Soundstage height

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 2723 times.

Spenav

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Soundstage height
« on: 14 Oct 2021, 10:38 pm »
Soundstage height has always eluded me in my setup and environment. My soundstage is always as high as my speakers. My small bookshelf speakers (Audience 1+1 v3) are perched on 36” stands, which is high but the sound has never given the illusion that it is coming from higher, unlike the width and depth that are always bigger and larger than the speakers position would suggest. My question for the experience audiophiles and pros is: can this be addressed by acoustical treatment or is it purely a function of my electronics?  Thanks in advance for your answers.
N.B.  My room has minimal treatment for bass that is provided by 4 Martin Logan subs.

Big Red Machine

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #1 on: 15 Oct 2021, 12:12 am »
I would offer that the direct radiation of most tweeters might drive a soundstage to hover at those levels. Some speakers use rear radiating tweeters that add ambiance, like surround speakers in HT use, and I'll bet they can do a better job influencing the height.

That could all be hogwash. But I do agree, I have similar limitations on height. Sometime even like I have crouching musicians behind my equipment. I often can get wider than the speakers soundstage with room treatments and speaker placement. The height issue is not something I have learned how to improve and drats if it takes a specially equipped speaker to change it.

Spenav

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #2 on: 15 Oct 2021, 12:59 am »
Thanks Big Red for taking a stab at it. My speakers have no tweeters as the drivers are “full range “, one in the front and one in the rear. I hope GIK will chime in.

JWL.GIK

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 117
    • GIK Acoustics
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #3 on: 15 Oct 2021, 01:14 am »
Hi Spenav,

Awesome question!

For me I associate "height" with the highest treble frequencies arriving coherently at our ears. By coherently I mean they (10-20kHz+) are present in good balance with other frequencies, and are not too beset with comb filtering and other artifacts of an untreated room. I do have a few ideas about it.

  • As a practical matter, it's possible the speakers are too low still. If they are 36" off the ground, maybe prop them up a bit 6-12" and see if that changes your perception of height in the audio.
  • With the speaker designs I saw online (assuming I'm looking at the right ones), first thing to verify is the high frequency treble response of the speakers. Single driver systems usually have the most trouble out at the edges of their range. So I'd see where yours rolls off. If it's 16-18k (rather than 20k or higher) that could definitely be part of the equation.
  • Yes treatments can help. Reflection points, particularly ceiling reflection points, should be treated well, and the better the room in general the more coherent the sound is.
  • whenever sound isn't what I expect, I always go back through and verify all the wiring & settings, ie, make sure speakers are in proper phase, all electronics are set as expected, etc, just to be sure.

Also, achieving "height" in mixes is one of the sort of gold standards for mix engineers and is definitely not easy to achieve.....  so obviously make sure you are listening to great recordings, preferably with which you've experienced "height" previously on other systems......

Spenav

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #4 on: 15 Oct 2021, 01:34 am »
Thanks JWL.  I will try to raise the speakers and see what happens. I appreciate you taking the time.

SoCalWJS

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #5 on: 15 Oct 2021, 01:30 pm »
Something else to consider.

How tall is your chair? What height are you at in relation to the drivers of your speakers? If you cannot change the height of the speakers, try either a taller or shorter chair. Alternatively, try angling the speakers slightly up or down.

Just a consideration.

Letitroll98

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 5075
  • Too loud is just right
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #6 on: 15 Oct 2021, 02:25 pm »
I think the whole speaker height and listening height is a misnomer in regards to soundstage height.  With my Meadowlark's down for repair I have a pair of 36" high PSB Alpha Towers with the tweeters at 27" high, listening chair puts my ears about 32", and the soundstage height is expansive.  Playing an old Enya cd last night the soundstage was higher than the actual 8' ceiling.  Albeit that her music is artificially enhanced, the soundstage was reproduced as intended.  Other more naturally recorded music has no artificial height limits.  There's something else besides tweeter height going on here.

Early B.

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #7 on: 15 Oct 2021, 08:49 pm »
I've always suffered from soundstage height issues until recently. Conventional wisdom states that the tweeter should be at ear height. That's nonsense, IMO, because it usually doesn't offer sufficient soundstage height. In a live environment, some of the speakers hang from the ceiling and no one ever complains about soundstage height. My guess is the problem has a lot to do with the room. When I put my speakers much higher than ear height (12 inches, for example), the soundstage height improves significantly. However, this may not be practical for many of us.

Spenav

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #8 on: 16 Oct 2021, 05:11 am »
@SoCalWJS
My listening chair is a regular loveseat that places my ears at what would be tweeter level. Unfortunately I cannot angle my speakers because they have a driver in the rear also. Raising the front would lower the rear (see link below). Thanks.
https://audience-av.com/loudspeakers/1plus1/

veloceleste

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 356
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #9 on: 17 Oct 2021, 12:38 am »
My speakers were on originally on 20” stands that put the tweeter at ear height when seated. I was auditioning a potential replacement speaker that required a higher stand (26”) and decided to try my current speakers on the 26” stand and was quite pleased with the improvement in sound stage height and also an improvement in the bass. The bass became cleaner, more focused and tighter. I may be way off but I attribute that to less floor bounce. My current and I believe to be last speakers I will own are now on the taller stands to stay. A serendipitous discovery!

youngho

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #10 on: 18 Oct 2021, 03:03 pm »
Perception of elevation seem to be primarily pinna effects and learned head-related transfer functions (personally, I am particularly prone to this, so I tend to perceive higher frequencies as coming from higher in the vertical plane). The frequencies involved seem to be >1 kHz, primarily >=7 kHz. I have read that the floor bounce can have an effect on perception of spatial quality, so it may be reasonable to try addressing that. Also, tilt is reasonable--I don't understand why having a bipolar radiation pattern would preclude this.

youngho

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #11 on: 28 Oct 2021, 05:27 pm »
I mentioned my subjective perception of elevation as related to frequency. This is discussed in Spatial Hearing by Jens Blauert. "Pratt established that auditory events of high musical pitch, which he called "high tones," are localized at a higher elevation angle than are auditory events whose pitch is low, which he called "low tones." Trimble varied the fundamental frequency of the sound event continuously...Roffler and Buttler measured the same effect with greater exactitude...in every case, the elevation angle of the auditory event was described as varying as a function of hte frequency of the sound event...while still aware of these results, the present author made a similar but more general observation."

planet10

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 1761
  • Frugal-phile (tm)
    • planet10-hifi
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #12 on: 28 Oct 2021, 06:06 pm »
... so I tend to perceive higher frequencies as coming from higher in the vertical plane...

What youngho says.

Research into how we hear suggests that greater vertical image/soundstage height comes as an artifact that, even from the same physical source, we percieve HF as higher up in the vertical direction.

So we are back to needing a very coherent loudspeaker that is carefilly placed. It has to be capable of reproducing the very small details that contribute to the illusion of a 3D soundstage/image. ie high DDR. And the timing from each speaker has to be just right. It is important that the harmonics stay within their envelope, something rarely seen in speakers with XOs, particualry at HF where it is very difficult to keep drivers within a quarter wavelength at the XO frequency.

If a loudspeaker i build does not, with the right source material, do this i consider that it needs more work.

dave

Rusty Jefferson

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 713
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #13 on: 28 Oct 2021, 09:09 pm »
I have to disagree with the idea of mostly high frequencies being associated with a taller soundstage. I just visited a friend with a wonderful system and we listened to some organ music. From the lowest pedal notes to the highest keys, you could "see" the pipes going up the front wall (9 feet tall)  to the ceiling where all the music emerged near or at the wall/ceiling interface about 8ft behind the speakers, with no sound audible from the speakers. Glorious.

It does require speakers (3-4 way) that have matched dispersion and phase at crossover, low diffraction, excellent time alignment, and ideally a rear firing tweeter. The sound should be essentially omnidirectional with the speakers sounding the same from either the front or the rear. As an example, you're not going to get a realistic soundstage with height from a pair of Altec 604s in 8 cubic foot boxes. That's not what they do. Then there's the room. Most don't have available space for a rule of thirds setup, but it's important as are traditional absorption and diffraction treatments.

All that said, the image height could still be stuck at or slightly above the speakers. If you're listening digitally there's a lot of things that will effect your soundstage. USB cables, server and dac selection, switches (I didn't believe it until I heard it), linear power supplies, storing music on a NAS, not a PC, etc. There's not a simple do "this" and get a huge soundstage secret, unfortunately. Work to get sound from being stuck on your speakers as a first step. If you listen to a live recording in an acoustic space and hear music coming from the speakers, try to eliminate it. In the Altec 604 example, you wouldn't be able to, but if your speakers meet the criteria mentioned you should be able to make them disappear.

And still, some speakers/systems will not be able to do it. Most listeners and many manufacturers don't listen for this or it's not important to them. Many are happy  with a good center image with some depth.  But when you hear an absolutely transparent system, there's nothing like it.

whydontumarryit

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 51
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #14 on: 1 Nov 2021, 09:02 pm »
Have any suggestions offered resulted in a solution to your problem?

I find this to be a very interesting situation. One that, like so many other specific questions posed in forums, usually have no definitive answer due to the variabilities of loudspeakers plus room dimensions plus perceptions of correct reproduction.
I have an idea that may be worth trying if you haven't solved the problem.
Also, the speakers you have appear to be highly unconventional. What are you getting out of them vs typical direct radiating box speakers?

thanks

toocool4

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #15 on: 1 Nov 2021, 09:52 pm »
Spenav don’t worry that you have drivers in the back of the speakers, try angling the front of the speakers up a few degrees or more. I bet you will start to get some height.

toocool4

Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #16 on: 1 Nov 2021, 10:15 pm »
Rusty Jefferson you don’t need 3 – 4 way speakers to get good height, depth, width and the speakers disappearing. You just need good speakers, good electronics, good recordings and room for them to work. Keep the speakers away from room boundaries, most if not all speakers like to be away from room boundaries even speakers designed to work close to walls work better away from walls. Also decouple the speakers from the floor.

I have small stand mount speakers, Peak Consult Princess Signature sitting over 2 meters away from the front walls. I can’t hear the speakers as the sound is coming from deep stage behind, also wider than the speakers and above the speakers. Saying that you need a 3 – 4 way to do this is not true, you just need good electronics / Speakers / recording and not forgetting the room which to me is a good 50% of what you hear. Get all that correct and the speakers will truly disappear, people that listen to my setup always comment saying the speakers don’t appear to be working as the sounds does not appear to be coming from them. That is what a good system should do, it should simply get out of the way.

planet10

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 1761
  • Frugal-phile (tm)
    • planet10-hifi
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #17 on: 2 Nov 2021, 12:32 am »
the speakers you have appear to be highly unconventional.

They are a bipole speaker with a 3” firing forward, and one back. Passive radiators sso they can easily tune a small box low. Dan Wiggins designed the 3”. It has XBL and a very low Fs and subsequently very low sensitivity. That they are standmounts is irrelevant.

We did work with bipolar from early in our FR journey. The BD-Pipe for instance. And a number of other bipoles. The most well received the EPI microTower tribute. This work predated the Audience (and i know Wiggins was aware of that work and that also done by Al Wooley).



https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/full-range/148901-microtower-bipolar-ml-tl-chr-70-el70.html

Many builds were done and the castle version (driver on the top, driver on the front) became the favoured. Easier to place in more rooms, and while an artifact of the ceiling reflection do have a soundstage of greater height.

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/full-range/187502-castle-microtower-build.html

dave

whydontumarryit

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 51
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #18 on: 2 Nov 2021, 01:34 am »
They are a bipole speaker with a 3” firing forward, and one back. Passive radiators sso they can easily tune a small box low. Dan Wiggins designed the 3”. It has XBL and a very low Fs and subsequently very low sensitivity. That they are standmounts is irrelevant.

We did work with bipolar from early in our FR journey. The BD-Pipe for instance. And a number of other bipoles. The most well received the EPI microTower tribute. This work predated the Audience (and i know Wiggins was aware of that work and that also done by Al Wooley).



https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/full-range/148901-microtower-bipolar-ml-tl-chr-70-el70.html

Many builds were done and the castle version (driver on the top, driver on the front) became the favoured. Easier to place in more rooms, and while an artifact of the ceiling reflection do have a soundstage of greater height.

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/full-range/187502-castle-microtower-build.html

dave

EPI is a name that seems only vaguely familiar. However, the name Winslow Burhoe has been etched in my memory from the late 70’s, I remember him always being referred to including his middle initial, Winslow N. Burhoe. Because of that, an image of a pompous, stout man wearing an ascot with a Boston acccent pronouncing vowels in which ever way suited him arguing with someone like Irving M. Fried about their next happy customer always came to mind.

“That they are standmounts is irrevelant”  I am forced to ask how you came to this conclusion and I hope the answer isn't speculative since as an industry representative your opinion holds considerable weight when considering options in the battlefield that is hi-end audio.

thanks
« Last Edit: 2 Nov 2021, 10:03 am by whydontumarryit »

artur9

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 359
Re: Soundstage height
« Reply #19 on: 2 Nov 2021, 02:36 am »
Would a lot of diffusion and/or absorption behind the speakers raise the height of the image?
Or just create more depth?