Posted here for the "acoustic" component of the content.
I really enjoyed reading the vintage article recently posted on the site:
It put me in mind of a chapter in the book I recently read:
Here is another opportunity for addressing the "final frontier" in audiophile experience, the step between the listener's ears and their understanding of the sound.
One point of convergence between these two is the inquiry into how we hear stereo. In Musicophilia, Sacks mentions a study of concert-goers. They are observed often making minute head adjustments while listening.
I have observed my own cat when she is listening -- she dramatically swivel her ears.
The point is that the ears themselves have complex acoustic properties. Apparently that's why they have such a funny shape (on the inside, I mean, no comment on how they look on a guy's head). My cat's ear is even weirder on the inside.
This complex shape will receive sound from a source differently at different head angles, and our brain can use the changing sound with respect to position to pinpoint the source of a sound.
Sachs goes further in his book to study folks who have lost hearing in one ear, and are able to get some sense of sound positioning (quasi-stereo) with one the one ear.
The practical result of such an arcane theory? Listening to the new radiohead album the other night (holding out for the higher quality cd release), I exercised some minute head movements and lo and behold, I got a much clearer sense of positioning of the instruments this way. In fact I drawn to employ this technique because I couldn't believe the overpower sense of the guitar at the beginning, hard into the left channel.
So, I encourage you guys to give a try to subtle head movements when checking out your soundstage.