A speaker; a convenient and inconvenient thing

By Kyri(2017.07.30)

Some people listen to music with a speaker of a smartphone on the go.
Some people listen to music with earphones in a train.
Some people listen to music with two speakers.
And some people listen to music fussing over the position and distance of speakers and equipment.

Assuming that those above are listening to the same sound.

Why do they think that they hear the same sound, even though the reproduction environments are different?

This is because, in many musical works, people called engineers adjust all of the sounds; “voice”, “musical instruments” in other words the overall “noise”, using various techniques. In order to make it more comfortable for listeners to enjoy regardless of the reproduction environment …

..Okay, I am going to stop the introduction there.

Well, of course, we take this kind of thing for granted, but I feel it’s a little strange that everyone does so.

I think that we might not be given the best things.

For good or bad.

For example, a speaker of a smartphone.
Most of them are monaural for now.
(Smartphones with stereo speakers are available, but they seem to be able to play in stereo only in certain situations.)

It could be said that “monaural” and “stereo” are in the different dimensions.

We might also be able to say that it is like a difference between the first dimension and the second dimension.
Something that can be heard in stereo often can’t in monaural.


(In monaural, we can hear only the sound of water, but in stereo, we also can hear the sound of insects.)
This is strange but interesting.

These kind of things are rather technical and a bit difficult to be understood, but we need not understand them fully.
Anyway, the most important thing is something that can be heard in stereo can’t in monaural.

How can we reproduce the second dimension things in the first dimension world?
There are many things to be considered and solved about this question.
Because the monaural production environment actually exists.
It must not happen that someone says “I can’t hear the (particular) sound”.

In terms of something released to the wide range of listeners, the sound would often be adjusted to the lowest sound level.
(Personally, I think both mono_mode and stereo_mode can be available so that we can switch between them, but it does not seem to be realistic since there is little demand for mono_mode.)

The sound we listen to with earphones is stereo.
Though the sound we listen to with speakers is also stereo, the way of sounding is completely different.
With earphones, the sound sounds close because it’s next to our eardrums.
With speakers, however, there is a distance and a direction which the sound comes from.
Because of the distance, “every single sound” could be heard differently.
It is natural that the sound can be heard differently when the place the sound comes from is different.
So it is different how we feel and recognize the position of “every single sound” in our head as well.


(Depending on the reproduction device, the impression must be different.)

Because of this, we need to compromise at the point where we can find a good balance both in monaural and in stereo.

Depending on the speakers, the frequency that the sound can be played with is different.
Some of the sound we can feel and hear enough in big halls can’t be heard enough with earphones.
In that case too, we need to compromise and make arrangements so that we would not miss the certain sound even with earphones.


(This is processed exaggeratedly in order to make it easy to hear the difference. / 0:00~ before process, 0:09~ after process)

Like this, there is no other choice for us but to compromise so as to play the sound without problems whatever kind of players or devices we hear it with.
Since a lot of people need music as something that they can carry with them.

If everyone needs music being heard with earphones.
If everyone needs music being heard with two speakers.
If everyone needs the perfect music in terms of the position and distance.
If everyone needs surround music.

If so, there must be more opportunities that you can have new sound experiences.


(Viewer discretion is advised; personally though.)

It is another story whether that music is good or not (*This is important). Yet there is no doubt that the sound with speakers could get a wider range of sound expressions if more people needed new sound experiences.
It is already possible to make the sound specialized for certain reproduction methods. And actually it has already been done.
In the current state, however, the time and place to use that kind of sound is limited.
It means that there is no big demand and the number of makers is limited as well.
For makers, if the situation changes and listening to music with speakers becomes more popular, the number of opportunities to make music played in such environments would increase, and more people would study and explore it.

Only with this, it is likely that the new era would come, isn’t it?

When something optimum reaches many people’s ears, they may feel something, and then they may come up with something new.