it allows the front baffle to extend out into the room. Not as far as Paul has the FR30 but in my room it’s perfect, I couldn’t come out that far anyways due to furniture. My depth is very good and I lose no bass or tonal balance. Musicality, touch of warmth, detail, and transparency are great which are the most important things to me. I’m not using my subwoofers at the moment and if I had the room to bring the speakers out further to improve the depth I would bring in the subs for sure. Going to bring in the Sunfire 12″ woofer passive radiator stereo subs anyways when I feel up to it. Maybe the PSB’s or Velodyne too. For now using diffusing like Paul says helps a lot.

    1. I have no problem using identical 12″ woofer passive radiator subs in stereo near the front wall and filling in the back of the room with my large 105 pound 18″ Velodyne sub and large and heavy 15″ PSB sub running them in mono. Maybe just using one or the other for a total of three. I like the small Sunfires for the front walls for stereo subs where I have more clutter and congestion, they fit in easily being only 13″ cubes. Still weigh in at 53 pounds each with those massive magnets. I have more space in the back of the room for the much larger PSB and/or Velodyne’s and I love the warm sounding class AB amplifiers they have. Less power than the Sunfires that have class D but sound beautiful.

      1. My NHT main speakers extend down to 26Hz-26kHz, ±3dB so I have no urgency for the subs but the frequency response drops off fast at 26Hz so subs filling in the hole below 26Hz and solidifying the bass above it where the drop off begins around 30Hz will definitely make a big difference. I have an excellent subwoofer bass equalizer with balanced inputs and variable slopes from minus 6db to minus 45db with a spectrum analyzer, microphone, and can be used with up to 6 microphones for bass averaging that I still have not used and would like to see how that works out. Has presets and can be used for up to 3 subs. Let the fun begin. 🙂 Hope I don’t get thrown out by my downstairs landlord who is a good friend. Could this ruin a good friendship?

        1. Going to need some heavy duty extension cords. My biggest challenge to using so many subs is to make sure to have them on a few different power circuits so not to overload and blow the circuit breaker.

            1. Let me put it this way, if the lowest notes in the recorded music in my CD library, played through the DeVore’s, can vibrate my guts & chest, then what do I need a sub for in
              my medium/small listening room?

              1. 100%. Many don’t realize they can improve their bass and overall sound by just cleaning their exterior connections and internal pots and input switches. We don’t go out and buy a new car because it needs an oil change.

          1. As Paul mentions here: stereo is all about fooling our ear brain system. And these mid- and far-field set-ups are all about fooling ourselves with the listening room’s acoustics and its specific reflection-patterns. However I never will understand the illusion of being able to fix the inherent and annoying room modes in the bass region without any equalization. The most convincing solution seems to build a subwoofer array covering the front or rear wall or to use subs in front and behind the listing seat playing with specific delays which results in a near perfect elimination of room mode effects at the listening spot. On the other hand psycho-acoustic research has proven that our ear-brain system is able to”virtually” create the fundamental note when this fundamental note is beyond the bass frequency range of a loudspeaker. Thus it might be that really deep bass which you can feel as a punch on your stomach has nothing to do with stereo. Alas, I would rather prefer every loudspeaker design which shows a near perfect step response rather than being full-range. And guess what, there are tools out there from Devialet (SAM) and Trinnov Audio which are able to cancel phasing errors of drivers in a loudspeaker resulting in overwhelming improvements in sound quality and in creation of depth! 🙂

            1. I have plenty of time these days, however, I do not have the spare money, the larger room at my disposal, nor the inclination to get the bass absolutely ‘right’…as with most aspects of home-audio, it starts with the recording.
              Many recordings from the ’60s, ’70s & the early ’80s were not ‘done properly’ in the bass department…& I’m talking CDs not vinyl…which is a damn shame.
              You get it right for one recording & it’s not ‘right’ for the next one…it’s a minefield…it’s always going to be a compromise.
              What I have set up, the way that it is set up & the room that it is currently set up in, is the best compromise that I’m going to get for the financial amount that I am prepared to outlay.

  2. I too have an audio depth perception problem. Otherwise the lateral soundstage is excellent. The front of my Heresy IVs are 4.5 feet from the front wall. (My wife will not allow them to come out further!) In the first audiophile guide Paul mentioned that towing the speakers too far in can diminish the depth. I’m surprised he didn’t mention that. I will try the diffuser trick, but I’m not sure what material is best.

  3. Late to the party…been traveling to the East coast for the new year!

    Maybe due to my components, my small listening room dimensions, my genre of music, my hearing, or a synergistic balance of all the above, I currently have Acoustical Soundstage Depth Paul talks about (depending on the music/recording), that goes from 2ft (front wall behind the monitor baffles) all the way out to 50ft (through bedroom #2 and out into the West property)!!

    The recorded venue appears in all its sonic glory, with dropping jaws and wide-eyed stares into the musical spacial abyss that can be easily heard beyond my stand monitors. On PSA’s “The Loudspeaker”, the 3, 6 and 9ft stage depth cuts are clearly presented as the vocals drop back in the soundstage space. Live acoustical recordings sound LIVE as I’m transported into the space/time of the original venue! My room/speakers/components disappear in a complete divorcing act that leaves nothing but You and the Music…Audio Nirvana Rules!!!

    May not be “your thing”, but for me (with my experiences in music study, degree, live performance and teaching), a goal that I’ve been trying to achieve these past 47 years!

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