In audiophile terms, the soundstage is the projected three-dimensional space created by the high-quality sound reproduction delivered through a speaker system. To make it more simple, imagine being at your favorite rock festival live.
In real life, the music would be coming from more than just one area. You would have your vocalist up front, giving it all he’s got, and from the sides, you hear a solo from a mean lead guitar. The drummer would be in a flurry of drumsticks at the back with his snares and bass tinging and booming.
That’s pretty much what soundstage is. A high-fidelity sound can reproduce the spacial effect of hearing music on a stage. This three-dimensional reproduction of music creates an auditory stage for sound that enhances the experience considerably for a listener.
Soundstage encompasses the width, depth, and height of a sound recording played through your stereo or headphones.
How is soundstage made?
A highly-skilled manipulation of sound can be transformed in your mind to a three-dimensional soundstage imaging. This added dimension creates a more immersive experience and is a must for real music lovers. The effect of a detailed soundstage is produced by:
The initial capturing and production of sound
There are various ways to record a group of instruments. When close-miking, the microphone is placed close to the source of the sound. This proximity dominates other ambient sounds and creates a more forefronted sound. A room mic is set up some distance from the sound to capture the recording room’s ambiance and create dimension in the recorded music.
By manipulating ambient clues, sound producers can create the illusion of space in their recordings by various means. Louder instruments are perceived as being closer, while reverberation and delay can make a sound seem further away. Different methods, such as panning, tone, and performance, can create an illusion of space.
Placement of speakers
Your speakers’ placement and how they interact with each other and your chosen space have a significant impact on your soundstage. The dimensions that will affect your soundstage are:
- ✓ The distance between speakers
- ✓ The distance from speakers to the wall
- ✓ Distance between listener and speakers
- ✓ Height of speaker to listener’s ears
- ✓ Vertical and horizontal angle of speakers
Headphone features that enable soundstage
Soundstage works well in certain headphones. The headphones and audiophile earbuds that work well with soundstage have an open back design. The close backed headphones tend to cancel out ambient sound and isolate the voice by keeping it within the ear region.
The closed-back design makes it difficult for sound staging, which needs ambient sound to create the illusion of space. Compact cased audiophile earbuds inhibit the free movement of sound waves and prevent sound imaging.
Open-back headphones do not dampen or cancel out noise, and there is sound leakage from ambient and background that is perfect for creating soundstage. The unrestricted soundwaves travel freely and enhance the depth of the listening experience.
In headphones, the room in which the three dimensional sound is produced is replicated in your ear. This spacial definition is particularly useful in gaming when you have a perception of where sounds are originating.
Why is soundstage important?
The importance of soundstage rests heavily on the individual listener. Like some people might be happy to paint by numbers and call it art, professional artists have far more expectations wound into the form. The enhanced experience of soundstage adds another dimension of listening that true music lovers must try.
Next time you are in the market for headphones, make sure that they are soundstage enabled such as: