Roger and Angela are fantastic people and deserve the accolades. They do make great sounding equipment. Not quite the best I have ever heard, but an excellent value.
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Their dpeaker is good their smp not so much .
I compared and own the new ML top series and think it has several advantages and now 24bit room correction and dual powered drivers per speaker using top quality parts, a first finally.
Sanders too has his own accolades both have their own trade offs
I put in my own custom caps choices and sounds Excellent .
The Sanders speakers are not head in a vice, they are head in a quarter inch scale vice......if you so much as shoo a fly away from your face, you're completely out of the sweet spot and the stage collapses and the sound turns to a shadow of it's former self......
In that spot they sound amazing, but no more amazing that later Magnepans and the like........
Your assessment differs even from Roger Sander' characterization of the speakers....Taking the side wall reflections out of the equation equals TINY SWEET SPOT....PERIOD..If you are hearing wonderful in a 2 foot window, then you would frankly find anything wonderful......
I've heard them at multiple shows and in 2 homes and the condition is always the same, tiniest sweet spot in history......and nothing outside it....
Again, the manufacturer says they have a tiny sweet spot and that it is intentional, to minimize room interaction......
Also, if they do not have a tiny sweet spot then perhaps you could explain to me why Sanders is the only exhibitor at any audio show anyone has ever attended that places ONLY three chairs in a row front to back centered between the speakers......
If you do not believe these speakers have a tiny sweet spot, then you disagree with the designer himself.....
Here are direct quotes from his white paper:
"So for serious listening, you need to be at the sweet spot"
"Beaming" is not a fault. It is a huge advantage"
"I want narrow dispersion in my speakers to minimize room acoustics"
I'm not going to debate your opinion that these speakers sound fine off axis.....to your ears they might! But to mine and two other sets of ears that were in the living room these were set up in, we all agreed the speakers sounded absolutely dreadful outside of a ridiculously small space between the speakers.......This gentleman traveled 700 miles to pick these up.....they were set up in his room for 3 days and then they were sold and shipped to their next owner, while he went and got a used pair of Magnepan 3.7s.....
You might read from my responses that I do not like the Sanders speakers and you'd be only half right......when I've listened to them at shows, the sound has unfailingly been some of the best at the show.......but the small area where you need to be to hear these properly make them an impossible choice for me and others I've spoken with.....
Stewart from Sanders web-site:
"Q. OK, I see the advantages of narrow dispersion, yet what happens when I leave the "sweet-spot?" Sanders Sound Systems speakers are designed to bounce the ESL's rear-wave off the wall behind the speaker where it can spread out and fill the entire room. As a result, our speakers sound about the same off-axis as conventional, wide-dispersion speakers. When off-axis, you won't hear the precision image you do at the sweet-spot, however, the sound is quite satisfactory for casual listening or even for home-theater use".
No doubt they have a small sweet spot but not as dramatic as some are indicating. I heard them at RMAF and was floored. I thought they were superior to anything else there. True story. He was playing a variety of dynamic music which helped the evaluation process....unlike many of the other fine systems which I can only surmise were trying to recreate the atmosphere of a funeral parlor.
One other thing...I'd be interested to have heard them without the room correction employed. I think it would have been a different story. I am becoming more convinced DSP is the way to go.
I have owned dozens of speakers . All kinds, Stats ,Planars , Box , Open baffle . Each and every one sounds best sitting in the middle of the speakers . Move to the right or left and you lose the stereo imaging . If i am walking around the room doing other things i do not care about imaging . Only when i sit down do i care . Hifi listening is a one person endeavor IMHO
While I think that all speakers have a sweet spot, there are a lot of speakers that do much better with off-axis color and imaging than others. Sanders among the very worst. Revel and Magico among the very best.
The Sanders stats are really not comparable to almost any other speaker, including ESL's. To call it a "sweet spot" is to oversell it. It is much more like a "sweet dot" from which the most minute movements of your head will detract.
I totally get the viewpoint "I don't care if there is a small speaker sweetspot since I sit in that spot to listen critically anyway."
It's much like the justification some on the AV forums gave for getting along fine with LCD display's limited viewing angles "Who cares if the color and contrast shift as you move off axis, I watch from the middle of the sofa anyway."
With the LCD displays the shiftiness of the image color and contrast always annoyed me. I was aware of it as I moved to a position to watch the image, and still aware of it watching the image, to the degree I knew if I relaxed in to some other position the picture would alter. Emissive displays like plasma were much more satisfying for me in that regard.
The same issue arises for me with speakers and small sweet spots. When it gets too critical I become aware of the "shifty" quality of the imaging and tonality and it tends to intrude on the illusion of a performance happening in front of me; I'm reminded of the artifice.
A wider sweet spot that doesn't delectably, or significantly alter the tonality, or even imaging, if I want to end up in various relaxed positions on my sofa (within reason - not way off axis) is for me a more natural, relaxing experience. I guess that's why I still own MBL omnis, but most of the speakers I still own, and have owned, have had excellent, wide dispersion/off-axis sound and never felt "finicky" to listen to.
To each his own, as always. There are always compromises.