Jdwek, please re-read my statements. I said that as you use more toe in, you narrow the SOUNDSTAGE. This is quite a bit different than the "sweet spot".
I would like to thank you for confirming most of my findings though. While every room and speaker interface is different, i normally prefer to run speakers "flat faced" or just BARELY toe'd in and find the optimum spacing for them in that manner. I've been able to get very good imaging out of most speakers in this manner when the spacing between them is correct. When you've got the spacing dialed in, then you play with the distance from the back wall. This alters the tonal balance due to bass cancellation & reinforcement, etc... Since you may have altered the distance from the speakers to your listening position, you may have to go back and fine tune the spacing between them a little bit more, etc... This may take several small adjustements going back and forth in terms of spacing from speaker to speaker and speaker to back wall, but the results are WELL worth it.
This should result in a strong central image, even tonal balance and a wide soundstage that extends well beyond the sides of the speakers. You could never achieve this with a large amount of toe in because the baffle of the speaker is now acting as a "director" or "outer edge" to the size of the soundstage. As such, it minizes the output to the sides while focusing the energy inwards. Whereas something may have been recorded strictly to the left of you, the toe in of the left speaker now forces that image more towards the center, etc.. Imaging and soundstage have now been compromised even though the "sweet spot" ( area where the right and left signal blend together / overlap ) is quite wide.
As a case in point, one of my friends that has "decent" gear from a local hi-end shop had never heard a system "image" before and could not relate to what i was talking about when i used the term. Since i was in the middle of assembling a system for another friend, I slipped on a disc by Ian Anderson ( Divinities: 12 Dances with God ) and picked out a specific tune with excellent spacial characteristics. At one point, you can literally hear a ringing bell travel across the width of the room, step by step. On top of that, it is a good recording and these notes have excellent attack, timbre and decay. He was literally blown away and asked "How did you do that ? I have NEVER heard anything reproduce something with such precise placement". My response was that ANY system can do this if it's set up properly. As a case in point, the system that i showed this to him on consisted of a Sony CD changer, a preamp from the 70's, an NAD 2600 power amp and a set of Klipsch Heresy's. As Everyone knows, horns don't image. Right ?!?!?!
On another occasion, i visited a friend that lives out of state. He had two systems set up, his "old junk" in the basement and the "good one" upstairs. After listening to his basement system for a very short period of time, i asked if i could adjust his speakers. While i was still repositioning the speakers, i heard him exclaim "WOOOOOOOOW !!!" I knew that i had hit something then. I could even hear the difference as i was standing between them, trying to muscle them around. He told me that he had NEVER had imaging like this before in any of his systems. I had simply taken his speakers that were slightly toe'd in and set them up to be "flat faced", moved them closer to the wall behind them by about a foot and widened their spacing by about a foot. The difference was drastic to say the least.
When you aim speakers to cross each other in front of you, you are cancelling some of the stereo effect that is present in the recording while reinforcing other aspects. As such, certain features will become more prominent but you will lose much of the spacial information that is derived out of the time difference between the two signals. This is why it is important to pay attention to both nearfield arrival times and the amount of reflections present in the room. While a certain amount of reflectivity in the room can add natural ambience, it can also confuse our auditory senses. This is primarily due to the irregular amount of time delay due to reflections and lack of directionality or strong localization of the original signal. That is why there is such a fine line between having a room that is "too live" or "too dead". A dead room robs the music of space, ambience, pace, etc... while an overtly live room can sound bright and harsh, lack imaging and detail, sound smeared and lack focus, etc.. Finding a good balance is as much work or more than fine tuning the speakers and entire system. Nonetheless, it is almost mandatory IF you want to really see what your system is capable of doing. Sean