Is it possible to have Good Imaging close to wall


I keep looking for the best speakers to stand flush against the front wall and end up looking at the usual suspects: North Creek Kitty Kat Revelators, Allisons (now old), Von Schweikert VR-35, NHT Classic 4s, Audio Note AN/K, and other sealed or front ported speakers. But I have never understood how, even though the bass is controlled, they can defy the law of physics and image as well as, say, my great actually owned other speakers, Joseph Audio Pulsars, far out in the room? Is it physically possible for these flush mounted speakers to image as well?
springbok10
I own the Von Schweikert VR-33 speakers, they are 7 inches from the wall. They image very well and the soundstage is wall to wall.
"But I have never understood how, even though the bass is controlled, they can defy the law of physics and image as well as, say, my great actually owned other speakers, Joseph Audio Pulsars, far out in the room?"

When you say defy the laws of physics, what exactly are you talking about?
I have absolutely no freaking idea, but every speaker maker except the ones "who make speakers to work close to the wall" use exactly that phrase when I ask them why their speakers don't image when they are not obeying the Cardas rule or some other arbitrary speaker law of physics to do with reflected sound and how the brain perceives it. I can't be the only Audionut in the universe who is told this!
My Tonians are just 18" from the front wall and they "image" quite well, thank you. Depth is the only thing that is compromised but image specifity and placement never waver and what is layered is good enough for my mind to complete the illusion.

Better recordings are the exception with layering as good as it gets, IMO.

If room constraints require near field listening, I wouldn't worry at all.

All the best,
Nonoise
sure speakers will image well when placed near a wall - but it might not produce the best a speaker is capable.
My Zu Def 4s are only a few inches from the wall. Imaging is fine.
Early reflections off a wall is what compromises imaging
usually.

Some distance from the walls is needed to avoid. Its more
the location of the front of the speaker where sound is
emitted and other characteristics like the dispersion
pattern of teh drivers and baffle shape that
matter. Proximity to rear wall will affect imaging depth
more than width, proximity to side walls more width.

The key is to get the right delay and levels between direct
and reflected sound. Imaging is minimal without this.
Details of the recording are the biggest factor regarding
good imaging and large soundstage. Information must be in
the recording or else no dice. Some recordings have little
imaging, some a lot. The best ones often also have
potential for large well defined soundstage.

PRoximity to walls always works against imaging potential,
but results can still be quite good depending. It's all
relative.

The best imaging I have heard was with mbl speakers in a
large show room designed to maximize soundstage and imaging
for the omni design with a good 12 feet of tapered down
room behind the speakers and a good 8-10 feet to side walls.
Listening location was just slightly front and and center,
with similar volume of more rectangular room space behind
me. The players in the orchestral
recordings all had distinct locations within the space
behind the speakers.
Very holographic, very impressive!
"Early reflections off a wall is what compromises imaging usually."

Agreed.

The ear/brain system uses the time delay between the first arrival sound and the onset of reflections in judging the distance of a sound source ("image depth"). This isn't the only thing used, but it plays a large role in most home audio setups.

The ear/brain system can detect the time delay for the reflections that bounce off the wall behind the speakers, and tends to use those fairly subtle cues to interpret a maximum image depth of about twice that distance. Aggressive radiation pattern control and/or room treatment can help here, but ime it's easier to trick the ear/brain system into giving us a deeper soundstage if we can generate significant later-arriving reflections that dominate the ear/brain's depth cue intake.

Recently I've worked with systems that generate fairly strong reflections which arrive later than you'd normally expect, and the result has been an increase in apparent image depth to considerably greater than twice the distance to the wall. Credit to inventor James Romeyn for this technique (a highly directional secondary array that fires from the floor up at the ceiling, and yes it's patent pending), which I use with his permission.

Jim is showing a pair of speakers with this configuration at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach right now. I plan to spend more time listening with them up against the wall after the show, but my own limited testing before they left indicated enjoyable image depth even when positioned within a couple of inches of the wall.

I did not expect the increase in image depth that we observed when we first tried Jim's configuration with purpose-built speakers. I expected improved timbre, and maybe improved sense of envelopment, but the image depth was a surprise. The "feel" is sort of reminiscent of a good dipole or bipole (Jim's system could be thought of a type of bipole), but without the distance-from-the-wall requirements.

Please take my comments here with a grain of salt, as this is a designer saying nice things about his product.

Duke
If the rear wall reflection is so problematic, then why not eliminate it entirely. Speakers placed flush with the wall would have minimal reflections, or am I missing something? If you're interested in hearing the soundstage depth that's actually on the recording, as opposed to that produced by your room's reflections, I would think in-wall positioning would be a solution. Obviously, people who favor omni-directional or dipole loudspeakers would probably disagree.

Also wouldn't loudspeakers that have control directivity help? I have a pair of Gradient Revolution speakers which are designed to suppress rear soundwave above bass frequencies.
If you place a pair of speakers outside say with no walls behind or otherwise, you will likely only hear 1-D stereo effect between the speakers. No reflected sound, no imaging beyond that. Its the early reflections that blur detail and imaging. Otherwise, when the timing between direct and reflected sound is more naturally in synch, that's when more "holographic" type imaging and soundstage that extends beyond and behind the speakers is possible.
Onhwy61 has a good point, and I have to wonder if early reflections are really the problem. Placement right up against the wall should solve any problem with early reflections and result in good sound, but it doesn't seem to work that way. My feeling is that reflected sound is required for good soundstage, and that increased distances from walls afforded by larger rooms will result in better sound, assuming that the system is capable of generating good sound pressure with low distortion.
"05-31-14: Mapman
If you place a pair of speakers outside say with no walls behind or otherwise, you will likely only hear 1-D stereo effect between the speakers. No reflected sound, no imaging beyond that. Its the early reflections that blur detail and imaging. Otherwise, when the timing between direct and reflected sound is more naturally in synch, that's when more "holographic" type imaging and soundstage that extends beyond and behind the speakers is possible."

It seems to me that there may be more to it. What about phase? I'm sure that most of us here has heard this at one point, but if not, wire your speakers out of phase with each other. If you play some music that normally has a strong vocal image floating directly between the speakers, it now comes from the side wall. I fully understand that doing this is "wrong" from an audiophile standpoint, but you have to admit that its a pretty amazing demo as to how to make images that come from someplace other than the speakers. Especially, how far beyond the speaker the images go.

Aside from that, equipment choice has a huge effect on all aspects of imaging. So if you have a pair of speakers close to the wall, its likely that the electronics will play a big part in how the system images. I can easily see a situation in having good and bad imaging results with the same speakers close to the wall just because of the associated components.
If you placed your speakers outdoors they would reproduce the stereo information contained in the recording. The perception of recorded depth, if there is any in the recording, will not be effected. If a recording is relatively phase coherent, then there should be little to no sound coming from outside the loudspeakers' position. Using wall reflected sound from wide dispersion, dipole or even omni-directional loudspeakers can sound very pleasant, but in all but the largest rooms they will not produce accurate stereo information.

Incidentally, I do not recommend using your loudspeakers outside because it will seriously degrade most loudspeaker's bass performance.
Loudspeakers with controlled radiation pattern
like horns can be used up against wall with little to no penalty
Onhwy61, if I understand you correctly, then having having sound coming from outside the loudspeaker's position is not accurate? I ask because I use large floorstanders positioned relatively close to the side walls. The imaging between the speakers is great, but there I perceive no sound coming from outside the loudspeaker's position.
The thing is, music occurs naturally in 3 dimensions, not one, to some extent always. The resulting spatial/timing cues are in teh recording, to various degrees always.

To play something that contains 3-D information in one dimension only can be viewed as a form of distortion, much like how the shape of features on the earths surface is distorted to some degree in any 2-dimensional paper map or view.

SO my goal is to reproduce the music accurately, including the information that our ears hear that tells us where the sound is coming from.

That requires what we call imaging and soundstage.

This was a big selling point for stereo recordings back when they were first introduced. The equipment most people played these recordings on back then were not suited to reproduce this though, so most people never cared as much about this as some other things with their music.

But play those same old stereo recordings form teh late 50's and early 60's on a modern SOTA system and see what you might hear. That's what is is all about!

Low distortion levels and accurate reproduction of details is needed for good imaging. If you are getting it out of any decent quality recording even, that is a good omen for the overall quality of the rigs playback potential overall.

PRiximity to walls works against this in general due to early reflections smearing the details to some degree as noted, but decent results might still be had, just not the best most likely. I have never hear any speaker placement close to the walls come anywhere near what that spacious mbl setup I heard did. 10-20% maybe if all was working well, which generally means the speaker cabinet had some depth, and dispersion was properly managed for such a placement.

I have old OHM Ls that I like a lot close to walls. Most older box designs, like these are not designed for 3-D imaging, but can still sound great with certain music in particular very close to walls. SPoundstage and imaging is in fact highly compromised though. SO good sound can still occur....it all depends, as much on expectations as anything.
Reflected sound is not required for the decoding of soundstage/imaging information contained in recordings. If a loudspeaker adds extra treble, it's inaccurate. If a loudspeaker adds extra deep bass, it's inaccurate. If a loudspeaker adds spaciousness, it too is inaccurate. Any of these inaccuracies might sound pleasing, but they are distortions of the original music signal.

For more detailed information about stereo recordings and you should read the series of articles from TAS by Robert E. Greene.
I have a set of Classic Audio Loudspeakers. They are 6" from the rear wall and image fine. They are nearly 3 feet deep though.

We also use a set of High Emotion Audio loudspeakers at the shop. They have a unique tweeter that can radiate in nearly 360 degrees. This particular speaker (Bella Twin; not on their website as far as I know) has rear-firing passive radiators, but it can be 1 1/5 foot to 2 feet from the wall and imaging is no worries.

Y'all should listen to Duke. He knows his stuff!
I have the Monitor Audio PL-200 loudspeakers. I bought them also because they are developed to be used close to the wall.

When you use an amp which can give a wide and deep stage. You get an extreme holographic and physical stage. In their price range I do not know what can give such a huge stage.

The ribbon tweeter makes the stage even bigger. Even near the wall you get easilly 4-5 metres of depth. The crossovers are stunning so you even can play 2 metres beside the speakers. Depends of the source and amp you use.

Stillpoints will make your stage also bigger. Also can be used on speakers.
Yes, get a speaker with a dome tweeter and midrange driver. I have a pr of ADS 910 and they go against the wall and they produce a wall of sound.

They were designed to go against the wall.
Onh,

I suppose it depends on ones goals and corrsponding perspective.

If you just want to hear the recording, headphones are probably the best way to do that.

Any stereo speakers take it to different level by nature of the resulting sound heard being totally dependent on room acoustics in all cases, with the exception perhaps of an ideal nearfield setup.

If you consider the recording to be more than just a recording being played back in stereo on two speakers though, in other words a technical abstraction of live music, the sound of that too is always affected by room acoustics and those spatial cues from direct and reflected recorded sound is in the recording to various degrees. For teh best recordings, they tend to be there A LOT!!!

So the reflected sound of teh room during playback is needed in order to attempt to best reproduce what might have been heard live rather than just what is in a 2 channel stereo recording.

Of course playback room acoustics will be different than what existed during recording, so the two may never be exactly the same, but can come pretty close when both are similar.

You might get a pretty good idea what the jazz quartet sounded like when recorded live in a small jazz club in a decent sized room at home, but that symphonic recording is less likely to have the room to breathe that the original players did.
Agree that Duke is the man on this site when it comes to principles of soundstage and imaging in speker design.
A good analogy for listening to a good stereo recording without proper soundstage and imaging enabled is to watching a 3-D movie without the glasses. The 3-D visual information is in the film. WIth the glasses, it is processed by our eyes properly to deliver the best resulting image possible. Without the glasses, not only is there no 3-D but the 2-D image seen is not quite right for viewing and certainly not as clear as the alternate 2-D version of the film.

I can't think of any recording I have ever heard on a system with good imaging and soundstage ability that sounded totally 1 dimensional. WIth my pseudo-omni OHMS, set up well, even monophonic recordings have some natural ambiance that makes it sound live, as if the performers were all clearly front and center on stage in some live venue.
I am surprised that the Larsen speakers have not been mentioned. I just heard these at the Newport Audio show and was simply amazed at the sound. They are designed to be placed right up against the wall and are full range, the lower limit to 24 Hz. I believe that there are three models, although they only had two of them at the show. I saw a sign indicating that there is a recent Positive Feedback review, although I have not yet read it.
Mapman, I believe you are confusing acoustic reflections contained in the recorded signal with those reflections produced by playback in a room. One is part of the music signal and the other is a happenstance of a specific loudspeaker/room interaction. Bose 901s are an extreme example of the use of room generated reflected sound.

I am sorry Mapman but you are mistaken. As Onhwy61 is saying, you are confusing acoustic reflections contained in the recorded signal with those reflections produced by playback in a room.

To reproduce the spatial information recorded by the sound engineers it is not required to have reflections in the room. In fact the exact opposite is true, i.e. the less artefacts your room is inducing the better you will be able to hear the spatial information recorded on a disc.

I’ll make an analogy with the bass (which is also affected significantly by the room) to explain why you are wrong when you write:

So the reflected sound of teh room during playback is needed in order to attempt to best reproduce what might have been heard live rather than just what is in a 2 channel stereo recording.

Of course playback room acoustics will be different than what existed during recording, so the two may never be exactly the same, but can come pretty close when both are similar.

What you are saying is equivalent to saying that in order to have good bass one needs to excite the modes of his/her room, and in order to obtain the best bass performance one need to excite in his/her room the same modes that have been excited in the room where the recording was made. Of course, that is not true. To hear the most accurate bass possible in one’s room, one has to optimise the position of the speakers and listening chair so no major constructive and/or distractive interference occurs at the listening position. (Assuming that one’s speakers are capable to properly reproduce the bass on the recording, the best performance is achieved when one succeeds to completely eliminate the artefacts induced by the room - which of course is not really possible).

When it comes to soundstage and stereo image, the room induces even more artefacts than in the case of bass. For example it can: 1) make a bigger than life soundstage, 2) kill the soundstage completely, 3) make a 1-, 2- or 3-dimensional sound stage, 4) make the size of the instruments bigger than in the real life, 5) kill the stereo image, 6) shift the stereo image to the left or right, etc.

Clearly, very many things can go wrong because of the room and the best way to avoid all these problems is to try to "get rig" of the room. if possible try the following experiment:

First listen a recording with rich spatial information on a good pair of headphones. You will clearly hear a large soundstage and pinpoint stereo image. (You may like the same recording via your speakers better because it has a large sound stage but that is an artefact induced by the room. Of course, there is no problem with that, many people like the bass reinforcement caused by the room which can be beneficial sometimes.)

then listen the same recording via:

1) A pair of monitors in "near-field" mode with the monitors situated as far as possible far from any room boundaries. (This is what the Cardas method is trying to achieve.)

or

3) A pair of horns by sitting not too far from them, i.e. far enough that all drives are well integrated.

I am very sure you will end up with very similar results, i.e. a beautiful and well defined soundstage and stereo image that have been produced with no (or minimal) secondary reflections.

Finally, regarding your experience with the MBL system, I can imagine that under well controlled conditions and with the right recording they can create a wonderful effect as our ears like to hear (or better said are used to hear) reflections. However, I doubt very much that the MBLs are able to pull that trick or to sound “accurate” in every room with every recording and with every type of music.
"beautiful and well defined soundstage and stereo image that have been produced with no (or minimal) secondary reflections."

Minimal, perhaps if done right. None, well, take things outside with no walls and no room acoustics and reflections and see what you get.

Again, in most any room, as long as early reflections are managed properly, and things are set up well in general, you will get some decent imaging and soundstage most likely, enough to suit some tastes perhaps. But I doubt it will come anywhere close to a pair of excellent omnis like MBL set up with room to breathe properly.

I do agree also that cues in the recording and the effects of teh room acoustics are two different yet related things that work together or not to various degrees.

So I Do not think either of us is "wrong" necessarily, its more again a matter of perspective and expectations in regards to soundstage and imaging. SOme might not think more is better, even if done well, or vice versa.

My own personal reference is live music when I hear it. I want my recordings to sound like that whenever possible. Its a simulation, granted, but thats why they call it a recording. Its not the real thing.
Here in the Nethelands people in audio Always find the demos with MBL Omnis one of the worst of the whole show.

Often it sounds harsh. It does not come even close to the 3 Dimensional stage I can create. People from the business and many audio lovers overhere even don't take it serious.

I create a 3 dimensional stage created for a big part by the crossovers. I also prefer a ribbon tweeter for over any dometweeter. Because it gives me more decay and a larger and wider stage.

There is another difference; When I compare a Monitor Audio Platinum loudspeaker with the C series from Dynaudio for example; the Platinum can image the stage a lot sharper and touchable.

A ribbontweeter also makes the stage infront of the speaker bigger.

In 16 years of time I tested many amps. depth is a very important part I test. That is why my interests are only in amps which can build a wide and deep stage.

When clients want to buy a 2 dimensional brand. I will tell hi or she that he or she limits him or her self in sound quality. But when he or she still wants to buy, it is fine with me.
IME the mbls often sound harsh because of the electronics. I have had the opportunity to play the speakers with electronics I knew and they performed quite well- not harsh at all. But its been a different matter when I hear them at shows!
They are not harsh at all when set up right.

THey are hard to set up right. SOund great in dealer showroom. Same setup by same dealer below par at shows.

TO hear them set up well, go to United Home Audio in Annapolis Junction, MD.

CAll first to make sure they are still there, I heard them there a couple years back. Nothing else I have heard comes close in terms of soundstage depth and location of players in that large space.
It is not only the harsh sound. The mid freq. are not that natural and realistic. With classical music a violin sounded a lot different than in real.

Mannnnn it is ugly as hell. I think some people will like the looks. Most I know as me find it very ugly.

3 dimensional sound is something you can teach people very easilly. After that you can make them understand why it is more involving and more fun to listen at.

I cannot imagine stereo and Multi channel without 3 dimensional sound. Without it, I would stop working. And look for something else. That is why I don't understand people who still sell 2 dimensional standard audio.
Reviewers love to praise a soundstage that extends well beyond the confines of the speakers. We all know that this expansion of the soundstage is lost when the speakers are too close to the side walls. The reasons are debatable, but in my view its an unfortunate consequence of having a small listening room.
Mapman, the size of the soundstage and the size of the instruments within
are determined mostly by the room and speaker placement. It really is very
similar with the bass, i.e. because of the room you can get a lot of bass or no
bass.

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I have no problem that people have
a preference, e.g. “exaggerated” sound-stages or too much bass. We all have
preferences. However, if one strives to hear the recording as close as it was
made by the sound engineer, then one needs to minimising the reflections in
his/her room. If when doing that one ends up with a minimal sound-stage
then that is because that is what the sound engineer intended. If however, the
recording has a huge sound-stage then that is what one will hear also when
minimising reflections. (Of course, I assume that the listener has optimised
the position of his/her listening chair.)

Companies like Ohm and MBL are targeting people who appreciate a large
soundstage. Omni-directional speakers will create much larger soundstage
because by design they increase the amount of reflections in one’s room.
However, in most cases this much larger sound-stage is achieved at the
expense of pin-point localisation of the voices and instruments within the
sound-stage.

Achieving a decent two dimensional sound-stage (with normal speakers) is
not very difficult and can be achieve also with inexpensive electronics. One
only need to make sure that the acoustic paths of the sound waves generated
by the two speakers are as similar as possible. That is, the reflections need not
be eliminated - they only need to be the same for the two speakers. Basically
if one succeeds to achieve in his room perfect symmetry with respect to
his/her listening position, he/she will have a solid two-dimensional sound
stage with well centred voices. (Unfortunately, very often perfect symmetry
between the left and right speakers is less beneficial for the bass response.)

Achieving (also with normal speakers) a three-dimensional sound stage
where all voices and instruments have a natural size is very difficult.
Parameters like the dispersion pattern of the speaker, and the relative phases
of different frequencies play crucial roles here. Not only most systems do not
allow one to change these parameter without changing components, but one
would really need to know what is doing when attempting to change these
parameters. The best way to achieve this is to use electronic room correction
softwares/devices. Experimenting with different speakers and different
amplifiers can further improve things as the crossover network in the speakers
and the ability of an amp to conserve the relative phases of the various
frequencies in an audio signal is very important. (Bo19172 is preaching about
these here on audiogon for a long time now about these things, which he
calls qualities. He simply lacks the technical jargon/knowledge/understanding
to convince people about this, plus the fact that he is a dealer who pushes the
brands he sell rather aggressively is not helping. However, while I do not
agree with his behaviour, I believe him when he is saying that he is able to
obtain a holographic three-dimensional sound stage.)

Also, since you have mentioned live music, I should say that when it comes to
live music I associate the concept of three dimensional sound stage mostly to
large orchestra, large big bands and choir ensembles. IMO unless one listens
to these music styles, the sound-stage concept is less important as it is an
artificial concept made by the sound engineers in the studio. As such, IMO in
most cases it is more important for a stereo to be able to produce accurately
the timber and the dynamic of the instruments/music. Good musicians play
their instruments dynamically, and they do that every time they play. The
place where a musician will be on a stage, on the other hand, many change
from one concert to the other depending on the dimensions of the stage.

Finally, regarding the MBL speakers, I have listen quite a few times MBL
systems (starting from their smallest system and ending with their top of the
line system). Like any other stereo system, depending on room and set up
they can sound wonderful or terrible. I agree with the (positive) comments
made above about MBL. However, to make them reproduce realistically the
dynamic of a orchestra one would needs to power them with a nuclear reactor
NVP,

I'll agree to disagree and leave it at that and chalk it up to different goals and expectations, mine being to simulate a live performance as best as possible in order to be fully satisfied. That does not infer a soundstage that is too big, too much bass, or any other defect. These are all just right for me to meet my goals. It took a long time for me to achieve this. Obviously, not everyone has the same goals as me or else the audio landscape out there might look much different than in fact it does.

"However, in most cases this much larger sound-stage is achieved at the
expense of pin-point localisation of the voices and instruments within the
sound-stage. "

Not when done really well. The mbl demo was the best by far I ever heard in regards to pinpoint locations in 3 dimensions, not less. The room had as much to do with this as the speakers. Other designs might do similarly well, maybe even better, but I have not heard it anywhere yet. That includes other 6 figure dealer showroom systems and demos with similar goals done on a smaller scale that I have heard that were quite excellent otherwise.

"Also, since you have mentioned live music, I should say that when it comes to
live music I associate the concept of three dimensional sound stage mostly to
large orchestra, large big bands and choir ensembles."

IT is largely a matter of how the musicians are set up, the room acoustics, and the perspective of the listener from their listening position. In many cases, this all adds up to a less 3-D soundstage at most events for most people, but not necessarily. Things can be set up both live and at home to do way better, if one cares enough to do so.

I will say that though that this degree of 3-D imaging is impressive when it occurs, but its absence does not bother even me that much. In a perfect world, I would want it probably if I had the means to achieve it, but in practice, I settle for a very good imaging system that in my room will probably never match the absolute top notch I have heard to be possible.

Choral music might be the thing that suffers the most when imaging and soundstage is not top notch possible. WHen things click, it can truly be heavenly.
I am not loyal to any brand. Time and technique go on. After time it can and will change. I am Always looking for those tools which excel and give me the properties I want.

I want a deep and wide stage. But within this stage instruments and voices need to be intimate and relistic. Because in this part many sets project instruments and voices too big. At shows it is a mistake you often hear.

The best cables can give you a more holographic image of instruments. You want them round. Many highend systems have depth and wide. But I often miss the extreme sharp image of instruments and voices as in real. When I was listening at the concertroom of my friend, they most exiting part was the voice. I loved the intimate sound of a female voice in real. This made me want this intimate feeling in my system and other systems.

Blacks give you a feeling like singers and instruments are really there.

Speakers are very important, but you need to know were they capable of. Often people only get a few properties out of their speaker.

Imaging is also created by amps, sources and cables for a big part.

Last week I became dealer of stillpoints. These increase also the stage width and depth. They bring imaging to an even higher level. Soon I will write a review about it.
"It is not only the harsh sound. The mid freq. are not that natural and realistic. With classical music a violin sounded a lot different than in real."

With the good mbl demo I heard, these were exceptional with no qualifications, especially when the source was modern reference standard RTR. Vinyl and CD in order were less perfect. That was clearly mostly do to limitations with the source material and format. The differences were never more striking to me than this mbl demo, where the RTR source truly sounded like a real orchestra spread out immediately in front of me with enough size and space to be able to pinpoint ever detail, much like in a high res 3-D image versus low.

It could be that only with a large 3-D soundstage and highly accurate imaging within that resolution differences from format to format can truly be heard. The RTR blew anything else away. Most people have never had a chance to hear the differences in a setup such as the one I heard at United Home Audio.

Same setup at Capital audiofest two different years...meh. THe magic was not there at all. Things were not even close to being properly dialed in, though many sat there and were mesmerized still. I heard many systems better on both occasions, some quite world class, but still not teh reference standard overall including imaging and soundstage in comparison.
You give a good example how difficult audio can be. After 16 years I know that most people in audio are not able to get a stunning and convincing sound out of a system.

Often at shows as in many shops I can hear the limitations in sets. Often it is incomplete. But there are also many brands who do not have the properties ( qualities) to create an image with depth.

2 years ago there was a Naim system with speakers of about 50.000 dollar. It gave a full 2 dimensional image with a voice of about 2,5 metres. At those moments I get very irritated, because this has nothing to do with quality and a realistic image. You must be blind ( deaf) or a big F....idiot to spend this kind of money to a 2 dimensional image.

When I asked a few simple questions about stage and depth, they could not even answer it. Those people sell audio.
"Speakers are very important, but you need to know were they capable of. Often people only get a few properties out of their speaker.

Imaging is also created by amps, sources and cables for a big part."

That's very true. One bad component can completely wreck a system's imaging.
Nvp - my experience seems very different.
You critisise Mapman for thinking speakers should get a grip on the room.
>What you are saying is equivalent to saying that in order to >have good bass one needs to excite the modes of his/her room
and you go on to say this is not right.
Good speakers play together with the room. Simple as that.
In my personal view you only can achieve a stunning 3 dimensional image if you are able to get all the properties out of a speaker who owns the properties to build a deep and wide stage.

Most speakers use average or poor crossovers. They are not even able to give a lot of depth and with.

Same thing about the cabinet and speaker units. They need to be exeptional to give you a 3 dimensional image

Those speakers who can give a wide and deep stage need amps and sources who also can do this at an exeptional level.

When you compare and test different amps you will realize that most will not give you a deep and wide stage.
Even when the speakers are capable, sources and amps can easilly change the image from 3 dimensional to 2 dimensional.

Last year I asked many people at a show who had an audio shop if they knew which of their brands can give a 3 dimensional image. Many did not know. They asked me how I created it.

They do not understand the properties of the products they sell. I was thinking; how the F.. do you sell audio?

I need the best cables to bring in the blacks for a stunning physical image. I use silver for their extra resolution and decay. And the extra air around voices and instruments.

A stunning image only can be created by using speakers, amps, sources, conditioners and cables togheter to the max. All properties need to be there for the absolute sound!
"speakers should get a grip on the room."

That's a very good way to put it! Its fundamental to best sound. Room acoustics always determine the end result in all ways.

No early reflections always. Then tune in from there as needed. Many ways to get tuned in accordingly. Distance from walls, treatments, whatever works best.
Coherency among drivers matters for soundstage and imaging as well. Crossover can be a big factor there.
O_holter, it was certainly not my intension to criticise Mapman. Regarding
your comment about great speaker, it is a matter of setting up properly the
speakers in the room - the room will always "sing" along with any speakers
irrespectively whether it is a good or a bad speaker. We have all heard great
speakers sounding like crap.

Mapman, I am sorry if as suggested by O_holter, my post sounded like
criticism. I merely wanted to explain why you interpretation of what you have
read about secondary reflection is not correct. I was not the first one to point
this out. I have hoped that by making an analogy with the more known effects
induced by the room on the bass, it will be easier for people to follow my
argument. Obviously, as O_Holter message above indicates, I was wrong. I’ll
give it another try and I’ll be as succinct as possible.

Of course I agree/know that secondary reflections provide informations to our
brains about the surroundings - because of them we know immediately
whether we are in a small room or in a large room. Therefore, it is logical that
one needs secondary reflections to create a three-dimensional sound stage.
However, the key point is that on recordings that have a good sound-stage
the secondary reflections that give information to our brain about the venue
where the recording was made have been captured by the microphone during
the recording process. Consequently, my point is that in order to clearly hear
the secondary reflections that have occurred in the recording room/venue, we
need to minimise the reflections in our room. We talk about delicate details
which may be masked by the secondary reflections that occur in our rooms. I,
for one, am trying to hear the venue where the recording was made and not
my room.

Of course one can make use of the reflections in his/her room to
increase/decrease the soundstage to his/her liking. But, like in the case of
bass, the results may not always be beneficial/accurate. There is a reason why
so many MBL shows (organised by MBL personal) go wrong. I agree that when
properly set up MBL speakers can sound mesmerising (maybe not 100%
accurate but 100% accuracy is not my goal anyway.)
"…in order to clearly hear the secondary reflections that have occurred in the recording room/venue, we need to minimize the reflections in our room."

On the other hand, I think most of us would agree that music sounds best when there are reflections.

How do we reconcile these two contradictory statements?
Perfect sound does not exist yet. Many demos at shows are not that good. Even those who made it are often not able to give a good or stunning demo.

At the end of every show the most demos were not that good. Those people come back next year. You keep a big % average or even poor level of audio equipment.

You have a lot more average imaging speakers than exeptional good imaging speakers. People still buy these average speakers.

Many customers are not good adviced in audio in general. Most will not have a stunning sound. It is that simple. At the end this is the truth!

People with less
When I was called the absolute sound of last year. One of the main reason was that I did use Audyssey Pro ( my way) Without it I would never had such a balanced and physical 3 dimensional stage.

The rooms are not that good at shows. The system solved a lot of the limitations overthere. It gives you an advantage.

I also demoed the roomcorrection on and off. The faces of people said everything. People were amazed by the difference. I also demoed Audyssey EQ and Volume on and off. This is the best way of letting people hear what it is and what it does. Hearing is believing.
In my experience speakers with a faster response have less acoustic limitations compared to those who are slower.

I owned both the B&W 802N and later the B&W 800 Signature. The last one is bigger and goes deeper. But I had less acoustic problems with the 800S. It was with the same amp, source, conditioner and cables.
Bo, the reality is that people are misinformed and ill advised everywhere not just
in audio.

People with less

Sounds like a great motto for all audiophiles. We all are missing something, e.g.
a deeper sound-stage, or a wider sound-stage, or deep bass, or money to buy
more equipment, most likely also some parts of the brain, etc. The list is pretty
pretty long.

You give me a good laugh Bo.
"How do we reconcile these two contradictory
statements?"

Personal preference and perspective.

THere are many favorite flavors of ice cream. Even more
beautiful women, no two of which look the same.
Bo,

I've seen you mention that you were the best "absolute" sound at a show many times. Here in the U.S. when someone is best in show they will be written about and shown on many websites. Are there any websites in your country that discuss and show your setup from that show and if so, could you share some links?

If you have no links, could you tell us the name and date of that show?