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Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

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Ambiophonics ITD and Speakers' Angle Online Calculator

Post by STC on Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:45 pm

To all stereophiles and ambiophiles,
 
Below is a simple calculator for you to find out the separation degree of your speakers. Ambiophonics may use it to calculate the necessary delay to cancel the crosstalk and so far this looks good but you may want to experiment with different ITD values to fit the soundstage to your liking.
 
Please enter the distance/measurements in the green box and press enter. Ambiophonics setup require the angle of speakers to be about 20 degrees.
 
 
 
All the relevant formulae which I used to create the calculator belong to www.ambiophonics.org.
 

 
 
 


Speakers' Angle and Ambiophonics Calculator







Last edited by STC on Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:16 am

Hi,

I have downloaded ambio player and connect it to the preamp via the laptop headphone outlet.  The sound quality has terrible distortion.

I hava changed the implementation.  At this moment, my implimentation is laptop-usb/spdif-ext dac-preamp.  It did not work with ambio player.  Using foobar2000 has no problem with stereo but not ambio.

Appreciate if anyone can assist.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:43 am

Hi SCWong,
 
I am sorry to hear that. It is usually straight forward. If you don't mind, which Ambio player did you download? Usually, the implementation is by using Java transcoder which runs under Windows or Mac. It works with wav perfectly and might have worked with Mp3. Either you get the sound or breaks due to low end laptop's cpu couldn't cope with the real time processing. Do you mind sharing your system specs.
 
If you are using Foobar then all you need to do is to add the VST plugin. Please see the discussion here.
 
 
 
For several years I've been using Winamp with the VSTBridge plugin to play my stereophonic recordings using the AmbiophonicDSP plugin (see: http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-37687.html ), but lately problems have been showing up using the audio drivers on my XP and Vista computers. So, I've tried the Foobar2000 player. It's not a pretty, but it seems to be a much more solid player. If you are getting frustrated with Winamp, I suggest you give Foobar2000 a go. Here's how: 

Download Foobar2000 and install from this link: http://www.foobar2000.org/ 

I downloaded the latest stable version. 

Next download George Yohng's VST Wrapper for Foobar 2000 player. It is needed to enable foobar to load and use VST plugins, like the electro-music.com AmbiophonicDSP. See here: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/forums.html?showtopic=59206 for download link in instructions. Instructions are also included in the zip archive. 

Next, just copy the AmbiophonicDSP.dll file, or other dll VST plugin, to the C:\Foobar2000\components directory (or where ever you installed it) on your drive. Activate the AmbiophonicDSP by clicking on the little blue VST image in the Windows toolbar, select the "Use VST Effect" menu item, select the AmbiophonicDSP VST plugin or whatever you are using, and enjoy your music. 

It doesn't sound better than Winamp, but Foobar2000 is much more robust, at least for me. If Winamp is working for you, this won't be worth the trouble. 

If you have questions or problems, post them here and I'll try to help you out. Thanks to electro-music.com user kraut for pointing me in the right direction on this.
_________________
--Howard 
my music and other stuff
 
 
 
I understand the difficulties . That's why I am using Miniambio for just plug and play. No issues to play any format as the process takes place in analogue domain. I would really appreciate if you could share which player and laptop OS you used to test. If you are using the test files from the page then you need not do anything except to move your speakers closer. Those files were already preprocessed with RACE and therefore if you use ambio player to reprocess those files than it may degrade the sound.
 
 
 
Cheers!
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:19 pm

Hi STC,
 
I am using a laptop with Windows 7 as OS.  Playing wav files with foobar2000.  Linking laptop with USB SPDIF to an external DAC of 16/44.1. The DAC is connected to a pre-amp. 

In fact I was trying to utilise foobar2000 with ambio player as well as the transcoder but to no effect.  Both the ambio player and transcoder are from hotto website. 

Could be that the implementation is incorrect?  Or foobar2000 should work with some other ambio programmes.
 
Or to easily solve the problem, get the miniAmbio and fix it between the pre and the power amp.
 
 
Regards.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:42 pm

scwong wrote:Hi STC,
 
I am using a laptop with Windows 7 as OS.  Playing wav files with foobar2000.  Linking laptop with USB SPDIF to an external DAC of 16/44.1. The DAC is connected to a pre-amp. 

In fact I was trying to utilise foobar2000 with ambio player as well as the transcoder but to no effect.  Both the ambio player and transcoder are from hotto website. 

Could be that the implementation is incorrect?  Or foobar2000 should work with some other ambio programmes.
 
Or to easily solve the problem, get the miniAmbio and fix it between the pre and the power amp.
 
 
Regards.


Hi SCWong,

Ambiophonic Audio Player is a stand alone player like Foobar2000, iTunes, Windows Media Player or JRiver. It is a simpler version of a proper player.

If you wish to use Foobar then you need not to use any of Ambio software. All you need to do is to copy the VST plugin to your Foobar and then open you Foobar to play the music. Please see my previous post. It would have been great if they would allow us to add VST plugins for iTunes and JRiver.

Alternatively, you can use the Ambiophonic Transcoder so that it would take the data and resend it to the output (in you case the DAC).

Frankly, the Miniambio is the simplest and trouble free solution.To avoid all this technical complexity, the easiest way is to download the test files from ambiophoncs and play with your player or burn them to your CDrom and play it in your CD player. Burn one CD of the normal tracks and another CD of the processed tracks. Listen the normal tracks in your current setup for a day or two. Then move your speaker about 10 degree the listen to the processed tracks for a few days.

Continue for a few days looking for separation, depth, height and undistorted pristine vocals. Look for fatigue signs in both versions. Even though the soundstage is impressive; the true strength of ambio is the accurate replay of the original sound as how it suppose to be heard by our ears.

Once you get the hang of it there is no turning back. Reproduced below is how Ralph Glasgal described stereo sound.


Stereophonic Reproduction as an Artform Perfected by Stereophiles
   by Ralph Glasgal

Let us assume that there is a group interested in black and white photography. They have a bunch of Brady plates from 1865 that they can print and make copies of. The members of the group all discuss and argue about what kind of paper to use in the enlarger, whether to over expose or under expose the Brady images, how much to enlarge them, what brand of developer or hypo produces the best resolution, contrast, and so on. Obviously these are all subjective decisions and there is no way they can ever be resolved to the satisfaction of all the members of the club. Why?

Because human eyesight involves color, motion, depth, and detail as well as resolution, contrast, and brightness so adjusting ones vision to appreciate or judge black and white still photographs requires something that we would call subjective. Subjective opinions particularly involving art or the imperfect use of the senses such as sight, hearing, smell, and even touch will vary from person to person and so differences can be discussed but unanimity is unlikely the further from reality or lifelike perfection one gets. Each defect or departure from normal eyesight will be perceived and valued differently by each hobbyist.

Now let us assume that hidden in the Brady plates is data on the color of the silver grains. Perhaps, oval pixel grains are red, round ones are green and square ones are blue. Now a member of this club one day observes this, extracts this data and uses software to produce a color version of a Brady Civil War picture. I dare say, the general public is enthralled, but almost all club members, are horrified. Color is not artistic and they like their black and white prints better than any color ones especially if the color rendition is a trifle too pastel or too saturated. There is no way to resolve such a conflict. One must simply start a new club devoted to color photography.

In the case of the stereo loudspeaker triangle, we are dealing with a sound reproduction method that is obviously, like black and white photography, not sonically (i.e.binaurally) realistic. Compared to normal hearing, the stereo loudspeaker triangle, limits interaural level differences and interaural time differences to unnaturally low values, utterly distorts pinna direction finding cues, delivers ambient sound from the worst possible direction, and so on. But as above, let us assume that on an LP or CD there is hidden localization and ambient data that can be recovered and reproduced using some 3D system akin to color photography as in the above analogy. (Actually this is not an assumption the data is actually there but neglected.)

Stereophiles can go and most have gone to a live concert so they know binaural sound and of course they experience it all day long. Thus they know or at least sense that the stereo loudspeaker triangle illusion is a kind of compromised artform (like Escher's optical illusions) and they understand that stereo loudspeaker reproduction is not going to be any more realistic sonically than a black and white photograph or movie is optically. Thus to judge stereo reproduction's imperfections requires subjectivism and there can be only limited agreement on improvements, tweaks, etc. especially when the technology, as in black and white photography, has reached a plateau where any further improvement is unlikely to be very significant or detectable even by devoted aficionados.

So just as the black and white photography club members eschewed color pictures, stereophiles are not likely to embrace any form of surround sound or any form of binaural technology. Nor perhaps should they since stereo is an artform worth preserving like many other imperfect artforms.

In general, the firm resolution of artistic or artifice disputes is counterproductive since it deters further improvements and progress and is dull.



These were the words of Ralph Glasgal, a physicist.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:11 am

Hi STC,

Downloaded vst and run it with foobar.  The sound quality sounded bad.  I guess I did not manage to get it right.

Anyway, I used the demo ambiophonics files from the website.  I would say, I was rather impressed with the enveloping sound.  Even utilising the ambiophonics player with delay adjusted, the results were not as forthcoming as the demo files.

I think the best solution would be the miniAmbio unit and possibily I will be going that path rather than marking around with softwares.

By the way, I understand that a software is required to go with the miniAmbio that can be downloaded easily.  Would this miniAmbio unit bring about better sound quality than the demo files?

Regards.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:36 pm

Hi SCWong,
 
Glad to hear you liked it. I am not sure why you are having audio degradation with Foobar? Did you turn off all the sound enhancement DSP in the Foobar?
 
 
Actually, TaCT did make high end ambiophonics which came with remote control so that you can adjust the setting to suit your taste according to the recording (applicable to recording using pseudo stereo). Unfortunately, by the time I made up my mind, they closed shop.  Very Happy 
 
Speaking of resolution, I am using Mytek DSD dac and Marantz SA11S2. I also play from my laptop (JRiver). Miniambio did not degrade the sound quality at all. In fact it enhanced it.
 
For an example, in track 9 (Dead man river) of KLIAV 2014 commemorative CD you could clearly hear two male voices singing in unison in the middle. Overall, I hear all and more details then what's in the synopsis due to better separation and depth.
 
Don't give up. I know moving speakers around is a bit of hassle. If you are still unsure, please feel free to drop in for a listen.  
 
Warm regards.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:48 pm

Hi STS,
 
Thanks for the encouragement. It is a hassle to move the speakers around and also finding hard times getting the vst plugin to work with foobar.
 
Whatever it is, the demo file did excite me towards ambio, giving me a taste of 'in the concert' feeling.  However, the timbre, bass and some of the sound spectrum need to be tidied up.  So, I presume it will take awhile to get the set-up to an optimum level.
 
I can see the potential of such hifi arrangement.  Having played hifi since 1992, I was getting sick with it.  I have to spend more and more for upgrades and each up grade is rather incremental in return, not phenomenal.  But I can see that in ambiophonics.
 
Thanks for introducing and what a great way to enjoy music again.


Last edited by scwong on Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar correction)

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:22 pm

Hi STC,

I observe that there are two version of miniAmbio.  One with 0.9 Vrms and the other with 2 Vrms.  I am using a laptop connected to a external DAC as well as CD player as source.

Your advice is very much appreciated.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:37 pm

I was about to post you on that and you beat me to that! I would recommend 0.9V if it is after PreAmp.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:41 pm

Hi STS,

Great.  Fast reply.  I was about to place an order and I was prompted to choose between these two.

I am making my order now and hope that there is no issue with the custom.

Thanks again.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:08 pm

Hi SCWong,

Regarding the input sensitivity, it actually depends on your amplifier's input sensitivity. Mine needs just 1.2V to reach the max 250W per channel.

I have tried 0.9 and 2V. I find 0.9 is richer and fast though I think 2V is rather accurate. You can change the jumper to 2V if you find 0.9V is too low or clipping. 


Sorry about that. 


ST
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Subjective vs Objective

Post by STC on Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:17 pm

scwong wrote:.. However, the timbre, bass and some of the sound spectrum need to be tidied up.  So, I presume it will take awhile to get the set-up to an optimum level...
 
You may feel slight difference in the timbre but you also feel the same thing with headphones. I find vocals to be less biting with headphones than speakers. Perception changes after frequent listening to headphones and I have adjusted myself. You may feel things to be different too. Different - doesn't mean inferior or incorrect. Measurements wise ambiophonics is superior and it was proven so in blind tests.
 
Here below are few snippets of the paper by Tsai-Yi Wu,  which was presented in this year's AES convention (Berlin), on the evaluation of ambiophonics. It is on both subjective and objective evaluation of stereo (reference), SRS iWOW and ambidio (RACE based ambiophonics program). You may access a more detailed version of the research from the ambiophonics.org link..
 
 
Subjective evaluation design
 
Participants and Apparatus Forty-four graduate students and faculty members from New York University with normal hearing (17 females, 27males, MSE = 27.05.0) voluntarily participated and were assigned to the same task. An informed consent was checked before the experiment. 73% of the subjects were music majors or worked in a music related field. The experiment took place individually in the semi-anechoic Spatial Auditory Research Lab of the Music Technology program at NYU. It was run on a MacBook Pro 15-inch. Participants were seated on a swivel chair. They were allowed to move
freely, turn their head, adjust the height of the chair, and sit in any posture or distance they were comfortable with. That is to say, subjects might not stay at
the most optimal listening position
.
 
 
 
Results:-
Subjective


Perceived Width, Depth, & Presence



176 trials.

-------------Ambidio SRS iWOW reference tie

Best Width ---93% -----2% --------0% ---5%

Best Depth ---41%----- 8%------- 10%-- 41%

Best Presence- 52% ---12%------- 3% ---33%






Objective results:-



Fig. 5: The measured response. red: digital file; blue: reference; green: SRS iWOW; orange: Ambidio. The area covered in gray is too low/high for a laptop to reproduced, so they are not to be taken as shown.


Please note for objective test, a more practical method was used and I quote "a Neumann KU100 dummy head was used to manipulate how an audio stimulus actually heard by a subject".

][/url]

Personally, this is more convincing to laymen like us who often think that what we hear and measure does not always correlate. Myabe, one day someone will use such dummy to measure vinyl and digital playback to find what's the mysterious quality that make vinyl to be likeable by audiophiles.


In conclusion, and I quote again " There were 84 trials with a clear preference, and the selected method with the best sound quality is not the same as the one perceived the most immersion. (possibility #1-5) That is to say, there were 84 (48%) trials where a subject was forced to choose between the sound quality and the immersion. 61% preferred the immersion, compared to 36% subjects went for sound quality. Furthermore, there were 80 (45%) trials in which a single clip was voted to have the best sound quality, to be the most immersive, and to be the most favorite clip. Among 80 strike trials, 79 (99%) of them were Ambidio, and 1(1%) was SRS iWOW. In the other words, in 45% of the trials all three multiple choices had the same answer— Ambidio."



The frequency response chart too clearly shows that ambidio is closer to the original digital file. That is much more closer than the stereo (purist preference). That is enough evidence to prove which is the superior method of playback. Here subjectively and objectively ambiophonics is far superior than SRS which is now the much preferred standard for audio playback than the ordinary stereo in laptops.
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Bob Katz on BACCH-SP

Post by STC on Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:59 pm

Choueiri, who was one of the contributors of Ambiophonics, developed another filter to do the crosstalk cancellation and the result was....
 
"Better sounding than stereo, better than 5.1, better than 10.2" - Bob Katz (Audio Mastering Engineer)
 
I am not sure how much this is but definitely looks more high end than Miniambio which was based on RACE logarithm.
 
Not sure if I can afford it though.
 
BACCH-SP
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Ambiophonics - Kal Rubinson of Stereophile's response.

Post by STC on Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:54 am

Kal responded to my post in Stereophile with the followings:-
 
I did greatly enjoy an Ambiophonics demo at an audio show and followed up in a correspondence with Ralph about a possible review. However, I cannot (will not) accommodate the physical separation structure in my listening room, so we talked about the electronic alternatives. Unfortunately, none of them came about and my interest faded.
 
I do believe this is a valid approach and I have followed Choueiri’s publications and announcements but, frankly, stereo is no longer my usual or preferred listening format. I really doubt that there is any opposition to Ambiophonics at Stereophile but that is not enough. Someone has to be positively interested in it.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:49 am

Hi,

With close supervision from dear Mr. ST, I have implemented ambio into my system.  That was with the arrival of the little gadget miniAmbio from Hong Kong which I received it yesterday.

The setting was a little tricky.  But, with ST on whatsapp along with photos, I managed to clear the hurdle.  The positioning of speakers, listening position and the types of music chosen are all quite crucial (in my opinion) to get the best out of ambio.

I started with listening to some Reference Recording (RR) clasical numbers.  Well, all I am saying is you are indeed enveloped by the sound.  The width and depth were impressive.  I could pin point instruments much better.

It will be interesting to see how SACD recording fair in this ambio processing.  Well, again it was amazing.  The enveloping effect was there and the tonal quality of sound was consistent with RR.

What about rock then?  How about Eagles last album...Long Road Out of Edan?  The placement of instruments were more pronounced and precised.  Some instruments appeared way beyond my conventional placement of speakers in stereo mode.

Now, these CDs are perhaps newer in production.  When i played older CDs, like Alison Moyet (Alf), the affect just dissapeared.  The same goes with Acoustic Alchemy (Against the Grain).

One of the obvious sound signature I have noticed is gone were the reverberation we used to associate with space.  The immediacy of music has been reduced and similarly the level of bass has not been forthcoming compared to stereo.  I have not experiment the different positioning of the speakers especially moving it closer to the wall.

My experience with ambio is extremely limited with just an initial experimentation of couples of hours.  Therefore, opinion expressed should not be taken conclusively.

As far as I am concerned, I think it is a very potential format and if I could get the omph and excitement (which I feel is lacking) into the mix, I will certainly convert to ambio for life. I am not sure how I will implement it.  Adding a sub? Place speakers closer to wall? The journey is going to be interesting.

Regards.

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Anthony's feedback

Post by STC on Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:42 pm

scwong wrote:......
One of the obvious sound signature I have noticed is gone were the reverberation we used to associate with space.  The immediacy of music has been reduced and similarly the level of bass has not been forthcoming compared to stereo.  I have not experiment the different positioning of the speakers especially moving it closer to the wall.....
 
Dear Anthony,
 
Thanks for the feedback. I wish to clarify that Ambiophonics is all about retrieval of ambiance cue in the recordings. I cant comment on your observation of losing reverberation because we do not know the actual room frequency response unless you have done the measurements.
 
Most of the reverberation that you hear before could be from your side wall reflection due to the proximity of the speakers in your stereo setup. If you were to use a headphone and listen to your stereo setup then you would notice the lack of reverberation (colouration) in the headphone sound.

What you describe as reverberation could also be crosstalk distortion that I described in http://www.hifi4sale.net/t28550-ambiophonics#90130 (diagram 2).
 
The same goes for the bass. Your speakers are now far away from the side walls and therefore you do not have bass reinforcement from the room. Or you are used to excessive bass. There are many pop recordings that are recorded in mono and then panned left and right. In most case, they use a headphone and therefore they do not maintain a steady 60 degrees spread. You often hear the left or right channel far extreme. I would keep away from pop or non reference recordings but stick to well recorded Decca or Blumlein recordings for now to get your setup correct.
 
You can adjust the mediocre commercial pop recording to your liking by adjusting the RACE setting. I would suggest leave them aside and enjoy good recordings first. After some exposure, you could tell whether the vocals are 100% natural or touched up with Equalizers or voicebox. 
 
Ideally, you should do room measurement and get it as flat as possible. That would bring best sound in either setup. Next you have to check your room reverberation time. Actually, these should have been the very first steps in your stereo setup. Room coloration will forever cloud your judgment of good sound.
 
Hope that helps...
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:05 pm

Hi ST,

Yes, your input is very informative.  I realised that what I am listening are the byproduct of the room and additives from the recording.  I will have to recondition my sound perception.

Your advice is really a good start to ambio.

Thanks.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:57 pm

Hi Anthony, your miniambio sensitivity is set 0.9V right? In the case, it should be connected after preamp. That may explain why you are saying the system is suffering from dynamics. CD players output is 2V.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 am

Hi ST,

I have got the setting changed and saved it to the miniAmbio which I did not when doing my initial listening.  Sure the default setting by the manufacturer was far from the standard.

Now, this has in fact made things alot more refine.  The whole positions have been fine tuned.  Most recordings sounded very good indeed especially those well recorded ones (audiophile).

Most amazing is you don't experience fatique for long listening session.  Notably, the sound spectrum across the range is neutral. There isn't thing like the singer is upfront.  It is very much like wearing a headphone but the stage is in front instead of in your head.

There are some recordings that emphasised certain instruments.  Hence, I would presume that the engineer might have the intention to focus on certain areas.

To reconfirm that it is not another 'snake oil', I compared it with stereo side by side.  I would confess that it is an improvement, an upward improvement and not sideway.

For a mere US145, you may in fact find your 'nirvana' in ambiophonics.

ST was great in guiding me through the process of setting it up.  Real good things don't come easy.

And your 'first step' could be the final in search of 'heaven'.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:57 pm

Hi Anthony,

Thanx for the feedback. Actually, the DIY Ambiophonics & PanAmbio surround available from the website is the best version giving you unlimited control.  But it is just too complicated for me.

The Ambiophonic DSP for US10 is also great. Planning to explore this weekend. The preset buttons are very usual for different genre.


Once again, thank you for the beautiful write up. Hope you will have a better circle of friends with common interest.

Best of luck!
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What is depth and Soundstage - An experiment (Ambiophonics)

Post by STC on Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:09 pm

We have seen raving reviews about speakers depth and soundstage. We have experienced them. But do we really know about depth and soundstage? The sound stage which we experience in stereo is like how The Star described Wega colour TV in 1998:-
 
 
Occasionally, the level of detail is breathtaking, the effect almost three-dimensional, so fine-tuned is the focus.
 
 
 Source TV review.
 
 
Here is a simple experiment to compare night and day difference in soundstage and depth.
 
Please note these recordings were made without any sound effect. The recording quality is quiet bland compared to our audiophile reference CD. I will try to convert a sample or two of our own commemorative KLIAV CD tracks provided I get the permission.
 
 
The experiment procedure:-
 
Please burn these tracks to a CD and mark them Stereo.
 
 



  1. The Train Station
  2. You Me
  3. Duck Goose
  4. Bshop

 
 
 
 
Proceed to burn another CD marked Ambiophonics.
 
 

  1. The Train Station
  2. Yo Me
  3. Duck Goose
  4. Bshop

 
 
After you have burned the two Cds, now take the stereo Cd and Play this CD in your current HiFi setting using your Cd player. You can use your PC, iTunes, JRiver, Winamp, WMP, Foobar or any other players. If you are using computer to do this experiment, please ensure all DSP are turned off. There is no need to do anything else. Look out for the soundstage, depth and tonality. After you are familiar with the tracks proceed to the next stage.
 
Now go to the next CD.
 
Move your speakers and sitting position to form a 20 or 25 degrees angle. The angle need not be so precise.  Refer to the chart below .  (note: A portion of the chart is missing. It should read A should be about 3 times...). You may use online angle calculator if you want a precise measurement.
 

 
Now insert you Cd marked Ambiophonics and listen. Make sure to increase the volume a little because bigger soundstage may give the illusion of being less louder. Do you see any difference? Move the chair further back and forth to choose your preferred sweet spot. This is the real 3D effect you get from a well recorded audio recordings. You can sense real depth and sound should extend beyond the speakers easily enveloping you with the ambiance.
 
Cheers!
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by wingman on Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:42 am

Hi STC,

Thanks for sharing and this I got to try.....

Cheers Very Happy
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by scwong on Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:08 am

Hi Wingman,

I applaud your seeking spirit. For the last 6 months or so, I have upgraded my equipments (perhaps for the last and final journey) thinking that it will be a 'quantum leap' of improvement.  Yes, indeed it quenched my thirst but it isn't like ambio.

Ambio came into the picture only a couple of weeks and sure enought, I am convinced.

It all started from reading STC informative tread.  I tried it out with my laptop with a pair of mini speakers attached to it.  Put the speakers side by side and setting a barrier (book) in between the speakers. 

I heard the improvement and was wondering what will it be for my hifi system.  It's no turning back from there onwards.

Regards.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:51 pm

wingman wrote:Hi STC,

Thanks for sharing and this I got to try.....

Cheers Very Happy

Hi Wingman, u r welcome. Did you try? It is easier if you move your speakers close about one third of your stereo setup. It should give you an idea of ambiophonics. For perfection it takes a little tweaking. 

Sorry for the late reply.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by tlkoo on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:22 am

Dearest STC Bro, Care to elaborate on soundscape herein please.

This ain't new sonic phenomenon of music reproduction. I have been speaking empirically rather than regurgitating audio terminology. If you may recall (have I described to you at all?), I always like to say "breathing the same air with musicians" heh hehhh heh... When the reproduced air has been well blended with the physical air of listening room, side walls and rear wall (rear to speakers) are perceived to have been dislodged therefore soundscape extention has been well attained! In some audio write-ups, certain authors have regarded this phenomenon to have been attained with the elimination of ambience conflicts.

Numerous audiophiles couldn't understand soundscape let alone differentiating soundscape and soundstage. Together with the non-attainment of soundscape-capability, inevitably the fun of stereophonic has to linger around the soundstage facade.

Care to extend/ expand your discussion to cover soundscape versus ambiophonics please.




Many thanks in advance!


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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:42 pm

Dear Bro TLKoo,

I do not know the concept of soundscape. But when I asked to compare soundstage in ambio vs stereo,  it simply meant to show the ability of sound extending beyond the physical location of the speakers in ambiophonics. 

I may have posted in this thread about real sound stage in live music which is hardly beyond 40 degrees from your sweet spot. 

If you take the Autumn in Seattle, you will see the chart of exact location of the instruments and the microphones placements. The recording engineer took great trouble to recreate the soundstage in stereo. I am not sure if the soundstage is 60 or 90 degrees. 

When you take this SACD to compare in Ambiophonics you sense the air, depth and soundstage well outside the speakers extending the  physical location of the speakers in stereo setup. 

In your words, ambiophonics transports you to the venue. Could this be the soundscape you are talking about? And obviously, more accurate speakers and amplifiers may be capable of more realism in ambiophonics than my humble setup.  

Thanks for your interest.
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JRiver - VST Ambiophonics Plugin

Post by STC on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:24 pm

I am now experimenting the Ambiophonics VST plugin for Jriver. This is probably they best way to implement ambiophonics as it plays all DSD files effortlessly. The other Java based plugins are limited in certain ways and require a lot of know how to setup correctly.

This plugin was developed by www.filmaker.com a company specialises in consultation work and making of documentaries, wining multiple awards.

You can see the guide at http://www.filmaker.com/products.htm.  The plugin can be used with your current speakers setup separated by 60 degrees. The best setup is still to bring the speakers closer by one third of your current distance.

The plugin can be purchased at Electro-Music. For US10 only. The plugin is just a small dll file that you need to copy it to your Jriver plugin folder. Once that is done, open your Jriver setting option and you will see the ambiophonics VST along with other Jrivers plugin.

 

Cheers!
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Sound Lab and Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:22 pm

After 5 years with Harbeth SHL5, I decided to go for another upgrade and got myself a Sound LAb M-3PX. It was some sort of gamble as the huge speakers leave me no room for Ambiophonics's adjustment. I measured the Harbeth Ambiophonics setup and  when compared to the SL - they just managed to squeeze in leaving about 10cm gap between the two speakers.

There are many advantages of having  a large radiating area of electrostatics speakers and in my case that's about 18 sq ft dipole area. Firstly, line source speakers minimizes room colouration ( don't ask me how) and secondly without any crossover they are free of any colouration and natural sounding. The other uniqueness of these speakers is an even loudness up to 4 meters before they drop in the level. I am not sure if this is unique to electrostatics speakers or just to Sound Labs but it brings out a different scale of sound. The whole stage is now awashed with sound. Those who liked Harbeth would love this even more.




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Microsoft Research on crosstalk and Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:46 pm

One of the biggest setback to Ambiophonics is the close proximity of the two speakers. For music lovers it is not much of an issue because they have the freedom to place the speakers in any way they want to.

However, if you are planning to put a TV in between the speakers than in some situations, depending on the room size and sitting distance, Ambiophonics speakers arrangement becomes a hindrance. Furthermore, there are a few studio recordings that are essentially mono recordings by artificially split into stereo. In such circumstance, the soundstage is narrower or confined to the lateral width of the two speakers.

Now Microsoft Research is attempting to to remedy this situation using Ambiophonics and another program. Meanwhile, BACCH with Sony's support has now come out with their own version of Ambiophonics to incorporate in the present speakers arrangement. BACCH is a more complex programming and it can accommodate more listeners at different position. You need not move the speakers closer.

For US550000, the BACCH will be implemented in any setup. The only setback, they will have to reset it if you change speakers or add more audience. But that the most realistic sound that you will ever get.
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3D Sound.

Post by STC on Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:51 pm

Ambiophonics is a binaural technology that retrieve all the hidden 3D sound in the ordinary stereo recordings. This new video experimenting with binaural recording demonstrates the difference.


Notice the sound level in mono and binaural. 

Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itLxXeyM2aM

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:07 pm

Hello to all,
Just a short update on how to optimise JRiver with the AmbiophonicsDSP plugin. I am using i5 laptop with MC20. The music server is Mybooklive connected via Wifi. I have tried both wired and wifi and don't think it made any difference. I prefer Wifi over wired due to JRemote via iPhone have connection issues to the music server due to laptop putting the Wifi connection to sleep when the LAN is activated.



Going back to the DSP vs the hardware version of Miniambio. Mini wins for simplicity. Just plug to the RCA before the Amplifier and all your sources can be played via the preamp. In the case of the DSP, we are limited to music via JRiver. I am currently using the Miniambio for the CD player only.



While using the JRiver, it is advisable to change processes associated with JRiver application to run above normal. The default value is normal. This ensure a flawless performance without any sound drops despite the real time processing of the DSP.



Meanwhile, if anyone interested to try ambiophonics with your setup, I have one spare unit that you can loan from me. This unit is NOT FOR SALE. Just to share with anyone interested in better sound separation between the instruments and for depth. Ideally, western classical music lovers would enjoy it more. 



Cheers!
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Stereo vs Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:00 pm

Of all these years, 2015 KLIAV show was an eye opener for me. This is the first time I spend the whole day visiting almost all the rooms and tried out the headphones. My purpose of the visit was to listen to the best setup and try to improve my own. 

As one of the thousands of visitors, I do not have the privilege to audition the system with my reference recordings so it was a bit of challenge to choose the best system. When I said the best system, I meant system that matches my liking and not necessarily to be the best sound to you. I do not believe there can ever be one best system...otherwise there won't be thousands of different HiFi brands.

Anyway, here are the sound samples recorded using the an iPhone for you to give feedback. Iphone  recording quality is with limited bandwidth and in mono. Do not expect to hear soundstage but you can generally hear and compare the clarity of the sound. 

What is most important is how the veil is lifted with ambiophonics as compared to stereo.

This is a short recording of my system playback of 3 segments in one track to compare stereo and ambiophonics. The first part of 22 seconds or so is ambiophonics followed by stereo and again followed by ambiophonics at volume slightly louder level to match the sound of AV level.

Ambiophonics vs Stereo


The sound of AV show's best recorded with the same phone at the sweet spot. Honestly, it sounded so much better there than over the phone. Next year, I will attempt to record using a pro microphone.

AV show system
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by tlkoo on Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:04 pm

Hi Chelvam


Though I didnt attend, I have got sort of good idea thereof as your short account seems to have told substantially the Show in its entirety.

To allow me or maybe others too, to benefit more from Ambio vs Stereo, please tell how good/ poor were those stereophonics. Were they soundscape capable at all? From your earlier descriptions of the stereophonic setups capable of 40deg - 60deg?




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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:22 pm

Hi bro Khoo,


There is no stereo sound. All sound originate from a single source in the space. A piano, guitar or drum is essentially mono sound. However, we hear them stereophonically with two ears. It is nature’s way to help us to localize sound. 
 
So what the soundstage width should be?  Dolby’s recommended separation is 44 to 60 degrees.  I believe the 60 degrees chosen simply because the limits of loudspeakers frequency radiation which drops sharply above 30 degrees off axis.  To overcome this, some of us would toe in the speakers so that they are perpendicular to us. In this case, we can extend the speakers width as much as 180 degrees at the expense of depth. The best compromise between width and depth is around 44 to 60 degrees in stereo setup.
 
Having said that, in practice room acoustics, speakers frequency response and individual’s taste determine the correct mixture. The real spatial information of the recordings is just what you think is right.
 
In the case of Ambiophonics, it removes the arbitrary user judgment and retrieve the exact information. Such recordings should give you a 180 degrees soundstage of ambiance of it was captured but the actual instruments separation should be as lifelike and natural .  The set back of this method is almost all studio recordings are made with individual channel and panpot to left and right. The exact location is anybody’s guess. The extreme left and right of instrument is not something that we are familiar with and often too common with most pop recordings with the exception to Linn recordings. I guess this is the problem when one mixes with headphone. This is again can be minimized with the Ambiophonics control to limit the soundstage to reflect the normal width but at the expense of true binaural effect.
 
The other problem is when sound is assigned to a specific channel without the spatial information. In Ambiophonics, the sound would come from the speakers like stereo but since the speakers are closely spaced the soundstage width would be narrower than a 60 degrees stereo setup. Anyway, these kind of recordings are hardly qualify to be audiophile material.
 
Listen to the tracks above in my previous post and hear the veils being lifted with Ambiophonics. Ambiophonics is almost like binaural playback and sound exactly like the headphone expect the sound stage is in front of you UNLIKE where with headphones they sound like inside your head.
 
Listen again to the best binaural sound.
 
http://3diosound.com/examples.php
 
You can hear the same sensation with Ambiophonics but not with stereo. You can also use Livesound of Jawbone which is a product of Bacch made by one of the Ambiophonics pioneers. 
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:25 pm

Finally, the difference of two different sound of Ambiophonics. The earlier recording in the previous post and with addition of spacious feel. 

https://soundcloud.com/staryo/la-with-wet-sound
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by tlkoo on Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:34 pm

Chelvam d bro,

many thanks for the lengthy reply
i probably would have to Oogle translate it to plain English




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Haas & McGurk effect AND Audiophiles

Post by STC on Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:33 am

Something interesting happened yesterday.

I spent about an hour listening to various albums with a special emphasis on strong centre image which appears to be a problem for certain pop recordings. After a while, I was to too engrossed with the music and didn’t pay much attention and almost dozed off. Towards the end, I played the last track and took a reclining posture on the couch and that was when I realized there was a slight shift in the image to the RIGHT.

I immediately sat up straight and the image shifted back to the centre and depending on my attention it will invariably shift between the centre and right. And when I reclined the shift was towards the right. I realized that my audiophiles ears are now getting more sophisticated that they are now beginning to perceive the slight channel inbalance of my 2nd pair of speakers meant for Envelophonics ( just about 5 to 10% enhancement to standard Ambiophonics) effect and accordingly adjusted the balance very slightly towards the left.

After the adjustment, the sound now shifted slightly towards the left.  Since I was not in the mood for meddling with the system and just wanted to enjoy the music I continued with the song and then ended my session for the day.  Then I went to the usual rituals of turning off the system… systematically.

1) Turn off my main ESL speakers. Left switch off then to the right switch…….


Guys! the right speaker was turned OFF all along. I forgot to turn it on! I was listening for about two hours with only ONE main speaker (plus the 2nd pair) and did not realize that. Is this my first-hand experience of  Haas and McGurk in one cocktail effect?; or maybe, I just got bad ears. In this case, it runs in the family as my children who did pop in to listen to their favourite numbers didn’t perceive that only ONE main speaker was working.

Maybe, it got to do something with Haas and McGurk effect.
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3D Sound

Post by STC on Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:00 pm

Enjoy this video with your headphone or Ambiophonics setup. See the huge difference between headphone and normal stereo sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVnQbRWRqB4

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Soundstage is related centre image level

Post by STC on Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:25 pm

Soundstage and centre image. 


My speakers and speakers like MBL 101 come with controls at the back for mid range and details. Basically, what they are just frequencies manipulation to shape the sound projection. My mid range control bring the center image forward or backward and the brilliance control adjust the highs to suit our taste and compensate for room over or under damping. 



Playing with these controls also change the soundstage perception. A stronger centre image will make the soundstage width less prominent. While an even centre image give a nice enveloping effect but often not suitable for rock or pop genre where the hard hitting bass is what make them enjoyable. The extra details comes with better separation or simply and increase in the highs.



Maybe, that explains why some speakers are more suitable for one particular genre than the others. I guess it all depends on personal taste as some could live with certain sound projection for all genre. Certainly, when you have controls at your disposal it seems no one setting is right. Experimenting with tracks and allowing users to play with the different settings - no one setting is alike. No wonder high end manufacturer got rid of tone controls.



The next time when you audition and equipment pay attention to the centre image. A slight 3dB increase would make the soundstage a little smaller and vice versa.



A small increase in frequencies around 5 to 6khz may make the system to sound more details and a slightly recessed mid may also make the sound to have better separation but at the expense of punch.







I have compared the stereophile reviews and the measurements and it generally tally. 
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by tjbhuler on Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:48 pm

Hi there I have recently purchased the miniambio but unfortunately I am unable to get access with the software needed for my pc. I have already registered and emailed them 3 times but unfortunately there is no reply from them (ambio4you). 

By any chance do you know how to get the software?

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:16 pm

Hi, please check your account and the download page. When did you buy this? MiniDsp has included the ambiophonics plugin for just US$10 only.
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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by tjbhuler on Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:27 pm

Hi STC thanks for the reply I received the miniambio 6 days ago and I have been checking my download page after I registered over the ambio4you website but to no avail. 

Do you mean minidsp website? cause I was checking it but could not find a software for the miniambio.

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:49 am

Hi Tjbhuler,

It should not take more than three days. Meanwhile, you can contact the Minidsp (click email link here) and explain the situation to them.  

The other way is to add ambiophonics is to purchase any of their MiniDSP product and buy the add-on from https://minidsp.com/products/plugins/ambiophonics-detail

Cheers!
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Character sheet
Source(s): Ambiophonics setup.
Amplification:
Speakers: Electrostatics

http://goo.gl/CF1C6B

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by tjbhuler on Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:49 pm

Hi STC thanks for the reply they finally did email me back today and uploaded the software in my acct. Will be downlaoding it soon.

Thanks

tjbhuler
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Channel balance - A simple test

Post by STC on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:42 pm

Channel balance test - a simple test

Users may find the channel balance test in Ambiophonics may not be as accurate as in stereo playback. It is not the fault of Ambiophonics but one or all of the followings:-

1) Even a 1dB difference would be audible in Ambiophonics. 

2) High probability of channel imbalance between your left and right speakers. 

3) Room acoustics. 

Generally, a well made high end equipment ( source, preamp and Amplifier) channel difference are negligible. But it is often good practice to measure them periodically. 

With speakers, it can be a bit tricky as sometimes there can be more than 1dB difference. In stereo setup, you would not hear the deficiency but in Ambiophonics it would be obvious when you use channel identification and balance test.  The left or right channel sound may not be at equal distance. 

You can also use the Ambiophonics playback to check how your room behaves. Strive for same tonal balance between your left and right channel. 

This simple test benefits your stereo setup, too.  In my experience, the speakers are the worst for channel imbalance. I believe the accepted for speaker channel difference is about 3dB. 

The most basic test would be to lower the volume until one speaker become completely silence and check the other speakers loudness. If it significantly loud then you need to check your equipment. 
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STC
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Character sheet
Source(s): Ambiophonics setup.
Amplification:
Speakers: Electrostatics

http://goo.gl/CF1C6B

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Closer to the original sound -which one?

Post by STC on Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:34 pm

Here are few videos to compare the sound to the original recordings. You have to use a reasonably good headphone capable of reproducing the low frequencies. Otherwise, all the recording going to sound a bit like howling. I noticed that many actually prefer the hard hitting bass despite that is way too high compared to the original.

First September in Montreal - Anne Bisson.

Original Sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTTNtFewtsc





Ambiophonics setup
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k78hdH762po
From 2:45 onwards.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKTG7W4Zpjk
And here from 7:25
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2pnfWfBf8g
from 3:00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8ktI_MiwS4
From 4:10 onwards
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7EKddTFLuc




Last edited by STC on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:31 am; edited 3 times in total
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STC
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Number of posts : 402
Age : 53
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Character sheet
Source(s): Ambiophonics setup.
Amplification:
Speakers: Electrostatics

http://goo.gl/CF1C6B

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In room sound

Post by STC on Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:22 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8AyJ0xHqLk


This sound is closer to what you would hear. Recorded from the listening position about 8 feet away from the speakers. The challenge is to reproduce the vocal as close as to the original sound in the recording.

With a good headphone you should able to hear the 3-dimensional effect which s not that pronounced in the XY mic position. Playback is the compressed MP3 via MYTEK and Sound Lab speakers.

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STC
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Number of posts : 402
Age : 53
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Character sheet
Source(s): Ambiophonics setup.
Amplification:
Speakers: Electrostatics

http://goo.gl/CF1C6B

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Original sound without room acoustics signature

Post by STC on Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:56 am

Adding more videos for you. Click link below. Free upgrade that can bring your budget system a little closer to  the high end system.

Please note, it is possible to match the original recording sound but that means listening to a rather boring anechoic sound. IMO, the original sound lacks reverbs to take into consideration of room reverberation.

The best comparison would be live orchestra recordings where the natural reverb will be part of the recordings. Unfortunately, not many such videos out there for comparison.

Please also note that what appears to be day and night difference may not be that obvious when you are listening live to the system. Our brain is pretty good to filter the reverb. So you may like two different sounding system without able to distinguish the excessive reverbs.

More videos here .


Last edited by STC on Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:31 am; edited 2 times in total
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STC
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Number of posts : 402
Age : 53
Location : Klang Valley
Registration date : 2010-08-15

Character sheet
Source(s): Ambiophonics setup.
Amplification:
Speakers: Electrostatics

http://goo.gl/CF1C6B

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Re: Final audiophile tweak - Convolution with Ambiophonics

Post by STC on Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:23 am

i have included four videos to hear the difference of ambiophonics and stereophonics playback.

The first video is of a reference system. The second and third are ambiophonics playback with different settings and the forth is normal stereo playback. The original audio sample is at the bottom.



Video here.

Which one is closest to the original file? Please use headphones or your main system.
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STC
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Number of posts : 402
Age : 53
Location : Klang Valley
Registration date : 2010-08-15

Character sheet
Source(s): Ambiophonics setup.
Amplification:
Speakers: Electrostatics

http://goo.gl/CF1C6B

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