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.
TIME is arrival time. Ignoring Xover phase, a flat baffle box with a 8" woofer and dome tweeter has a driver arrival delta of about 500µS or about 2kHz. In a 2 way system, the kick beater will arrive ahead of the fundamental. In a multi woofer system, the direct arrival is at multiple times, PLUS first reflections varying in both time and intensity. Imaging suffers.

PHASE is the synchronicity between fundamental and harmonics. If harmonics arrive asynchronously to fundamental, imaging suffers.

A system with TIME wrong cannot get PHASE coherent.

Most systems make no attempt to get TIME or PHASE coherent.

Imaging is NOT level (volume). Imaging is when the speakers disappear and one can walk into the stage! Most systems fail miserably. Ditto rooms.
Very clear and very right....Thank you for the post....

Timbre recording technique induce a trade-off that exclude perfect reproduction, and ask for some acoustic room conditions also for his recreation....It was more difficult in my experience to create acoustic condition for naturalness of timbre envelope perception in my room than some imaging...But if someone enjoy very natural timbre perception in his room i am sure that his imaging will be very good....i am not a scientist, i speak only by my experience and wait to be corrected if this is the case....

Imaging is NOT level (volume). Imaging is when the speakers disappear and one can walk into the stage! Most systems fail miserably. Ditto rooms.
I am happy to say that i enjoy this phenomena in my room...

But i must add that if some systems fails miserably, it is probably most of the time, with relatively good design audio system and speakers, it is i said probably most of the times because the acoustical settings of the room is not adequate and in synergy with the acoustical properties of the speakers....It was my case ....

My best to you....
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The only arrival time that matters is differential arrival time, i.e. the time difference between the time a sound reaches each ear.
Arrival time is how we localize sound in the world.

Phase coherence is how we tell if it's live or Memorex.

Unfortunately, many tests are performed on the unwashed. Just as some can't tell if a piano is in tune, some can tell you how much it's out, how much it's stretched and the reference A.

If time delay is inaudible, why would manufacturers bother? Spica, Vandersteen, Wilson. Marketing hype? Methinks not.

Today, it's trivial to use DSP to remove displacement delay in multi-amplifier systems. One can model up the analog crossover, make direct driver connections and calculate the driver offset. Next create two presets with and without offset compensation. Switch between them. Let us know.
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IF you want “stero” everywhere I will sell you my old pair of Bose 901’s very cheap. That is the only thing they do well is sound the same anywhere you are in a room.