To enhance the illusion of an actual performance, yes, the disappearing act is critical.
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If the system is working right, it shouldn't matter. Instruments located exactly where a speaker is should sound like that instrument, and others place elsewhere(whether center between the speakers or outside the far edges)should to. With a top flight system, you should also hear depth in the location of sounds, with some instruments deep behind your back wall, others even with the plane between the speakers, and many in between. The best systems will simultaneously portray instruments even forward of the speakers if that's what's on the recording(not quite as common). If any of this is news to you, you need to hear some other systems at a dealer or another audiophile's home. Cheers,
I get greatly more enjoyment whenever speakers seem to disappear, though that isn't to say that certain instruments aren't placed directly in front of the speakers when the recording dictates. If I can clearly place the speakers as the source of the recording,it seems more obvious that I am listening to a recording, and I find it harder to suspend reality if you will.
A "wall" of sound, even if my eyes are open, with instruments being clearly defined, in an almost 3d manner, in space, to me, greatly enhances my enjoyment. Maybe wall isn't the best word choice for various reasons, but sound that seems to be able to eminate well beyond the side boundries of the speakers, far behind the rear wall, as well as in front of the speakers if needed creates an illusion of reality that I find enjoyable. I guess I find it easier to believe I am not listening to recorded music when I can look at the speakers and swear that they aren't playing.
I played a recording of the opening of a rendition of toreador's song to a friend. He was impressed at the placement of vocals, but when I told him only my two main speakers were playing he laughed and told me I was pulling his leg. He swore my center channel speaker as well as some "hidden speakers" were the only way such a soundstage could be created.
I would not own speakers now that did not dissappear in the soundstage as it gives a more enjoyable illusion as long as the whole spectrum is covered down to 40Hz..
Bass is Omni Directional and if you can tell Bass Notes are coming directly from the speakers your in for an unenjoyable presentation. Vocals are a big thing for myself and if I have to strain to hear what is being sung them I pass on that set also. I am lucky as I have the speakers I shall have till I die probably.
Magnepans and Dipoles do very well at giving the illusion of not being there.
Rx8man, are you a pharmacist? I ask b/c I was in pharmacy school before going to med school. Pharmacy is a fantastic field. I am using a pair of Merlin VSM-MMs. I posted a review at http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?rspkr&1087278775&read&3&4&
I honestly can't say enough about these speakers. Check out the review for a more detailed description of their sound.
Jason, my moniker is derived from a Mazda RX7. I should have become a pharmacist considering the rising costs of medical !!!! My rotary engine died, so i'm replacing it with a Chevy 350 via an engine swap kit from Granny's Speed Shop, hence my RX8 instead of RX7. This was a few years BEFORE Mazda came out with their new rotary RX8 version. Thanks for the compliment, checking your review out too. Pat
interesting topic...so what might it mean if i don't get much disapearing? i have a pair of paradigm studio reference 20 v.2 and am planning on upgrading soon, maybe to the paradigm signature s2's. but things sound good, i get very good centering, instruments are realistic. but with the exception of a few times, the sound comes from the speakers, not outside of them(other then the center). any advice on what i might do? is it a placement issue, equipment(moon i-5 amp, vpi scout turntable etc). any advice appreciated...
There are several comments I have read of speakers that do this quite well in a conventional Box.
Jean Marie Reynaud (JMR) is one ,but they are hard to get an audition of because they come from France and are imported to NYC if you are in the US.
Magnepans and Quads I think are great speakers, but finicky as to the amps to use.
I know there are plenty of others. I bet DeCapo's and Green Mt. Europa's do a fine job as I have read good things, but where I am it's hard to get an audition.
Sberger, chances are, it is simply your speakers. My previous speakers, PSB Stratus Goldi's, while wonderful sounding, never gave the illusion of disapearing. If you are upgrading, might I suggest considering the Merlin TSM-MM speakers? Based on my experience with the floorstanding VSM-MM's, I know these are worth considering.
Jwells & RX8
Have you tried of Roger Waters Amused to death?
If not do it and you're in for a nice "ear ride"... specially track 12 Three wishes is specially nice for "effects" listen to the mix of voices that makes the genie voice amazing, not bad for bass too always rises some hairs at my friends visiting...
I've been tweaking quite a lot my system specially vibration wise, as have improved the sense of disappearance improves Jwells I have the Golds and I have put them on bearings and got quite a nice sound improvement, my floor is mosaic....
I agree that it's your speakers. Your electronics are definitely good enough to reproduce spatial information. The Paradigms just don't excel in that particular area compared to many other speakers.
Rather than touting my own favs, I'd suggest going to a good high end dealer and asking him to demo some systems that excel in this area, to make sure you have a sense of what others are talking about, and how important it is to you. Some(not me) don't give a hoot about spacial reproduction, and focus on timbre, timing, etc.
If you search the archives, you can find recommendations on great demo CDs & LPs to bring along that highlight good soundstaging & imaging. Cheers,
Sol, thanks very much for the recommendation! I'll definitely check it out. I should have been clearer about my PSBs, as I'm a PSB HUGE fan. While the Golds could occasionally seem to disappear into the soundstage, the effect was only transient and would end once the particular song was over and a new one came on. However, my new speakers have brought new meaning to me in all areas, including soundstaging and imaging. There are some live recordings where I've heard the singer moving his head as he sings or actually note the location of individual guitar strings! What type of bearings do you use? Do you have a link? I'd be interested in at least looking at these, so I can mention these to a future buyer. I guess you don't use spikes on quarters or the padded feet for non carpeted floors?
RX8, I know you'll love that chevy engine :-). You are correct about the Strad. review. In reproduced music, you have to find the traits that are most important to YOU. For me, I have come to find soundstaging (and the ability to vanish) and imaging as very, very important, though I didn't find these nearly as important before I purchased my current speakers. In addition to making for a more realistic sound in general, I find imaging, soundstaging, a disappearing act to make for a more enjoyable and complex sound which consequently makes for more involving listening sessions.
I also feel a speaker that does everything quite well is much more enjoyable than one that has a MAJOR strength, be it tonallity, imaging, bass extension, etc. while being obviously weak in other areas. While I feel I have found a speaker that does it all incredibly well, not all speakers can be all things, so I feel anyone looking to upgrade speakers find the qualities that are most important to them. As suggested to Sbank, listening to a variety of speakers, if only to learn what is possible is important. Before I heard the Merlins, I wouldn't have rated the "vanishing act" very important. Now, I don't think I could buy a speaker that can't disappear. There are always tradeoffs to a degree in purchasing a speaker; the individual speaker buyer must decide what he/she can and can't live without.
Definitely not quarters....., started using the provided spikes and rubber covered footers but found them lacking. After that used Audiopoints brass spikes way better..... and very solidly anchored to my tile floor. Then I got loose!! and felt some vibration feedback was coming through the spikes as well, then put a melamine covered MDF (kitchen cabinetry type) underneath and (you guessed it) got better. I've been playing with steel balls and cabinet handles that are concave to emulate the principles of the bearing type tweaks (symposium, daruma) in other components and got curious and got good results. If you e-mail me we can comment further.
checked your system very nice indeed
It is a relatively new experience for me.I thought my old speakers gave me some of this, but my present speakers step right out of the way. And, even then, this did not really begin to happen until I moved them to the long wall opposite. It was not night and day, but is impressive nonetheless and is my preference now.
Thanks for your feedback. Very useful. My dealer also sells Joseph Audio RM7, Revel M20 , as well as the Paradigm Signature line. I really would like to go through them because they will offer me 2/3(about $670) in credit for what I paid for the Paradigms toward these other speakers. I will audition these, but do you or anyone else have an opinion on the spatial quality of these speakers. Or, are there monitors(can't do floor standing)out there that offers this quality that I might find used for $1000-1500?
Haven't heard that Jospeh model, but there others are pretty credible to my ears.
As far as monitors: There are so many...
Proacs (1sc & others)
Totem (some of their floorstanders are smaller than most monitors1)
Von Schweikart (VR1)
These are the ones I'd put on my list...Cheers,