What is very good imaging and soundstage exactly.

I do not often listen to systems other than my own and so I don't have much to compare to. I'm really curious what others are hearing when their systems are dialed in, especially regarding the soundstage thing. Briefly, what I hear from my sweet spot goes something like this. Always a focused center image.....it often seems to be coming right out of the center of my preamp, which is 3 feet behind the plane of my speakers and centered. It will move slightly if I move my head from side to side. On most recordings, the soundstage is mainly back there as well, somewhat behind the speakers. Once in a while, a part of the music seems to come directly from a speaker.....like the banjo player on Alison Krause/Union Station.....that boy lives in my right speaker. It sort of bugs me that he is right at the speaker, rather than behind it, but this doesn't happen very often. Most of the time my speakers disappear quite well. Once in a great while, I hear information outside of the speakers to the right or left. So my question is, is this good or bad, is it normal? Do you have favorite recordings that are impressive in terms of soundstage, and what do you hear as far as depth and width, etc.?
sounds pretty normal to me. I know what you are referring to with Alison Krauss. His placement on stage, I think, is pretty accurate to that.
Sounds about right. Do you have any room treatments ... especially right and left of your speakers at the 1st reflection points? That would help with the width of the image.

Alison Krauss/Union Station

They are set up with the banjo on the far right...inline with the rest of the group (except the bass player and drum set...bass player is center/rear and drums are rear/right)...if the banjo were set back in the soundfield then it would be incorrect. Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski (vocals) are just left and just right of center stage,ie...she is not dead center.

>...she is not dead center.<

I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks that.

you bring up a topic which I always think about as well. While I feel I have my system right, I have little point of reference to know how my system stacks up to someone elses.

I am making a point to join a local Audiophile Society in 2007 as they often do tours of members homes which allow you to hear other peoples systems.

I recall many many years ago, I was able to meet someone in person when buying an audio accessory from him. He asked if I'd like to hear his system. He played Annie Lennox, the track "Why" and to this date, I use that experience as my "chasing the dragon reference". His system was the most 3-D, huge soundstage I have ever heard and this was within a smallish apartement.

It turned out this person was Jason Serinius, who I beleive contributes to Stereophile and other On-line reviews. A few years after that Demo, he was selling the speakers which he used during that Demo, which I now own. To date, I have not been able to replicate the Soundstaging and Imaging his system had, but is something which I am always chasing and getting close.
Any place between the speakers depending on the recording. Depth of the sound varies from a few feet in front of speakers to much further away (generally room ambience from the recording and loss of highs tend to affect distance perception). Rarely outside the speakers, except for sounds that have no apparent location.
Answer to your question, Bob. My room is not treated, but it is not finished either. I don't think I have any problems with reflection. I have started to listen to music in the dark lately because I think I have a mindset that does not allow for sounds to emanate from beyond the far wall. It actually works to some degree:) Justlisten, your name is what I have rarely been able to do. That is largely due to being a speaker builder. It gives me way too many things to think about and worry about rather than just listen. I asked my question here because, like you, I think I am getting closer to something very good but have no good reference points. I mentioned Krause because that is one of the recordings I own that I think is recorded and mixed well and at least is capable of some realism. I also have recordings where everything is in a narrow focus and recordings that seem like they come from each speaker, with little center image. I really really wish I could hear a system like the one you mentioned as having the huge 3D stage so I know what is possible.
Shadorne, you just reminded me of something when you said "in front of the speakers". I have a CD that I borrowed from my neighbor, On and On by Jack Johnson. It must be what happens when there is absolutely no room ambiance. Most forward thing I have heard, not to mention some of the best drums and bass I have heard....WOW. I think it was recorded in the guys garage, if I recall correctly.