Eye-brain effect

Does anyone else think that the eye-brain interaction may have as big (and possibly much bigger) an effect on imaging and soundstaging issues than even the equipment.

For example, when I see speakers a few feet out from the back wall, I am just not able to suspend belief enough to "hear" past the wall. I have trouble imagining a huge orchestra in a 15' wide room. I am very happy with small ensembles in said room and can almost imagine that "they are there". There are times, under those circumstances, when a singer is 6 feet tall and the guitar sounds about the size of the real thing (which I have heard in my living room).
Absolutely true. Eye and ear senses do naturally work together. In particular, think how much easier it is to understand spoken word when you can watch the other person's lips. Some deaf people can learn to understand speech from lip movement alone.

When I go to a live perfomance, and often at home, I listen with eyes closed. This permits me to better focus on the music. It also saves money on tickets, because I don't have to sit in the front rows so as to see the facial expressions of the performers, which some other people like to do.
Depends on your defininition of imaging and your expectations. You will never, under any circumstances, hear a SO sound realistic in your living room on any level, dynamics especially, and realness of the soundstage which is never so defined as it is on recordings due to the manner in which the recordings are mic'd. All you will hear is a pleasant and more detailed exposition of the instrumentation used. Actually I like it because it gives me the ability to better understand the role that different instruments play in the orchestration, and it more closely represents what you would hear if you were the conductor on the podium.

I listen with my eyes open (I can walk and chew gum) but I have to admit that some things are distracting visually which can make you believe are detrimental to the sound stage image. I just removed a 3x4x2' cabinet from between my speakers (it was recessed 4' behind the plane of the speakers) and I will swear that I have a more focused center image! But do I? I'm not really at all sure. My best of all worlds scenario is dark(ened) room and eyes wide open. When I close my eyes I relax and nap time comes. :-)
I agree that your eyes do work together in conjunction with the rest of your senses. Just like when they 'see' a carrot they would expect it to 'taste' a certain way. In turn they are absolutely not necessary to enhance or detract from any one of them (but certainly always have the potential to, along with your wee brain of course). For audio the best example I can think of is headphones. Good headphones will create an amazingly realistic soundstage, and illusion of 'presence' which would not be affected, other than possible distraction, by your visual sense. I think learned expectations have a lot to do with how our senses process things. With headphones your eyes really have no part in the equation. I'd take that over Newbee's darkened room and NoDoz any day. Certainly the fewer senses that come into play, the more heightened the remaining senses become. Your grey matter has fewer senses to devote it's RAM to processing.

Newbee: Moving a cabinet improved the image. I agree it happens.

Perhaps knowing one has better (or thinks they have better) equipment makes things sound better, too.
I took this from another forum


Many do not know that the "total" sensory perception of sound is transmitted via more sensory pathways than just the 8th (auditory) nerve.

While I find headphone listening a nice diversion, it it a total "inside your head" experience.


Because, much sonic information to your body is lost.

Directional cues and sensory perceptions so subtle that you don't know they exist, can and will change the way you hear sound.

The orbital area of the eye socket are filled with "very sensitive" nerve receptors that relay pressure information and sonic perception to the brain. Glasses in front of these nerves block the transmission of these impressions.

I only wear glasses to read, so I am used to putting them on and taking them off. I notice quite a large difference in the sound. More than any cable or tweak.

If you use rather small glasses, the difference may be less, but if you are a good listener, you should hear a difference quite easily.

So if you really want to "see" into the music, ditch the glasses when critically listening, close your eyes (and make sure and "relax" the eyes) and see if this gives you a more real experience.

Somebody later on in the thread accused him of "stealing" the idea from an old stereophile article.

I've been taking my glasses off when doing serious listening for a long time. It seems to help me relax and concentrate on the music, don't know or care about the science behind it.
R Burke, Facinating theory. I can't connect reading with critically listening to music (maybe that's why I can listen with my eyes open, withouot my glasses I can't focus on anything enuf for it to be distracting :-), but I do know that when watching TV I love to take off my glasses even though I give up some focus. Hummmm