Adventures In Audio

The frequency response problem that affects ALL stereo recordings

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@ohmythatsweird:  Headphones for mixing engineers?

@samimurtomaki5534:  I'f make things unneccessary complicated and start playing with a center speaker that is combined from left and right. Might not be audiophile solution.

@AccidentalArts:  I have a MiniDSP Dirac processor, which also has Parametric EQ. After seeing this, I made a -4 dB dip to both channels at 2 kHz with Q 3,8. As a result the center image became more stable, the nasality (which, to be honest, I hadn't even noticed before A/B testing) went away and the soundstage became way deeper. Every recording I've tested so far sounds more natural and much more enjoyable. Thank you David!

@bartbrodsky7190:  Would adding a center channel correct this problem?

@gtric1466:  This answers the age old issue with the 2k brightness

@rabarebra:  2kHz problems? Badly designed speakers. That's the NS10's, mister.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @rabarebra: You haven't watched the video. DM

@andreasboe4509:  I have edited speech and song for ten years and I always used high end headphones when I decided how to filter the recordings. I wasn't aware of the frequency response problem with loudspeakers, but it seems that I dodged it by pure luck.

@spectrelayer:  Are you familiar with Carver's Sonic Holography? I mention this, because when properly configured, the right ear can-NOT hear the left speaker and the left ear can-NOT hear the right speaker. Each ear ONLY hears it's corresponding speaker (Like headphones - but the effect will not work with headphones due to multiple reflections). I got my 1st sonic Hologram Generator in 1986. The effect varies with the recording techniques used, but simple mic arrangement & biaural recordings are beyond words. Carver continued to hold the patent rights with the formation of Sunfire and his current tube-amp ventures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvg3ux4s2S0

@AudioMasterclass replies to @spectrelayer: You know it does ring a bell from deep in the past. I might look into it further. DM

@johnny12022:  Dolby solved this problem years ago with a proper (tower) center channel (2kHz -4kHz is typical consonant frequency range, so vocals NEED a center). The problem is how to get a 2.0 to a 3.0 (or 3.1; I'm disappointed 5.1 audio never took off). I'm a fan of Dolby Surround (Atmos) upmixer, but I can understand if others aren't. A proper surround setup also helps provide "concert hall" atmosphere to smaller rooms

@ianl.9271:  Some use a centre channel monitor and collapse the mix into mono and check using that.

@JerryRutten:  I think the solution is to give each loudspeaker two sound sources a distance apart that corresponds to the interaural difference.

So, that the left ear hears (more) the left source of each loudspeaker and the right ear the right source.

@theroll666 replies to @JerryRutten: The problem is, this depends on distance to the speakers...

@JerryRutten replies to @JerryRutten: @@theroll666 I don't think so. But why?

It depends on the average interaural difference, and thus the average head size.
If you translate this time difference to an actual distance (a bit more than the distance between the ears), you can use that distance as the horizontal difference between the drivers. I think this method is used by Rob Carver with his "Amazing Line Source".

@shpater:  The Fix is easy: use a "near field like"* Hi Fi Setup, the compensation is already "Built In" to the recording by the master engineer.
*"Near Field Like" hi fi setup requires combination of speaker placement far from the wall as well as room treatment for reduction of reflected sound.

@holger9628:  Just using Headphones as an additional tool seems the eastiest way to me.

@universeisundernoobligatio3283:  At a local electronic surplus store I asked why the price of silver placed teflon wire had gone up in price. The owner said all the audiophiles are buying it up because they say it makes the music sound better.
We both laughed at the stupidy and lack of knowledge about transmission lines.

@Dr_Girthly_Baggington:  Could you play the left and right channels ever so slightly out of phase to one another ?

@hellcat5music:  How is that not a phase issue? I'd alter the 2k frequency range slightly until the phase cancellation stopped happening. Quite a few recordings i listen to have a slight offset of center for vocals, or the vocals are doubled and split so they're not down the center.

@TooTallForPony:  I think there may be a way to address this in the studio. What's happening is that sound from the left monitor is reaching both ears, but it takes a bit longer to reach the right ear than the left and it's a bit quieter when it gets there - and vice-versa with the right monitor. So what we need to do is cancel out this extra sound that's reaching the opposite ear from each monitor. How can we do this?

First, let's think about how we could recreate this condition if we needed to. Imagine for a moment that we removed the audio engineer and replaced them with a perfectly sound-absorbing wall. On the left side, we could add a second monitor behind the first one that plays what would have been played over the right monitor, and we do the equivalent on the right side. How far back does this second monitor need to be? We know that the effect is strongest at 2 kHz, and in order to cause cancellation the sound from the far monitor has to be delayed by 1/2 wavelength relative to the near monitor. At 2 kHz, 1/2 wavelength is 250 usec, which for a speed of sound in air of 350 m/s is 8.75 cm. So we could recreate this effect by having a second monitor 8.75 cm behind the first that plays the sound from the opposite monitor. To make sure we're only recreating the effect we care about, let's filter the sound being played from this second monitor so that it's only playing sounds coming out of both monitors (i.e. centered in the sound stage), and only the components near 2 kHz.

So now our second monitor is recreating the situation that was originally created by the opposite-side monitor when we had the engineer rather than a sound-absorbing wall in the room. How do we cancel out that second monitor? We can do that by adding a third monitor, another 8.75 cm back from the second one, that again plays what would have come from the other side (processed and filtered accordingly). This monitor will have to have the gain turned up a little higher since it's further away from the second one, but if done right it should do a pretty good job of cancelling the sound created by the second one. Now let's remove the wall and replace it with the sound engineer, and remove the second monitors since they were just substituting for the opposite-side monitors that the sound engineer would hear. So we have the original monitors, plus a second set of monitors 17.5 cm behind them, playing a filtered version of what comes out of the opposite-side monitor. This should cancel most of the interference caused by the opposite-side monitor at the near ear.

Signal-processing experts will have spotted some hand-waving: I added some filters into the signal path but didn't talk about the time delay introduced by those filters. Since everything we're talking about is time-dependent, that time delay really matters! Fortunately, there's an interesting little psychoacoustic phenomenon called the precedence effect where you can delay a sound by about 2-50 msec and still have it alter the perceived timbre of the sound without affecting the perceived direction of the sound source. That gives us plenty of time to use a linear-phase filter to delay the response so that it reduces the cross-talk cancellation but minimizes any perceived impact on the sound direction. I have no idea whether this will work in practice, but it seems like we ought to be able to cheat our ears into hearing what we think they should rather than what they do.

@rabarebra replies to @TooTallForPony: Jesus Christ, get a life.

@timspence6771:  So what happens when you turn the balance control to one side then the other? It sounds different in each speaker because even 'matched pairs' sound different. And that's before factoring in the fact that your ears are different too. It would be interesting to try the experiment with Leak 3050 speakers but they're about 40 years old and hard to find.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @timspence6771: For comment readers, the Leak model 3050 is physically time-delay compensated. DM

@demonreturns4336:  Would the position of the speakers help alleviate the issue - like say if they were extremely toed in, moderately toed in, or if they were not toed in at all and just straight up firing in a straight line with you sitting some where in the middle of both speakers

@Douglas_Blake_579 replies to @demonreturns4336: It didn't help much in my room ... If you sit and listen carefully you'll discover that even turning your head results in a change of tonality. I'm thinking it's more of a design flaw in our hearing than anything else.

@DDDyson:  Side note: Head-tracking surround headphones (such as the Audeze Mobius) pronounce this even further when they perform the head-related transfer function in real time. If there is mono noise over more than one speaker, there are considerable dips if you just turn your head.

@Douglas_Blake_579:  I did hear the problem, and now I can't un-hear it. But it's not unsolvable.
It's actually two problems ...
In the near field it's wrong without the engineer's correction.
In the far field with room effects, it's wrong with the engineer's correction.

It appears to affect about half of my pop music collection and a small portion of my jazz and orchestral music.

For my desktop (near field) system I chose to do nothing. I use the setup mostly for casual listening and seldom sit in it's "sweet spot".

For my main system (far field) I chose to put in a 2.5db dip at 2khz with my DSP. It is true that this is never right... but it's a good compromise between too much and too little. With the engineer's correction it gets rid of sibilance and annoying hi-hats. Without, the resulting dip is barely noticeable.

@tinkerwithstuff:  I've had a long held suspicion that it should make sense to listen to mono recordings (that I have a lot of, e.g. old opera recordings) on one monitor positioned centrally, to not get messy phasing effects from playing the same signal from 2 positions.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @tinkerwithstuff: You're correct. A bit inconvenient but the problem covered here will disappear. DM

@laika25:  I'll just opt for not moving my head 😂

@mrnmrn1:  I have never thought of this problem. But you probably just described why I found my Onkyo SC-400 speakers the best sounding I ever had in the mid-frequency range. It has a quite unique midrange speaker arrangement, which is firing in two directions. The speaker cabinet is sealed, and the midrange speaker is installed in a thick-walled paper tube that is open at the back side, lously filled with some damping cotton. So the midrange speaker is firing towards the front and towards the back - in opposite phase. I think they call this arrangement a dipole speaker.

I would guess the backwards firing opposite-phase mid-frequency range that is reflected from the wall of the room behind the speakers, somehow cancels this problem, while somehow not ruining the stereo image. Well, I guess it can very well ruin the stereo image, depending on the placement of the speakers, probably the distance from the wall is very important.

Currently they are packed away, but I plan to put them in service again this year, I will definitely try this test with them when I'm done.

@damienribot1143:  Headphones 😁

@RackGearAddict:  At the back of my home studio I have a pair of bookshelf speakers for secondary reference. They're 2X the distance or more of my main monitors and you can listen to a mix with the L/R channels reversed like a drawing in a mirror

@AudioMasterclass replies to @RackGearAddict: Listening to a mix in mono is always a good thing. Listening with L+R reversed isn't such a bad thing either because it can point out things not noticed before. Listening with the speakers behind you is unusual but it's always good to check a mix from a less than optimal position. DM

@paolocanali3361:  That's why on my room I have two separate systems: a stereo speaker pair with a subwoofer for regular listening when sitting on the sofa, and a mono system with its own different (bigger) speaker at the center, when I move inside the room and I just want background music. Some recordings sounds better on the mono system anyway.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @paolocanali3361: Yes background music is a different thing. I use a tiny digital radio for that. It is stereo, but more than a foot away you can't really tell. DM

@melaniezette886:  Is it why most UK speakers have BBC dip?

@AudioMasterclass replies to @melaniezette886: This is something worth looking into and I'll put it on my list. DM

@NathanOakley1980:  In car audio, installing a system with a 3db dip starting at around 1.5k is something I’ve seen a few times. Makes no sense to me that there is an on centre dip inherent to stereo 😯
Also, B&W Matrix & N800 like your 802 also have a small dip starting at 1.5k. I have measurements of new and old 800 speakers and the newer ones no longer have this dip. Again, makes no sense that there is other dips around this range but hey, you learn something new every day. The B&W dip was explained to me by a B&W rep as being there to reduce shrill frequencies similar to that of a baby crying as people are very sensitive to these frequencies. No idea how true it was 😆

Lastly, I recently had a tweeter blow on my 804 speaker, the replacement from B&W had no dip! I had to use the tweeter off my matching B&W centre on the 804 to get rid of the dip and have them match the 20+ year old tweeter on the other speaker….with a dip, starting at 1.5k.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @NathanOakley1980: I shall be careful then not to blow my tweeters. DM

@sorepaws:  I am probably mistaken, but I seem to recall that when the BBC developed the original LS3/5a there was a 6dB dip around 2-3kHz - this was engineered in I guess to mitigate the effect. Of course someone may know better and can write their comments below :-D,
Edited : No I was wrong - didn't happen in the LS3/5A oh well - but an interesting thought.....

@VinnieLeeStudio:  Wow! Never noticed that before! This is amazing! Thank you!

@EduardoAvaria:  Hello, I've been all over youtube trying to find some expert opinion on DML panels. Sadly, almost all the youtubers speaking about them are not even close the skill I'd like the to have. Is there any chance you give us your opinion on this panels? They have been around for a while now, but in the last few years they are the rage all over the internet, being labeled as "the best speakers in the world" which obviosly are not... but how good are them, and how good can they become with everythin right? I guess would be great material for your channel, and real information for us :)

@themattprofessor:  Well one way is to mono the mix or just listen to each side of the mix on only one speaker, and make sure your eq decisions are checked in this way.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @themattprofessor: This is true. And to have one centre monitor would be excellent. Oh, the screen gets in the way. I sense another video coming along.. DM

@nb1223:  I feel cheated... not sure why? I mean I was just left alone after the video was done, like what now.... So awkward.

@NintenloupWolfFR:  Your videos are really nice, but I'm just constantly reminded by them that I'm glad I can just not think about such stuff and just enjoy all the formats I have even with cheap gear.

@andrew8992:  Well I never! So I had never heard of this effect before. Some time ago, and after a lot of listening to my own system, I decided that some vocals sounded just a bit too bright. I had a play with some DSP settings and dialled down the mid range frequency response with a parametric equaliser until things sounded more natural. After watching this video I went back to see what I had put into my DSP settings, yep you guessed it, I had set a 6db dip at 2kHz!

@DomSchiavoni replies to @andrew8992: Interesting hearing your experience. I like to measure frequency response with REW then use that as a tool to counteract some of the deficiencies created by the room. Then apply a house curve with DIRAC to get it as close to studio quality FR as possible. Finally, i will occasionally adjust EQ to taste for specific songs if desired. I use MiniDSP.

@DomSchiavoni replies to @andrew8992: @@rabarebra either has a phenomenal room setup, or lives under a rock.
Only a measured FR would revel...

@abelmagwich5803:  A thought just crossed my mind. .... headphones!!! I constantly read headphone reviews saying the headphones sound forward at certain frequencies... perhaps unassociated with the phones and more with some twiddling of knobs in the mastering.

@markblock8659:  Doesn't this make a strong case for three-channel systems? A center dialog speaker, like with movies, would allow us to hear vocals properly. There's also the issue of frequency response variations caused by our pinnae. (This is one of the ways our brains locate sound sources.) The phantom-center image of vocalists will inevitably be altered by the pinnae—dramatically—because the sound is coming from the left and right rather than straight in front of us. The only saving grace: As you mentioned, mixers compensate for that with microphones and EQ that make the vocals sound OK (at least, as intended) when placed in the center. When movies are mixed, on the other hand, the engineers monitor the mix in a proper Dolby setup with a center-channel speaker.

@markblock8659 replies to @markblock8659: @Douglas Blake Right. The music would need to be mixed in the first place to three channels with a center speaker (so no 2k correction), and a two-channel setup in the home would no longer work properly. For stereo, we're stuck with no good options.

@markblock8659 replies to @markblock8659: @Douglas Blake Here's something interesting I've noticed, but have not thought too hard about. I've done REW measurements on half a dozen loudspeakers in my room over the last couple of years. In 5 out of 6 cases, the speakers had a dip in the general vicinity of 2k. The one speaker that measured flat, a KEF LS50 Meta, sounded slightly aggressive in that area, making a few of my favorite vocal recordings sound too midrangey. So ... are some speakers "voiced" with a 3dB dip at 2k? Your preferred EQ would then be baked into the speaker's response.

@adrianinnavan3910:  I understand the problem but it's not one that, generally speaking, has caused me a problem. My solution is one that I'm willing to pass on to others. Keep your head still.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @adrianinnavan3910: There are a lot of problems in audio that can be solved by putting your head in a vice. DM

@adrianinnavan3910 replies to @adrianinnavan3910: @Audio Masterclass Do I detect a soupçon of annoyance?

@AudioMasterclass replies to @adrianinnavan3910: ​@Adrian in Navan The only thing that annoys me these days is not being able to read more than five lines of script without making a mistake. I don't think putting my head in a vice will cure that. DM

@adrianinnavan3910 replies to @adrianinnavan3910: @Audio Masterclass I'm glad that's your only irritant. I've become, my wife helped me reach this conclusion, the proverbial grumpy old git.

@MiguelCruz-cm1fe:  Hi

@robcohen:  You can eliminate it if you prefer with diffusion at first reflection points or the Dolby Surround Upmixer with Center Spread off.

@realraven2000:  It's quite an interesting effect, not only did it get brighter it also moved to the side. My room isn't super treated and I know it very well. The trick is to calibrate your hearing by listening to absolutely everything (including this YouTube video) on this system, on the same speakers in the same room. Having room correction software (I have ARC3) you also have to make sure it is applied to both your DAWs and any system sounds (WIndows) so there is no difference in EQ treatment.

@andrewtaub1210:  I may not agree with you on some things, but you do something some paid journalists don't. You give your time.

@Kostaras4444:  My opinion is that as long as you reference a lot and generally listen to a lot of music in your listening environment such problems aren't really problems because you get accustomed to how a professional mix sounds in your space so every decision you make during mixing is informed by that, also visual stuff like span and tonal balance along with referencing can really help achieving a balanced mix, and finally listening to your mix in different environments and playback systems can furthermore verify that you're making the right mixing decisions.

@andrewtaub1210 replies to @Kostaras4444: But do you find using more than one system refreshes your hearing for each of them. I found that part of my return on investment for my headphone system was my loudspeakers started sounding better again.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @Kostaras4444: I believe there is a lot of truth in this. DM

@soundbyte99:  It matters little to me how accurately I’m hearing something if I don’t like what I’m hearing in the first place. If I enjoy listening to something, it is because of what it is, not what it could be. I applaud the efforts of some to make the process of audio reproduction more accurate, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t going to have any effect on how much I enjoy my favourite flawed recordings.

@carlitomelon4610:  Surely professional mix engineers are trained to recognize this effect and not compensate with unnecessary EQ?


This presentation hopefully helps amateurs!

I heard the effect with my towed in LS50s when I leaned forward. (Magnepan LRS aren't designed for nearfield listening;-)

Realistically, i don't listen to pink noise daily, tho' its a useful setup tool.
I prefer minimally miked and tweaked recordings.
My music room is treated. I get big stable images and insight into the recorded acoustic space as a result.

Why did you cast shade on using HiFi speakers for this video? Aren't we audiophiles/careful listeners/music lovers your target audience?
🎵🎶🤫🎶🎵

@deputy3690:  I find that turning off the amplifier eliminates this pink noise.

@melaniezette886 replies to @deputy3690: 🤔

@ronmiller6344:  I use MONO pink noise (Youtube) for adjusting Toe-In/Out on the Left and Right channels until the brightness is equal, when moving my head back and forth.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @ronmiller6344: Nice plan. I'll try it myself. DM

@smarts99:  No wonder I like all my speakers to have a bump around 2k.

@peterw2714:  I’m not sure I get the problem if you’re saying that the record producers use close field monitors and already correct for this discrepancy when they listen to music which would only be repeated when you listen at home sounds like it’s already been fixed.

@klaushaunstrupchristensen7252:  I assume a trifield setup will help if used with three omnidirectional speakers 🤔But as you say not a complete remedy.
By the way another issue which reduces the frequency fidelity of most speakers is the Allison dip or floor cancellation dip.
But the again headphones are free of these issues, but they obviously have other issues 🤨Nothing is free in our world.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @klaushaunstrupchristensen7252: There's an interesting link here. Words of wisdom on the Allison effect suggest that the speakers need to be different distances from the room boundaries, and none of the distances are simple multiples or submultiples of each other. To design a room so that standing waves are not more of a problem than they could be, then the room dimensions should be different and not multiples or submultiples. DM

@scrumpymanjack:  Ok, Paul. Whatever. Can you just play Blackbird on the guitar for us one more time?

@leekumiega9268:  My Ohm Walsh 2 (just like the new Walsh 2000 speakers) are omnidirectional at 2 khz and below except for a small area at the rear of the speaker , so I could not hear any difference as I moved out of center regardless if I was near of far . The Tweeters are angled toward the center of the room so that as you move about you hear each speaker equally well no matter where you are. I'm going to connect my old equalizer and attenuate the frequencies in question to see if my music sounds better with or without equalization. My guess is that it will vary and depend on how the music was equalized initially.

@Joseph-Lau:  That’s really interesting lecture! I keep listening again and again.
So, the 2kHz is result in destructive interference from the stereo speakers, isn’t?
But, do we have this kind of problem in live listening? Let’s say two guitarists who playing exactly the same thing (unison) but sitting at the left and right sides?
From this experiment, there will be some frequency dip at the centre, isn’t?
So, the conclusion is when musicians are playing the unison, they should sit at the same side?

@Douglas_Blake_579 replies to @Joseph-Lau: This is a result of a mono signal from two speakers in different locations. If you work out the wavelengths vs the size of your head you will discover that sound from the left speaker likely arrives at your right ear out of phase and the sound from the right speaker hit's your left ear out of phase.

You won't have the problem with two separate musicians, since there's no way to guarantee they are playing in phase.

@craigellsworth3952:  You may have inadvertently answered why some mini monitors reproduce the voice so well.

@JohnnyFocal:  That is not totally correct as most QC and mastering is done with high quality headphones. People are aware of this and listen on a number of systems and methods to make sure it is as intended. On the albums I have done I have tested the mix and mastered version on a number of systems. I even use by Macbook and its speakers as a reference as well as high end systems.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @JohnnyFocal: I didn't mention mastering in my video deliberately. I stopped at mixing. Mastering studios, as can be seen in a Google image search, tend to use large speakers, further away, than the nearfields commonly used while tracking and mixing. DM

@JohnnyFocal replies to @JohnnyFocal: @Audio Masterclass Dont need to see a google image search I am sitting in one now! Intrestng videos discussion is always good!

@brucermarino:  I suspect the Polk SDA speakers would mitigate this little-known but long-recognized effect. Thanks for another great presentation.

@Paul_Rohde:  Another problem that can happen through near field monitoring, if the speakers are layed over so the tweeters are at the outmost position (or if the speakers are vertical but higher) is that there is a beam cancellation (attentuation) that angles down between the tweeter and the next lower freq driver at the crossover frequency. I don't understand the physics of it (or know if it occurs with all crossover types). If you're going to lay speakers over, the tweeter should be on the inner side (and they will more directional to the ears anyway) Plus stereo lower frequencies "pull in" more so all drivers will be better aligned.

@janluszczek1223:  It's not really a problem, because as you said mixing and mastering engineers make their records sound how they want on nearfields and mains. During playback your sense of hearing compensates for this phenomenon. Humans are generally good at resolving spatial cues and this is a very basic task that we encounter daily. I mixed music professionally for many years and I never felt the need to raise or lower vocals by 6dB depending where I was in relation to the monitors. Would it be easier to mix on a LCR system? Sure. But work gets done in plain old stereo just fine and mixes translate to all kinds of systems all the time. We have a Mono switch on the console for testing level relationships in the mix and we just intuitively end up not having a lot of the 2kHz region in the sides.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @janluszczek1223: Audio needs more mono switches. And where present it should be the first switch on the console to wear out. DM

@nickwallette6201 replies to @janluszczek1223: LCR isn't perfect either, unless you're equidistant from each one -- in an arc, say. But when you move, the problem occurs again. :-) At least, that is, assuming you have content that spans from L to C, or C to R.

And even mono isn't perfect, since stereo information is a combination of phase and timing cues. Those will merge in constructive and destructive ways, changing the relative volume of sounds that you would hear differently, depending on where you are in the stereo field.

I guess the only true solution is to listen and mix only on ear-buds. haha

@MrPeeBeeDeeBee replies to @janluszczek1223: @@AudioMasterclass All of my live mixing was always in mono. The room and stage gear made the sound stage. For a while there, back in the day, FOH mixing used to be called 'sound reinforcement'.

@Hypurr1:  Heard it plain as day, never knew it existed. Thanks a lot. lol

@Paul_Rohde:  Wow, this is ingenious to get more comments for the YouTube algorithm. I'm impressed! (Solution, don't worry about it, or do equalistion around 2k when required. Tell us the centre frequency and Q value.)

@Bob-1802:  Damn phasing issues! Then again, even live performances have their own.

@schemkesa:  There was a subtle difference indeed. The solution is a center channel and why I'm a great fan of Dolby Atmos

@schemkesa replies to @schemkesa: @Douglas Blake agreed, so he should also mix with a discrete center channel, so he won't have to boost 2k.

@ericmc6482:  Now flip the direction of one interconnect and hear what happens to the pink noise centre image.

@ericmc6482 replies to @ericmc6482: @@Douglas_Blake Hi Douglas. Listen for slight skewing (toward L or R) of centre image, especially on music. I had this rotten problem with a TT (oops record player haha) with hard wired signal cables that I fitted. No matter what I did (exploring every permutation of phono cartridge connections, amp channels, speaker cables, speakers) I could not correct the issue except to reverse the direction of the skew, drove me nuts lol. One day a hifi dealer showed me the effect of reversing one cdp>amp interconnect and bingo there was my phono playback problem repeated, the penny drop ah-ha moment. When I originally fitted the phono signal cables I had done so with the directions reversed and correcting this condition as soon as I got home from the dealer cured the centre image skewing problem. So cables are directional which I have proven many times since......so which direction is optimal ??. It turns out neither direction is optimal !!. I have since developed a cure (novel dielectric) for that problem which solidly cures all centre imaging and depth imaging issues producing fully realistic 3D sound with every sound source in precise position and size within that 3D space. In summary it's all about quantum noise, ie in the example cases cited above, connection cable produced quantum noise and how such quantum noise drives downstream stage and transducer quantum noise mechanisms, it's a fascinating subject. Cheers.

@ericmc6482 replies to @ericmc6482: @@Douglas_Blake When you understand the underlying physics it all makes perfect sense. Sorry for you that this is beyond your comprehension, oh well....

@jonjonssen replies to @ericmc6482: @@ericmc6482 Hmmm...

@45rpm.:  I will be sure to check my mixes on a system that is not set up for near field monitoring from now on. I hope real studio engineers already do this on their "mains".

@45rpm. replies to @45rpm.: @Douglas Blake Yes, headphones would work for me. I have a decent pair. I never think about using them now I live on my own. But I will.

@nicc5122:  Bose make a lot of the direct and reflected sound in their hifi speakers that most audiophiles don't seem to like. Perhaps that 6dB lift they hear puts them off ?

@michelvondenhoff9673:  Solution: buy Yamaha MS10's 😂

@rabit818:  I need to be Linda Blair from the Exorcist to get good results.

@rolandrohde:  This is certainly an interesting aspect, but if I look at the amount of things that go on in recording and editing of music (I can only speak for classical music here) then this doesn't even show up on the scale.
We have high quality AV equipment, great lossless, compressed and even high-rez formats, yet the actual contents are so often just mushy, over-compressed and over-balanced. Or even better...labels take ancient recordings, blow up all the flaws that came with the limitations of that old tech lie hissing, humming, crackle and so on, and then sell it to Audiophiles wrapped in a Highres Container for a premium price..🤷‍♂️

@donpaps723:  Easy. Mono. I love mono with one speaker only. It's a nice reset to all the stupid "ping pong" right left effects. I build my a redesigned version of the Lindsley Hood class A amp and a back loaded loudspeaker horn system with my 8" Tannoy coaxial speaker. I never use my normal HIFI system with my Pioneer A858 amp anymore. How about that?

@joentell:  Thank you for this. Subscribed because its refreshing to hear someone making sense when talking about audio. Dr. Floyd Toole talked about this in his book regarding the 2khz dip due to interaural crosstalk cancellation. The solution is to use a center channel.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @joentell: I think the full solution is to build a time machine and go back to whatever committee decided that stereo should have two channels, not three. Inform them of the error of their ways. DM

@joentell replies to @joentell: @Audio Masterclass 😁 Maybe if they knew about something about binaural sound recording/reproduction and HRTF's, we might have made better use of 2 speakers. Surprising to me, speakers to the sides can reproduce binaural content very well, and due to the head shadow, cross-talk, and SPL of late reflections are minimized. With some line arrays and multiple rows, it can be a shared binaural experience.

@SomberShroud:  ah yes, you are describing head related transfer function (HRTF) that is the basis for surround sound recordings downmixed to stereo giving extra depth to binaural recordings. Also hearing differences in each ear from each speakers is called "Crossfeed" and Foobar2000 (popular audiophile audio player) has a dsp to add crossfeed into stereo files, it does this by adding a few dB(customizable) of content from one channel to the other and vice versa, effectively making it slightly mono, but it helps a lot with mixes that don't account for binaural listening. I do believe things like dolby atmos for headphones are the future of music.

@gblargg:  Least-intrusive is to note what listening equipment the mix was monitored on (e.g. near-field monitors) so the listener can either use the same setup, or compensate for theirs (e.g. drop 2kHz by 6 dB when listening in a larger room away from the speakers). This can be done retroactively for old recordings since it's just meta-information being provided.

A purist approach would be to have engineers measure the attenuation where they sit, apply equalization to remove this bias (e.g. 2kHz up by 6dB for the monitor speakers). Then the home listener can apply the same equalization if they are using near-field monitors, or none if using a larger room system.

The latter would make more sense if most listeners are on room audio systems, or on headphones.

@scottwolf8633:  When you speak of, "Frequency response", you are, from what I observed, from your pink noise images, only discussing the Real component of a Complex Variable, the Amplitude response. You are neglecting the Imaginary component of the Complex Variable, Frequency response, the Phase response which is more important to re-create the illusion of a musical event. Indeed, Richard Heyser in the 70's published a series of papers in the JAES where IF the Real component and Imaginary component were Hilbert Transforms of each other, then the loudspeaker could be claimed to be a Minimum Phase System. Something very rarely achieved, no matter what the marketing departments of loudspeaker manufacturers claim.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @scottwolf8633: You should have your own YouTube channel. DM

@scottwolf8633 replies to @scottwolf8633: @Audio Masterclass I'd rather play my left handed Strat, and stay off the RADAR.

@johncostigan6160:  First, I thought I use Cubase; I can change the Pan Law setting to compensate. But NOT at 2Khz. alone. Oh well.

@paulstubbs7678:  Interesting, unfortunately it does dot effect my single monitor speaker - Single, because 90% of internet etc. video's are centred voice/dialogue, Also that speaker is positioned to try and minimise pick-up from a desktop mic used for Zoom calls, as in on the floor below my desk, but still with a direct path to my head. I don't like looking like a Cyberman from DrWho by wearing cans whilst on a call.
This does however bring back memories of an effect I've noticed when walking past shops with outside speakers. These speakers are often placed at either side of the shop front, and when I walk past I can usually perceive notches that shift in frequency as I pass.

@austinnichols3557:  thats why its easy to mix the lead vocal a bit to loud i presume

@steveroberts1861:  I do wonder given that more than 80% of people listen to music using headphones, that music should be mixed for this listening environment. Statistic comes from a headphone manufacturer. Just a thought.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @steveroberts1861: Bearing in mind that 99.9% of statistics are completely made up, as is this one, I suspect there's a lot of truth here and a wise mix engineer would equipment himself or herself with a range of earbuds for comparison, if not actual mixing. DM

@dtracy03ss:  I am a Equalizer Junkie so actually, Long ago being of the Group that got to Enjoy almost every Famous Rock group for under 10 bucks a Ticket then go home and Crank up the Marantz or Pioneer on Decent Vinyl you could hear the Difference from real to Reproduced so I spent the Money for High Quality Equalizers in addition to proper speaker Placement. After that basically my adjustment Curve was Almost the Same for all Reproduced engineered and "Mixer" what would you call it? Selfish Sound, whomever the actual operator was pretty much made to Sound to Their Expectations in a Sterile Mixing Studio , SO THAT, is why Equalizers were manufactured in the First Place and these "Audiophile Flatliner" Preachers can Go Spend their 10s of thousands or 100s of thousands of Dollars to supposedly get the "Real Sound as intended" but for Who? And I will Spend My Hundreds of Dollars on a Quality "SonndCraftsman" Equalizer with my Quality Vintage Equipment that was made when most of these Recordings were Mastered and that way the Sound is for MY HiFi Stereo Enjoyment and Guess What ? If a "Audiophile purest" doesn't like it, you can guess my Answer!!!
Keep up the Great Vids, you have my Answer and that Answer is Most Likely going to Touch the Ears of all "Equalizer Junkies" LOL

@jensknudsen4222:  The effect is noticeable even on my Samsung tablet.
(Sorry for watching your videos on such crappy equipment 😉 )

@mephitusincognito7918:  this is actually a really neat trick.. considering i have never noticed it till i took my headphones off and turned on the rarely used speakers and let you point it out.. how would i fix it? i have no clue where one fixes a flaw created by natural laws of physics but.. the closest? headphones with a crossover/reverb so they sound like speakers? which would technically add distortion of its own so.. got me? if the music sounds good -- then enjoy it i say... and they perfected that with the invention of the CD, IMO, which goes into lossless digital and external DACs that don't pick up noise from inside the computer case... really how do you get better from here in an era with no surface noise (thank the audio gods) and an instant access digital library? i'll let the physics goofs slide...

@mantaproject:  The fix ? : Use headphones to check the mix.

@howardskeivys4184:  I’ve never been the world’s greatest proponent of room treatment. Whilst I take on board the fact that it can make a difference, the key word here is ‘difference’. Whether that ‘difference’ actually constitutes an improvement, is surely down to personal taste. You’ve unwittingly validated my thoughts.

Excellent, thought provoking video!

@user-yk4gd1fl4z replies to @howardskeivys4184: Acoustics is hard science, it makes a difference and a big one at that if done right. Most unlike most audio hooplah.

@howardskeivys4184 replies to @howardskeivys4184: @Tim I did say that it makes a difference, changes the acoustical character of your room. My point is, whether that change is favourable or not is down to personal preference!

@Paul58069 replies to @howardskeivys4184: ​@@howardskeivys4184or simply down to how bad your room acoustics are

@Maver1ck911 replies to @howardskeivys4184: Bass correction is the most important for nodes and excessive trapping. Early reflections and overhead are easier to treat.

@matthewbourne6257 replies to @howardskeivys4184: I'm not sure any of the information in this video makes for an argument against room treatment, which reacts to many issues that exist in either stereo or mono.

@tirregius:  The very best solution lacks practicality.

Binaural recordings tend to be the most unaltered. They are usually the work of purists (like me) who seek capture of audio reality.

Of course, binaural audio has its own limitations. We discern central auditory images with small, subconscious head movements. A binaural recording, due to the fixed location of the microphones, makes this process useless.

There's a pleasing, natural feeling that comes with panning one's head in a room with speakers that can't be had with headphones and binaural. But that said, there's nothing that can touch the cathartic experience that can be had with a tuned pair of cans and great binaural audio. It "cures" the frequency problems.

It's been a source of frustration, that there's really no great solution - sometimes the source is produced incredibly well, such that listening through stereo speakers is wonderful. Other times, it's clear the mix was done exclusively on a pair of of near-field monitors with little drivers...

In a perfect world, all recorded audio would be produced by obcessive audiophiles. Unfortunately, that's far from the case.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @tirregius: I've had a lot of fun with binaural in the past but it doesn't translate well to the 'real world'. But then there's Andrew Sachs' 'The Revenge'. No audio enthusiast should miss that. DM

@onepieceatatime:  I ended up listening to this on headphones, and when I got to the part where I leaned my head back and forth, the person next to me on the bus thought I was insane.

@AudioMasterclass replies to @onepieceatatime: No it's you who is sane. Everyone else on the bus is insane. DM

@CaptainJack2048:  Seems like the best solution would be to make like Susanna Hoffs in the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian" video. Just keep that head movin'. I may be a little too old for that one, though; my neck isn't as spry as it used to be.

@GrootsieTheDog:  The way around this is don’t be a cheat and record like the true masters: in mono. Stereo builds wide. Mono builds vertically. Depth instead of width. A great recording is one where you can hear the layers of sound in the speaker - Not through stereo gimmickry.

@richardvarey592:  Will my graphic equaliser help by cutting the boost at 2 kHz?

@bobsykes:  Really high end headphones, even given their own drawbacks, have pretty much solved the listening side of this problem for me. I think the answer as far as mixing the recording goes, is that mastering engineers do use very well tuned rooms with very good monitors and carefully balanced direct and reflected sound at thier listening position, so they can fix this problem before the final master recording is ever released for distribution.

@howardskeivys4184 replies to @bobsykes: High end headphones are an excellent way to enjoy world class musical reproduction. They eliminate the room. I frequently use high end headphones with a high end headphone amp to enjoy listening to music. Vut, like many other audiophiles, I’ve built a rig around world class speakers and that is my preferred listening environment, because the room plays it’s part in realism.

@meilstone:  Use headphones?

@MikhailKulkov:  Pure mono is the best!

@RolandBoon:  YouTube seems to encode a 5.1 signal, putting the voice and stereo that is the same left en right at the center speaker. That kind of defeats the test

@sheep7255:  For whatever reason, this video somehow exaggerated my shit corner setup with some bog standard bookshelf speakers I sometimes use. Left speaker has giant reflection of the wall about 2-5 cm behind, with another on the left about 10-20cm away. Yet my right speaker, has the same wall behind it, about 2-5 cm away, yet not another wall in sight for a few meters. I am sorry for what pain this might've been to read.

Speakers in question are the Edifier R1080BT if you were wondering, and I am still able to bang out to music

@Mikexception:  In theory two sources set apart create only one vertical surface (line) where distances from each speaker are equal . That is condition for reception of coherent phases for all frequencies and it results with full energy We have two ears of which only one can be set in best place.

Stereo system wasn't created by nature - nature creates "stereo" with many single "full" sources not like our "only two sources half to half for many instruments". - that is the reason why it is not 100% compatible. Anyway it is minor in compare to many other occuring mistakes and we should be happy with that stereo invention .

It may be improved by using 2 more speakers - I invented such system but after few months decided I can live without it. It alloved me for wider stereo about 150% May be I am not 100% audiophile? Enough if system sounds amazing - forget such small deficience like less space if it is already big .

@444guns:  Hi-Fi and audiofile people should really start using EQs ... it makes everything so much simpler and gives total control over what you want to hear

@SimonBlandford replies to @444guns: In an ideal world the sound has left the “production” domain and is now in the “reproduction” domain on a HiFi system. The one time I really did run an album through EQ and make it sound much better was the album “You” by Gong which lacks top end and can be easily fixed.

@Davor.Spasoski:  Add the “bbc dip” in the frequency response of the loudspeakers.

@teashea1:  Very interesting video ----- I did hear it clearly ---- Listening to it in my recording studio on Newmann KH150 monitors at 1 meter.

@tisbonus:  I've run into this many times in my pursuit of volume to dynamics harmony. I assume the resolution is somewhere in between crowded mids and overly boosted highs. Short answer: 2 - 4db boost with a bell and fairly narrow to moderate "Q" in the 2k range. EDIT Throw in or tweak an existing de-esser in the 4 - 4.9k range for presence cleanup.

@nikolaki:  Back in the 90s, when I dreamed of owning a Dobly Digital capable receiver, I owned a Kenwood receiver with Dolby Surround. I had 5 speakers.

One of things I loved doing for fun was turn on the surround decoding for music I was listening to.

Centrally positioned elements of the music track found their way into the central speaker channel. It was then really interesting to hear the stuff that came out of the rear channel.

So the vocals were often coming out loud and clear from the central speaker.

@gblargg replies to @nikolaki: This is an interesting benefit of a surround setup. Center content is delivered out of a center speaker so this issue doesn't occur (and the sweet spot for listening isn't so precisely in the center).

@kurjan1:  I’m sitting in bed sipping my morning coffee and I could hear it plain as day on my iPhone…🤔
Suppose now I’m going to have to get out of my warm cosy bed to check my stereo 😡
At least you didn’t have Betty this time 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Just nasty that was😖

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Sunday May 28, 2023

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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