If you don't have a wide sweet spot, are you really an audiophile?
Hi, it’s me, professional audio troll. I’ve been thinking about something as my new home listening room comes together:
The glory of having a wide sweet spot.
We focus far too much on the dentist chair type of listener experience. A sound which is truly superb only in one location. Then we try to optimize everything exactly in that virtual shoebox we keep our heads in. How many of us look for and optimize our listening experience to have a wide sweet spot instead?
I am reminded of listening to the Magico S1 Mk II speakers. While not flawless one thing they do exceptionally well is, in a good room, provide a very good, stable stereo image across almost any reasonable listening location. Revel’s also do this. There’s no sudden feeling of the image clicking when you are exactly equidistant from the two speakers. The image is good and very stable. Even directly in front of one speaker you can still get a sense of what is in the center and opposite sides. You don’t really notice a loss of focus when off axis like you can in so many setups.
Compare and contrast this with the opposite extreme, Sanders' ESL’s, which are OK off axis but when you are sitting in the right spot you suddenly feel like you are wearing headphones. The situation is very binary. You are either in the sweet spot or you are not.
From now on I’m declaring that I’m going all-in on wide-sweet spot listening. Being able to relax on one side of the couch or another, or meander around the house while enjoying great sounding music is a luxury we should all attempt to recreate.