It Was as if She Were Saying: “I Want You Near Me”
We ended last week unveiling the special “forward image” TubeTrap with its dual reflectors placed on opposite sides to allow the center image to be moved forward by extreme amounts.
Now hear how Ms Turner helped reinvent the concept of an “immersive soundstage!”
We Were Nearly In the Midnight Hour
Hear it as it happened. Late one evening after setup day for an audio show, we were “field testing” the new Forward Image TubeTrap (FRTTFI) with some big-sound music made by powerful musicians. We were fed, rested and ready to be impressed by our new discovery. The standard compliment of TubeTraps was arranged, and the special FRTTFI was pulled way out toward the listening chair.
We hit play. The fabulous Tina Turner-singing Proud Mary-palpably BECAME the microphone, and she was screamin and singin all over it; while she is certainly no monster, it felt as though we may be eaten! Larger than life is an understatement; her face was the size of the room! Simply put, it was the single most unforgettable audio imaging experience any of us had ever had.
No drugs, no alcohol, nothing but sound.
It was so intense, I jumped out of the chair in shock and a little bit of fear, staring at the speakers in disbelief. Just as when confronted with any good exhilarating experience, we kept on taking turns…until we could take no more. Now a little exhausted and still reeling from the experience, we just had to slide that FRTTFI back between the speakers to calm things down. We realized this had to be an acoustic zoom lens.
It Takes Two (Speakers)
The image distribution in a traditional HiFi stereo room is crescent shaped. A central image field across and outside of the speakers is augmented by a partial wrap around and down the sides.
A Complicated Disaster
There are a few wrong ways to do it, and consequences to be paid.
If speakers are too far apart, the image thins and dims in the middle.
Too close together, the image is too bright and thick between the speakers, so it lacks width and breadth.
Funny How Time (Delay) Slips Away
A properly constructed sound stage has several key components. The center image is always the star, standing tall and shining bright. The soloist for the group is mostly centered. Images of other instrumentalists and singers are positioned by varying time delays and loudness between speakers. Drums may occupy a width of several feet on either side of one speaker. The horn section may center on one speaker while swinging beyond it down the side. In this way, the entire ensemble can be sonically “seen” in their own distinct positions, typically mimicking the layout demonstrated in a live performance by the group or soloist.
Of course, the end user experiencing this requires that the mix and mastering engineers (I’m talking to you!) work in an environment capable of providing this level of accuracy and distribution in imaging. Hint: use the ASC AttackWall!
Shake a Tail Feather
Thanks for reading this week’s acoustic tip and story. We also extend gratitude to the great Tina Turner for her sensational voice and performance style. Her song list is also pretty amazing (you did notice, didn’t you?).