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 have "depth" throughout the soundstage - up to the left edge of the left speaker and the right edge of the right speaker.  I have width beyond the speakers but there doesn't appear to be much depth beyond the edge of the speakers.

The depth of the soundstage is determined by your equipment, venue, and recording. Assuming a good recording that can have depth… many. I don’t want to get off onto the details of this subject.


My system images well (see mine under my UserID). When I finished up positioning the speakers the soundstage would extend two or three feet beyond the speakers to the side and back about 4.5’ to the wall. Then I hung a very heavy tightly woven wool carpet on the wall… now the soundstage goes back into the wall two to four feet more depending on the recording.

In previous systems, initially the soundstage only extended to the wall. Then, upon careful tweaking the wall ceases to truncate the soundstage depth.

Many years ago, I was fortunate to run across a local audio store owner who was much more of a hobbyist than a businessman.  I had many discussions and spent may happy hours of listening and more importantly, learning in his store with him and his customers. Over the years, I learned a lot about different music and systems and especially how to listen with the moving in and out of components and the varying differences that resulted and were perceived.  

You can't learn by only talking about it.  Listening to multiple systems and components (plus discussions about same) do help.  That's why the Chesky Ultimate Demonstration Disc is a good one to own.  Because each track is prefaced with a description of what should be listened for and then what should be heard.  Even then, the results are obviously system dependent.  Just because you think you heard it, you may not have heard it, like it really could be heard and experienced!

For example, many years ago, I used the Superman track on a Telarc disc as one of my auditioning pieces.  I had occasion to go to an audio store to listen to some used Apogee Stage speakers that I was considering purchasing.  The speakers were good, but what struck me was the finale of Superman and its crescendo.  It wasn’t the speakers that blew me away (they were great too) but the amplification.  The drive separation and coherence of that crescendo was what I had been seeking, but didn’t know it until I heard it.  In fact, when it finished, the salesman saw the look on my face and asked what was the matter?  That and a test drive later of an Audio Research VT100 Mk2 tube amp taught me how important great amplification was.  Before then, I didn’t want to believe, because my wallet didn’t want to believe that my Aragon  4004 MKII amp was not capable of the performance that the Audio Research was.  I found that not only was the Superman ending crescendo more powerful with the instruments more delineated and overall, more open, and less congested; but instrument like woodwinds and brass sounded more like live ones, the sound I was seeking but didn’t know it, until I heard it! 

My point in saying all of this is to suggest again that you don’t know it, until you hear it and you generally can’t hear it by sticking to a this or that component.  You must try as much as you can and as high of quality as you can.  Otherwise, learning can’t take place.

How could this be a myth ? If listening live you have each aspect of tone,soundstage ,width as well as depth imaging and instrumental textures.

this greatly depends on in a big way the $$ amount invested and system synergy.

having not only been in audio for 40 years but also owned a Audio store in the UK 

this way I have been on both sides of the coin . Sad but true you truly do needto spend well over $20k at minimum to get just a satisfactory audio system ,especially 

when pricing has inflated 25% in the last 2 years. Quality speakers alone command    well Over $15 k for anything in the B class of Audio .  This is why people dedicate a whole year just to upgrade a piec3 of equipment ,myself included.

I went from a $100k+ system to2 much smaller ones .

imo you need to spend at least $10k k in total just for digital to get a truly good reference base system ,to many this too it would ge entry level .it all depends on your budget . Being a Audiophile is a never ending hobby ,technologies especially in digital have gotton substantially better in the last 4 years which is a great thing.

now for under $2k you can get a very respectable sounding R2R dac , $5+k starts the reference grade for example . The T+A 200 dac is my next goal superb Sonic quality and a bargain at $7k.

There is no question that a good system well set up can give a sense of depth. What I'm not sure is whether this is reproducing what' s on the recording(which I doubt) or just a room/speaker interaction(which I suspect it is except for a miniscule number of recordings). But the affect is nice and certainly adds to the illusion of almost live sound.