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



+100 on over treating being better than under treating. Especially in smaller rooms where control is even more important. 

Some of the best imaging I've heard from a box speaker was a pair of floor-standing Nesteroviches.  I couldn't believe that such a klunky, traditional-looking speaker could disappear so completely.  They were very well set up in a room, oh, 25' deep x 15' wide, with lowish ceilings, not much room treatment to speak of.  Horowitz and Ben Webster fully occupied the space behind the speakers.  Very impressive.  Also they are beautifully balanced, tonally speaking.  Nesterovich himself is long gone, unfortunately, but you can occasionally find them used.

I demoed the BAACH system.  The tech guy dials in to your Mac and sets it up.  They're very nice and offer a ton of support, but I heard almost NOTHING--seriously, almost no effect at all.  We talked about my ProAcs and the room, both of which are not terribly bad, IMO.  Finally he asked about my hearing, if one ear is different from the other.  Most certainly.  My left ear is very frequency-limited, and the tech said that will negate the desired effect!  I kept the demo for a few days to play for an audiophile friend who has superb hearing, and he could hear the effect very well.  But neither he nor I liked the "processed" sound.  Bear in mind that this was a rough test in a modest system.  It costs nothing (except a temporary charge on your credit card) to try it.  Clealry not for me, though.

Speaking of the recording engineer's magic, this live album has long been one of my absolute favorites, both for the music and for the quality of the recording. Kavi Alexander of Water Lilly Acoustics is a recording master. A Meeting By The River won the 1994 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album and its success spurred engineer and Water Lily Acoustics head Kavichandran Alexander to record more collaborations. 

A Meeting By The River is universally praised for the authenticity and realism of its recording and its 2008 vinyl release is often cited as audiophile-quality reference material. The session was captured using two customised valve mics in a Blumlein-array arrangement (using Tim de Paravicini tube gear, IIRC) into a converted Studer two-track analog tape recorder and the louder you play it, the more every rattle and scrape of slide on fingerboard and every microtonal flurry draws you into its rarefied, spontaneous atmosphere.
A Meeting By the River review


mihorn, Unfortunately this is not the cleanest most natural sounding system in the world, sorry to burst your bubble but there’s a much better systems out there.

It is possible that my system is not the cleanest and the most natural sound system in the world. There can be many better sounding systems which I haven't heard yet.

Please kindly let me know what and where is that much better sound system. Alex/WTA

+100 on over treating being better than under treating. Especially in smaller rooms where control is even more important.


i spent years optimizing the imaging in my large dedicated room, and holographic imaging is very important to me. i already wrote a long post in this thread about my opinion about it.

but when it c omes to musical connection, my highest priority is ’why’ and 'what' the musician is doing, not ’where’ he is doing it. it’s the musical intent and musical energy, micro and macro dynamics, textures, rich tonality, and flow which is the priority. every time i made a change in my system or my acoustical treatment i would take a week to 10 days to make sure that i was not inhibiting the flow and energy and musical touch to attain better imaging.

i want it all. imaging is desired, but it’s not first in line.

so over doing room treatments is NOT an option for me. it’s all about balance.

the physicality and how the music effects me is what i desire. imaging just takes it further. live music many times is a mess as far as imaging, yet we automatically connect. it’s REAL.

small rooms can be a challenge; i just got back from Axpona and there are many small rooms. but still musical connection comes from balance, and sometimes imaging suffers to get that connection. turning down the flow to get imaging is not how i would like it. YMMV.