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Speakers that Disappear

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

Nikhil

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I've been reading quite a few speaker reviews lately and I keep coming across the phrase "speakers that disappear". I am guessing this happens when the sound emanates from a virtual sound stage that is no longer attached to the speakers. This has started me thinking in a new direction about speaker selection. So a couple of questions to some of the seasoned audio folks on here!

1. Is this phenomenon the hallmark of a high end speaker?
2. How many of you look for it as a necessary trait or quality?
3. What are the factors that create this phenomenon?
4. Can this be achieved with only with really high end gear?
5. Do speakers that disappear do so despite room modes?

I've been talking about this quite a bit with FM square_wave. He has described at as a situation where the speakers also do not call attention to themselves. Would be very interested to know what goes into getting to this level of audio.

All feedback is welcome. Thanks for looking up this thread!

:cool:
 
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Staxxx

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I've been reading quite a few speaker reviews lately and I keep coming across the phrase "speakers that disappear". I am guessing this happens when the sound emanates from a virtual sound stage that is no longer attached to the speakers. This has started me thinking in a new direction about speaker selection. So a couple of questions to some of the seasoned audio folks on here!

1. Is this phenomenon the hallmark of a high end speaker?
2. How many of you look for it as a necessary trait or quality?
3. What are the factors that create this phenomenon?
4. Can this be achieved with only with really high end gear?
5. Do speakers that disappear do so despite room modes?

I've been talking about this quite a bit with FM square_wave. He has described at as a situation where the speakers also do not call attention to themselves. Would be very interested to know what goes into getting to this level of audio.

All feedback is welcome. Thanks for looking up this thread!

:cool:

Just my personal feeling with regards to your questions above:
1. Definitely (that out of box feeling is truly essential to my music listening)
2. I do.
3. The factors are too numerous to list. They can range from the type of speaker (panels or other types), perfect time alignment of the drivers (and other design considerations), room interaction, speaker placement, not to forget the quality of the recording just to name a few.
4. No, I think well placed modest speakers and reasonable room treatment can and will result in good spatial presentation (if it is in the recording).
5. Room nodes emphasize certain frequencies and I am not sure how relevant that is to this phenomenon. However, I know room treatment makes a difference and I use some terribly ugly stuff (which gets carted out to the balcony when I have guests) to diffuse or absorb the sound in my audio space.
Just my two bits!
 

SAMUEL

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Nikhil thanks for bringing this up. I am also interested to know more about this phenomenon.I'll wait for experts to pitch in.
As far as I know most open baffle(Emerald physics) and Bi polar(Def Techs) speakers have this ability to paint a wide soundstage but I'm also sure the source & amplification too has a major contribution to this.
I'll be hooked to this thread now.:rolleyes:
Cheers
Sam
 

corElement

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I've been reading quite a few speaker reviews lately and I keep coming across the phrase "speakers that disappear". I am guessing this happens when the sound emanates from a virtual sound stage that is no longer attached to the speakers. This has started me thinking in a new direction about speaker selection. So a couple of questions to some of the seasoned audio folks on here!

1. Is this phenomenon the hallmark of a high end speaker?
2. How many of you look for it as a necessary trait or quality?
3. What are the factors that create this phenomenon?
4. Can this be achieved with only with really high end gear?
5. Do speakers that disappear do so despite room modes?

I've been talking about this quite a bit with FM square_wave. He has described at as a situation where the speakers also do not call attention to themselves. Would be very interested to know what goes into getting to this level of audio.

All feedback is welcome. Thanks for looking up this thread!

:cool:


1. Is this phenomenon the hallmark of a high end speaker?
2. How many of you look for it as a necessary trait or quality?

I feel it is a subjective matter and should not be given much importance because our moods change too often where we crave for one thing then crave for the other.

3. What are the factors that create this phenomenon?

In general a speaker that has a good off axis dispersion without losing or gaining focus on itself can have a wide soundstage. Something like this can almost sound holographic. But the challenge is to achieve it without sounding hollow. If successful you can visualize sound emitting from spaces beyond the direct firing angle of the drivers, almost as if there are multiple speakers where the sounds coming from but in reality it's just that pair.

4. Can this be achieved with only with really high end gear?

I think it really depends speaker to speaker. For example speakers like the ATC smc40 or ZU essence full rangers which are considered high end will not have that kind of holographic imaging. But other high end speakers like bbc loudspeaker styled speakers like the harbeth p3esr or wildcard speakers like the jamo d830 or open baffle speakers with CAN. Some people prefer the direct firing focused firing image of the smc or zu or wharfedale denton while others like me prefer the holographic imaging style.

5. Do speakers that disappear do so despite room modes?

The only speakers I've had access to which does that kind of imaging is my concert 8's my previous jamos did not have it. But on the concert 8's I've heard them in multiple rooms and they pull off the trick everytime. The distance between them has to be more than 6 feet and less than 8 feet.

So it can vary speaker to speaker IMO.

Heliumflight said upon his visit to my setup and comparing his dentons to mine, "you don't have to pay attention to where the sound comes from, it flows in naturally without having to pay any special attention"

So that is another way of looking at it as well.
 
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kGr99

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My gear: Wharfedale 9.2 + Norge 2060 - Basic entry level system.

By sheer coincidence, I happened to place my speakers at a particular angle and position such that when I close my eyes while listening to music at one particular spot, I find it hard to exactly pin point the speaker locations. Although, I fail to achieve the same effect in any other position or with eyes open. (It might be just my brain playing games too :lol: )

So, I feel the phenomenon is not strictly limited to high-end speakers.
 

ranjeetrain

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Nikhil, the term simply refers to the phenomenon when the system is so transparent you cannot pinpoint the location of speakers. Soundstage and can cause the room boundaries disappearing, despite it physically being there.

I haven't heard everything on planet earth that has been ever produced, there may be exceptions, but speakers under USD 2000 cannot be so transparent.

Besides, this is not only about the Speakers (speakers are the most important, but the only important). Sources and amplification play very important roles in it too.
 

kaushik

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phenomenon i can realize only if....ahem..

when the the thief will be an audiophile:eek:
 

hydra

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I use some not-so-special kit (see signature), but with many pieces of music, the speakers do disappear completely.

Other than the capabilities/quality of the equipment (= the entire chain), this phenomena probably has a lot to do with the quality of the recording of the music, as well as the room placement.

It also probably has to do with how involving the music reproduced by the overall setup is, and how taken up the listener is with the music. After a point where the music takes over, we do tend to forget the equipment that's playing it. :)
 

SAMUEL

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We are all experiencing this:D:D:D
Psychoacoustics Psychoacoustics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Binaural literally means "having or relating to two ears." Binaural hearing, along with frequency cues, lets humans and other animals determine direction of origin of sounds. Similar to diotic which is used in psychophysics to describe an auditory stimulus presented to both ears.
courtesy:wikipedia
 

Hiten

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I experience this while watching movies on my Bose Lifestyle 18 HT
I think speakers should not disappear for movies as point of source is necessary for surround effects. Exception being subwoofer which may be producing low frequencies which may have wavelengths as long as a room.
Regards
 

manojbhagat

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I think speakers should not disappear for movies as point of source is necessary for surround effects. Exception being subwoofer which may be producing low frequencies which may have wavelengths as long as a room.
Regards

That happens with me,i think it is because i am concentrating on the screen more than the speakers.
What ever it is due to,I like it that way:lol:
 

square_wave

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Speakers throwing pin point imaging this can be achieved by reasonably well designed speakers if the room is good enough and the speakers are positioned well. Most modern speakers do this remarkably well. In fact some of them do this to an uncanny level wherein the music presentation is almost artificial.

Good sound staging capability This needs speakers that can image well but needs to fulfill many other attributes as well. This is a complex phenomenon which goes beyond the usual pin point imaging pyrotechniques . Speakers which have this capability bring believability into the presentation. For example, if you play a solo piano, you can actually see the piano in its depth and width sitting in the room at a certain angle. The size and body of the notes will be true and believable. There will be certain rightness in the flow of the music. Phase and time coherency plays a big role in this phenomenon. Extremely good mechanical design and quality of drivers and crossover design plays a big role. To me, this is an extremely desirable quality in a loudspeaker.

The cadence ARCA for example cannot do pin point imaging but can do very believable sound staging. To me, both of the above although connected are a little different.
 

Nikhil

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Nikhil thanks for bringing this up. I am also interested to know more about this phenomenon.I'll wait for experts to pitch in.
As far as I know most open baffle(Emerald physics) and Bi polar(Def Techs) speakers have this ability to paint a wide soundstage but I'm also sure the source & amplification too has a major contribution to this.
I'll be hooked to this thread now.:rolleyes:
Cheers
Sam

You're welcome. Turn on some tunes you like and stay tuned on this thread.
Should be interesting to hear what the seasoned audio ears have to say.
 

Nikhil

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Speakers throwing pin point imaging this can be achieved by reasonably well designed speakers if the room is good enough and the speakers are positioned well. Most modern speakers do this remarkably well. In fact some of them do this to an uncanny level wherein the music presentation is almost artificial.

Good sound staging capability This needs speakers that can image well but needs to fulfill many other attributes as well. This is a complex phenomenon which goes beyond the usual pin point imaging pyrotechniques . Speakers which have this capability bring believability into the presentation. For example, if you play a solo piano, you can actually see the piano in its depth and width sitting in the room at a certain angle. The size and body of the notes will be true and believable. There will be certain rightness in the flow of the music. Phase and time coherency plays a big role in this phenomenon. Extremely good mechanical design and quality of drivers and crossover design plays a big role. To me, this is an extremely desirable quality in a loudspeaker.

The cadence ARCA for example cannot do pin point imaging but can do very believable sound staging. To me, both of the above although connected are a little different.

Good points square_wave. I know we've talked about this but can you suggest some speakers that do this well. I've read on Audiogon that electronics play an important role in this as well.
 

Staxxx

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I have to say that sometimes one can have too much of a good thing. It can be very disconcerting to have someone's voice just hanging in free space, which happens with some of my lightly scored female vocal music...even with Ella...(just listening to her Black Coffee) and she could be right here !!
 

srinisundar

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Easy and inexpensive way to get the speakers disappeared is to hang an curtain in front of the speaker and start listening to music.:p:p Or go for an in wall speakers :p:p

If the speakers disappear for an low end models why the heck we should spend lot of money for high end one's :cool: The beauty of the speakers mixed with music gives the pleasure in enjoying. ;)
 

kuruvilajacob

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I have this experience in my listening room. Pl see iaudios posting "kuruvilajacob's vinyl heaven" . It is a combination of good speakers, speaker placement,structure of room, diffusing unwanted sound,room treatment, placing traps at reflection points ,a good amp and good source of music. I have seen it done in most unfriendly rooms with proper treatment and speaker placements. Just expensive speakers will not deliver this experience


kuruvilajacob
 

Nikhil

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I have this experience in my listening room. Pl see iaudios posting "kuruvilajacob's vinyl heaven" . It is a combination of good speakers, speaker placement,structure of room, diffusing unwanted sound,room treatment, placing traps at reflection points ,a good amp and good source of music. I have seen it done in most unfriendly rooms with proper treatment and speaker placements. Just expensive speakers will not deliver this experience


kuruvilajacob

Thanks for dropping by here. Happy to have a senior audiophile opinion. My question to you would be how do you get started on this? Are there any audio consultants available who would be able to do an evaluation of a listening space? I would be ecstatic if there was a local version of Jim Smith (www.getbettersound.com) to do something like his Roomplay Custom Voicing service.
 
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