Speakers should disappear, which seems impossible. The drivers are pointing straight at us!

Paul McGowan writes .....

Much to my surprise this fact, along with another—the soundstage should come from behind the loudspeaker—continually baffles people.

I am at the Japan Audio show today and watched as two setup guys had the right combination of disappearing source and rear presentation, only to change placement to pinpoint the source and move the sound up front. When questioned they had a simple answer—it seemed more logical to them.

And so it’s true. Logic suggests the source of sound should be obvious and the fact the drivers are pointing straight at you implies the stage should unfold between you and the speaker. Logical.

But wrong.

Here’s a way of thinking about this that might help you. Picture a live group playing in the room and imagine the speakers as microphones. The “microphones” point at our band and record the sound. When we magically reverse roles, microphones back to speakers, we should expect the band’s position to remain unchanged and disconnected from the microphone/speaker.

Our goal in any recording/reproduction chain should be to recreate the live event.