- It seems when I disable my rears, the rear information comes from behind me a similar distance since my sides are behind me about that distance and image the rear info between them as a phantom image so I'm surprised they bother you as it seems like the difference would be almost negligible at that distance.
Actually, I see little to no need for rear speakers at all in a one row setup unless one sits significantly off center or puts the rears further back to increase the wow factor as sides placed slightly behind you can image in the same location just fine, but then the same is true of front wides and top middle as they phantom image just fine in smaller rooms if you sit in the MLP (Hell so does the center speaker for that matter).
That is why QUAD was figured to be all that was needed to recreate the entire 360 degree circle (at least at bed level) in the 1970s for one listener anyway (nothing beats binaural headphones for the most realism possible really, but people hate wearing headphones like they hate wearing 3D glasses so it had no real chance of becoming mainstream.)
Seems like the headphones time may have come.
Although, it seemed like everyone who had a stereo had a pair of headphones back then. Portable devices definitely made all the difference with their proliferation. Don't trust myself with them anymore, just can't resist cranking them up.
And, of course, you can't get that same tactile bass.
I find the centre-rears do make a reasonable difference, just not a desirable one for music usually, but I like it with movies and TV. It's probably fair to say that they aren't so helpful in my room, though, not really that big. I find a set-up I've read about in this thread, having Front Wides and no rears, to be interesting. Moving my rears to more of a side surround position would probably provide a more effective and accurate soundstage, given how things seemed to be mixed these days, while allowing me to maintain my current speakers for music. (My mains and surrounds are MTM "bookshelf with a built in stand" style floorstanders, and the centre-rears are TM bookshelves with the same drivers, crossovers, etc.) Unfortunately, that's not a practical possibility the way the room is set-up now.
I ended-up running no centre for a fair while after I got my current speakers as the centre was too heavy and large to sit on top of my RPTV and it took much longer for me to get together a stand than I thought it would. Worked reasonably well in the MLP and I could even see why some people prefer it, but definitely not so great off-axis. I think the centre-rears still make a difference off-axis in my system, but I haven't really played with it in awhile.