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OK. After seeing the the whole 5.1 for each listener in a car, I've started wondering about staging. My prevoius ideas about staging was that the dashboards emulated the concert stage, where the vocals come from the center of the dash and instrument layout sounds like it comes from the various locations on the dash. But primarily, center stage is center-dash.

Is my understanding of staging the traditional accepted notation of staging or should it actually sound like the stage is the 3-feet of the dash in front of the listener, center being straight ahead, with left and right?
 

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OK. After seeing the the whole 5.1 for each listener in a car, I've started wondering about staging. My prevoius ideas about staging was that the dashboards emulated the concert stage, where the vocals come from the center of the dash and instrument layout sounds like it comes from the various locations on the dash. But primarily, center stage is center-dash.

Is my understanding of staging the traditional accepted notation of staging or should it actually sound like the stage is the 3-feet of the dash in front of the listener, center being straight ahead, with left and right?
I would say the former is what I consider to be a proper sound stage.
 

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yeah, proper soundstage puts the center at the center of the vehicle, not in front of the listerner.
What?? At the center of the vehicle? Sorry, but you are wrong here. For example, a quote from official rules for a SQ competition in Europe:
1.2.1 Sound Stage – Distance to sound stage (0-15 points)
This is to find out the distance to the point of origin of the sound in regards to the listener’s position. Good staging offers the illusion of a stage upon which players are located and it has a sense of height, width, and depth. (Even apparently exceeding the front boundary of the vehicle). This is considered to be ideal as it approximates the experience of listening to a concert or a fine home audio system.
Listen carefully to the bass. Does it seem to come from up front, or from behind? Maximum points within each “point range” should only be given to systems which convincingly create the illusion that all sounds originates from the specified location.
Many systems will exhibit some localisation of the low bass towards the rear. The judges should not regard these vehicles as being "behind the listening position" point range. Instead, the judges should deduct 2 points for obvious rear-bass. Go with your first impression, you should only give 0 (zero) points when the first impression of all sound is coming from behind.
The judges will evaluate the sound stage over the entire width, not only in the centre position.
How to score:
13 to 15 Sound stage is out of the front windshield
10 to 12 Sound stage is near the front windshield but inside the car
7 to 9 Sound stage is on the dashboard
4 to 6 Sound stage is between the dashboard and the listener
1 to 3 Sound stage is on the listening position
0 Sound stage is behind the listener
0 Sound stage is impossible to define
You can find the rules here:
http://www.emmanet.com/download/rulebook/Rulebook07sound.pdf

Tõnu
 

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I just read your Competition rules and nowhere does it imply that the center of the stage should be anywhere but in the center of the dash.
 

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If you go to a concert, is the singer not always in the middle of the stage? He/she doesn't move as you move. Isn't the goal here to accurately recreate the source material?
 

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Well, it's said right here:

You get the maximum points when the stage is as far from the listener as possible.

Tõnu
Yes but no where in there did it say in front of the listener. It's definitely center of the dash. Anytime I competed with it centered in front of me vs center of the dash I was deducted a point for having the center, left of center.

From my experience, if it's located right in front of you, it will not have as much depth as it would if located in the center of the dash. Alot depends on placement of the speakers and tuning though. Others may have had different results.
 

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Yes but no where in there did it say in front of the listener. It's definitely center of the dash. Anytime I competed with it centered in front of me vs center of the dash I was deducted a point for having the center, left of center.
It seems we are talking about different things here. My comment was related to T3mpest's saying that the center of the stage should be in the center of the vehicle, I don't agree with that and so don't the european rules for SQ competitions.
There may be differencies between the competition rules in Europe and the US, that wouldn't be surprising.
If you go to a concert, is the singer not always in the middle of the stage? He/she doesn't move as you move. Isn't the goal here to accurately recreate the source material?
You are correct, the singer might not stay in the center of the stage all the time. But for judges to evaluate the sound system and how well it keeps the singer in the center, there is a special technical test track on the official Competition CD:
The sound stage produced by an audio system can be defined as the perceived space from which the sound originates. Much like the stage in a concert hall is the space from which the sound originates.
The term "Imaging" describes a sound system's ability to reproduce the sound of instruments in their correct locations and proportions on the sound stage. Five image locations across the sound stage are to be considered:

Left
Left Centre
Centre
Right Centre
Right

To evaluate sound stage: width, height, ambience, the distance to the soundstage, stage depth and in imaging the positions of the imaging characteristics, the judges use the “technical track for staging and imaging” on the actual EMMA Sound Quality recording. On this track, a speaker moves from the centre to the far left – stopping at left centre, then to the far right – stopping at right centre, then to the centre position five meter in depth and then back to the centre in front of the microphone. The movement and positions during the track are described by the speaker. The following tracks are to be used for the focus of the imaging characteristics and to verify the listening results of the technical track.
Tõnu
 

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I have competed in 3 different orgs in the US- MECA, SLAP, And IASCA, and the staging rules are pretty much the same.

I'll give you 2 examples to think about:

1) Why does Alpine go at great lengths to rip the front seats out and totally redo their demo vehicles so that you sit exactly in the center of the vehicle rather then employ other various methods of kick panels, or dash/a-pillar work alone?

2) Ok, if you place the soundstage directly in front of the driver and then meausre the distances from the left and right sides of the car, there is a distance difference you will have that will make it hard to place sounds/instruments/singers at their proper locations. That is why they judge more than just center, but instead far left, left of center, center, right of center, and far right.

If you go with a center in front of the driver, you will have problems with stage placement of left of center or right of center falling too close to far left or far right depending on which side of the car you sit or drive from.

I think you are confusing soundstage depth and stage positioning. Soundstage depth has been an area of controversy and it's not always judged I believe.
 

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Ok so I dug out the MECA rule book and copied this exact phrase from it:

Center Stage

The placement of center stage will be judged based on the horizontal plane on which it sits, equidistant from the physical boundaries of the vehicle (a-pillars, side glass, etc.). It will not be too far left or right in relation to the original recording. It will be correctly sized in relation to the original recording. Movement will be produced accurately.
and here is their judging section on Depth

The realism of depth will be judged in relation to the spatial area of the vehicle. Ideally, it will reach beyond the limits of the vehicle, beyond the glass or apparent constraints of the vehicle, and not be hindered by the vehicle area in front of the listener.
and finally, Stage realism:

1. This encompasses the defined presence of front stage. Ideally, no distractions will be noticeable from behind the listener;
stage placement will be accurate.
1 – 2 Stage is completely neutral or dramatically set to the
rear of the listener.
3 - 4 Stage is neutral, but biased and biased to the rear of
the listener.
5 – 6 Stage is in front of the listener, or confused, and
placed in a very inaccurate manner.
7 – 8 Stage is in front of the listener, but somewhat
inaccurately placed.
9 – 10 Stage is accurately placed in front of the listener.
Realism of Front Stage Points Scoring
Manta, it looks like you are talking about Stage Realism now that I compare the Meca Rules and your rules you posted.

www.mecacaraudio.com
 

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Where's werewolf on this one?

Just an amusing thought. Does it ever amuse anyone that we spend time trying to recreate the "soundstage" as if music was recorded onstage when much of it was cut one track at a time in soundproof booths?

I've generally been very pleased if the stage had a center image near the center of the dash and the far left was just outside my car around my mirror. That slight ambience of a wider soundstage satisfies me just fine. I'll never be able to get the center right over my steering wheel even if its "officially" the correct place. For me whatever efforts I use to pull the center to the left ends up narrowing the stage over all. I'll never get all the "positions" I get from a home setup and that's ok
 

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Where's werewolf on this one?

Just an amusing thought. Does it ever amuse anyone that we spend time trying to recreate the "soundstage" as if music was recorded onstage when much of it was cut one track at a time in soundproof booths?
Chad, could probalby weigh in on that one. It's really good to know people who know how certain tracks are recorded so that they can tell you were things sould be. I mean you could use a live track, but live tracks have other things going on. That is why you should not limit yourself to one type of music when tuning.
 

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I used to compete and every sound system that I have built I have tried to get the image centered on the dash. It can be very difficult to do without using special processing.

I have had the best results using an Audio Control ESP-3 along with a dedicated center channel and amplifier. When used properly, an ESP-3 can produce a solid center image, raise the soundstage and expand the width and depth of the stage far beyond the confines of the vehicle.

I have always used the test track L,LCenter,Center,RCenter,Right to define the image and getting the image on the center of the dash. When the inventors of stereo separation were debating the merits of how many channels were needed, several were saying that it would take more than two to create a realistic sounding system. I only wish that they would have made three channel the minimum definition. It would save all of us a lot of time and effort trying to create a realistic sound stage with adequate width and depth.

I know that this is my first post, but I have been building car audio systems since the early 80's and have won several IASCA events over the years with various cars. I think that this forum is a great place for information and there are several very talented individuals here.
 

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I used to compete and every sound system that I have built I have tried to get the image centered on the dash. It can be very difficult to do without using special processing.

I have had the best results using an Audio Control ESP-3 along with a dedicated center channel and amplifier. When used properly, an ESP-3 can produce a solid center image, raise the soundstage and expand the width and depth of the stage far beyond the confines of the vehicle.

I have always used the test track L,LCenter,Center,RCenter,Right to define the image and getting the image on the center of the dash. When the inventors of stereo separation were debating the merits of how many channels were needed, several were saying that it would take more than two to create a realistic sounding system. I only wish that they would have made three channel the minimum definition. It would save all of us a lot of time and effort trying to create a realistic sound stage with adequate width and depth.

I know that this is my first post, but I have been building car audio systems since the early 80's and have won several IASCA events over the years with various cars. I think that this forum is a great place for information and there are several very talented individuals here.
so, call me an idiot, but just for clarification: proper soundstage should be coming from dead center of the dash in the middle of the car, and not right in front of you?

i've never competed, but when adjusting my TA, I always put center stage right in front of me, so it's like I'm standing in front of the middle of the stage. Is that right?
 

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In my opinion it would be nearly impossible to have a center image in front of you in the drivers seat without destroying the systems soundstage width. The only way it could work is if you could somehow make your system sound like left speakers are several feet outside of the car.

My system is set up so that vocals appear to be coming out from the windshield just below the rear view mirror while still maintaining soundstage width.
 

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That is correct, just under the rear view mirror. This enables the soundstage width and depth to be add the audible cues that creates an illusion of space and movement. In the last car that I built using a center channel, the passenger had the same exact experience as the driver because the image was centered in the car.

Typically, one of the drawbacks to using time alignment is that it will correct for only one listener. If you use settings that correct for multiple listeners, it creates a compromise setting. If you are like me, you don't care because you are in the car alone most of the time.
 

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That is correct, just under the rear view mirror. This enables the soundstage width and depth to be add the audible cues that creates an illusion of space and movement. In the last car that I built using a center channel, the passenger had the same exact experience as the driver because the image was centered in the car.

Typically, one of the drawbacks to using time alignment is that it will correct for only one listener. If you use settings that correct for multiple listeners, it creates a compromise setting. If you are like me, you don't care because you are in the car alone most of the time.

Exactly. My car sounds great in the drivers seat, and sounds like shit in the passenger seat because of T/A.

I drive alone 95% of the time...besides, most people that are in my car the other 5%, don't even really know what a proper soundstage is anyway. I think if a system is tonally good most passengers won't even realize what they're missing by not being in the drivers seat.

Screw them anyway, it's my car.:D
 

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Typically, one of the drawbacks to using time alignment is that it will correct for only one listener.
6 memory settings on the 701 FTW! :D

also, i'm not sure if I can get re adjusted to sitting left of the singer :p

I'll mess around with the settings and see what I can do.
 
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