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MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART => Music Gearheads Tech Talk => Topic started by: stargazer on November 01, 2019, 05:12:10 PM

Title: A change in the listening experience
Post by: stargazer on November 01, 2019, 05:12:10 PM
A change in the listening experience

I would like to start with a quote from SPL co-founder Hermann Gier, which dates from 2009:

"The headphone's 100% left-right separation creates a super-stereo width across the head, which has little to do with the stereo panorama and localization when listening to a speaker, making it virtually impossible to stereo mix on headphones.
The balance between center and side signals can not be properly balanced - for example, headphones often mix too few bass parts into the side signals, making them thinned on loudspeakers. Dithering effects such as reverb or delay are often too timid because they are more intense with the headphones.
Generally speaking, the right panoramic positioning is difficult or even impossible."

I have noticed for some time now that music is mixed very thinly. Music is often produced specifically for the headphone experience and lacks the depth in the sound. It's usually a fantastic experience with headphones, but loudly the dream often breaks down due to a lack of bass and a harsh tone color.
I use an open AKG headphone for second-time monitoring so that I can still check the panorama in my head. And sometimes I record sounds under headphones. But to hear and feel the music, I have to listen to the sound panorama aloud. It is otherwise like the mind without a body.

I imagine the bass player playing his instrument under headphones. The contrabass player who feels the strings swing but does not hear them. The violoncellist who sees the vibrations only in the head and yet does not feel them.
The stereo panorama of a room is interaction at many points. Sometimes you can see the sounds "wandering". It becomes clearer under headphones, but aloud stereo is wider, more fantastic, sometimes more subtle but always spatial with the whole body.

Hermann Gier describes the process of production and I describe the feeling and yet I think the difference is not very big. Especially the bass parts and the depth of sound often suffer from a headphone production.
I would like more productions with more sound depth, especially in the musical niche areas. There is so many good music but so little interest in the musical body. We live in a top-heavy time. But the meaning does not open to me. Think of concerts, clubs, church choirs, and then think of listening to these on headphones.

I recently bought the SPL Vitalizer MK2-T. This device adds phase inverted sounds to the mix to enhance the stereo panorama. It has two analog tubes and warms up the sound. Like an old stereo music system that warms up. Many do not know that anymore.
There are always two sides to the music, and the sound technical dilution is just one of them. The change in our listening experience is an effect of our changing lives and also changes our lives.
Title: Re: A change in the listening experience
Post by: petekelly on November 02, 2019, 10:20:09 AM
Some interesting thoughts there.

It seems to me though, that headphones / earphones are the primary listening mode for the vast majority of people these days. I would say that noise cancellation has changed people's listening experiences much more than any idea of 'correct stereo field' (which I find to be a misnomer, anyway)
Title: Re: A change in the listening experience
Post by: stargazer on November 03, 2019, 03:28:09 PM
Thanks for your thoughts Pete.

I still remember Dolby for noise reduction. The internet has also changed our listening experience. We listen to computers and mobile phones.
Changing habits, faster way of life, different sensations, dwindling perception, all this changes our way of hearing. The type of music also affects our listening needs.
Title: Re: A change in the listening experience
Post by: petekelly on November 04, 2019, 06:13:27 AM
I presume people are listening to music 'on the move' much more than ever before, so sound isolation / noise reduction has become more important for these listeners.
I wonder if 'hifi' / audiophile considerations (like camera photography) has become something primarily for enthusiasts (and the likes of us) ?
Title: Re: A change in the listening experience
Post by: stargazer on November 09, 2019, 06:37:31 AM
I found three interesting articles on the same theme and want to share them here:

1. Mixing on Headphones: How to Translate to Speakers (Waves audio)
https://www.waves.com/mixing-on-headphones-how-to-translate-to-speakers (https://www.waves.com/mixing-on-headphones-how-to-translate-to-speakers)

2. How Headphones Changed the World (The Atlantic magazine)
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/how-headphones-changed-the-world/257830/ (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/how-headphones-changed-the-world/257830/)

3. How headphones will change the way we listen to music (Deakin University)
https://this.deakin.edu.au/innovation/how-headphones-will-change-the-way-we-listen-to-music (https://this.deakin.edu.au/innovation/how-headphones-will-change-the-way-we-listen-to-music)
Title: Re: A change in the listening experience
Post by: Seren on November 10, 2019, 03:39:46 AM
Interesting set of articles and discussions.

The mixing on headphones article mentions the smearing of sound in the centre field - I can agree with this, but I bought the headphones I use (grado 325) because the stereo imaging is very precise (see the 'what's on your head thread)ůso the smearing does not occur in the same way. Grado say they match the L and R phones, that would seem to make sense...

I also found the purchase of a dedicated DAC also made a huge difference to the way my speakers sound - with my eyes shut I cannot 'place' the speakers any more, so I am listening to the sound rather than the speakers, if that makes sense.
Title: Re: A change in the listening experience
Post by: Nightmara on February 20, 2020, 07:47:23 AM
I've heard good things about can opener plugin. It adds crossfeed to headphones and imitates listening on speakers. People say it moves stereo image out of your head to in front of you. Havent had time to test it but it's demoable so maybe check it out.You can also use it outside DAW by usig virtual audio stream