Is soundstaging emblematic of reality?


Now that finally I have a system that soundstages excellently, I’m wondering if it’s actually  a vital component of a real concert experience.  In most genres of music, unless you’re sitting very close to the action, you don’t get the kind of precise imaging revealed in a good stereo setup.  That’s because microphones are usually (with some rare exceptions) placed close up. If you’re sitting in the middle to back section of an audience (which most people do) you certainly don’t hear anything close to holographic imaging, or even what most people accept as satisfactory imaging. 
Granted, it’s loads of fun to hear this soundstaging. And I certainly love it.  Some people might consider it the ideal music experience. But is it an essential component of musical enjoyment?


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Soundstage is a product of the "quality" of everything in your rig; wire, interconnects, electronics, speakers (not as important as almost everybody thinks) room acoustics is very important.

The only reality that matters is the holographic imaging in your listening room.

+1 to @orpheus10 's entire post. [Emphasis: A Result of!]


I think it somehow also relates to the kind of music you are listening too. A superb soundstaging helps me to connect much more to music representing a high level of complexity.
when the speakers are totally disappearing and you look into this great holographic soundstage, i fell it’s like the very best seat for the show. Coudent live without it and for me it’s absolutely essential. 
With a deep black soundstage and a quick reacting hifisystem you hear so much more life/live in the music.
If the tonality and the size of the musicians/ instruments also are superb balanced, then it’s real highend experience.
I certainly agree that a well designed listening room is a must to reach highend level as well as tweaking everything is.
In music we trust, happy listening.

For me, great soundstaging is the magic of hi-fi. Here’s the deal: Recorded music, as hard as it tries, simply doesn’t sound the same as live music. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a recording that fooled me into thinking it was live music (and I just returned from RMAF, where I heard some of the best system on earth).

There is one area, however, where recorded music does something that live music cannot typically do – create a magical sound stage. That is where recordings surpass live music. There is something so engaging and – I’ll use the word again – magical about listening to a well-engineered recording that fills the listening space with vocals and instruments that are positioned throughout the space – center, sides, high, low, and everywhere in between. It creates that uniquely hi-fi experience that keeps us coming back for more and more. Don’t hold back. Embrace the fun. Yes! It is an essential component of hi-fi enjoyment!


+1 wester17,

I totally agree that recorded and live music are two different entities.
And yes, the audio experience can be more even enjoyable sonically than the live experience under some circumstances (but, to me,not all.)
The point is, some would have you believe that soundstaging is the EQUIVALENT of live.  Not so!
" I don’t think I’ve ever heard a recording that fooled me into thinking it was live music."

Once I was at an audio show. It was early in the morning, several of us who were associated with the room were there, and present was a musician (who gigs on acoustic guitar, vocals, electric piano, and drums). The musician had not heard the system before, and his back was towards it when somebody turned it on and started playing The King’s Singers’ a capella cover of Simon & Garfunkle’s "The Boxer". For the second or two between the start of the song and when he whirled around, wondering when whoever was singing had snuck into the room, the musician THOUGHT he was hearing live music. He told me there was a brief but disconcerting instant of this-does-not-compute when he saw no one at the far end of the room yet was hearing what he had assumed to be live music.

So it was over in a second or two, but at least it happened that one time.

Duke