A fellow on one of my audio related Facebook pages questioned me recently regarding what sound sound stage (in regards to headphones) truly is. Thus, this question prompted me to type out this relatively long winded explanation on what I believe sound state is when represented by a headphone. I do hope that my explanation is sufficient enough to please the audio enthusiasts, and that it is not to confusing or contradictory! Through my listening experiences with several varying types of headphones played from a vide range of headphone amplification equipment, I believe that my explanation of sound stage can be confirmed by those who have experienced it with headphones that are masterful at reproducing this sound phenomenon.
|Polk Audio Monitor 60 Tower Speakers|
In general terms, sound stage is how physical instruments, or electronic synths and sounds in the case of electronic music are represented by a headphone. Sound stage can be represented through the X, Y and Z axis's respectively. Think of headphones with poor sound stage as being very flat and having a more two dimensional or mono feel, as apposed to headphones with good sound stage that subsequently have a more open and three dimensional sound characteristic. In headphones it is often difficult to represent three dimensional sound because they are sitting directly on your ears. Headphones with poor sound stage are often described by audio enthusiasts as producing sound that seems to come from "inside" your head, or producing sound with very little direction. When listening to an orchestral ensemble on a pair of headphones with good soundstage, one should be able to discern each physical section of the ensemble, sometimes even the physical instruments. The sound is very spacious, and the instruments are all separated and easily picked out by the listener, while maintaining incredible clarity. Compare this to many Bose, Beats and lower end headphones and you can really tell the difference. On these types of poor sound stage headphones, the instruments tend to blend together as apposed to being separate, yet harmonious and spacious. When this principle is applied to electronic music, the bass is typically separate and distinct from the middle ranges and high ranges. Same goes throughout the frequency spectrum. High ranges are also separate and distinct from the bass. Its a very difficult headphone characteristic to explain. Its like the separation of the different aspects that make up a song, yet through this individual separation, the song is played at a higher fidelity as apposed to headphones that mold and muddy it all together. It is through this separation that the sound is reproduced better as a whole. There are other sub-aspects of sound stage if you will, like imaging. Imaging is whats placed within the sound stage. Here you should be able to pick up the individual characteristics of the said instrument, its size in relation to the others in the sound stage. ie a piano should sound much larger than a violin etc. Hope my explanation made sense instead of just confusing you all!
|Sennheiser HD 280 Pros|