Soundstage........


in audio, what in the system gives us the soundstage ?        I ask this as when I had the system in the living room I had one system that was :

anthony gallo 3.1's
edge amp
Belles 21a preamp
Technics 1200 mk2 w / AT 150 cart
bellari preamp
Synergistic Research sp cables, various low end IC's

and that system had everything ....soundstage , separation, detail.....and was enjoyable to listen to.       got out of the hobby for a bit and when I got back into it, I went with this system :

Magnepan 2.6 qr's
w4s mono blocks ( 250 each )
Lector Zoe preamp
PS audio phono preamp
Technics 1200 mk 2 w/ AT 150
Morrow Audio sp cables and various low end IC's

sold that system and had the chance to move the next system from the living room which had the cathedral ceilings,into  what used to be the master bedroom.....and now have a room that is good size 17 w x 21 l  8 ft ceilings and went with this the first time :

Magnepan 3.6r
Krell amp
Audio Research Ref. 2 mk 2 preamp 
Sim audio lp 5.3 phono preamp
Acoustic Zen sp and IC's
VPI HW-18 MK 2 w/ Moerch arm / Ortofon 2m Black

the Magnepans were way to big for the room and didnt like the AR preamp as it just didnt sound good....sounded cold due to the 6h30 tubes ( others may like it, but I didnt ).......sold the speakers, amp and preamp  and  ic cables and went with 

Tyler Acoustic Halo 2 speaker
Maker Audio G-9
Belles Aria
Sim Audio 5.3 phono
vpi  hw 18 mk 2 w/ Moerch arm / Denon 103 cart
Acoustic Zen Satori sp cables, KCI silkwork IC

this system is very  clean sounding and you can listen to it for hours and never get tired of it......but I just dont have the soundstage like  I did when the system was in the living room.        Room is treated with panels, have moved speakers in / out  / up / back, etc....and same thing.....       

So is it the room that ( cant think of the word, ) controls the soundstage or is it the preamp, the turntable / cart ?




addyson815
I've found vibration control changes the stage a lot. What kind of "feet" and stand are you using? Of course that will not give you much benefit if the room is not set up right (panels in the correct positions, etc.). 
Why not get a smaller Magnepan that will fit in your listening room? Sounds like the speakers are the problem!
@yogiboy 

done with magnepans as I had to send the last pair in for a complete rebuild and the communication and time to complete was not good.

a friend of mine in another state basically has the same set up as I do ( he does cd’s ) and he says the soundstage and separation of instruments is very good.   
It's not necessarily the equipment that gives you the sound stage but the speaker placement and room interaction that gives you sound stage.

^ This.

Most basically, experiment with moving speakers wider apart and then closer together than you have them at the moment.  Likewise, experiment with pulling them out further from the wall behind them.  Then, when you have a handle on improvements or lack of same, experiment with both axes at once.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. By and large speakers are place too far apart. For best results one should start with the speakers fairly close together then gradually move them farther apart. I suspect you'll find the best soundstage occurs when the speakers are relatively close together, say 4 or 5 feet. Obviously some (big) rooms dictate that speakers be farther apart. 
Part of imaging is also frequency response, there are a number of tweaks / cheats in speaker design that can enhance this.

What I suggest is listen to your speakers from about 2-3' away. This will give you an idea of the very best performance, with little room interaction. If they don't image to your satisfaction then, they won't do better at normal distances.

Of course, room acoustics matter, but they can't make a speaker better than it is. Assuming ideal placement, I find that acoustics in the plane you want to improve is the best approach. If you want to improve height, add treatment on the floor and ceiling, etc. Don't ignore treatment around the listening area, especially diffusion.


I've gone through several systems, all in the same room, with the speakers set up relatively the same way using a formula from the Cardas website. A structured room with walls and a ceiling has helped me to retain a nice soundstage no matter what gear I use. Experimenting with speaker placement or moving all the gear to another part of the room is something I would try, or another room maybe. Another trick I learned long ago is to not block the front watt with gear, keep the gear low or even on the floor because the back part of a soundstage will terminate where it hits something. If you are a gear stacker, the speakers need to come out into the room more and the seating position needs to be moved back accordingly. Changing gear is fun when it works.
@addyson815 - As you have seen above lots of opinions and none of them are wrong - it’s more a case of a combination of all of them plus some others.

First the speakers play a huge role - when you auditioned them did they have a good sounstage? My speakers have always sounded transparent - even in the showroom.

The amount of Toe-in can have a significant effect e.g.
- The center line of Tannoy speakers should cross in front of the listening position
- My speakers are happy with about a 15 degree toe-in
- some like zero toe-in

Next - placement in the room - ideally the distance from the wall behind them should not be the same as the space each speaker is in from each side - it can get quite boomy otherwise - my current room is 16.5 x 24 with another 20 ft of open space behind the listening position - the speakers are 8 ft from the wall behind them and just over 4ft from each side wall, so there is around 8 ft between the speakers. NOTE: all measurements are made from the center of the tweeter - not the back or mid-point of the speaker

Then room treatments - I have played around a little with these in a couple of spaces - one 8 ft ceiling and another 12ft ceiling (and concrete) and found that the most effective treatments tend to be those around ceiling level - namely sound absorption on top of bookshelves and cabinets and vinyl blinds behind the listening position dropping approximately 15" from the ceiling. Broadloom on the floor works well, but if you have hardwood - try a large area rug.

If your room/system generates standing waves which can manifest as loud booming bass on certain low frequencies - leave any fixing to last - it may resolve itself with correct placement, but otherwise will require a more sophisticated bass trap

One thing I have found to provide the very best soundstage image details are my cables.

Some may argue that cables can be tackled once everything else is sorted but they play a key role in getting an exceptional sound stage. I've even found that image can be effected severely by connectors (i.e. RCA's and bananas and cables can effect the way each component works. 

Then there are dependencies e.g.
- speaker placement and toe-in are linked.
- speaker placement is dependent on furniture materials and location

I would start with as much distance behind the speakers as your furniture allow, then play with the distance from the side walls and toe-in. A couple of inches can make a difference, so move in small increments

Once position seems good - then try some room treatments and then try adjusting the speaker position and toe-in all over again - and again

You will get there - it just takes time

Regards - Steve


geoff and mj, I agree. But I would say about 6 feet between speakers in small to medium size room. I can't keep all the gear on the floor, though, not enough room in the room, I only keep the turntable close to the floor. Another trick, totally unscientific, you could try. Distance between speakers should be about one and a half height of a speaker. About. Speaking of the same room size. Might not work in all cases, sure.
Not necessarily 6 feet, could easily be less. Could be 4. Could be 5. Depends on speaker and room, whether room treatments are employed and how many. What you actually need to do it correctly, rather than guessing, or trying to determine the locations by ear, is the XLO test CD. The speaker set up track ensures 100% absolute best locations. All other methods are like trying to solve X simultaneous equatioms in X + n unknowns.
Laser, blue tape, and effort. You will hear it and know it when you achieve it.
Eric

If you listen from 3 or 4 feet should you toe them in?


Excellent post by williewonka. Covered the whole gamut very well IMO.

Dave
I have no experience with the tyler halo speakers so unsure just how fussy they maybe to toe in.
However my last set of speakers were Focal 826v which were incredibly sensitive, it took me hours to find just the right location, then toe in and even tilt of the speaker to zone in on "the sweet spot". Even increments of half inch on toe in made profound changes that could be heard from my listening position. Then when I placed maple blocks under the Focals I had to start again as now the tweeters were approx 3 inch higher in relation to my listening position. But it was worth it as I was eventually rewarded with a very expansive soundstage and my room is garbage as far acoustics go....lol, all glass and tile floors. Plenty of rugs down, 3 big sofas and vinyl blinds over every glass surface made another huge difference.

Then I moved to a pair of Wilson Witt speakers which are as different again and just do not really seem to care about toe in to give the same if not broader soundstage than the Focals did.

Just have to keep experimenting as already I see lots and lots of great ideas and suggestions here.
Good luck, you will know when it is right and then you know it was worth the effort.
After I posted this, I have moved the speakers 3” closer together and 6” forward.        
 I had ordered a brand new passive preamp and it arrived the other day and was hoping to have music again , but it’s doa.       Just going to cut my losses and move on. The other day a member on here posted a Pass Labs xp 2.5 for sale......so I bought that and should have it in a week or so.

Once I get things up and running again will see if those moves helped with the sound-stage at all
uberwaltz,

Tilting the blinds up & down if you have a lot will make a difference. I had 12’ X. 22’ of Windows and blinds in a condo.

Best
@nkonor

Yes I most certainly do...lol
large room with a high vaulted ceiling and 3 of the walls are  half glass full width so everywhere has blinds covering them, played around with varying degrees of open/close/up/down and have a fairly good balance I think for now.
Dont get me started again, drives the wife nuts...lol



addyson

How can a passive pre be DOA. Have you check to make sure the tubes are working?


@ soundsrealaudio


this passive pre didnt have tubes.....it was like a Tortuga Preamp( it WAS NOT theirs ).





addyson

Kidding about the tubes......just hard to believe a passive pre would be DOA, I mean what the H can go wrong.
@soundsrealaudio                 

I would like to know the same.....

 I connected the cables to it, put the power cord to it, turned the turntable on and was ready to hear some music....and kept turning the volume till it was maxed out and could barely hear the music.       contacted the builder and he had me check things, which I had already done before contacting him.......then I tried using a dvd player as I thought maybe the phono preamp finally died...but had the same issue when using the dvd player.    he tried to say that it was something in my system that was causing this so  I bought a cheap preamp off of ebay, hooked it up and everything in the system works like it should....so the issue is the passive preamp.         this is the second time I have had an issue with his preamp and have decided to move on.
Actually, I think its the perfect reproduction of the phasing.
speaker placement & room acoustics
@slaw 

speakers have been moved forward , backward, in / out and there was no change.   

In the thread I mention that the room is treated .

i recently bought a pass labs preamp and that did give me some soundstage, but only on certain albums.    

As as much as I like the speakers, I think they are the reason why I don’t get it like I did with the other set ups.....
Hard to keep up with all of your changes... but different rooms require different set-ups.
@slaw 

"  Hard to keep up with all of your changes.."

I have tried to update the thread as I go and just recently picked up the Pass Labs preamp.