Category Archives: Technology and Theory

Future Scrawl, Etown


Audio Magazine, Speakers By Design, Part 1, 1988.



Like Factoids, but not….



Audio technology is different than any other type of engineering I know of. In normal engineering, we start with a certain problem, and then try to invent a solution to this problem. But, in audio, most of the time, we start with an invention. Then we try to discover what it might be good for. However, just because one has a cool invention does not mean that the invention is useful or any improvement to the art.


Stereo Imaging. (Reply to an AK question.)

Technically speaking, “Stereo Imaging” is generally considered to consist of three components: localization, spaciousness and envelopment.

Localization: The positioning of each sound source in space. (The perceived width of the source itself is called, “localization blur.”)

Spaciousness: The perceived width of the sound field, including all sources.

Envelopment: The sense that the listener is immersed in a 3D sound field.

Each of these components depends on somewhat different factors. Also, the factors can often be somewhat mutually exclusive. For example, it can be difficult for a speaker that creates a sense of envelopment to excel at localization, unless certain very strict conditions are met. Like anything having to do with human perception, it is impossible to give a hard and fast hierarchy of importance to the factors that lead audiophiles to proclaim a certain stereo pair of¬†speakers to be good at, “imaging.” Aside from the recording, (and any post-processing), which obviously has a make it or break it level of importance… how it was made and how it interacts with a given speaker and setup …here is a list off the top of my head:

– symmetrical location of the speakers with respect to the listener.

– the impulse response of the speakers.

– precise frequency response matching between the speakers.

– the angle subtended by the speakers WRT the listener.

– the presence or absence of nearby reflecting objects and boundaries, both to the speaker and the listener, along with their level of absorption at various frequencies.

– the acoustical reflectivity of the floor, and/or the vertical polar response of the speakers.

– the horizontal polar response of the speaker. Anyone who thinks that wires or amps, (etc.), have a significant effect on imaging is factually mistaken. The only component that can have even a tiny influence on imaging besides the speakers is the cartridge.

Forget Amp Clipping. It’s Over!!

#57 Today, 02:30 AM
ken kantor
Fowl Humor Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,703

Originally Posted by TerryS:

This question has been floating around for a few decades. I didn’t expect it would be answered this week (if at all). But I still enjoy the discussion.


The quesiton was answered decades ago. It’s just that some audio hobbyists don’t want to accept the answer, and go to great lengths to avoid doing so.

This is a pattern that emerges in various topics related to hifi. It would seem that audiophiles are rather stubborn, and also hold their individual perceptiopinions as infallible.

Playing dice with the Universe.

Last edited by ken kantor; Today at 02:33 AM.

Small Differences, V0.0547

A short AudioKarma post from this morning:

So true!

If only this stuff was as easy as, “Just Listen!” Or, “Measurements Never Lie!”

The reality is that firmly establishing or disproving a subtle audible difference can be a bit complicated and time consuming. However, the flip side is that a difference that small is unlikely to seriously compromise the enjoyment of the system.

Also, with speakers at least, I would estimate that 9 times out of 10, neither alternative can be definitively claimed as being, “more correct.”


Lightweight Article on a Heavyweight Subject.

A Ditty on Loudspeaker Placement.

Toe them outward slightly to help the image mesh into a continuum. It is also worth experimenting with the placement of one speaker by a few inches left or right. (If one is closer to a side wall than the other, this is the one to experiment with.) In terms of distance, you should ideally sit back roughly 1.3 times the distance between the speakers.

I realize the above sounds counterintuitive, but it will help. The root issue is the width of the human head, and adjusting to the proper multiples of this, so you can understand that small changes mean a lot.

NHT VT-2 Comments (Reply to AK inquiry.)

Flipping the switch on on the VT-2 does two things.

1- In “audio” mode,¬† the main lobe of the speakers is tilted inward, in order to partially simulate the NHT 21 degrees schtick. In “video” mode, the primary axis is directly forward from the speaker baffle, as is more conventional. This changes the direct/reflected ratio to give the audio mode more focus/sweetspot and the video mode more coverage/spatiousness.

2- In the “audio” mode, the crossover attempts to maintain a textbook transition between the drivers, leading to a very clean impulse response. In “video” mode, the frequency bands of the drivers overlap slightly. While having almost no effect on the frequency response or tonal balance, this makes the impulse response less sharp, and creates the kind of stereo imaging I believe is more appropriate for video use, with widened sources, less specific lateralization.

I always liked the VT-2’s personally. They had a solidity, dynamics and power handling that seemed to work well for rock music, good acoustic jazz and, of course, soundtracks. It was also a time that NHT was walking down new roads of exploration, treating the temporal and spatial response of speakers with as much thought and care as frequency response, to try and get control of aspects of the sound that were generally considered trial and error in a design.


Dummy Load #001