1. Things you need to know about the new ‘Conversations’ PM system:

    a) DO NOT REPLY TO THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL! I get them, not the intended recipient. I get a lot of them and I do not want them! It is just a notification, log into the site and reply from there.

    b) To delete old conversations use the ‘Leave conversation’ option. This is just delete by another name.
    Dismiss Notice

Why don't headphone amplifiers have an option partially to blend left and right?

Discussion in 'headphones' started by onlyconnect, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect pfm Member

    When you listen to stereo via loudspeakers both ears hear both channels.

    When you listen to stereo via headphones the right ear hears only the right channel, the left ear only the left channel.

    Huge difference. On the face of it, it seems like it would be hard to optimize a mix for both scenarios.

    You could fix this, maybe, by simulating speakers in headphones (hard to do the other way round). This would mean mixing some of the left channel into the right and vice versa. But I've never seen this option on an amplifier (I'm sure someone has thought of it though).

    I would say the proportion of music heard through headphones/earbuds etc has increased greatly in the last 20 years. Perhaps a lot of music is actually mixed primarily for headphones now?

  2. guey

    guey pfm Member

    I've been using the Bard's Headspace when using headphones recently, which appears to be some sort of crossfeed device, as you describe. It gives a subtle, but worthwhile impression of moving the sound out of your head a little.
  3. r0dd3r5

    r0dd3r5 Active Member

    The SPL Phonitor X does :)
    JTC likes this.
  4. IanRB

    IanRB pfm Member

    Chord Hugo2 does.
  5. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Not sure why one would want to; surely, keeping the signal as is must be better. Besides, I feel that complexities (gimmicks?) like this may well compromise the s.q. Apart from wondering what improvements multi-thousand pound cans bring over what I have, I'm a frequent and happy headphone user.
  6. MotelBlues

    MotelBlues pfm Member

    And Hugo1, although I’ve never felt the urge.
  7. Ibbots

    Ibbots pfm Member

    Meier amps too.

    Roon, JRiver and probably others have dsp crossfeed
  8. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    You mean bad channel spearation?
  9. AndyU

    AndyU pfm Member

    Like vinyl.
  10. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    You can do cross-feed in the DSP options in Roon. Works really well and does move the image out of the head when using headphones to sound a bit more like speakers . Depends on the recording how well it works.
  11. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    RME ADI-2 has this facility, works really well.
    Emlin likes this.
  12. clivem2

    clivem2 pfm Member

    Sonneteer Headspace does some blending. A little blending makes the sound more natural to my ears and reduces occasional issues with slightly mismatched drivers not creating a central image.
  13. gustav_errata

    gustav_errata pfm Member

    No, proper crossfeed involves filtering and delaying the opposite channel's signal to simulate the extra time it takes for, say, sound from the right speaker to reach the left ear with part of a head in-between.

    Personally, I find listening to music with hard-panned sounds in headphones to be disorienting. It literally makes me dizzy. As an extreme example, I cannot listen to this song in headphones without stereo crossfeed (please spare jokes about not being able to listen to the song at all).

    Also if the point of all this is "hi-fi" and the experience of listening on headphones is objectively different from listening on speakers with regards to stereo crossfeed, then one of them has to be wrong. Which one?

    Anyway. Since my headphone setup is attached to my GNU/Linux computer, I add a stereo crossfeed DSP plugin in my Pulseaudio chain via a handy program called "PulseEffects". The same plugin is available for ALSA. If you are on Windows and you use Audirvana, I'm sure you can find a crossfeed VST plugin to use. It's not a very computationally intensive effect.
    Emlin likes this.
  14. marshanp

    marshanp ellipsis addict

    Er, no, because (for the mostly-classical music I listen to, anyway) the recording was made for speakers. I don't use headphones because I cannot tolerate the outcome, which is having music inside my head. Experimentation with Meier crossfeed and other speaker-emulation DSP targetted at headphone users leads me to think that there may be hope if I am ever parked in a retirement home and made to give up my beloved Duevels...

    I reckon that a SPL Phonitor 2 and a pair of Stax electrostatics might be my saviours, if it comes to that. Then I'll be content parked in my room 23 hours a day.
    Emlin likes this.
  15. starbuck

    starbuck pfm Member

    Grace M920 has crossfeed adjustments amongst its Swiss army like range of features.
  16. narabdela

    narabdela who?

    The FiiO Montblanc headphone amp has a crossfeed switch.
  17. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Interesting, because this is the first time I've heard that music (any music) was specifically recorded for speakers. Whether it be CD or vinyl, the music signal is the music signal. I do appreciate that there are those who simply don't like the headphone experience for various reasons. I wonder (in the case of classical) why the microphone placement of a recording favours just a few in a range of very different transducers.

    I've not noticed any difference in presentation or enjoyment from either my classical CDs or records but I shall take heed now ;). I have m.coil cans (Focal & Senn.) but big Quad ESLs through all valved CDP and amplification but class A s/s can-amp and can equally enjoy any music on either transducer format. Wonder if the choice if kit comes into this at all, and I'd be looking at the can-amp should that be so.
  18. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I appreciate crossfeed when the facility is available to me. IME the subtler the better. When I demoed it on the Hugo 2 and TT 2 I generally preferred the minimum of the three settings. When I demoed it on the Phonitor 2 I ended up fixating so much on tweaking the settings and studying the differences that I lost sight of the music, so to speak.
  19. claire.foxx

    claire.foxx Trans lives matter more than your feelings - ΘΔ

    One application for crossfeed (partial summing too) is it can be useful for hearing phasing effects using parallel comp and out of phase signals in a recording, as you fade a track in or a sound or instrument appears in a 'hole' appears around some parts of the audio field but it's instrument unspecific, often an old vintage bit of kit is the culprit but the important thing is to achieve absolute phase otherwise problems occur mixes get muddy and the mastering people shout at you. The solution is to locate the track, check it with a correlation meter and then correct the phase anomaly. Its also found in old multitrack recordings recorded in multiple places and sessions and is even cited as a period 'charm' effect. Just keep the phase (mostly) at the end of the meter, don't obsess with peaks to center when there is high harmonic content and you're golden.

  20. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Lou Reed "Take No Prisoners" was recorded binaurally for headphone listening IIRC.

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice