Chocolate or vanilla?

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Chocolate or vanilla?

When setting up your stereo speakers there are two main approaches (and a handful of exotic different ones): straight ahead or far and wide.

The straight ahead method is what most of us are used to. Left and right channels about as far apart from each other as they are from the listening position: let's pencil in 7 feet from tweeter to tweeter and 7 feet from the front center line between the pair to your ears. These are then angled towards your ears by some amount that we determine by listening for what is best.

In this setup, the soundstage appears from behind the speaker pair and, if we get it right, extends from wall-to-wall beyond the two speakers.

The far and wide method is very different and not as often seen. Left and right speakers are separated as far apart as the room will allow and then pointed directly at the listener's ears: like distant headphones.

In this setup, the soundstage is trapped between the two speakers and unable to escape the outer edges (though that's ok since the outer edges are near the room's boundaries).

Which is better? For most speakers with smooth on and off-axis response, the straight ahead method seems best—though either one will work.

I suppose it's like asking which is better: chocolate or vanilla?

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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