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What Exactly Are Soundstage and Imaging?

If you’ve ever peered into the never-ending rabbit hole that is home audio gear, you’ve probably seen a few terms thrown around that seem simple, but are ultimately a little unclear. “Soundstage” is commonly used in audio descriptions, but what is it exactly?

With the help of the experts at Technics, Discogs is going to define what soundstage is, how it enhances your listening experience, and what you need to achieve an impressive soundstage in your home.

What does soundstage mean?

The easiest way to explain soundstage is to compare home listening to the live music experience. When you attend a live performance, you can hear and feel the music all around you. With the right stereo setup, you can create an imaginary three-dimensional space that immerses you in detailed sound. This imaginary 3D space is your soundstage.

Rather than labeling a soundstage “good” or “bad,” listeners typically focus on the height, depth, and width of sound they experience and determine which “size” best fits their needs. If it feels as if your speakers have disappeared and only the music remains, then you may have yourself a broad soundstage.

What is imaging?

When discussing soundstage, it’s helpful to reference imaging (aka speaker image). At a concert, you can see where each musician is set up on stage. You can also hear where each instrument is in the room. For home listening, imaging is the separation between instruments and being able to determine where the sound of each instrument is coming from. If you’re able to easily identify the position of each instrument within your soundstage, then your speakers are capable of detailed imaging.

How does soundstage impact the way you hear music?

Soundstage and imaging can provide a more detailed and immersive listening experience. An all-encompassing soundstage can make you feel like you’re in the studio with your favorite musicians or standing front row center in an intimate venue. However, like most audio options, your particular tastes will determine just how important soundstage is to you. This means that it may take a few configurations before you find the sound you’re looking for.

What do you need if you’re ready to craft your perfect soundstage?

Nothing can take the place of a live show, but you can get pretty close with the right gear.

Technics’ SB-C600 Bookshelf Speaker System is a part of their new C600 Series and it is chock-full of features that prioritize a robust soundstage. With a coaxial speaker design, the SB-C600-K speakers offer rich sound with precise imaging. The tuned port allows air to flow out the front of the cabinet. This means that placing your speakers near a wall or a corner won’t cause unwanted noise.

Once you’ve landed on some speakers, you’ll want to consider system synergy for the best possible sound. A network CD receiver like Technics’ SA-C600 pairs perfectly with the SB-C600-K speakers and it has all the bells and whistles you could ask for. You can play vinyl, CDs, radio, and streaming music all through the same receiver. The SA-C600 is also equipped with a “Space Tune” function with four presets (free, wall, corner, and shelf) which enable you to achieve the best sound based on your acoustic environment. Within 90 seconds, the SA-C600’s cutting-edge technology will figure out the best way to complement the characteristics of your speakers.

In addition to gear and system synergy, you will also want to consider speaker placement. The distance between speakers, the distance between speakers and walls, and the distance between listeners and speakers can all make a significant difference. The height of the speakers in relation to the listener and the vertical and horizontal angles of the speakers can also have an impact on the sound. If you aren’t sure where to start, this guide may help!

Published in partnership with Technics. Photo courtesy of Technics. 

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