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.
Duke / @audiokinesis Does a very good job above of summarizing the reasons why, @tazz2
I listen by myself! No one else even cares in this household...they think I’m nuts! Any how, all I need is my one and only sweet spot on my comfy sectional leather couch with many many throws and toss pillows etc. I’m fine with this. Its the same spot I sit in when watching a movie in surround sound. Everyone knows my spot! 👍
The wife, however, has stolen (I mean claimed) the recliner section of the sectional nearest my hifi. That’s where I sit to listen to headphones...😡...well, I guess I can't be in two spots at same time...but she is seemingly always there when I want to listen to my headphones...🥺
As I type I am in my chair to the left side of my family room. My college age daughter is to the right doing school work. We are both in the sweet space. The Ohms are doing their thing. She requested some Michael Jackson. I queued some up on the Squeezebox Touch. “Dad is that Enya?” “Yup”. Nice! Wouldn’t trade it for anything. She listens with me like this all the time to all kinds of music and knows it all from Eminem to Ellington. Stravinsky queued up earlier. She recognized that piece from high school orchestra.
Nice when enjoying music need not be a solo act.
" I drink alone, yeah
With nobody else
Yeah, you know when I drink alone
I prefer to be by myself...."

...and that's the sweet spot issue...;) Thanks, George.....*G*

I'd characterize the Walsh as having a 'sweet line', midway between the drivers at a right angle.  Somewhat similar as that of dipoles...
Main perceived response seems to be 'arrival times' and room reflections, which one can vary to taste with placement, furnishings, and treatments..and where one stands along that line...

Like the revered or reviled 901's, there is a point where sheer volume level can drown any sweet anything into a moot point, unless the room is very large...which I suspect few of us have to play in....but that's an atypical extreme example.

My personal issue with Ohm speakers is the CLS driver which, at the end of the day is just a dome tweeter.  Ohm suggests 'toe-in' of their L~R units, something that nudges them out of being a 'full omni' like a MBL...or a plasma driver...*S*  One has an astounding entry price with 'needs' to match, the second with its' own unique issues...

I like my dipoles for sheer 'accuracy', but the Walsh have 'stage' they really can't match.  But they are a little 'fussy', in their own ways.

Anyway...my 2 centsless....;)

A small sweet spot would indicate that the speaker is beaming! This is why in your example of the Sanders ESL’s...which are known to beam, that the sweet spot is small. If you listen to a speaker that is a point source, you will typically get a wider and more accurate sound stage, IME. OTOH, a large dipole flat panel, which is anything but a point source, will typically either beam information...or will scatter information from the front and the back...and again have possibly a more diffuse image. ( Plus one that is typically quite wide!)
Having owned both panels and point source speakers, depending on your room acoustics, both can be very satisfactory. Remember, when we go to a live event, we typically sit or stand in one place...and if one listens to the placement of instruments at that event, the sound source will in fact vary slightly as one moves around the venue, it will also be fairly encompassing as to the sound field ( not in any way pinpoint!) -- IME.