How speakers image height

December 26, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

9 comments on “How speakers image height”

  1. Good input. Personally I never asked for height perception since I am pretty far away from my spekaers thus height does not really matter. To get height information into the two channels I agree with Paul that it has to do with sound character change either with the effect of ground reflection and/or with the directivity response of microphones which changes also the sound like the directivity of mid and high speaker chassis.

  2. Paul is correct…first and foremost, the recording must capture the “height” (room boundary dependent) that can be found in mostly live acoustical performances. In my Octave Record recordings (mostly studio captures), I hear the information clues that hint whether musicians are standing or sitting!

    I have “cathedral” recordings with choir and pipe organ recorded with a single stereo mic on top of a 35ft boom (cathedral roof center is 90ft high). In a particular performance by the Westminster choir performing Benjamin Britten’s “Festival Te Deum” (Chesky Records), I am placed in the huge cathedral and can clearly hear and sense an ambient reverb height of 50+ft (even though my dedicated music room has a ceiling that is just 11ft)! Like Paul suggest, my stand monitors are tilted back about 5 degrees, yielding more open/natural height dimensions and perfect time alignment of the 2-way monitors!!

  3. Good afternoon Paul!
    I have my four Avantone Pro CLA-10 studio monitors in each corner of my bed room.
    Including my JBL LSR-310S powered subwoofers, I have three monitors in each corner in an angle, stacked up on top of each other.
    Last night when my wife and I decided to go to bed, I turned on that system in our bed room.
    For the first time, I heard things that I’ve never heard before until then.
    Some of those things sounded like they were coming from the sealing of my bed room.
    I’ve had those monitors for a little more then two years.
    But I never heard them do that before.
    Was it the type of recordings that I was listening to?
    Or, was it the way that I sat the tone controls on my vintage Fisher 800 stereo receiver?
    Please clue me in on how that happened!
    And also, thanks in advance!

      1. Good morning Peter!
        You know me as JP or if you will, John Price.
        But on here, I now use the screen name, DJ Sound Man.
        Because, by my own right, this is exactly what I am.
        PS, the way you put that question to me, made me think of some of the people that I and my wife run in to from time to time.
        If they don’t know you, then some of them will ask you, “who dat?”
        I guess thats the way that some black people talk.
        Nothing wrong with that, but it does sound kind of funny when you hear it.
        But when I hear the word dat, I start thinking about digital audio tape.
        A pease of tech that’s no longer around anymore.

  4. I do not know if it is because I have tall speakers, but the height of voices is always higher whether I am sitting down or standing. The voices are typically 6 to 8 feet tall.

    I have no issue with it at all since the audio rack is between the speakers and the center image is above it.

  5. I too have the same issues with image height that Phil inquired about in the video and have struggled to rectify it as well even after following steps in The Stereo book utilizing the SACD, (Thanks Paul!).

    In my 14′ x 21′ room the speakers, Hales Transcendence-8, are placed nearly 1/3 (6.5’) of the way into my room from FRONT wall, 6.5ft apart, with seating location 1/5 from the REAR wall, where the bass has the smoothest response, which places me 13ft from the speakers. If I sit anywhere else, on track-7 when Chris B. plays the stand up bass I get a terrible bass accumulation on the 9th pluck going up and 12 & 13 plucks coming down the scale.

    The only thing I have found to raise the image is to move closer to speakers which degrades the bass. Frustrating to say the least. I’ve tried tilting my speakers, which already have a angled baffle, with little improvement. Any additional suggestions would be appreciated.

    Question for others about the stereo image they are getting. If you had to describe the image size of the image and your approximate location to that image what would you describe? In my set up I have sound divorced from speakers with a very deep and wide image only slightly behind the speakers and if the recording is high quality the image extends as far as a 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock positions outside of the speakers. My speakers are not way in front of the image behind them but somewhat immersed on the front edge of image. My seating position provides a somewhat distant seating location from the recorded event. I’m not a fan of the headphone type stereo image where you feel like your IN the recording room or 3ft from the performance when I sit close to the equilateral triangle position.

    If I move speakers further out in room, say slightly over 1/3 of the length of room, I can get an enormous image well behind the speakers but at the cost of inner image detail. Paul, if you’re reading this post, you have advise many time that proper imaging should be divorced from speakers and well behind the speakers but have not described the sense your seating location provides, does it feel like your in the recording room, 5’-8’ away, further etc….? I really like track-18 Unsatisfied, by Jessica Carson.

    Love the videos your provide and your sense of humor.


  6. What Paul is explaining is correct, at least it makes a lot of sense to me, However the expression of Height in a given recording is a direct function of the Space the music was recorded. Compare a good studio studio album, for example, to a live recording especially one made in a Grand space like a concert hall and I bet you will receive more height information that way (from the actual space specific reverberations).

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