Full Article Details
|Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 |
|Behringer Edison EX1 and How to Improve or Correct Sonic Imaging From Any Stereo Source (Educational)||Jan 1st, 2005|
|(a letter to a customer)|
Thank you for your inquiry on the Edison EX1
The Edison is an audio processing device designed to enhance, correct, or remix stereo program material of any type or from any format. It is especially useful and shows itís capabilities astonishingly on vintage music, or most music which came before the digital era.
First off it is truly a stereo processing device which operates purely in the analog domain only. IE, use of op amps and no digital processing. As an overview it is multiband ambiance, definition or imaging enhancing device. It also can reduce excessive stereo imaging effects. It has 4 selective audio effects in one box. The processing is simple and effective because it follows the basic concept of how audio is mixed in a stereo recording at the studio to create the imaging or depth of field.
A clear and important concept should be made here first. Think about this Ė All the music you hear comes from many different eras in time, from the 1920ís all the way to the present. Obviously recording equipment has changed. Engineersí style and tastes have changed through 70 years. The consumers listening taste and the quality or lack of quality in home Hi-Fi has changed drastically in only the last few years. Point to be made is the recordings we listen to are the result of wide variations of personal taste and use or misuse of recording technology Ė at the professional and now certainly at the amateur studio level.
The Edison is not new in concept. Studio engineers have used similar devices for many decades when final mixing recordings for the public. However the Edison offers more control over the complete dynamics and frequency range of music for the Audiophile user.
Here is how the processing of the stereo audio is done in 4 simple and quite minimal circuit stages. A low frequency band control either thickens or thins out the bass. A typical effect might be creating a wider more spacious detail or centering the bass in the mix to create more solid up front sound. Recordings (especially on L.P.) where the bass seems a little muddy and one dimensional can be widened in the mix giving the impression of a bigger room sound or creating more depth of stage.
The next control does a similar effect but now in the lower midrange. Here is when most of the fundamentals and power of music is. If the stage image of the instruments sounds to cluttered, this control can be adjusted to spread out the instruments and create more spatial definition. Although excessive advancing of this control can create a false, out of phase quality to the stage image. However this control is especially useful on many modern recordings, especially rock and roll, sometimes jazz, where the recording seems to have too many instruments layered on each other causing the mix to be 1 dimensional sounding. A small adjustment can open up the mix or separate the instruments. A third control again manipulates the mix of instruments to widen or narrow the presentation, but now this control either enhances the original ambiance to give the sound stage more clarity of ambiance field which again can be spread wider or narrowed. If Classical music, for example, sounds too distant or hall reverb may be too present, a little adjustment can focus the center stage, or pull the vocal to the front of the mix. This control can also subtly or obviously widen the mix to a point where any center of stereo mix can be nulled out. Some people use it to reduce the vocals way to the back of the mix for example.
A fourth Control can adjust for tonal and ambient balance. A rather novel concept, it can correct a stereo mix which seems heavy or too empty in one of the channels. Again, very useable to balance the overall sonic picture of the recording.
This is the quick description. People will create new mixes to their taste. Some people like very ambient and airy mixes, others might prefer an up front and powerful presentation. (Late at night I prefer the more ambient, distant effect as it sonically ďcalmsĒ a performance.) Again all of this image manipulation is done in the analog domain. The circuit design is basically one of comparing the amount of phase shift between the channels and either adding or subtracting audio information which is non phase coherently located in the stereo mix.
Fortunately it is very easy to use. The manual explains its functions well (although I think Iíve done a more informative explanation of the effect it creates). Remember, any effect it creates is derived from the original recording; it is enhancing or lessening the original recorded image. You are now in control to narrow an excessively wide classical mix or create more spatial separation of instruments in an overburdened 1 dimensional mix.
I know a lot of audiophiles are going to be shocked for me to suggest defiling their music, but letís face facts, as mentioned before Ė recorded music comes in so many flavors, and opinions that from a scientific viewpoint I donít see how one particular stereo system can do justice to such a wide array of recordings. Often audiophiles will unfairly reject outright a great performance of an artist that is not recorded in a manner that presents the material well, especially older records which sometimes need a little face lifting so to speak. People are doing this with their computers all the time. Though there are some computer programs which do some of the things Edison does; none yet have the wide ranging capability and rapid ease of use. What can I say? I jump from a Johnny Cash album to some Avant-garde synth composition. A quick twist of a knob and Iíve improved my enjoyment of listening to music. I also use equalizers to fix serious tonal balance deficiencies or simply correct weak bass or excessive brightness. I like the music but I donít like the presentation of it, often because music is mixed for the taste of the greater population and air play through the media.
If you have the perfect recording, record the Edison with the flip of a switch hardwires the original signal untouched through the unit
The Edison is professional quality in build and noise specs. Admittedly though I prefer to make very minor changes to ensure each units controls are tracking accurately and alter the power supply and ground systems to be more audiophile and viable to use under any hook up circumstances. (i.e., reduction of possible RFI or ground loops). It is built into a steel chassis with professional XLR or phone jack. Making a cable which terminates in an RCA consumer connector is no problem. The machine can adapt which connector usage to true pro or consumer signal levels, it can be installed in a tape monitor loop. You may find that enhancing a cassette or CD recording for car listening will be worth the price alone. (Widening the image will create a more spacious stereo character for those small spaces in cars) Some of the users of this device, who like me, want to change the perspective just for interest or to enhance closely spaced speakers in a listeners environment.
In closing I would like to comment (and someone is going to throw a stone at me) that the recordings are seldom perfect, but fancy wires and claims of CD players or preamps which create magical effects are truly low on the priority list. Every serious double E audio engineer Iíve ever worked with has expressed the notion that speakers are a serious weakness when creating music. There are some truly exceptional speakers which reproduce a very convincing soundstage, but a poor recording will suffer just the same.
So keep in mind your music comes from a thousand different studios with a thousand different monitor speakers to be used to judge music by a thousand different people. Years ago the electronics and audiophile magazines always had articles relating to how a consumer could improve the listening room, recordings or truly be informed about the recording process. This information is sadly missing today, apparently replaced by the myth of special DAC or wire.
Presently I think a great many honest and passionate music lovers have succumbed to myth of price buys better sound. Certainly well built equipment is worth it, but my business experience has uncovered many charlatans and deceptions. Products which can seriously cost the listener but not improve the listening experience enough to meet the extreme costs. Oh by the way this Edison device cost well under $200, small investment for the music lover to control his listening pleasure.
For more info go to the Behringer website
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Full Article Details
|Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 |