Why do we keep talking about lateral reflections? Because imaging is one of the most tangible, engrossing features of high-end listening and mixing.
Musical bass lines are absolutely amazing, but lifelike sound stage imaging is what wows the non-audiophiles and differentiates a mediocre audio playback system from a “real” one – according to certain audiophile circles.
This week we share Art Noxon’s explanation of the interaction between the reflections discussed the past few weeks and the imaging that you – the discriminating listener – experience. Enjoy!
The Psychoacoustics of Stereo Imaging
Notice how the left speaker plays directly into the left ear and leaves the right ear in an acoustic head shadow. Same with the right speaker and right ear.
With this arrangement, the stereophonic effect of sound source localization can take place. Sound no longer seems to come from the speakers, rather from various instrument locations in the sonic stage which is located generally between the speakers.
Side wall reflections split the sonic stage into wide set left and right areas and leave center stage empty, sonically dark.
Foggy like San Francisco Bay
When the cross talk reflections occur we get mixed LR signals in both ears which eliminates the stereo effect, leaving a large unfocused “fog bank” as a sound source.
Some audiophiles prefer the defocused sound stage. They feel that a well focused sound stage distracts them from paying attention to the music. The prefer “omni” speakers and little to no acoustics in the room except for bass traps. Other audiophiles enjoy the imaging effect and prefer more directional speakers, room acoustics, and bass traps.
We have some detailed notes, so click here for the full content.
The AttackWall is one of ASC’s secret tools for use in studio control rooms to “take the room out of the mix.” But did you know that AttackWalls work with HiFi systems also? Instead of applying acoustic treatment to the corners and walls, you can create a controlled mini-room from which the speakers play cleanly and allow an otherwise unwieldy room to provide a reference-level playback experience
We’ll see you next week! In the meantime, happy listening, keep it coherent, and free your speakers!