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  #681  
Old 10-24-2018, 10:50 AM
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Floyd then goes on to share lots of research that's been done since that 1971 one (that nobody read ). The ideal for movie listening seems to be Dolby's advice for 5.1 (with the surrounds a little behind the listener, but mostly to the side.) For music listening, listeners tend to prefer the surrounds to the side, and maybe somewhat forward. They have come up with an objective measure that correlates strongly with the sense of "spaciousness" known as Apparent Source Width (a subjective measure). The objective measure is known as Interaural Cross-Correlation Coefficient (IACC).



He then goes on to cite some pretty cool studies, where they found that a circle of evenly spaced speakers (24 of them!) could do a remarkably good job of recreating the experience of listening to music in a music hall (using 24 discrete microphones). Then the researchers tried different placement and numbers of speakers to see what the minimum needed was to get awfully close to reproducing it, and they landed on 4 or 5. The best with 5 speakers is the placement of:

* straight ahead
* front mains at 30 degrees off center
* rears at 120 degrees off center (so 30 degrees behind straight out to the sides)

But there were a number of arrangements that used only 4 speakers, among them a number with NONE of the speakers placed behind the listener, that were judged just as highly.
A question for you. When you put the surrounds at 80-90 degrees, you cite getting a wider soundstage, and that seems to make a lot of sense. In the past, I've often found an either/or situation when it comes to soundstage vs imaging. Do you still get a really cohesive center image when you're up-converting this way? Can you pinpoint where the bass player is standing?

Really curious. The imaging on my Gedlee is INSANE, but the sound stage is 'small.' Conversely, my Magnepans made my ~16' wide room sound as wide as a football field, but imaging was tough and the sweet spot in which you had to sit was roughly 3mm wide, lol.
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  #682  
Old 10-24-2018, 10:54 AM
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Got my 2nd sub today. And at first ... I was kind of bummed. It sucked out a bunch of my bass. I thought, "How can this be? Two subs is supposed to be better, more even!"

Then I realized I had the phase switch on different settings for each sub. Much better results after flipping one!

Like George Frankly and others suggested, the main benefit of dual subs is more even bass in more chairs around the room.

An interesting side benefit: less rattling of the walls and windows. That's handy, because I've often found the rattles pretty distracting, especially from movies.
Woo! I bet there was a brief moment of panic before you flipped the phase switch. We've all done similar things, you spend time and money getting everything just right and then... ugh.

It's a bit worse in car audio, where the install takes dozens of hours, and it's harder to move things around once they are in there.

I got all the panels cut for my Volt's subwoofer box, will start gluing it up tonight and then sanding/finishing it. It's the strangest-looking box I've ever seen, I'm having to fight hard for every cubic inch of air space to cram a 10" sub underneath the trunk floor. I test-fitted the amp and DSP in their space and they have a bit of breathing room - important for keeping the amp cool. I got a 12v fan to circulate air. Everything will live under the trunk floor, so I'm keeping 100% of my trunk space, which is awesome, but it complicates the install.
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  #683  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:05 PM
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A question for you. When you put the surrounds at 80-90 degrees, you cite getting a wider soundstage, and that seems to make a lot of sense. In the past, I've often found an either/or situation when it comes to soundstage vs imaging. Do you still get a really cohesive center image when you're up-converting this way? Can you pinpoint where the bass player is standing?

Really curious. The imaging on my Gedlee is INSANE, but the sound stage is 'small.' Conversely, my Magnepans made my ~16' wide room sound as wide as a football field, but imaging was tough and the sweet spot in which you had to sit was roughly 3mm wide, lol.
In the multichannel stereo mode, I'm upmixing two-channel sound to 5.1. Sounds that coming from dead center come out of the center channel, but also come from the other speakers. So it's better "anchored" than a phantom center; i.e., you can move your head without it all falling apart. But it can also sound like vocals/instruments from the center are bigger/wider. Sometimes, I really like it. I find a lot of pop/rock to make the voice too "small" in 2.1, and so it sounds more natural in the 5.1 mode. In particular, duets drive me crazy in 2.1, as the soloists sound like they're sitting in each other's laps, while in 5.1 they sound like they're sitting not far apart from one another. Instruments that were hard-panned to the left speaker now sound like they're coming from a spot midway between my left and surround left speaker. It's really nice.

But songs that already have a good wide soundstage in 2.1 (using psychoacoustics to broaden the soundstage outside the speakers) can sound artificially big in 5.1. That's pretty rare, but when it happens, it sounds like a band of giants playing giant instruments.

So I go back and forth a bit, but mainly stay in 5.1.
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  #684  
Old 10-24-2018, 06:11 PM
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Woo! I bet there was a brief moment of panic before you flipped the phase switch. We've all done similar things, you spend time and money getting everything just right and then... ugh.

It's a bit worse in car audio, where the install takes dozens of hours, and it's harder to move things around once they are in there.
Yeah, it was more a moment of, "Well, that was a big freaking waste of money." Combined with, "Hmm, maybe this would work just fine if I stick the new sub in a position that my wife will never approve." It's funny how much of a difference that switch made.

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I got all the panels cut for my Volt's subwoofer box, will start gluing it up tonight and then sanding/finishing it. It's the strangest-looking box I've ever seen, I'm having to fight hard for every cubic inch of air space to cram a 10" sub underneath the trunk floor. I test-fitted the amp and DSP in their space and they have a bit of breathing room - important for keeping the amp cool. I got a 12v fan to circulate air. Everything will live under the trunk floor, so I'm keeping 100% of my trunk space, which is awesome, but it complicates the install.
Hope it works out for you!
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  #685  
Old 11-01-2018, 12:15 AM
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Another advantage to having a dual sub: it's wiped out my ability to localize the bass. My original sub was at about the 10:00 position. Certain bass notes seemed to always be coming from that direction, which got distracting at times. Even with my second sub at about 4:00, my bass has the effect of being nice and centralized.
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  #686  
Old 11-01-2018, 01:00 PM
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Another advantage to having a dual sub: it's wiped out my ability to localize the bass. My original sub was at about the 10:00 position. Certain bass notes seemed to always be coming from that direction, which got distracting at times. Even with my second sub at about 4:00, my bass has the effect of being nice and centralized.
Many people have posited over the years that bass can't be localized. And, in lab conditions, that may be true. If nothing else, subs tend to vibrate things close to them, and you can pick up on that. And subs produce harmonics, and those may be high enough in frequency to localize.

I'll say in my experience, subs do seem to sound localized, fwiw. And I agree with you, when I started doing multiple subs, the bass just seems uniform and immersive.
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  #687  
Old 11-02-2018, 02:10 AM
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Major improvement tonight! The 5.2 all-towers configuration, with my surrounds at roughly +/- 80 degrees has allowed me to offset my screwed up hearing by playing around with the levels for each speaker.

I've complained at length in this thread about having a horribly skewed soundstage. Even in 2.1, I was able to get these awesome reflections to the left, which created a soundstage on that side that extended well beyond the speaker. But on the right side ... nothing. Sound on that side seemed to be coming directly from that speaker, and not at all beyond it.

I blamed it on the room acoustics. Spent a few hundred on acoustic room treatments. Made a little difference, but not a ton.

In 2.1, I used balance to shift volume toward the right, and that helped with placing the phantom center (which to my hearing always skewed left, understandably) but did virtually nothing to improve the soundstage problem. Again, sound extended well beyond the left speaker, but not past the right.

Even with the 5.2 setup, when I used the settings straight out of Audyssey, while it certainly improved things, the soundstage was still skewed pretty darn heavily to the left. I was finally getting the occasional sound outside of my right main, but still weak compared to the left side. And I've also complained that the 5.2 multichannel mode was making the soundstage artificially wide for some music. So I played around with my settings. The following have done an amazing job of restoring perceived balance, and giving me just the right soundstage for a broad range of music:

Center 0 (no change in level from Audyssey's pick)
Subs +6.0 dB each (Audyssey tends to set subs too low, and I'm a bit of a basshead)
Fronts 0
Surround L -1.5 (prevents soundstage being artificially wide on the left)
Surround R +2.5 (perfectly extends right soundstage - to my ears - to sound just like the left!)
Rear -6.0 (the Audyssey pick made it sound like I was in the middle of the band for multichannel stereo. This -6 setting gives me a nice sense of immersion, but definitely keeps the band in front of me. I'll have to bump it back up for movie listening.)

Last edited by Egghead; 11-02-2018 at 02:22 AM..
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  #688  
Old 05-07-2019, 02:19 AM
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My tower speakers are being discontinued. The JBL website has no mention of any other speakers in the series, and some audiophile websites say their sources indicate that my model (the Studio 590) is going to be done soon.

I've got 5 of them, which already seems crazy excessive to most people. But I'm very pleased with the sound quality improvement I got with the move from 3 matching speakers to 5. Sounds that pan around the room in surround sound during a movie sound a lot more "cohesive," for lack of a better term. And multichannel stereo upmixing of 2-channel stereo sounds phenomenal ... way better than using Studio 230 bookshelf speakers in the surround positions.

So now I'm trying to figure out if a sixth and seventh speaker would be worth it. I'm currently using a DCM TF600 speaker as my rear speaker. (I have two of them, but my whole setup is positioned diagonally, so it makes sense to have a single speaker in the back of the room handling the rear sound.) The TF600 has a number of tweeters, some of them actually pointing to the wall behind them. It makes for a nice, diffuse sound that is tough to localize. I like that in a rear speaker.

But if I got two more JBL Studio 590's, I would be able to have completely identical speakers all the way around at ear level. (No, I couldn't have matching height/overhead speakers, but that's never going to happen with towers, anyway.) I suspect it wouldn't be nearly the bump in quality that I got from replacing the side surrounds. But I hate to pass up on an opportunity that may never come along again.

Thoughts?
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  #689  
Old 05-07-2019, 11:18 AM
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So, one big caveat... I'm not all that into surround sound. We don't watch a lot of movies where it adds value, most of what I watch is comedy, documentaries, I haven't seen a Star Wars movie in like 20 years. I know, I know.

Which means I may not be the best judge. I've generally thought there are some real diminishing returns with adding channels, and my friend Mike seems to agree with me. He's actually dismantled his 7.1 and gone back to 5.1, he said the extra channels weren't adding much if anything, and I agree.

That said, if you don't buy them now, it'll be harder and harder to find them later. And, if you buy them and decide it wasn't worth it, I doubt you're going to lose much on the deal. I suspect after they stop selling them, the resale prices will remain pretty strong in the medium term at least.

So I'd probably give it a shot, there may be some upside, and not much downside, other than the hassle of selling them or sending them back if JBL lets you.
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  #690  
Old 05-07-2019, 01:53 PM
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Interesting points, GF. Thanks for the feedback.

- I definitely use my system more for music than for movies, but we still watch a fair number of movies. I definitely watched a lot more Star Wars in the last 20 years than you have.

- For music, I like having a 5.1 system all in front of me. So my L/R are at +/- 30 degrees, and my "wides" are at +/- 80. It's a remarkably immersive sound. I actually have a rear speaker, so it's 6.1 when I do multichannel music, but I turn down the rear speaker quite a bit, else I end of feeling like the singer is practically in my lap, which I don't care for. I wonder if your buddy Mike is expressing a similar sentiment - that adding more surrounds starts messing with that sense of sitting in front of, rather than among, the performers.

- Having said that, I just ordered the 5.1 version of Dark Side of the Moon. For that, I'll want to put the "wides" behind me, to get something more like the original "quad" sound. But it seems that 5.1 SACD's are going the way of the dodo, so maybe that shouldn't factor into my decision too much.

- If I buy them, I could just put them in storage until such time as I have a dedicated home theater that could house them. If I change my mind, I could sell them. And it would likely be quite easy to sell them brand new in the box, especially when I have 5 of the suckers to demonstrate to potential buyers how they sound.
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