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  1. #1
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    Sound Stage Aspect

    This may sound crazy to some but hopefully not everyone. My first question is have you ever noticed this and the second is any preference?

    When I listen to systems I notice what I call "back drop" to a sound stage. I'll give some examples.

    I first began paying attention to this when I discovered classic Krell. It seemed like the music was coming out of a velvet black background. Levinson typically does this. From what I've heard MSB as well. Pass as well.

    The opposite end of things in my book are brands like Boulder, I have not heard the very top amps, who seem to be so open I don't detect a back drop it's just air.

    ARC is in a category of its own as far as I've heard, it has sort of a white or illuminated backdrop. Some of the solid state more gray.

    The sound stage can have these back drops and still have presence and depth.

    My personal taste leans to the black background. I can't explain it, it just does. I could not get used to Boulder or that type of back drop in my system. It's something in my brain I supposed. The black back drop I find more comfortable to listen to. The darker the better.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    "...I don't detect a back drop it's just air." That is a terrific analogy,. I've been struggling with this issue over the last several month, particularly since I had extended listening sessions with the new Magico S3 2023 supported by Boulder pre, DAC and amplification. The sound was exemplary but it was missing some element that made it less tangible, less substantial and less engaging for me. Accurate sound untethered from its source.

    Since I added a pair of Westminster Lab Rei mono block amps to the signal chain, this lack of "back drop" with certain equipment has been accentuated. Thanks Mr. Peabody. You have helped me gain insight to a reference point that has become more important to me as the resolution and transparency of my equipment has evolved.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. #3

    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    This may sound crazy to some but hopefully not everyone. My first question is have you ever noticed this and the second is any preference?

    When I listen to systems I notice what I call "back drop" to a sound stage. I'll give some examples.

    I first began paying attention to this when I discovered classic Krell. It seemed like the music was coming out of a velvet black background. Levinson typically does this.
    I had an all Krell system comprised of the KRC-HR preamp, KPE Reference phono stage, and the mighty Krell KSA-250 power amp. I can assure you it didn't sound as you described. The Krell gear all had a very low noise floor, but it damn sure didn't make the music sound like it was coming out of a "velvet black background." There is no such thing as music coming out of a velvet black background. Music is recorded in studios or live events ranging from small clubs to large venues. They all have a distinct sound and a noise floor the music emerges from. What you should be hearing is the sound of the musicians playing in whatever venue they were recorded in. If you have a stereo rig and every recording you play sounds like it's coming from a "velvet black background," there is something wrong with your system and/or room. You need to look at how many doo-dads you have your gear plugged into and all of the room treatments you have installed because you have done something that has sucked the life out of your recordings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    My personal taste leans to the black background. I can't explain it, it just does. I could not get used to Boulder or that type of back drop in my system. It's something in my brain I supposed. The black back drop I find more comfortable to listen to. The darker the better.
    If this is the sound you are chasing, you are barking up the wrong audiophile tree unless you like all your recordings to sound unnatural and highly colored.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    I am completely confused by what you are calling "back drop". Maybe it is just the type of speakers I have been using (Quad and now Sound Lab).
    Contributor to stereotimes.com

  5. #5

    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzie View Post
    I am completely confused by what you are calling "back drop". Maybe it is just the type of speakers I have been using (Quad and now Sound Lab).
    It's a term he made up to explain what he's hearing.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    With the ksa250 you should understand but if you don't fine. It has nothing to do with dynamics, transients or damping.


    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    I had an all Krell system comprised of the KRC-HR preamp, KPE Reference phono stage, and the mighty Krell KSA-250 power amp. I can assure you it didn't sound as you described. The Krell gear all had a very low noise floor, but it damn sure didn't make the music sound like it was coming out of a "velvet black background." There is no such thing as music coming out of a velvet black background. Music is recorded in studios or live events ranging from small clubs to large venues. They all have a distinct sound and a noise floor the music emerges from. What you should be hearing is the sound of the musicians playing in whatever venue they were recorded in. If you have a stereo rig and every recording you play sounds like it's coming from a "velvet black background," there is something wrong with your system and/or room. You need to look at how many doo-dads you have your gear plugged into and all of the room treatments you have installed because you have done something that has sucked the life out of your recordings.



    If this is the sound you are chasing, you are barking up the wrong audiophile tree unless you like all your recordings to sound unnatural and highly colored.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    MEP is correct, it is a word I used to try to convey my thoughts on this.

    However, you pose an interesting caveat introducing electrostats. I haven't listened to enough to determine if what I'm talking about is noticeable or to what extent on them. Electrostats by nature are open and airy. I suspect the nature of the sound stage should be able to be detected though but just a guess.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzie View Post
    I am completely confused by what you are calling "back drop". Maybe it is just the type of speakers I have been using (Quad and now Sound Lab).
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  8. #8

    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    So Mr. Peabody, are your ML amps plugged into your Clarus Concerto power conditioner?
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  9. #9
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    I'm talking about a character of sound stage I've observed in many systems, in many rooms and locations. You made it clear you have no idea to what I speak of. I feel it's best at this point for you to just move on. I don't mean for that to sound rude but we are clearly on different pages.

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    So Mr. Peabody, are your ML amps plugged into your Clarus Concerto power conditioner?
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  10. #10

    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I'm talking about a character of sound stage I've observed in many systems, in many rooms and locations. You made it clear you have no idea to what I speak of. I feel it's best at this point for you to just move on. I don't mean for that to sound rude but we are clearly on different pages.
    I know exactly what you are talking about, I just don't buy into your theory.

    If you want to start a thread about how you want music to sound and come up with new audio terms to describe what you here and you only want an echo chamber to respond in your thread, post a warning that you only want vertical head bobs to respond.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    I use Pass Labs amps. Music soundstage just seems to be very deep, high, and wide. I have a lot of sound treatments in place and am currently putting more in place. Please try to clarify what you mean by "back drop", if you don't mind. Do you mean the music sounds like there is a wall behind it? I detect a deep soundstage and the music coming out of space, and it is very easy to determine where the various instruments and voice are located. I have experience with tube amps, from 50wpc to 200wpc and I believe that sound staging and whether the sound seems to come from the speakers, between the speakers, behind the speakers, etc. is due to speaker positioning and type and placement of room acoustics, much more so than from amplifier type.
    Regards,
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  12. #12
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Interesting question on black background and soundstage.

    To me a black background simply means an absence of extraneous noise that’s not on the recording.

    There can be loads of noise which is not music on a recording. Chairs creaking, sheet music being turned, musician’s feet tapping the floor, ambient room cues are all examples, especially on live recordings. Higher resolution systems, especially those with electrostatic or super light ribbon planar speakers resolve the very smallest of these sounds and reproduce them clearly. This is a good thing as it adds realism.

    But there is another type of noise we don’t want and that’s any noise that’s not on a recording. Pops, crackles, broadband noise (hissing, buzzing etc.), electrical circuit noise (hum), mechanical resonances of cabinets, RFI, EMI, noise introduced by electronic components and for streaming, noise introduced by the ‘hostile environment’ a stream must traverse in order to reach your system.

    A reduction in this type of noise is sometimes described as a blacker background though there are always limits and compromises when we attempt to describe sound – especially in visual terms.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    I know you noted you made up a term to clarify what you are hearing, but Can you please explain what exactly you mean when you say "back drop".

    All we can go by is this

    'noun
    noun: backdrop; plural noun: backdrops

    a painted cloth hung at the back of a theater stage as part of the scenery.
    the setting or background for a scene, event, or situation.
    "the conference took place against a backdrop of increasing diplomatic activity"

    verb
    verb: backdrop; 3rd person present: backdrops; past tense: backdropped; past participle: backdropped; gerund or present participle: backdropping

    provide a background or setting for.
    "an ornate fountain, and at its center, backdropped with golden spray, a statue of a young girl"

    Thanks in advance
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  14. #14
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    "Back drop" would be more of the noun. I gave 3 contrasting examples in my original post to try to illustrate what I'm talking about. Although those systems may have depth and expand beyond the speakers there is an aspect of the space from where the sound emanates. Back drop may not be the most accurate but it's all I could think of at the time.

    It maybe that not everyone notices this. To me when hearing something like MSB or older Krell the space in the sound stage is quite different from a brand like Boulder. Also, if someone has never heard the brands I'm talking about it may not make sense. If you've heard ARC before I'd hope you could hear the space in the sound stage is unique from any other brand I've heard before.

    Maybe what I'm talking about can't be perceived by everyone. I doubt that though, it may just be that it has to be demonstrated.

    I posted the question though and my anser is forming. It's perfectly fine for anyone not to have noticed or understand. It does make me more curious though.
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  15. #15

    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Mr. Peabody can hear things nobody else can is the takeaway here. I listed my former Krell system above. My signature shows my ARC system I have owned for years. What he attributes to Krell and ARC's soundstage simply isn't true. Same for his black velvet background that music emerges from.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Poor Mark, you are a miserable person who lives to attempt to make everyone as miserable as you are. Any thread you have ever posted on is negative, you have nothing positive to contribute. You bully, instigate and aggravate. You snipe on threads.

    Maybe I can hear something you can't. Does that make it hard for you to sleep at night. What an arrogant ass you are.

    I don't think this is my case but just to show people can be different here's something for you to read:
    How does synesthesia work?
    To understand synesthesia (pronounced “sin-ess-THEE-zh-uh”), it helps to understand how your senses work. Your brain relies on your five main senses — sight, sound, smell, taste or touch — to know what’s happening around you.

    That involves the following steps:

    Detection: Your senses pick up something happening around you. An example would be using your eyes to look at your surroundings or using your ears to listen for certain sounds.
    Signaling: Your senses send a signal to your brain describing what they’re experiencing. For example, your eyes would describe the colors and shapes of the things you can see nearby, or your ears would send signals that describe how loud a sound is, if it’s high- or low-pitched, etc.
    Processing: Your brain receives those signals and routes them to a certain area for processing. The area that does the processing connects to areas that help you understand what you’re seeing. Examples of this are recognizing a stop sign by its shape and/or color or recognizing that a sound is a piece of music or someone’s voice.
    In short, your senses describe to your brain what they pick up, and your brain creates its own understanding of the world around you from those descriptions. But people with synesthesia experience the processing step differently. Their brains process the same information through two or more brain areas at once. That causes a primary and at least one secondary effect:

    Primary effect: The primary effect is what you experience because of sensory input. An example of this would be hearing sounds and recognizing them as music.
    Secondary effect: People with synesthesia experience a secondary effect (or more than one) that seems like it’s one of their senses working, but there’s no input from that sense that should be causing it. An example of this would be seeing colors because you hear music.


    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Mr. Peabody can hear things nobody else can is the takeaway here. I listed my former Krell system above. My signature shows my ARC system I have owned for years. What he attributes to Krell and ARC's soundstage simply isn't true. Same for his black velvet background that music emerges from.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB, Esoteric N05xd
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  17. #17

    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    Mr. Peabody needs to change his name to Mr. Projection. He has severe butt hurt because he was questioned about his theories and then lashes out with made up BS.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    unlike Craig on another thread, thank God I only wasted 2 minutes !
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  19. #19
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    Re: Sound Stage Aspect

    I could clearly notice the 'blacker backdrop' when I listened to the new ML components drive a pair of speakers, but being unfamiliar with the room or speakers I wasn't sure where to place the credit.

    I started a thread about this on wbf, but gave recording quality specifically hi-rez recording quality credit for what I think you're describing. I think I penned it the absence of noise on some songs and not others. I have less experience with the more expensive electronics and to this day before buying my mac gear never dropped 5 figures on an amp-pre before considering Krell KAV to be as good as I could ever justify.
    That said when I was replacing my kav 300il I could hear a difference between each int I brought in to replace it using a pair of salon 1 speakers. but none as clean as those ML monoblocks.
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