Incredible Soundstage from CD

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speltz

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Incredible Soundstage from CD
« on: 16 Jul 2021, 04:56 pm »
I have Madonna's Immaculate Collection among my CDs. It's not the sort of music I usually listen to but it has one outstanding reason to commend it: the literally unbelievable soundstage it casts.

The opening track, Holiday, has percussion that is so far beyond the speakers that the sound appears to be coming from almost exactly beside me on the right. The same thing happens on the left later in the track, when the steel drum sound kicks in.

I don't want to give the wrong impression -- the whole soundstage is full of sound: left to right, certainly between the speakers but also beyond them on both sides.

I've never experienced anything like it with any other source (digital or analog). That's why I say it's literally unbelievable: I don't understand why it's just this one CD that casts such an extraordinary soundstage. And I've listened in two very different rooms, so it isn't a peculiarity of the room characteristics.

Presumably others would find the same thing, which makes it a good CD to test a system's soundstage capabilities.


Phil A

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #1 on: 16 Jul 2021, 05:34 pm »
It is recorded in Q Sound

Phil A

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #2 on: 16 Jul 2021, 05:35 pm »
Here's some info (including list of some albums - not sure if it is all) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QSound

skifasterslc

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #3 on: 16 Jul 2021, 06:22 pm »
Well that's interesting, I just pulled up Holiday on Qobuz and that is an impressive soundstage!  Thx for heads up speltz!
Phil A , i learned something new today from you!  I will check out those albums as well

Saturn94

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #4 on: 16 Jul 2021, 06:29 pm »
I have Madonna's Immaculate Collection among my CDs. It's not the sort of music I usually listen to but it has one outstanding reason to commend it: the literally unbelievable soundstage it casts.

The opening track, Holiday, has percussion that is so far beyond the speakers that the sound appears to be coming from almost exactly beside me on the right. The same thing happens on the left later in the track, when the steel drum sound kicks in.

I don't want to give the wrong impression -- the whole soundstage is full of sound: left to right, certainly between the speakers but also beyond them on both sides.

I've never experienced anything like it with any other source (digital or analog). That's why I say it's literally unbelievable: I don't understand why it's just this one CD that casts such an extraordinary soundstage. And I've listened in two very different rooms, so it isn't a peculiarity of the room characteristics.

Presumably others would find the same thing, which makes it a good CD to test a system's soundstage capabilities.


I really enjoy this album.  The QSound mix really gives it an incredible soundstage. 👍

Saturn94

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #5 on: 16 Jul 2021, 06:43 pm »
Here's some info (including list of some albums - not sure if it is all) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QSound

Thanks for that link.  I always wondered what other albums were recorded/mixed using QSound.  I’ll have to try some of the other titles on Qobuz to see if they are using the same QSound mixes.

speltz

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #6 on: 16 Jul 2021, 07:54 pm »
Thanks, Phil! Not only is the link useful, but you’ve addressed the thing that was puzzling me: what makes this CD different? Glad to have an answer to the riddle.

newzooreview

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #7 on: 16 Jul 2021, 08:44 pm »
The album description on Qobuz clarifies the situation:

Quote
“The songs that are included are frequently altered. Everything on the collection is remastered in Q-sound, which gives an exaggerated sense of stereo separation that often distorts the original intent of the recordings.”

You can also buy devices that add reverb to everything to get a similarly fake audio spectacle.

Real soundstage is a matter of excellent stereo recording, mixing, and mastering.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #8 on: 16 Jul 2021, 08:48 pm »
Listen to Sting's 'The Soul Cages' - absolutely awesome too.

Best,
Anand.

speltz

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #9 on: 16 Jul 2021, 09:08 pm »
Newzooreview: I did notice a certain artificiality to the sound; I perceived a certain degree of tinniness, and some unnatural gaps in the soundstage.

It’s still a highly entertaining listen, though. A very different experience than any other CD in my collection.

Phil A

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #10 on: 16 Jul 2021, 10:04 pm »
I'm 100% file playback but do have disc players (mainly for video) and when someone brings a disc over on rare occasion they can listen.  On one secondary system, I have one of these http://www.magneticmadness.com/2017/02/carver-c-9-sonic-hologram-generator.html  hooked to a spare transport and once a year or so I'll play with the C-9 (I use to have two but gave one to a friend).  Depending on how something was recorded, it will give one a similar effect as Q-Sound.  I've had that for many years and in fact ended up buying the current C-9 I have used after owning one when it was a current model. 

Many moons ago (over 40 years back - when I was 4 years old of course :green:), when I had my first separates, they were Phase Linear (which of course at one point was owned by Bob Carver) and it had the Sonic Hologram built into preamps.  It is fun to watch someone's reaction to hearing sounds come from a spot where there is no speaker.

Polk Audio made these way back when - https://polksda.com/   where one could obtain a similar effect.  Polk Audio introduced these about 2 years back - https://www.polkaudio.com/en-us/product/floor-standing-towers/l800   Now they are not cheap and while I have a bunch of secondary systems, none are what I'd term super high end and I really don't have a room where I could set them up the way they should be.

Here is one take on a vintage C-9 - https://www.highfidelityreview.com/carver-c9.html    At one point someone on Audiogon had ads to mod C-9 units (have not looked much or have noticed them in recent years).  I did think about sending it off to get better RCA jacks (although I could do that myself) and other upgraded parts.

Phil A

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #11 on: 16 Jul 2021, 10:05 pm »
Listen to Sting's 'The Soul Cages' - absolutely awesome too.

Best,
Anand.

Yes - have that one too

speltz

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #12 on: 16 Jul 2021, 11:41 pm »
As Mr. Spock would say … fascinating.

Saturn94

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #13 on: 17 Jul 2021, 02:16 am »
Thanks for that link.  I always wondered what other albums were recorded/mixed using QSound.  I’ll have to try some of the other titles on Qobuz to see if they are using the same QSound mixes.

Listening to my CD, QSound mixed release of Immaculate Collection and the streaming version on Qobuz, it appears the version on Qobuz is not the QSound mix.  This makes me think the other QSound mixes listed on the Wiki may not be the same mixes on Qobuz (anyone here know?). ☹️

EDIT:  Oops, not exactly correct… see correction in post #34.  :oops:
« Last Edit: 19 Jul 2021, 08:38 pm by Saturn94 »

NIGHTFALL1970

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #14 on: 17 Jul 2021, 04:08 am »
Fates Warning- Parallels and Europe- Prisoners in paradise are excellent!

Letitroll98

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #15 on: 17 Jul 2021, 10:03 am »
Listen to Sting's 'The Soul Cages' - absolutely awesome too.

Best,
Anand.

Yes, that's the one I have as well.  Some sounds come from 90° left or right while not messing up the normal soundstage.  Q sound never seemed to catch on though.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #16 on: 17 Jul 2021, 11:32 am »
Yes, that's the one I have as well.  Some sounds come from 90° left or right while not messing up the normal soundstage.  Q sound never seemed to catch on though.

Agreed! Downright spooky! Roger Waters' Amused to Death is also another example of that.

Tonally, the Sting album is also recorded well. One of my favorites.

Best,
Anand.

toocool4

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #17 on: 17 Jul 2021, 11:40 am »
Interesting, I had never heard of Q Sound before.
I have that Madonna – Immaculate Collection album on LP and I have always liked the sound staging, but never really thought about how the recording was made.

speltz

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Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #18 on: 17 Jul 2021, 01:22 pm »
I think the Q sound only applies to the CD. It's a function of the mastering process, not the recording process. It would be interesting to have both in order to compare them.

Note Saturn94's comment, that the version streaming on Qobuz doesn't have the same sonic characteristics as the CD.

toocool4

Re: Incredible Soundstage from CD
« Reply #19 on: 17 Jul 2021, 08:15 pm »
Whether it only applies to the CD or not, I don’t know. You should have a listen to the LP version, as it sounds just like what you are describing coming from your CD version.