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Soundstage and Imaging, Does compression preserve it ?
goodsound
post Sep 11 2006, 20:24
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Not sure where to post this.

So far I have only used and compared compressed audio formats on portable players and headphones. I accept that it is very hard or impossible to distinguish a difference between the sound of the actual uncompressed track v/s a very high bit-rate compression of the same track. I have so far done this listening and comparison only on headphones, which are indeed of high quality, but still headphones are not in the same league as a good pair of loudspeakers when it comes to real soundstaging and imaging i.e. effectively conveying the sense of space and dimension.

My question is, does compression of even the highest quality preserve the soundstage and imaging in the original recording source ? Lets say if the CD player in a high-end system with excellent soundstage was replaced by an equally good compressed file source like a PC or a digital player then does the user experience the same soundstage ?

Have any listening tests been done in this area ?
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HotshotGG
post Sep 11 2006, 20:47
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QUOTE
but still headphones are not in the same league as a good pair of loudspeakers when it comes to real soundstaging and imaging i.e. effectively conveying the sense of space and dimension.


I don't understand what you are getting at here? do you mean crosstalk? by "space and dimension"? The bottom line is if you can't ABX something on a pair of closed can headphones, don't expect to be able to ABX using a pair of loudspeakers either.

This post has been edited by HotshotGG: Sep 11 2006, 20:55


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goodsound
post Sep 11 2006, 22:42
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no I am not talking about crosstalk.
I am talking about the "realness" of the presentation. On a good recording and a system you not only feel that the instruments are playing in the room but actually feel the depth and distance between them.
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Axon
post Sep 11 2006, 23:06
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If you look at the logs of ABX tests here you will find that some people can in fact tell apart encodings based on soundstage-like changes. You will also find those same people finding other encodings to be transparent. Encoding is capable of affecting the soundstage but the issue is a lot more blown up than it really is. A good encode will not affect soundstage.
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daphox
post Sep 11 2006, 23:53
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delete

This post has been edited by daphox: Sep 11 2006, 23:55
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Ingemar
post Oct 4 2006, 16:29
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This has my interest also, and is the reason I made this test (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=48903).

The testing was a bit flawed so the results should certainly not be taken for granted but I am about to setup a test following the ABX testing rules or guidelines.
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JeanLuc
post Oct 4 2006, 16:45
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Theoretically, using lossy compression (with joint-stereo or lossless channel coupling techniques properly applied) should not alter stereo image or soundstage.

On the other hand, the perception of instrument placement (e.g. in an orchestra) might be affected by a lack of overtones so that one with very good hearing might not be able to pinpoint the exact instrument location (compared with the very same uncompressed music).

And goodsound is right about the headphone issue ... headphones are exceptionally good at revealing tonal differences but the whole 'soundstage' is really being delivered into your head whereas a properly placed set of stereo speakers (in a non-reflective listening room, at least) will definitely reveal more room information. This, of course, is of minor importance when you are listening to studio-produced pop/rock music mostly.


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pepoluan
post Oct 4 2006, 16:59
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QUOTE (JeanLuc @ Oct 4 2006, 22:45) *
Theoretically, using lossy compression (with joint-stereo or lossless channel coupling techniques properly applied) should not alter stereo image or soundstage.

On the other hand, the perception of instrument placement (e.g. in an orchestra) might be affected by a lack of overtones so that one with very good hearing might not be able to pinpoint the exact instrument location (compared with the very same uncompressed music).
... which means that soundstage and imaging should not be adversely affected. You only can no longer pinpoint where the solo violinist is standing on the stage now... but you still can vaguely point to its direction.

When in doubt, ABX


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