Spatial audio in speakers

September 3, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

12 comments on “Spatial audio in speakers”

  1. If I understand the monitor loudspeaker set-up in a mixing studio correctly the listener (sound engineer) is sitting in the near-field and has taken care that at least the first reflections from the side walls, ceiling and rear wall are delayed, diffused and partially absorbed as much as possible in order to dive as deep as possible into the recording/sound. It seems that you have a totally different understanding of reproducing the mix by adding as much as possible first reflections in a far-field set-up resulting in a most individual sound perception depending on the individual listener’s listening-room acoustics. Thus finally it’s up to the end-user to create his own type of soundstage. Most strange when “creating a high fidelity experience” was intended by the sound engineer!

    1. Unless you have exactly the same audio set-up as the sound engineer, you’re not going to create exactly the same high fidelity experience anyway…only an approximation.

  2. The best results for maximum soundstage will only come from moving your loudspeakers around (distance from front wall, distance from each other & toe-in) & this process takes time, patience & effort.
    You may even require some room treatment.
    If you’re really serious about creating the best soundstage possible, it would be worth your while to purchase a copy of Paul’s ‘The Audiophile’s Guide’ with it’s accompanying CD.

    1. Hello FR and Paul! Sometimes the more I learn here the more confused I get, lol. This post made me think of the Bose LS1 Speaker. For the record I do NOT like Bose. But they, and others in the Pro Audio world, make Line Array columns that have incredibly even dispersion – as much as 180 degrees. So why don’t I see home audio brands using a line array approach for soundstage? Eliminates the problem of a tiny sweet spot in your home, wouldn’t it?

        1. I’m not a fan of Bose professional products, but it is fascinating to look at their approach to product design. They create products that provide reliable results within a rather restricted set of use cases, based on relatively inexpensive components and construction, brought together with some careful engineering and design. In other words, they are using sophisticated engineering (including DSP) to create decent-enough products with a large gross margin. From a business perspective it’s impressive. They will not provide detailed specifications, because that would present their products in a poor light compared to companies that use higher quality components. However, many users will find the products satisfactory. There are limits to what they can achieve with a set of 2 inch drivers, and 180 degree coverage isn’t always convenient for performers.

      1. You’re correct about a good line array. The old Pipe Dreams speakers had a very good 3D sound stage to the left of the left speaker(and, of course to the right of the right). Of course, it got even better in between the towers and was the best at the classic middle seat. But until you sat in a better position you would be very pleased almost anywhere in front of the Pipe Dreams.

        1. I always wanted to hear those Pipe Dream speakers. And the Infinity IRSV. The old vintage EPI speakers with the inverted dome air spring tweeters had remarkable dispersion, detail, transparency and musicality. The design was bought by Focal. Still today one of the best tweeters ever made.

          1. Good afternoon Joe!
            I haven’t tried this as of yet.
            But as soon as I’ve got some extra money to play with, there are a cupple of boxes I’m looking to get my hands on.
            These boxes are called sound stage expenders.
            The only company that makes them, is Black Ice Audio.
            I heard that, they will expend the sound stage way beyond your speakers.
            I am really looking forward to hearing that sound in both my living room, and my bed room.

              1. Good morning Joe!
                Perhaps I should have been a little more clear about what that box is that I was talking about yesterday.
                That box, is not a speaker.
                It’s more like a preamp, and or an equalizer.
                But its mane perpis, is to extend the sound stage beyond the speakers.
                It also, can either boost and or cut the bass.
                It has a cupple of knobs that lets you control how narrow or wide you want your sound stage to be.
                The same thing, is also true about the bass.
                There’s a knob that allows you to boost or cut the bass.
                That’s why Michael Allen calls it, the FS Sound Stage Expender Bass Booster.
                You can pick up one for just a little less then $600USD.
                The place to go, is Underwood Hifi.
                Check it out at:
                Go to products, then name.
                Then click on Black Ice Audio products.
                You’ll see a picture of the FS Sound Stage Expender Bass Booster.
                It uses one 12AU7 tube.
                I hope I cleared that up for you.

  3. To Fat Rat’s point about room treatment, this week I installed four 2’x3′ bass traps (with diffusers) on the back wall of my 12×16′ listening room – a wall that has until now been untreated. My speakers were pretty well placed already and I had a bookcase at the first reflection point on one of the walls. These tweaks themselves made important improvements to sound and soundstage.

    Oh my gosh does the system sound better with these bass traps! The soundstage is far better delineated and more stable. There is a better sense of the performers and instruments in space, including front to back, and the instruments and voices are deeper, more rich and believable. My wife noticed the difference immediately. Until now, my equipment hasn’t been able to show me what it’s capable of. I regret only that I didn’t go down this path decades ago.

    Fwiw, these are GIK 244 Bass Traps with scatter plates.

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