Originally Posted by Smarty-pants
So, in a situation where the listening field is level so to speak (neutrally equidistant listening position, and quite possibly away from a negative room node),
you don't here the attenuation or "collapsed soundstage" as you previously described, correct?
This means there are things in the room that are effecting your sound in a way that it shouldn't be.
The delays that you are hearing when setting the proper distance settings in the player sound 'off' to you because they are now arriving at your ears at different times according to what each speaker is set to,
and if there are reflections or negative nodes present, that can have an impact on how the sound is being heard.
So you need to take measurements at different places in the room and add room treatments accordingly and/or different speaker placement and/or different seating positions, etc...
I suspected this was the problem the whole time, but wasn't sure now until you confirmed it for yourself.
This does show that once you start troubleshooting a problem properly, you will come to the proper conclusion sooner or later.
Of course if you actually like the sound with all channels set to -0-, then maybe you might want to just stick with that.
Having a properly tuned room for analog audio will always be more accurate though.
Well, I think there are two different things going on.
1) with my chair equidistant, I was just too close to my mains to make any logical conclusion. These are large speakers, spread far apart, that are designed to fill a large space. Sitting practically on top of them did not sound right, period. Even in two channel audio, there was no sound staging, everything was "there" but splayed out left to right, and my bass was dead, because the bass management built into the speakers was calibrated for my normal sitting position, several feet bak. What I was trying to say was, I sort of heard a difference between no compensation and compensated, but the other confounding factors made it impossible to make a reliable statement.
2) That having been said, I moved my chair back to its original spot, redid my measurements (which were off a few inches here and there), and rechallenged. I believe I accept Bob's insight to be correct, the "fuller" sound i was hearing may very well have been nothing but sonic dissonance. This time I was more attentive in a/b'ing, and the sound field didn't so much "collapse", as the dissonances seemed to go away. I'll try it some more, but I believe I will stand corrected in the end here.