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 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: 

Audio companies don’t want you to know!

In 60’s and 70’s, hi-end audio companies tried to recreate the natural reproduction sound and they were pretty close. Listen to the music of those times. Those music made us to fall in love with the music. Many music are closer to real music and more real than modern music. Then they all gave up the effort to the natural sound since 80’s. They must be tired or too old. Or reproducing the natural sound is that hard.

Hi-end audio companies since 80’s are all about the sound. Not the music. Since audio companies don’t have the natural sound, they changed the marketing from the natural sound to the deep sound. They always talked about a deep sound stage since they couldn’t make the human voice in front like a real live music. The human voice in modern hi-fi (or hi-end) is not laid back but it is just far (too far!) and vague (no soul). The audio industry keeps away a’philes from the truth which they can’t make the natural sound. They don ’t want you to know that. Nowadays, they talk only the technology but glare/veil is still there.

The characteristics of un-natural (veil/glare) sound is grain, harsh, bright, thin, confused, vague, veil, etc. They hurt/irritate our ears always. So, many a’philes believe that the good sound is not irritating sound. Not the musical sound. Many A’philes wants more bass. They believe the bass can cover irritating sounds but the bass will not cover irritating sound. Irritating sound is not high freq and they don’t know it. They will merry-go-round for a long time.

Some people say many audio systems sound too forward. Yes. The vocal/music is too far back but the glare/veil/brightness is very forward and punching the listener. These glare/veil prevent the vocal/music to be more forward. Glare/veil means the sound signal is broken and once the signal is broken, it can’t be restored. And almost sound signals are broken from the source. If forwarded glare/veil/brightness is removed (by making a right CD player or streamer), then the hi-end audio will be more consistent, predictable, and closer to the real natural music. Alex/Wavetouch

@mihorn it sounds like you must be listening to a boom box. Yes, depth is real. I can see it with my eyes open but much more so with my eyes closed. I am of the opinion that along with proper positioning of your speakers, the better your bass is the deeper you'll "see". Here's the reasoning and mind you, I'm not an expert; every frequency falls off as lower in frequency and those lower registers give us "visual" cues as to location. It goes all the way back in the evolutionary history where we had to identify possible threats at a distance by hearing and hone in on the direction it was coming from. Lower frequencies while not so much directional, travel farther giving us another auditory cue.