Monitor speakers that disappear:best image/staging

In the past, I've had speakers that could throw an image creating an uncanny impression that, even if the image was on the hard left or right, could not be identified as coming from the drivers or even the speakers (these were Apogee Stages, Wilson W/P6s,
and Kharma 3.2s).

Do any monitors do this (at least fairly well)? (Maybe Focal Diablos, Wilson Duettes, among the big names? What about some of the smaller names mentioned frequently in the threads on monitors)?

Many speakers still make me struggle to find the sweet spot and shift from left to right to get good imaging and transparency, which can be annoying even if the tonality is fine and the sonics are fine in all other respects.
Have you considered that speakers have different radiation patterns and how they perform can be affected by both set up and toe in. Some want to be heard well off axis (pointed straight ahead) and some work best toed in?

When I encounter those speaker types you see as problematic I assume, first anyway, that it is a toe in issue and will experiment with the degree of toe in up to the axis crossing in front of the listening position. Placement wise I consider how they perform near boundries or distant from boundaries. I also consider listening position distance from the speakers. It all makes a difference in how well your speakers disappear.

Toe in can also change the (negative?) effect of sidewall reflections experienced in small rooms when the speakers are placed too close to the side wall.

FWIW, when dealing with reasonable good high end speakers, monitors or full range, I think set up is a huge issue and most can sound pretty good.

If you haven't already done so I think I would devote more time to set up than to finding new speakers IF imaging is really the problem you are trying to solve. And BYTW, balanced hearing accuity is not set in stone, i.e. constant and balanced ears.

Frankly there are a lot of full range and monitors that do the disappearing trick very well, but the real issue with them is about tonal balance and room synergy. Hard to make recommendation of these in a vaucmm (no info regarding sonic preferences, room dimensions, and set up limitation s if any.

I love my Merlin TSM's; they're small, unobtrusive, and 'get out of the way of the music'.

(Obviously) that's just my opinion . . . sounds like you've owned some pretty nice speakers; on second thought, if you like the Wilson sound, you may not like the Merlins.
I thought monitors were well known for their uncanny ability to easily
disappear , image very well , and throw a large soundstage when properly
set up. This has beene experience owning monitors. I have also read tons
of reviews of monitors where the reviewers are always mentioning their
ability to disappear, image, and through a wide soundstage, with great
center imaging.
I didn't think you had to spend big dollars on expensive monitors to achieve
the solid image and sound stage, but rather most monitors could perform
this with proper set up and room treatments if necessary.
What Todd said. If you place monitors on rigid, non-resonant stands, properly placed, you almost always get killer imaging, particularly when the front baffle is small and sculpted to minimize reflections off the baffle and edges. On a budget the PSB Image B5 and B6 will give you a lot of what you're looking for.

You can also enhance imaging by integrating a subwoofer (or two) into the rig. There's something about adding the foundation that makes everything else pop out more.

Generally speaking, the ones with the least front baffle area and with some sculpting to avoid refraction distortion. Monitors are usually 2-way speakers, simplifying the crossover scheme and providing some advantage in maintaining phase coherence, which is another element of throwing a good soundstage with good imaging.

At a higher price, but not insane money, the monitor I really like is the B&W PM1. I heard a pair in a demo with B&W's PV1D sub. The overall effect was engrossing in every way--timbral accuracy, pinpoint imaging, dynamics, pace, etc. I had just previously heard the Wilson Alexandria XLF's, and this PM1/PV1D combo communicated a great deal of the same musical truth, albeit on a smaller scale. Matched to the right room size, though, the PM1/PV1D doesn't sound small at all.
Definitely check out the Shelby+Kroll Nano monitors. No matter where you sit they sound great and the soundstage never collapses. I'm starting to sound like a broken record but more people need to hear these speakers
The original ProAc Tablettes produced the most clearly localized (in space, not at the cabinet) pinpoint imaging that I can ever recall hearing. They have other qualities that I'm not so crazy about, but the imaging is pretty remarkable.

Lipinski L505 or L707's. Add a sub if necessary and you won't need floor standers. The only way I'd ever need floorstanders again, is if I moved my system downstairs where someone may walk by and knock a monitor over. In that case floor standers may be a better choice. A good set of stands will help too.
Thanks everyone, especially to Johnnyb for the suggestions about the stands. I will look into stands also (Sound Anchors are the only ones I'm familiar with).
You don't have to spend big $ to get that holographic sound.I am currently alternating between Sonus Faber Toy Monitors & Dynaudio Audience 42's in my computer audio system & both of them have uncanny imaging as well as sound staging with the S.F.showing more natural size to images & slightly better width & the Dynaudio's showing better depth.
Definitely check out the Shelby+Kroll Nano monitors. No matter where you sit they sound great and the soundstage never collapses. I'm starting to sound like a broken record but more people need to hear these speakers

Completely agree!

The Shelby + Kroll Nano monitors are simply amazing at what you are looking for. If you need deeper bass pair them with a Woofer Monitor and you'll be a very happy camper!
The Reference 3A Dulcets are killer imagers that, with good setup and the right music, of course, completely disappear and paint a spatially coherent performance that can be thrilling. Same for their bigger brother, the De Capo (which I recently traded up to).

I am a confessed imaging/soundstage junkie, so the qualities you mentioned are non-negotiable for me, no matter how great speaker performance in other areas may be.

12-01-12: Rgs92
Thanks ... for the suggestions about the stands. I will look into stands also (Sound Anchors are the only ones I'm familiar with).

If you want that holographic imaging, then mounting them on rigid, inert stands is half the equation. I had an insanely cheap stereo I set up for the kitchen, composed of an $89 powered Audio Authority (Chinese) sub that had a built-in stereo amp to power satellites. I tossed the included satellites aside and hooked it to some 30-year-old EPI bookshelf speakers I picked up for $10. I got really good sound. But when I mounted the EPI's on sand-filled welded steel stands, it turned into a virtual reality machine with *insanely* good sound for that amount of money.

Another compact monitor I'd look at for imaging is the KEF LS50 50th Anniversary monitor. It's a 2-way coincident driver model and the front baffle curves away from the where the driver is mounted. A recent review in Stereophile rated it as Class A sound for smaller rooms. Blend in a subwoofer or two and it could fill a larger room as well.
Linn Tukans and Katans do a great job. I upgraded from those to a set of Tekton 6.5t (cheaper than the Linns and I can get my choice of finishes). Great speaker!
I've found Joseph Audio to be consistenly good in the disappearing act category. Audio Physic does well in that area too, along with many of the others already mentioned.

Haven't read all the other posts, but inert stands and sweating the details in positioning are obvious starting points. The other thing is that a lot of manufacturers don't go the extra mile to ensure all drivers are matched to very tight tolerances, and I think that could also play a role here.

Lastly and maybe most importantly I'd also mention the room itself. In properly treated rooms images most always seem to be locked in solid, and if a room is not properly treated I find it can be a crapshoot and I too often find myself shifting my head a little left or right to lock things in (especially the center image). As is so often stated here, a treated room is probably one of the most important and most commonly neglected areas in our hobby. I'll also second Newbee's comment about ears not always being perfectly balanced -- good to get that checked especially among us audiophools.
Seond vote here for Linn. We have the Akurate 212 (with JL Audio F112 sub) and they do a great job of imaging and projecting a large soundstage into our flowing living room/open kitchen area. When auditioning monitors, a big criteria for us was excellent imaging/disappearing/exceeing sides, etc. -- and not be limited to the sweet spot. Akurate 212 does the job wonderfully (as does the Linn Katan, mentioned above, provided its a smaller room). There is a pair of 212's for sale here on the Gon now for $3,500, an incredible value.

Joseph Audio Pulsar is jaw dropping for what you want. And obviously the Dynaudio C1 is a spectacular performer (but IMHO must have a sub if your room tends to large). Have fun.
I have to include the Ridge Street Sasons in this camp
They image like no other

I don't mean to sound like a fanboy
but they are great speakers imo
Okay. I'll third it. I've owned the Shelby+ Kroll Nano monitors for two years, and they will TOTALLY disappear on most recordings. And by disappear I mean put-your-ear-right-up-to-the-speaker-to-make-sure-they're-working disappear.

Couple it with the S+K matching sub - one is fine in my room - and you will be astonished at the sound these babies deliver.

No foolin'.