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.
erik_squires
^^ here's a video showing how time intensity trading works.

https://youtu.be/fMwWYIESOk4
Way back in the 1970's or early  1980's, Leslie (the organ speaker people) came out with a home speaker system that had a narrow dispersion, but uniform frequency response on and off axis, and the drivers positioned so that the response axis crossed well in front of the listener even when the boxes were pointed straight forward.  The Leslie speaker is doing exactly what is shown in the video for trading volume intensity and the timing of arrival.  I thought the trick sort of worked, but, the speaker did not sound that great.  

I've tried the extreme crossing angle myself, and I did not really like what it did to other aspects of imaging, such as the sense of depth and the sense of sound enveloping the listener.  Still, it is a "free" upgrade if it works, and a reversible one if it does not.
Yes, indeed, though the Ohm Walsh crowd seems to be OK with this. Maybe because some were only omni’s up to a point?

Technology | Ohm Speakers | Custom Audiophile Speakers for Music & Home Theater


Regarding room interactions, you look at the Relative Power #s at the various frequencies on/off axis in the diagram at the bottom of the page linked to above, you will see the Ohm Walsh’s are specifically designed to address that, unlike full omni speakers.

You will find they can go closer to walls than many others for that reason, and definitely closer than full omnis like GP or mbl. Very easy to set up and get very good results though fine tuning as always will still yield improvements.


a point source (Tannoy, Shindo, Duevel, Fostex) creates much better integration of direct and indirect sound as well as a larger sweet spot

The other speakers I own and enjoy besides my two pair of Ohm Walsh are KEF ls50 (originals and metas). The Metas in particular have very good off axis dispersion and a decent sweet zone, especially for a more "conventional", though technically advanced, box design.
There are some real curmudgeons out there.   Do they even have a sweet spot?