Canz3D Spatial Simulation Plugin


I’ve been working on setting up a DSP pipeline on my Macbook Air for headphone listening and needed to find a crossfeed component. I initially looked for an implementation of the B2SB algorithm but struck out on finding a Mac implementation. Instead, I ran across the Canz3D Spatial Simulation plugin and boy am I glad I did!

I use crossfeed extensively when listening on my phone, and I’ve also tried more sophisticated speaker simulation algorithms like Out of Your Head and Toneboosters Isone. I’ve found all of these speaker simulation DSPs to sound pretty artificial and gimmicky and never stick with them.

Canz3D is in a different league. I haven’t even tweaked any of the numerous settings and it already sounds amazing. Whereas plain crossfeed does narrow the stereo image somewhat, it’s really pretty subtle and doesn’t fundamentally change the image that much. The other speaker simulation algorithms I’ve tried seem very aggressive, messing with frequency response and sounding somewhat artificial. Canz3D really does sound more speaker-like, with an improved front image and surprisingly much improved instrument separation and localization.

So, what are the downsides?

  1. It’s not clear to me whether or not this thing is currently maintained and supported. It fades to silence after 3 minutes unless you enter a registration code, and I’m not sure how to get such a code. I’ve contacted the author, we’ll see.
  2. It seems to be Mac only :frowning:
  3. It works best with simpler recordings that don’t use mono close-miking. It still sounds fine with other stuff, but it’s definitely more impressive with hifi stereo recording like Nozze de Figaro.

Listening some more, there are definitely times when it works really well and others where it actually harms rather than helps. Even within genres, it’s highly dependent on the recording. With Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay, the effect is pretty horrible, adding what sounds like excessive reverb and making Freddie’s trumpet sound distant and dull. On Miles’ Davis Live At The Plugged Nickel the effect is downright amazing–the timbre of Miles’s trumpet and the rest of the instruments remains barely affected while the phantom center image solidifies, all of the instruments move forward in the soundstage and occupy distinct points in space, and it generally feels as if a veil that I hadn’t even noticed before has been lifted.

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For fun I’m listening with Redline Monitor for comparison. Initial impression is that it’s very nice, seems to work with more music, but doesn’t have quite the same wow factor.


Ha, found one after all! -


After some more listening, I’m preferring Redline Monitor. It sounds natural and works on pretty much everything.

I’ve created a script that uses the mrswatson command-line VST host to apply my preferred Redline settings to my flac files offline. I plan to apply this to all my flacs offline so that I can enjoy this advanced crossfeed even while on the go with my LG V20 or iPhone SE (which can’t run Redline itself).

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You’re a very resourceful chap @pwjazz. I admire the way you look for practical solutions to any problems you encounter. It’s great that you can use your programming skills to enhance your listening experience. :grin:

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