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


My two cents,

Unless you can have your speakers at least 2.5-3 feet away from the front wall and at least 3’ from the side walls and your listening position is 5-8’ from the back wall, you are probably not going to get the best your speakers. 
My KEF Reference 5’s are three feet away from the front and side walls. They are 8 feet apart and my ears are just a touch less than 8 feet from the front of the speakers. Oh and my listening position is about 6 feet from the back wall.

All the Best.

@patrickdowns  Not to toot my own horn, but I have been doing this since 1958. 

@mikelavigne I look at it from a different perspective. I want to hear exactly what is in the recording. I do not want to hear any editorialization by the room. As far as reproduction is concerned, everything is important. Detail, dynamics, bass, and imaging. Bass and imaging are definitely the hardest to get right. Some systems are even hyper detailed, audiophiles tend to love this. If there is a question of balance it is with volume. Every recording  has a correct volume, a volume at which it sounds best. This is because our ear's frequency response changes with volume. Funkadelic recordings sound like crap if you listen to them at casual volumes, but turn them up on a system with great bass and magic occurs. Listen to a string quartet at that volume and the violins will cut your throat. Joni Mitchell albums generally sound best at intermediate volumes. Much of this has to do with the volume the music was mixed at. Early Zappa records sounded compressed and muffled with poor bass. They were mixed at crazy high volumes on less than stellar equipment. You really had to crank them to get the most out of them. The re-releases were mixed on modern equipment at moderate levels and the difference is a major improvement. 

I might also add that like my room, your was expressly designed for music reproduction making it much easier to achieve decent control. I only had to add absorption directly behind the speakers. 

@mijostyn , points well taken. I was born in 1957, by the way! Got my first decent system (for me, as a teen) in HS (Bose 301s!), but had fallen in love with music reproduction long before then, lying on the living room floor listening to Dionne Warwick, The Association, and the Everly Brothers on my parents’ big console hi-fi.

I still have much to learn and do to optimize my system, but know that I probably don’t have the perseverance, talent, rigor, patience, and critical ear to do what @mikelavigne has done, and others too who have really refined systems. Even if I had the budget, I would need help. It is also interesting how subjective AND objective the pursuit can be, and how each person may have different priorities. Horses for courses. I could probably be really happy with a great, simple system consisting of a great pair of two-way monitors, a great integrated amp, and an excellent DAC and streamer (streaming or ripped CDs are my thing). I could also be very happy with a much larger, more complex and expensive system. I am a guy who can have fun driving a Miata or a Porsche 911 (which I may never own—woe is me). Cheers.

@mijostyn I thought I knew what soundstage was until I read your essay :) Very educational and I am happy to always be learning.


I want to hear exactly what is in the recording. I do not want to hear any editorialization by the room.

How is this possible without attending the recording session? Don’t we want a presentation that we consider natural and representative of the live performance. In other words, all of this depends upon our own preferences. Many of us must compromise due to our room, budget and other constraints, but ultimately we want our system to, as much as possible, have seeming presence of the musicians and instruments in a pleasing space.

Every recording has a correct volume

Ah, that is why I listen to Taylor Swift with the sound muted.