Headphone soundstage?

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 43706 times.

AliG

Headphone soundstage?
« on: 8 Nov 2013, 07:05 pm »
Folks,
    I am not here to stir up controversy. I am greatly dumbfound by the way many headphone fans described the 'soundstage' they are hearing through their headphones.  I have been a two-channel speaker guy since 2005 and when I listened to a speaker setup, I can appreciate what people meant by 3-dimensional soundstage. But recently when I listened to all the headphone systems at a local audio show, I just don't hear the same 3D soundstage that I used to hear on speakers. I couldn't even feel that there was a centred image!? Unlike in speaker set up, not only you can hear centred image, you can also tell how big that image is, how defined the shape of the image is. With headphones, I heard sound very close to my ear and that's really about it. Could it be that I have hearing problem??

    Reason I am asking this is, I am at a decision point, I am not sure if I should pour more money into headphone systems. I already have a Beyerdynamics T1+W4S DAC1+ WooAudio WA2. I am thinking if I should build another headphone system based on STAX SR-009, this system may cost around $15k or so. Would you rather buy a pair of good speakers with this budget?? :shh:
   
     At the end of the day, is there anyone here that can tell me they are hearing exactly the same kind of 3D image on headphone vs speakers?

   Thank you and have a nice day! :beer:

   Barry


ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #1 on: 8 Nov 2013, 07:29 pm »
Heck no, it's not the same presentation at all...there's no way headphones could ever do what my Magnepans can...at least not to my ears.

Doesn't mean I don't love headphones, though, cause I do. But I see them as two different types of reproduction, and I prefer each for different purposes.

milford3

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #2 on: 8 Nov 2013, 08:00 pm »
Well said Ajzepp.  Headphones are very personal.  The soundstage I get from my headphones is very different from the soundstage I get from my Axioms.  I now live in an apartment (thank you hurricane Sandy) so headphones come into play for me.  Soundstage is apples or oranges.  It's the same thing only different. :icon_lol:   

mcgsxr

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #3 on: 8 Nov 2013, 08:05 pm »
I think crossfeed is the only way to approximate any "soundstage" as it is experienced via 2 channel.

I long for a good Meier Corda unit with that capability, for air travel time, but won't part with the $!

ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #4 on: 8 Nov 2013, 08:21 pm »
A properly designed crossfeed circuit is an amazing application...I totally agree. It's designed to reduce or eliminate listener fatigue and it does exactly that. A much better approximation of the way we naturally experience sound/music.

I was talking with Jan Meier about it a while back, and I asked him if he'd ever considered a stand alone crossfeed unit, sort of like an in-line buffer of sorts. Turns out that a few years ago he DID have such a product. Both he and another popular headphone site...I think it was headroom.com...were promoting the advantages of crossfeed, but it  never really became popular.

I couldn't be without it, personally. It's taken my headphone listening to a whole other level.

Milford: I forgot you got hit my Sandy....I can't imagine how horrible that must have been!

iFi Tyler

  • Industry Contributor
  • Posts: 1031
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #5 on: 8 Nov 2013, 08:32 pm »
I have heard the Stax-009 and they are amazing.  But the only time I have heard music live outside of the head during headphone listening is with binaural recordings.  The techniques used when recording music for playback on headphones makes a big difference in my opinion.

SteveFord

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 5044
  • The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #6 on: 8 Nov 2013, 11:04 pm »
The only headphones that I've heard which are close to what you can expect with speakers are my ungodly fugly Stax Sigmas.
The best advice I can give you is to avoid mirrors when you're wearing them.



ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #7 on: 8 Nov 2013, 11:08 pm »
LMFAO  :lol:

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #8 on: 9 Nov 2013, 03:27 am »
A properly designed crossfeed circuit is an amazing application...I totally agree. It's designed to reduce or eliminate listener fatigue and it does exactly that. A much better approximation of the way we naturally experience sound/music.


Agree 150%. I use software crossfeed on my computer based system which allows much more precise control over the effect than hardware based analog crossfeed. The app I use on my Mac is available as an AU (or VST) plug-in and is called Canz3D. The Fidelia player has a good (although subtle) crossfeed add-on. These make a big difference in listenability, realism, and lack of fatigue..

BTW, to follow up on what tf121682 said, for depiction of spatiality, nothing, and I mean nothing, can touch a well made binaural recording on a good set of cans. It spanks the best 7.1 system you have ever heard... easily. Search for 'binaural matches' or 'binaural haircut', or 'binaural' on Wikipedia; there are samples available. When you hear the matchbox being shaken in a circle around and then over the top of your head... Well, there is no surround sound speaker setup that can do that at any price. The downside? A near total dearth of source material.

G Georgopoulos

  • Restricted
  • Posts: 1253
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #9 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:06 am »
A properly designed crossfeed circuit is an amazing application...I totally agree. It's designed to reduce or eliminate listener fatigue and it does exactly that. A much better approximation of the way we naturally experience sound/music.



To me crossfeed is the worse thing that can happen to sound,first it ruins stereo since it
is crosstalk,not only that by crossfeed mono isnt mono ,you need to look how crossfeed
works, as for listener fatigue all headphones contribute to that...

Hope that helps... :green:

ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #10 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:13 am »
To me crossfeed is the worse thing that can happen to sound,first it ruins stereo since it
is crosstalk,not only that by crossfeed mono isnt mono ,you need to look how crossfeed
works, as for listener fatigue all headphones contribute to that...

Hope that helps... :green:

Not looking for any help, but thanks :)  My experience is the exact opposite of what you described.

There are different ways that a crossfeed circuit is implemented. The way the Meier circuit operates performs beautifully.

Sounds like db Cooper is getting excellent results via his Mac, as well.

ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #11 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:17 am »
Agree 150%. I use software crossfeed on my computer based system which allows much more precise control over the effect than hardware based analog crossfeed. The app I use on my Mac is available as an AU (or VST) plug-in and is called Canz3D. The Fidelia player has a good (although subtle) crossfeed add-on. These make a big difference in listenability, realism, and lack of fatigue..

BTW, to follow up on what tf121682 said, for depiction of spatiality, nothing, and I mean nothing, can touch a well made binaural recording on a good set of cans. It spanks the best 7.1 system you have ever heard... easily. Search for 'binaural matches' or 'binaural haircut', or 'binaural' on Wikipedia; there are samples available. When you hear the matchbox being shaken in a circle around and then over the top of your head... Well, there is no surround sound speaker setup that can do that at any price. The downside? A near total dearth of source material.

Thanks, I will definitely look into that! And I agree, I've never heard a surround rig pull that off with the matches lol

G Georgopoulos

  • Restricted
  • Posts: 1253
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #12 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:48 am »
Agree 150%. I use software crossfeed on my computer based system which allows much more precise control over the effect than hardware based analog crossfeed.

You need to tell us, how is that more precise than analog crossfeed, if you want us to take you
seriously... :green:

ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #13 on: 9 Nov 2013, 05:12 am »
If anyone is interested in the Meier version of the circuit/implementation, here's a link to the website. He also has audio samples that you can listen to with headphones to get a feel for the way it functions. The samples were recorded using his actual circuit via the "Daccord" DAC.

This link takes you to the main page of his site...at the top, just click on "info crossfeed". The audio clips are at the bottom of the page:

http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/


Also, last year when I first started looking into crossfeed, one of the best resources on head-fi was Tyll Herstens, who many of you are already familiar with and probably rely on for a lot of great info. I'm a bit sleepy to search for his posts tonight, but they are there for anyone interested.

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #14 on: 9 Nov 2013, 02:08 pm »
You need to tell us, how is that more precise than analog crossfeed, if you want us to take you
seriously... :green:
It doesn't particularly matter to me whether you take me seriously or not; but you can find out about Canz3D with a minimal amount of googling if you like. He lays out his case as to what digital cross feed can do that analog can't. There are samples there. Make up your own mind. (As an advocate of mono, it may not be your cup of tea.) Just go to midnight walrus.com/canz3d if interested; if not interested, have a nice day!

hibuckhobby

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 572
  • On a search for audio nirvana
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #15 on: 9 Nov 2013, 02:18 pm »
Chesky has a couple of binaural CD's out there.  One of them is a demo disc
that has a wide variety of music on it as well as the more sound effect oriented stuff.
Hibuck....

Quiet Earth

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1788
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #16 on: 9 Nov 2013, 03:52 pm »

 I am greatly dumbfound by the way many headphone fans described the 'soundstage' they are hearing through their headphones.


I had this same experience a while back : http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=113772.0

I finally got over it and no longer believe much of what is written about headphones.

ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #17 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:15 pm »
I had this same experience a while back : http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=113772.0

I finally got over it and no longer believe much of what is written about headphones.

Why? No matter how many graphs, charts and measurements that are out there, audio reproduction always comes down to our own subjective experience. There is very little uniformity in this hobby and there's no such thing as a  headphone that EVERYONE loves or a type of music that EVERYONE listens to. To me, it's all about getting to know what works best for you in terms of your own enjoyment.


ajzepp

Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #18 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:18 pm »
BTW, I was talking to Jan Meier about the two new lines of headphones he's decided to carry, so I asked him to comment on the crossfeed vs crosstalk thing. His response is below...

With crosstalk part of the left channel signal is directly fed into the
right channel.

With crossfeed part of the left channel is delayed (!) and next fed into
the right channel.

With crosstalk the high frequencies are normally stronger "crossed" then
lower frequencies, due to capacitive coupling.

With crossfeed the lower frequencies are stronger "crossed". The
shadowing effect of the head is stronger for high frequencies.

The major differences between crosstalk and crossfeed is this time delay
as well as the different frequency curves.

Stereo as listened to by headphones is not natural stereo. The high
channel separation achieved by headphones is not heard in real life.

Crossfeed electronically simulates parts of the natural hearing process.

The appreciation of crossfeed is a very personal one. Around one third
of my customers never use, one third only with strong panned recordings,
and one third can't do without.

There is no good nor wrong. Just different.

Cheers

Jan

Quiet Earth

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1788
Re: Headphone soundstage?
« Reply #19 on: 9 Nov 2013, 04:28 pm »

In the previous soundstage thread, this is what I learned :

I was just wondering if I was missing out on something that is talked about in the headphone forums.  I wondered if some headphone users could actually hear music laid out in front of them the same way they might be able to hear the same music coming from a pair of speakers in a room. Now I realize that they don't, or can't, and that their description of soundstage is relative to what is possible within the confined headphone experience.

That's all I meant to say.