Originally Posted by Archaea
I went to carp's last night, and we watched some demo clips, listened to some music, and then watched an episode of Band of Brothers. The 215's are really nice! I learned my sweet spot seat is not in the same spot as Sheldon's. His front row distance has him in the sweet spot to his ears, but the sweet spot to me was a couple feet back. The back row center was a better sweet spot to my ears (for stereo listening). In his front seat I just heard left and right speakers blooming sound in a whole front wall sort of way (which I did like) - like the entire front wall was covered with speakers - but no real focused center channel sound. To get the focused center channel sound most seem to strive for in stereo listening - 2 foot or 3 foot back was where it resolved for me. So we had some discussion on that because there were four people there and I think I was the only one who needed to be further back to hear the traditional sweet spot sound. Not sure what that means - but interesting.
The longer I've been in this hobby and the more experience I've had listening to speakers and getting impressions from other people about those same speakers the more I realize that other's impressions sometimes are very different from my own.
Last night brought that to a whole new level.
Before watching some movie clips we listened to some tunes on Spotify (yes, I know, basically internet radio but it still sounds good IMO). Luke Kamp, Archaea, myself, and a friend of Archaea's took turns in the sweet spot. As soon as Archaea sat down he immediately said he heard no strong center image, meaning that for him the vocals were not centered. What the hell?? For me the vocals couldn't be anymore centered. The singer is standing there in front of me, depending on the song sometimes they sound close and others they sound far but it's always in the center - with some exceptions, I think some songs are purposely done with the vocals off center a bit. I have a Beatles album with all the vocals just in one speaker for example.
When Jonathan was a couple feet back from my main LP then he got the center image, but I get a strong center image even if I lean forward a couple feet and sit on the edge of my LP seat. So weird.
To add to the weirdness, my avr has a "ping" noise to set the distance settings manually. The ping will play and you can adjust the sound of the ping to the left and right, and it adjusts in 0.5 inch increments so it is very specific. Jonathan was able to adjust and hear the ping right in the center from sitting in the sweet spot so in theory he can hear a center image since the ping sounded like it was right in the center to him. However, go back to regular music and he no longer hears a center image unless he moves back in the room.
Now, it's true that I do violate the triangle rule for stereo setup. I have my speakers further apart than they are from me. I like how they sound in the triangle setup but I have always liked them wider even better. I still get a center image but now there is even more separation from the other sounds and instruments and the whole soundstage is just massive. So, it would seem that Jonathan's ears prefer to have a setup that follows the rules of the triangle setup.
My takeaway from this: if person A and person B's ears/brain can't even interpret a center image the same, then what chance in hell is there that they will perceive anything else in a similar way? Pretty much none I would think.
It makes me second guess all the times I've recommended speakers to someone since perceptions are so wildly different.