From whence does Sound Stage come?

What drew me back to this hobby after dabbling in High School, was listening to a friend’s system, in a room over his garage filled with over-stuffed furniture, at least seven different amplifiers and twice that many speakers. What was new to me was a room literally filled with sound, and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I climbed over the furniture and put my ear to speaker after speaker, but I was never able to locate the source of the sound. It was a wonderful, awe-filled, experience.

Fast forward to the present. I have now built several systems, in different rooms, with different components. Sometimes I get a ‘sound stage’ where the speakers disappear, sometimes I don’t. I have been told that getting the speakers to disappear is all a matter of placement in the room: “Give me your room dimensions; and I’ll tell you where to place your speakers.” But I can tell you, some speakers disappear, and some speakers announce their presence with every note. I have had odd staging where a particular sound appeared un-naturally at the wrong place (like a cymbal hit at my feet); only to have the issue resolved to a more coherent shape with an upgrade to the analog output stage of the DAC. I have had a decent sound stage cast by a particular pair of speakers, only to have it destroyed with the use of a sub-par power amplifier. I’ve heard reviewers and designers talk about how their component offers sound stage depth as well as width (depth seems to be more difficult to achieve). And then there is the old canard about how tube amps present a ‘halo graphic’ sound stage. I can detail the equipment configurations that have I have put together that succeeded or failed at the goal of presenting a great sound stage, but I’m trying to ask a general question, I am not a bot, and I’m not seeking help with a particular configuration, just help on developing a strategy to tackle the issue of sound stage and imaging of instruments within it. 
I will say that the best sounding solutions I have developed thus far both involved a Schiit Yggdrasil (now at ‘Less-is-More) into a SS McIntosh C100 (circa 1992) and either a tube Rogue ‘Stereo 100’ or a SS McIntosh MC252 power amp powering either the Warfedale W70E or B&W 801 Matrix speakers. If I substitute different amps, speakers, preamp, or DAC, the pyramid crumbles and I start hearing two speakers again; I lose my ‘sound stage,’ which is really concerning (to me). Anyone with more than two years into this hobby is qualified to address this question. I need some help, I can’t just keep throwing equipment (and money) at this issue. Any ideas?


     Without actually being in the room, with your system/media; it would be difficult (an understatement) to accurately diagnose your issue(s), but, whenever a question arises, regarding sound stage and imaging; I suggest the following tests, by which one may determine whether their system actually images, or reproduces a sound stage, as recorded:

      On the Chesky sampler/test CD; David explains in detail, his position on the stage and distance from the mics, as he strikes a tambourine(Depth Test). 

      The LEDR test tells what to expect, if your system performs well, before each segment.

         Online test:

         Chesky CD:

      More info:



@rodman99999 Thank you very much for the links to the AudioCheck site and the Chesky CD. I shall follow up on them. I started with the ‘More’ articles, first I’ve heard of LEDR phenomenon and testing method. I noticed in my reading of the article in Stereophile that two items negatively affecting sound staging can be found in my system: bi-amping (phasing) and B&W 801 speakers (vertical dispersion)
I should add, for the benefit of you and other readers, that the sound staging of my system became an issue since I have started bi-amping my speakers, particularly the B&W 801 Matrix speakers, their vertical dispersion quality doesn’t bother me as much, but it does explain why the voices are coming from the top of the wall where it joins the ceiling.
My two current systems are described in detail in my virtual systems, although I haven’t yet found a way to navigate to either my ‘Temporary System’ or my ‘New System’ except through my own Profile page.
In brief, the Temporary system (downstairs) from Room/speaker to source: 11x11x7.5 w/4 doors (the junk room, that still has a lot of ‘junk’ in it), B&W 801 Matrix, (2) RadioShack 250 Watt PA amps bridged to mono capable of delivering 350 Watts at 1kHz into each speaker over Channel A, (future plans call for hooking the Warfedale W70E’s up to Channel B), McIntosh C100, Schiit Yggdrasil LIM, Madrigal Proceed CD player (the Toaster). The New System (upstairs)15x19x7.5 (with the rear 7’ over the staircase in a split-level house), McIntosh XRT20 Isoplanar Loudspeaker System with tweeter columns are mounted on wall at the recommended 1/3’s (5’ from each wall and 5’ from each other, credenzas are two inches or less from the front wall and 8-9” outside the tweeter columns, again, as recommended by the manufacturer, (2) McIntosh MC252 power amps, each bridged at 4 Ohms to deliver a maximum of 500 Watts to each speaker whose impedance has been verified at 8 Ohms or better (not falling below 5 at 10 kHz), McIntosh MQ107 Room EQ set flat with a boost in the lower frequency of ‘2’, Schiit Freya+ using single-ended outputs to take advantage of the MQ107, (1) Oppo BDP-105D balanced line into Freya, with optical input from Samsung UHD TV, and SPDIF output (both optical and Coax [the last is not strictly necessary]) to Onkyo 1513 AVR to a pair of Realistic ported 10” two-ways, an RCA center channel, and Velodyne miniVee subwoofer, (2) Elac PPA-2 using balanced line into Freya, Music Hall MMF 5.3 belt drive with Sumiko Songbird high output moving coil cartridge. (I guess that wasn’t so brief.)

Anyway, as you can tell, I’m experimenting to see if ‘more power’ will improve matters (ala Scotty to Kirk, or Tim “ The Toolman” Taylor). I have been rather stymied by the 87 bB efficiency of the McIntosh XRT20’s, but that is a topic for a different thread. Turntable has never sounded better.

Edit: Downstairs I stream through an original Auralic Aries with their linear power supply; upstairs I’m listening to Pandora through the Oppo player/DAC. I have yet to sign up for a service, but I have a renderer and My Cloud NAS with CD attached whenever I figure out how best to create a library. 

I might also add that I have limited test equipment available: a frequency generator and analog oscilloscope, the DATS V3 Audio Test System for component testing, and a miniDSP UMIK-1 microphone, boom mike holder, and the free-to-download Room Equalization Wizard (REW) software package which I’m currently learning to use. 

@rodman99999 After thinking 💭 over your response and pondering the content you referenced, the answer to the original question, ‘From whence comes Sound Stage?’ The answer might well be, ‘from inside your head’ (not yours of course, but mine, or any listener). In other words, it is a psychoacoustic phenomenon that system configuration, component selection, and room treatment can either enhance or destroy, and that is different for every individual. Amazing, when you think of it. It is possible for me to tune my system and room to near perfection, yet you might miss most of what I enjoy; and I likewise for your system. May be the reason I’m drawn to this hobby. 

Most of the time my laptop sounds like they usually do. Every once in a while I come across a YouTube video with music that makes my laptop throw a soundstage. It really is quite remarkable. This makes me think: exact same speakers, in exact same place, with exact same amp, through same internet, YouTube, etc. Only the source changed, yet this alone is enough to throw a remarkably improved sound stage.


You already heard your current speakers throw great imaging. Sometimes, anyway. Sometimes. Just like my laptop. Since they can do it, then if this goes away it must be something else. Main difference being, in a laptop everything stays the same except the whatever it is you're playing. With your system, in brief, you got a whole 500 word paragraph of things that can change. 


The laptop proves its the source that matters. In your case, everything feeding into the speakers can be thought of as "the source". 

@edisoncarter Point taken. My friend in whose house I first heard a decent sound stage tells me I need to use better sources. Thanks for the response. 

In my room my soundstage was recording dependant...

The best to test soundstage is to use classical music recordings... Organ recorded in church and chorus music was the best for my test... Sometimes well recorded piano or quatuor...


I dont have experience between many speakers...

My past speakers were two-way box Mission Cyrus, and i was able to make them disapear completely only after extensive room tuning... Because each room is different i cannot help you much...But the recording is what gives the soundfield not the gear if the gear is well matched and if the speakers are well chosen and IF THE ROOM IS adapted and tuned for the speakers ......

i have no idea how to create a soundstage filling all my room apart from acoustic treatment and control... Some gear can produce a soundstage filling a room WITHOUT acoustic disposition in the room ?... I dont believe that but i want to know if it is possible ? It is not my experience but i dont have many high cost gear experience ... I manage to do it with low cost components but acoustic was the primary tools..

I remember listening Magnepan in a living room, the sound filled the room contradicting what i just said  with no acoustic tuning,  it is true,  but the sound quality was not perfect because there was no room tuning... Then i prefered my inferior designed 2-way box speakers way more adapted acoustically to my room ... Even if big magnepan can be way better in other acoustic settings.. I think acoustic is the main problem for us all...



One sadly ignored item is diffusion.  Directly to the sides and between speakers is usually an ideal place, followed by behind the listener.

Note these are not actually first reflection points. Done correctly a system will not only image but image beyond the speakers.

I think you are right on the spot...

In my room anything goes  amok untill i determined the right spot for diffusion  and absorption  and reflection time... Any small room is a puzzle ...

Personally, I would work on my system being musically engaging with your favored tonality, dynamics and inner detail. That would be my core system. Next, I would search for, or post a thread requesting great imaging recordings with a request for the contributor to let me know what aspect of imaging impressed them with the piece. Then I would work on room acoustics, speaker and listener position and so on to maximize not only the above, but soundstaging. Lastly, you could revisit components to see if different this or that might improve things. Room acoustics has to be a big part of this, but you can’t be changing everything all the time.

I had my system setup to where I thought that everything sounded great and then one day I slumped down in my chair and laid my head back a bit and the soundstage just expanded in every direction. If I were smarter, I would tilt my speakers up a bit. Today, I discovered that my amp/speaker connection wasn’t correct. I moved my speaker cables from the 8 to 4 ohm amplifier output and it was as if a veil was lifted from the music. In neither case did I realize that my system wasn’t optimized.

The soundstage can always only be as good as what’s on the recording, and a good setup should reveal huge differences between recordings. Lousy recording, lousy soundstage.

Phase coherency and time alignment of the drivers are significant contributors to good sound stage....kind of tough to make much progress if the speaker design isn’t up to snuff.

The room is a major part. Speaker position and listening position within the room are key areas to pay attention to. Every room is different, so experimentation is critical. You can follow good rule of thumb practices as a starting point, but use your ears to fine tune. Room treatment to address reflections, resonances, standing waves, and nodes, etc., can be done with carpet, drapes, and furniture, or aftermarket or DIY wall and ceiling treatments, and bass traps ... all can help tame the room. Its and art and science in itself.

Transparency of the system is also a significant factor...superb clarity reveals more of what’s on the recording. The whole system (speakers, amps, cables, crossovers, wires, connectors, preamps, phono stages, DACs, carts, TTs, tonearms, streamers, EQs, etc....everything in the path) has the potential to mask what’s available on the recording....all do to some degree. The difficult part is chasing down clarity in that entire path. Vibration damping and isolation of components is worth pursuing to optimize what you have. There’s no way around trial and error, and there will be many occasions of two steps forward, one step back (or vice-versa), but every step forward should reveal a bit more of what's on that recording. It’s a journey....enjoy!

@vonhelmholtz and ​​​​@knotscott Thank you both for your insight and encouragement. I’m just starting to dial my rooms in. I was a bit despondent after putting out the effort to maximize the power available to each speaker. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was in the nature of an improvement. :-)

I am resolved to continue the journey and try to leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that I can find my way back, if a change doesn’t properly appease the audio gods. 

It's in the recording or it is not, simple. You cannot reproduce what is not there to begin with.

     The tests that I referenced are scientifically designed to eliminate all variables, as far as the source/recording.

      If your system reproduces the effects, as recorded and announced/described prior to play; your system will reproduce whatever soundstage and imaging your media contains.

      If not: well...


    To quote Bobby Owsinksi from his book:  The Mastering Engineer's Handbook, 4th Edition:

"The LEDR test is a substitute for about $30,000 to $40,000 worth of test equipment."


@mahgister I agree, acoustics are key.

@erik_squires From what I’ve learned recently, diffusion in a room can be isolated by correctly interpreting graphical representations of the frequency response as modern software can cast it. I think it’s the impulse decay that is analyzed, with time on the horizontal X-axis and amplitude on the vertical Y-axis. When a spike is recorded on the vertical axis, the elapsed time from the microphone is computed so that by knowing the speed sound travels, and the time taken to make the trip from speaker to reflection point to microphone, the distance can be calculated and compared to room layout. Break out your 8th grade compass and draw an arc to encounter reflective surfaces diffusing the sound. I’m sure I’ve got a few, and recent furniture introduction and rearrangement is sure to have affected the room’s response to the speakers. 
Thanks for the response. 

Soundstage is a very interesting subject, for sure. And one that can be elusive to achieve.


I’ve done some very simple experiments, the simplest of which is switching out one amp for another. Same speakers. Same location. Listening at the same volume (volume set using a dB meter app running a 1khz tone). Same piece of music.

Changing the amp, changes the soundstage. 

So many variables…



"Whence" is a great word; however, its original meaning is "from where", as in, "Whence comes soundstage?" Thus, saying "from whence" is redundant.

Sorry. I’ll see myself out now.

@simao You are correct, of course, and I debated with myself whether to include it or not; I decided to leave it in for readers unfamiliar with the usage of ‘whence’ (it’s not often used in English, but I think more commonly found in German and other languages). Thank you for noticing.

Edit: Given the circumstances which lead up to my post, I probably should have written: “Whither went my Sound Stage?” 
@rodman99999 Thank you again for chiming in. When you consider how much testing —and knowledge— is required to properly tune a system and treat a room, the LEDR method offers real promise. As you say, it uses our ears as the test equipment using the science written into the software. Brilliant! The basic fact of test equipment is that they don’t measure like humans hear, so interpreting the test data becomes a monumental task for the uninitiated. If you keep posting links to authorities on this subject, I’m going to have to extend my library shelf, I write in jest. Keep them coming, I’m ordering the Chesky CD tomorrow

@perkri My experience exactly, like, what happened?

@falconquest (and others): You are correct, absolutely, without a recording of the space, there is no sound stage to reproduce, which directly answers my question, “Whence cometh Sound Stage?” The issue for me is my ability to reproduce a reasonable reproduction of it in my space. It didn’t drop out all-of-sudden, but after several weeks of reconfiguring components in new spaces occasioned by a recent speaker purchase, I ‘woke up’ to the fact that my imaging was diminished and I wasn’t ‘feeling’ the sense of instruments in the room on a stage, as it were. It may be that I’m missing my Schiit Yggdrasil DAC in my upstairs system. I’ve got two DACs between the BlueRay player and the AVR but none of them can hold a candle to the Yggy; I tried a Modius, but it wasn’t much better than the DAC in the AVR, the BlueRay is pretty good, but not the equal of the Yggy, to my ears. Thanks for the response, you and everyone else who emphasized the importance of the recording itself, in whatever format, resolution, or media it was recorded on. With all the recent gear changes, I was beginning to lose sight of the forest for the trees, thank you for the corrective. It’s all about the music, right?

I have several systems in my house... but one does exactly what you are talking about. All but one system is two channel.... audiophiles please don't faint... one system is four channel and that is the one that fills the room with sound and you can't tell where it is coming from. I've had several friends listen to my systems and they all really like the four channel setup best. Well who knew... it was set up for watching movies but it isn't a DTS system nor is it my main system.

I think that the illusion of soundstage has to be within the recording first. Then a combination of absorption and diffusion in the listening space can greatly enhance the illusion which is already present inside the recording. In my room,the music seemingly pops out of nowhere/anywhere like fireworks against a deep dark night sky like magic. It never ceases to amaze me.

@oldrooney OP

"Edit: Given the circumstances which lead up to my post, I probably should have written: “Whither went my Sound Stage?” "

I love it. Whence comes audible amusement.

Thank you.


@frankmc195 When I hear my speakers these days, I wonder what’s wrong, hence this post. 

@campoly I’m after (and have had) the experience you describe. Even though I have applied more power recently, I’m missing the sparkle in my system. Thanks for the response. 

@firstonetallguy You’re welcome. :-)


Your room is probably more the issue than your equipment. If you’re hearing cymbals by your feet, the sound is reflecting from someplace it shouldn’t. It sounds like some well placed sound absorption is what you need.


I think you completely misread my post, let me try to clarify.

Diffusion and reflection are two different things. Just like in light, reflection produces a mirror image, but diffusion produces a soft, random re-direction of light or sound. In light, you'd achieve diffusion by looking through frosted glass.  Lots of light fixtures use this.

Yes, you can calculate reflection distances, but diffusion is much harder. Sound isn’t reflected, it’s scattered, so it produces a steady stream of arrivals instead of 1 solid spike.

Imaging is enhanced by adding diffusion at the points of a cross (looking from above). Behind the speakers, to the L and R (direclty to the sides, not at 1st reflection points), and behind the listener. These are not necessarily all-encompasing panels. Maybe 1/3 of the space to 1/2 behind the speakers, and narrowly to the sides.


How much have you actually played with speaker positioning? 

I don't know how applicable this might be for you, but I had to experiment much more than I'd ever expected before I finally got this right. One of the most dramatic improvements has been greatly improved sound-stage depth. 



There's another thread here about soundstage depth that has many tracks listeners use to measure that metric. I used some of those tracks to compare stage depth for my setup. It's quite amazing how much care some artists put into their track's productions. 

I used to confuse soundstage with ambience. Sometimes I wanted better sound stage, but I really wanted more ambience, and vice versa.

If you are using a DAC and solid state amp, soundstage comes from the recording, speakers, speaker placement and angle, and room in my experience. I find a turntable and tube amp can make a difference too. It sort of makes sense when you think about it.

Now ambience, that is something different. Lots of things affect ambience. Ambience is not only on the recording. It is something you create in your room to make yourself think you are listening to a live performance. Ambience is fake, but it sounds great.

@erik_squires You are correct, I didn’t understand what you meant by the term ‘diffusion’ and confused it with reflective surfaces in the sound path which are treated with absorption; thank you for the full description of what diffusion is, why it helps, and how it can be created. 

@stuartk I haven’t played with it much; downstairs the system is in a ‘temporary’ location and I don’t want to invest too much time on them, but they are on casters. If I can clear the floor space, I will experiment. I have PS Audio’s test CD for the purpose. Upstairs, the tweeter towers are screwed to the walls, I may be able to tweak the bass cabinets a bit, I’ll try it, they aren’t that heavy, but I can’t move them far as they’re tethered to the tweeter columns, but I can try different things, that’s why I bought the test equipment. 

@simao I’ll try to find those threads, sounds like they would be worth a listen. 

@othercrazycanuck I like your distinction. Using your terms, I want more ambience in my system for every recording so that when one comes along that has some staging, I get the full effect. I fear that may be a challenge for the system upstairs (with speakers against the wall), although I really like the quality of the sound I get from the McIntosh speakers. The system downstairs, with the B&W 801 speakers offers greater opportunity for tuning, the speakers seem to be much clearer and have much better imaging. Thanks for your response. 

 Ambiance and soundstage...

I think that it is a great acoustic distinction...

Thanks @othercrazycanuck 

@rodman99999 thanks for the LEDR links - I downloaded the 5 LEDR files and they sounded as they should (as described). So I guess I'm set up fairly well. 



" ...I guess I'm set up fairly well."

                  Affirmation/Confirmation feels good, right?

                                    Happy listening!

@oldrooney -

 "I’m ordering the Chesky CD tomorrow."

      You should find it worth every Cent spent!

       A few helpful room/system evaluation tests, beyond the LEDR.

       Beware of the signal levels, on the CD's last few tests/tones.

                Remember: Rule #1 (highest priority) = Have fun!

@rodman99999 CD is on the way for under $20 (used). I’m sure I’ll enjoy using it to dial my system in. 

@simao Madonna? Really! She wanted to be the best, I suppose, some her antics on stage distracted/attracted me to the point I wasn’t listening to the music. 

@oldrooney  yeah, hard to believe. But she was really pragmatic and conscientious about her Studio sound. She spent as much time behind the boards as the sound Engineers did.

Someone upthread commented on multi channel possibly being an answer here.  The OP prioritizes sound stage, and a well set up Atmos just might consistently off what he is seeking.  I am wondering if he has experimented with that and what his thoughts might be.  It just might make him feel like that teenager in the garage again


Have you had other people over to listen to see if they hear the same things you do from the various component changes? This is an area I’m interested in. It’s not clear why a change in a DAC or amplifier would have a perceptual effect on the soundstage, and it’s not clear that it works the same for everybody in the same situation. Our ability to detect the direction and distance of sound seems to be somewhat of a contextual expectation effect. So a subtle tonal shift can be interpreted as just bad tone, or as good tone coming from a different direction. I’ve had this effect flip on me right in the middle of listening to something. A loud noise from nearby can re-set my aural perspective and suddenly the stereo sound field collapses AND the tone sounds funny.

One thing that’s undeniable about 2 channel or even multichannel audio is that it is filled with crosstalk anomalies that you don’t experience from real instruments playing in different positions in space. In the real case, there’s always a consistent way the sound from each instrument hits your head from that direction. So as you turn your head or move around the room, they stay where they are, and everything is easy for your ears and brain to interpret and make sense of. When you start dealing with phantom images, sounds that are supposed to seem like they’re coming from a different direction than they actually are, there are inevitably inconsistencies that the brain/ear system has to interpret. There’s no guarantee that we’re all going to interpret them in a way that sounds good to us. But there may be ways to make it a lot more stable and reliable so that we’ll get the experience we expect and want practically all the time.

I’ve gone to up-mixing 2 channel audio to 3 speakers myself, using a simple crosstalk reduction scheme with all 3 speakers fairly close together. This started off as an experiment but it’s now been going for close to a year now and I’m remaining extremely satisfied with how easily it lets the speakers disappear to create a nice wide soundstage with depth, stability, and perceptually nice tone for me.

I’m finding that being perceptually properly oriented to your system is at least as important as the quality of the components and the listening room acoustics. Quality components and good room acoustics I think do help with maintaining proper orientation in terms of the sound stage. I think some listening arrangements are easier to aurally adapt to and stay oriented to, so the requirement for equipment quality goes down in terms of maintaining a sound stage, although you still can hear improvements in other areas such as dynamics, tonal purity, etc. from using better components.

@mahler123 Your response about feeling like a kid in the garage made me chuckle. I have considered DSP processing of the signal, and it is available to me on the upstairs system (the one with the McIntosh XRT speakers). My experiences with multichannel sound has been mixed with two exceptions: (1) Center Speaker, and (2) subwoofer(s). Until the recent acquisition and installation of the XRT speaker system, I hadn’t listened to music except for a local classical music station favored by a frequent visitor and occasional CD playing in the background. The use of the upstairs is likely to remain ‘entertainment’ as opposed to serious listening. 

However, you do bring up an important point about a multichannel system’s ability to recreate a listening space via digital processing of the signal. Whereas a traditional stereo recording care must be taken to include spatial information (the venue); then Yahaha comes out and says, ‘flip this switch and your recording will sound like it was recorded in Carnegie Hall through the magic of DSP.’  But I gotta say, after spending 20 years waiting for television shows to fully implement 5.1 or 7.1 I’m still waiting. Maybe I’m just not watching the right shows.

But I digress. I currently use my AV Receiver with Front Left & Right and Center plus a Subwoofer. Speakers were chosen for treble clarity, and work well to bring me clear dialog to accompany the sub-titles. I have considered putting side and rear surrounds in the ceiling, but I have been advised against it. And based on my previous experience, I’m no sure it would be worth the trouble: re-arrange the room, move the primary listening position, and then what?

Anyway, thanks for responding, I’m not saying, ‘never,’ but I am saying, ‘not now.’

@asctim I think you and I are on the same page. I have stated above that there must be a strong psycho-acoustic element to all this to even have a stereo image to begin with. The LEDR test signals rodman9995 shared takes it a step further to evaluate how the shape of our ears👂 , or pinnae, contribute to our perception of sound.
Two of my sons have visited recently (successive weekends) and listened to both systems, and then given me their evaluations. The discussion, in both cases, centered around the quantity and quality of the bass. I’ve attempted to explain the differences based on differences on the technology: the B&W 801s downstairs are a front-ported bass-reflex design; the McIntosh XRT20s upstairs have sealed cabinets. One son described the downstairs system as being much more ‘plugged in’ whereas the upstairs system was much more laidback. He said he preferred the 801s. The other son preferred the XRTs and contrasted the ‘studio sound’ from the 801s to the ‘made for the home’ sound of the XRTs upstairs.

I’ve been mainly focused on acquiring a decent amount of quality gear for the first two years, and while I continue to evaluate alternative options for gear, I’m turning my attention to room acoustics now. (Note: My takeaway from two years of virtually nonstop gear purchases is that solid, better quality speakers cover a multitude of equipment “sins.”) I’m also exploring access to better sources for my serious listening sessions, I plan to learn how to use the inexpensive microphone and free software to get a handle on how my room is ‘performing.’ In the process, I’m hoping, that while my hearing will not improve, I can become a better listener. :-)

Multi channel is a commitment, in labor and gear.  I haven’t gone the Atmos route, as my room dimensions simply don’t make sense for height speakers.  Yet when done correctly some of my 5.1 recordings add so much presence.  For example the Pentatone Brahms Symphony Cycle with Janowski and Pittsburgh the rears add proper ambiance and room reflections and this helps with the perception of front to back spacing.  Not all Multichannel recordings are done this sensitively, and merely hitting a button an AVR that converts two channel to multichannel isn’t the same thing

@bdp24 Thanks for the link. I enjoyed the interview and I agree with Paul about the importance of decent speakers, I wasn’t really hearing a Sound Stage until I acquired the B&W 801s, and I can understand Harry Pearson’s obsession with it; once you hear it, you’ve got to have it. Although I have Paul’s ‘Audiophile’s Guide’ CD and book, and I heard he had done one on ‘Speakers’ I wasn’t aware of the ‘Art of HiFi’ series. Since I now own a decent SACD player, I may secure copies of his ‘Bass’ and ‘Sound Stage’ recordings. Again, thanks for the link.

@mahler123 I wish I could hear your system. I’m sure multichannel recordings must sound wonderful, and I acknowledge that DSP alone can’t render it. The fact that I can’t really move the XRTs around upstairs means that I may be forced to implement some sort of ‘surround’ system. I don’t need height for the front (tweeters go from floor to ceiling), but I’m thinking that rear surrounds over the staircase, behind the listening position would be worth the effort, particularly if it could be implemented with Bluetooth speakers. But even then, simply mounting the speakers over the stairs becomes an issue. I’ve already invested so much time and energy insulating the attic space and installing flooring in its cramped quarters, that the thought of spending any more time up there makes me cringe. But as you say, it might be worth it —next year. First, I feel the need to understand what is going on in my room, optimize the lower frequencies, and properly place my speakers. For me, that is ‘next level,’ multichannel surround sound is a level beyond ‘next’ for me. Given your testimony, I will give it my best consideration going forward, especially for the upstairs space and gear. Thank you for your contribution.

@oldrooney - I achieved "the icing on the cake" by getting excellent cables. Of course speaker position and acoustic treatment  are important, but good cables allow the signals to be conveyed as recorded which recreates the venue perfectly.

Regards, Steve 

@oldrooney - I achieved "the icing on the cake" by getting excellent cables. Of course speaker position and acoustic treatment  are important, but good cables allow the signals to be conveyed as recorded which recreates the venue perfectly*.

Regards, Steve 

       Couldn't have said it better, outside of adding: all drivers in phase and time-aligned.

                 *WELL: I might have said, "...MUCH more closely", rather than, "perfectly".

                                            Happy listening!                   

@williewonka ​​​​@rodman99999 

I plan to consider upgrades to my cables once I can settle on a system configuration that pleases me. For the moment, I make my own out of Mogami 2534 (2 twisted pair) bulk and Nuetrix (or Switchcraft). I have made up my mind to go with mono block amplification, if for no other reason than the short speaker cables. 🙂

If you are into DIY, try these cables

The provide exceptional performance for the price of the build

  • They are a little more complex than conventional cables but they are high performance

If you want to see what others think - take a look at

Duelund conversion to DIY Helix Geometry Cabling 

I use them througt my system and the continue to amaze me with their imageing

  • I also used them on a $300 Yamaha mini stereo and they worked wonders there also

Hope that helps - Steve