Audiophile’s Guide Loudspeaker - “Whisper” What Do You Hear

In “ The Audiophile’s Guide: The Loudspeaker” Paul describes track 9 “Whisper” as 3 distinct instruments separated across the soundstage (bass, drums, trumpet) with the piano extending across the width of the soundstage and beyond the speakers.
What are others hearing? I’ve listened to the track on 3 systems using speakers and headphones. In all cases the trumpet, bass, and drums are in line coming essentially from the center of the image. The piano track is forward. It is a bit thin in the middle of the image but does extend from speaker to speaker and slightly beyond.
Most other tracks are reproduced more or less as expected. I do have more work ahead to fine tune speaker position but track 9 is really kicking my tail.

Look for a mono/stereo switch. And not the one for the tuner.

But seriously, check to see that your speakers are in phase. What you describe is exactly what out of phase speakers sound like. Various Stereophile Test CD’s start out with phase and channel tests. And don’t trust that the speaker cables are marked properly for positive and negative.


I will verify. The disk includes a phase check but I haven’t played it recently. Thank you.

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Hmmmm… :thinking:


And my tube preamp inverts polarity, so I have to connect red to black and black to red at the amp outputs.

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Hey allan.thunes…

You got me to thinking and ordered the Loudspeaker cd and book…should be arriving next week
hopefully…looking forward to using the tracks you pointed out…

Came across this from the Whats Best forum…a user called Michael posted this very interesting
video on using lasers for measuring and aligning speakers for best sound…

Found it very informative as well

Best wishes

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We should also define what we mean by out of phase. You can have your left and right channels out of phase relative to each other or you can have both left and right out of phase which is sometimes referred to as incorrect absolute phase. These two situations can sound very different.


So my SACD Loudspeaker disk arrived…

Was very pleasantly surprised my system and room did quite well…everything
in its place…

Bass instrument, distance, trumpet the whole shabang…surprisingly played out well…

It’s nice to have a references like this to help evaluate a system/room.

Thanks Paul appreciate it!!

Best wishes

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Thanks for the confirmation. That’s gotta be satisfying!
I don’t know how it could be, but I’m beginning to wonder my problem is in the source. Your system reproduced the lateral space between the bass, trumpet, and drums that Paul described. The 3 systems I tried with speakers and headphones all reproduce the instruments coming from the same place in the soundstage. The only thing they have in common is the SACD CD layer ripped to a Vault2i. :thinking:

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Hey allan.thunes

Just a thought, could it be the room and not your gear?..

Perhaps even speaker placement.

Room size and shape determines a lot of what the sound stage and sound quality.

To help give a perspective…in the same room but different gear; 2 Infinity Beta 50 towers
(a Harman gelding of the real Infinity) but still able to reveal…powered by a midfi Denon
POA 2200 power amp 200 watts/ channel, driven by a McIntosh Mx110z all tube pre-tuner,
BlueJeans cabling full loom.

For such a humble system the scope the breadth, depth (front to back) and verticality were
quite decent…just the degree of detail always hinted there was quite a bit more lurking around
in there waiting to come out. No power plant at that point…

So if decidedly midfi gear could do this…then how much more your gear…

Yet speaker placement did so so much to create what I know have sound wise.
What I did was look closely at dealer demos at shows and think about why their
speakers were placed and spaced as they were.

So back in the day when my back was more able…I moved my speakers further out into
the room…gradually…noting the changes along the way…sometimes weeks would pass
before another move further into the room…with each move the sound stage evolved
in a wonderful way…

Along with that a laser measuring pointer device that helped properly space the speaker out
from the wall, toe them in aiming them at a point about 18 inches behind my head where I listen.
Speakers also tilted back about 2-3 degrees…

All these things have contributed to the overall sound quality for me.

You might have already done these things…keep tweaking your speaker placement…a small
fraction of an inch can snap things into place far more so than any other upgrade…

Are there any furnishings adjacent to or in front your speakers?..They need a clean line of
fire in order to breathe air into your music space…

All this was taught me by my midfi system…

Any way my apologies for being so long winded…

Best wishes allan…hopefully this will help

Thanks much for your thoughts. The whole setup is a work in progress and I’m actually running the desk top rig right now while the GCD is out for repair. But as you noted midfi gear can produce great results if setup with care.

I know I have more work on speaker set up so I’m sure there’s improvements to be made. But the same result from 3 different systems using speakers and headphones has me thinking there’s more to it.

The basic set up is far from perfect but a lot less of a mess than many I’ve seen whose owners swear by the sound. So I know if has more potential. I will be looking into that laser measuring tool. Thank you.


Hey allan…

If you are having similar issues from 3 different systems…I wonder if it could be a phase issue…

What are your room shapes and sizes ?

Best wishes

Aangen also suggested check phase. I verified the speakers are hooked up correctly but I didn’t consider swapping while playing this one song to see what effect it might have.
The GCD, which is out for repair, has a menu phase reversal option suggesting that “Phase reversal happens on many recordings, sometimes even within the same CD or DVD.”
One of the other 2 systems is a desk top in the same room. The third is the HT. Neither setup is early as capable but both present a decent 2D stages.
The same experience in the headphone playback is what’s really throwing me and has me thinking it’s something in the source. More experimenting later today when the house wakes up.

In my mind, a laser measurer is an essential speaker set-up tool as it provides the greatest accuracy. Unless your speakers are identically positioned with respect to the listening position, one will never achieve the full potential of the listening experience that you are seeking. Toe-in, distance from the back wall, distance between the speakers themselves, tilt angle are all parameters that one needs to consider beyond the effects of the room itself to achieve good sound. The only point I take issue with on the video is making measurements while holding it in your listening position (there can be body movement while making the measurement). I place a small tripod in the listening position and adjust it to the height of my ears and make the measurements from identical locations of each speaker (e.g., the tweeter) - just point and shoot the laser, make measurements, and adjust speaker position accordingly. Alternatively, you can make a mark against the back wall behind the listening position to verify distances/angles are identical.

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Body movement would be so minor as to be negligible…
Thing is can a tripod be placed at pol?

Either way is good…

Except of course if your hands are really shaky…

Best wishes