Is soundstage DEPTH a myth?

Ok, help me out fellas. Is it a myth or what?

I’m a good listener, I listen deep into the music, and I feel like I have good ears. But I can’t confirm that I can hear soundstage depth. I can hear 1 instrument is louder, but this doesn’t help me to tell if something is more forward or more behind. Even in real life and 2 people are talking, I can’t honestly say I know which one is in front.

The one behind will sound less loud, but is that all there is to soundstage depth? I think the answer I’m looking for has to do with something I read recently. Something about depth exist only in the center in most system, the good systems has depth all around the soundstage.


I don’t listen “deep into music”, I just listen to music.  Some recordings have a three dimensional presentation that seems to fill the room in all directions.  Look to your room acoustics to help with this and then just relax and enjoy the music.  Life outside of the listening room already taxes the mind.

OP, Are you able to discern soundstage “depth” in live performances? Is there a specific track/recording you have in mind?
I’m not sure I could discern “depth” with my eyes closed unless perhaps I’m listening to a symphony or a large chorus several rows deep. 

I created much more depth by better positioning of my speakers and also with tube amps. Certain recordings -- such as Chesky’s -- provide excellent samples to see how you’re doing.

In my music, I can hear that, for example, that the tympanis are in the back left and the basses are in the back right. I can hear there are at least two rows of instruments in front of them.

The notion you should "just relax and enjoy the music" is somewhat patronizing, if what is it is assuming is that you’re needing psychological help.

I’m going to assume something different. That you’re intellectually curious about a feature of good audio systems and you’re inquiring. You don’t need to relax -- you need answers.

room/speaker set up is highly determinative of success in having a good hifi have a sense of audible stage depth

tube amps can help some in this regard, but are not a necessity... proper set up is (assuming sufficiently good source and speakers)

done right, there is no debating the depth is there and is convincing

     Whenever imaging or soundstage are mentioned, I like to remind people about these resources: The following provide tests, with which one may determine whether their system actually images, or reproduces a soundstage, as recorded. 

      ie: On the Chesky sampler/test CD; David explains in detail, his position on the stage and distance from the mics, as he strikes a tambourine(Depth Test).

     LEDR test tells what to expect, if your system performs well, before each segment. 

  Chesky CD contains a number of tests, in addition to the LEDR.


 and (

  The shape of your ears’ pinnae is also a variable, regarding your ability to perceive images/locate sounds.

   A Stereophile article, that explains the LEDR test: