Originally Posted by fookoo_2010
That would be highly significant relative to 2 speakers. How much is this going to matter in a 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, or 11.1 home theater system where all of the speakers have the same drivers, with preferably all speakers being identical, and not at the super high end price ranges and running multiple subs (at least 2 identical ones, appropriately placed)?
Good question. Maybe you've read our paper "Comparison of Loudspeaker-Room Equalization Preferences for Multichannel, Stereo, and Mono Reproductions: Are Listeners More Discriminating in Mono?
The abstract reads:Digital loudspeaker-room correction products are more popular than ever, despite the general lack of perceptual studies on their performance over a wide range of different playback conditions. This paper describes the first of several experiments that explore the influence of important acoustical and perceptual factors on their performance. In this experiment, a panel of trained listeners gave comparative preference ratings for three different loudspeaker equalizations based on anechoic and in situ measurements evaluated in a semi-reflective room, using three multichannel music recordings reproduced in surround, stereo, and mono. These equalizations were compared to the unequalized loudspeaker. The results are summarized as follows: all three equalizations were equally preferred over the unequalized system. The differences in preference ratings increased as the number of playback channels
was reduced from 5 channels (surround) to 1 (mono).
So there is some evidence that people can discriminate better amongst different loudspeakers when only hearing one source. As soon as you have multiple sources the importance of the off-axis response may matter less since it is swamped by primarily on-axis direct sound from the multiple speakers. The only problem here is that single speaker situations occur even with multichannel material. Think of a movie for example where most of the time you are hearing voices from the center channel or a soloist in music recordings coming from 1 speaker.
In the end, unless you live in an anechoic chamber and have no friends to share your sweet spot with, your loudspeakers should have good on-axis and good off-axis response to sound good in the widest variety of rooms and listening positions.