Structures of this type were in use in the motion picture industry before the advent of sound recording. Early stages for silent movies were built with large skylights until electric lighting became powerful enough to adequately expose film. With the coming of the talkies in the late 1920s, it became necessary to enclose the stages to eliminate noise and distractions from outside. Buildings without soundproofing are still referred to as silent stages, and can be used where the dialog and other sounds are recorded as a separate operation, usually by the principal actors doing a synchronized voice over a working "cut" of the film or specialized language actors doing a secondary language dubbing. A sound stage, unlike a silent stage, requires caution to avoid making noise behind the camera.
An enclosed stage makes it easier for the crew of a production to design and build the sets to exact specifications, precise scale and detail. The art director makes an architectural plan and the carpenters build it. After it is painted, the set dresser furnishes it with everything that the set designer, under the direction of the art director, has selected for the interior. The camera can be placed exactly where the director wants it, and achieving the desired lighting is easier because each stage has a metal framework with catwalks and lights suspended from the ceiling. This makes it easier for the cinematographer to have the grips position each flag or bounce and the lighting technicians to position each light to get exactly the right shot.
Though it is an expensive process, working on a sound stage saves time when setting up. As all the scenes can be filmed on the sets inside the sound stage, it also eliminates having to move the production from location to location.
Soundstage also refers to the depth and richness of an audio recording (usually referring to the playback process). According to audiophiles, the quality of the playback is very much dependent on how one is able to pick out different instruments, voices, vocal parts, etc. exactly where they are located on an imaginary 2D or 3D field. This can enhance not only the listener's involvement in the recording but also their overall perception of the stage.