Looking for the next level in imaging...

I enjoy my system every time I sit down and listen. But as we all do, we get the itch to seek improvement!  I am intrigued by Omnidirectional speakers such as MBL’s, German Physiks etc. and breaking free from the head in a vice sweet spot to get better imaging throughout the room and better the imaging in the sweet spot!  I believe changing the speaker will deliver on this quest!  What speakers would you look at? Or would changing a component yield the result? Has anyone gone from the traditional dispersion speaker to an omnidirectional?

current speakers are Martin Logan Ethos

budget $20-30K...could stretch if something is exceptional


I run a BSG qol Signal Completion Stage processor which takes my system "to the next level" in imaging. My Thiel CS6 speakers image very well but the qol gives it added depth and focus. I would recommend trying this before buying new gear. TAS and Stereophile reviewed this piece and both reviewers liked it. The audiophiles who have heard my system have had a very strong favorable reaction. One was nearly incredulous and asked, "How do you get so much depth?" A BSG qol comes up for sale ocassionally but you have to watch for it. They usually go for around $1k (they were $4k when new). I bought an extra one in case this one fails.

Another option is the Carver C9. I have one of these also and it works reasonably well but the BSG is better. They sell for cheap so it's not much of a risk to try it. I'm going to sell mine but I haven't gotten around to it.

I haven't heard a BACCH but it seems like it does something similar to the Carver C9. I'm looking forward to hearing this when I have an opportunity.

I've been to three audio shows and I have heard maybe 3 or 4 systems that could match my system in imaging. The MBL 101E's ($80k) were one example. Another was a system with Von Schweikert Ultra 11's ($325k) and a third was with YG Sonja 3.3 ($140k). My point here is that I'm skeptical that you are going to get world class imaging with the budget you propose but if you go with conventional cone speakers you may like the imaging effect better than your ML's. I haven't heard the Ethos but other ML speakers I've heard are no slouches in the imaging department but they have a different character than typical box speakers that's a matter of personal taste. I don't know how well a signal processor will work on an electrostatic speaker but it wouldn't cost too much to find out.

It appears (in light of some speaker suggestions mentioned above) that many have very low standards for what is "3D", "deep", "huge", "enveloping" or not... 😁

You could also get the Theoretica Applied Physics BACCH processor (forget speaker shopping)...3D holographia for ages! In support of your quest, it is a significant enhancement even if some speaker design you acquired is a bit of a dud.

But, if you do go with the higher end concentric driver designs suggested above (they can do a good job on their own..In fact, it is a characteristic trait of such designs). But, they can as well be taken to the umpteeenth level with BACCH.

Good luck.


I use a TAD E1TX w/ BACCH. Not to brag here, but, you ain’t heard 3D envelopment from 2 speakers until you heard something like that. Following the science is generally a good idea for guys on quests.

"If it’s not on the recording, it’s not in your listening room" — BINGO @bigtwin !

One of my big concerns in re: high-end audio and the recording arts, is that the VAST majority of people listen to music on crappy systems (Bluetooth speakers!), or with earbuds, or in the car, and have very low expectations and sophistication as to what well-recorded music can and should sound like. We with good systems are in the minority, and record companies probably don’t much care about our needs. Maybe.

Thankfully, those aren’t the driving factors in how music is engineered and recorded overall, or we purists would be listening to vastly inferior recordings and our good systems would be rendered impotent. We still have engineers, producers, artists, and masterers who strive to achieve the best reproduction possible within reason. Bless them. (Yes, direct-to-disc , reel to reel master tapes etc aren't common and are expensive). 


Are you talking about sound that wraps around and behind you like surround sound ? 

First all stereo system nevermind their price, because they are two speakers sound source are flawed... Read Choueiri acoustical articles...

Second if your room is not very well acoustically balanced you will not hear  what is in the recording because your speakers/room is not optimally under controls enough to TRANSLATE in your own room  and  to reveal all spatial acoustic information contained in the recordings...

Than this sentence is not even wrong  and like describing the realitty in reverse order like if walking on your head was normal 😁:

"If it’s not on the recording, it’s not in your listening room" — BINGO @bigtwin !

You will listen what is in the recording only if you compensate for the crosstalk effect of any stereo system impeding any acoustical spatial information and only if your room is acoustically controlled and well balanced with the speakers/listener location / room coupling..

Why then someone can say the opposite of reality ?

it is because people think erroneously that acoustics parameters of the recorded room are automatically reproduced right in their own acoustical environment because their dac or turntable are TOP gear paid a high price 😋... Sorry you need acoustics controls of the room , filters for the crosstalk and even ideally inner ears measure and HTRF measures ..

Gear fetichism dont replace acoustics science...