Enjoying off-axis listening?

Anyone else enjoying listening off-axis?

I have a rather big room and 50% of my listing is typically off-axis.

I think it some times makes it easier to focus on the musical qualities rather than the hifi aspects.

I even listen 180 degrees off axis some times (both my DBLs and my Linn Kans) and can fully enjoy the artist and the music making.


I’m sitting here listening off axis due to domestic compromise. There is still a palpable perception of a singer in space albeit that for more serious listening I can change position. However a gin and tonic followed by a nice red wine dictate that relaxation pervades!
Everything still sounds exceptional. Just like having the last seat at the gig! :+1::slightly_smiling_face:

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For me there is no axis. I sit where I want to sit, and I expect the music to sound good. I find the idea of having to precisely position ones head to get good sound rather bizarre to be honest. Besides, enjoying music is very much a sociable thing. You can’t all sit in exactly the right position at the same time. Maybe that’s why I like Shahinian speakers.


All off axis listening for me. Music needs to be part of my daily life not just a special occasion.


Naim gear has always been known to throw a soundstage that’s …
“Over there, some where “


I think that Naim speakers in general are very good at giving a very wide sweet spot. My n-SATs/n-SUB are to me no exception in this regard. With close to a rear wall placement, and with zero no toe in, it makes off axis listening all the more bearable, which is what I do, most of the time.

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There’s almost no such thing as off-axis with Shahinians……


Off axis is pretty much 99% of my listening, no balance adjustment as the SL2s / kit do a good job were I dont feel the need to sit between the speakers.

I’m currently listening to Rumba Mama by the Weather Report, I have to report no issues off centre :upside_down_face:


Yup. Me too


I am also one of those that finds the idea of having to sit in a particular sweet spot to enjoy music from a hi-fi system is rather bizarre. I think it is a notion confined to hi-fi enthusiasts only. ‘Normal’ people simply place their music system wherever it looks good and they listen from wherever they are comfortable.

I end up listening in the traditional hi-fi position for most of the time just because of the way our room is arranged. When I sit off-axis the sound is different but one soon adjusts and it is no less enjoyable. IMO a system that can only be enjoyed from a small sweet-spot is by definition unrealistic. Real music isn’t like that at all.

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Whenever I want to listen to music at its very best, I shift the speakers to their optimum position, ditto an easy chair. That position is on-axis, with speakers toed so their axes cross just behind my head. Other times the speakers are in their ‘resting’ position, further apart, when I most commonly sit on the sofa behind the aforementioned optimum listening spot (the main cinema watching seat), or if I’m doing something else in the room (not strictly listening, rather having it playing while I’m doing whatever, I may position myself anywhere that suits. It sounds good in most places, though some spots are dead with no bass, while some have enhanced bass. (Other frequencies also vary. But the bass variation is most noticeable.)

I do hate it if at a live performance the sound quality is bad. Unfortunately our main local concert hall has awful sound quality just where I’d naturally choose to sit for some performances, and I found from experience it sounds best to one side. But that is purely the acoustics of the hall, not the set-up - and inevitably we all have to live with the rooms we have. I’ve always had likely sound performance as a key requirement buying a house, but sometimes even then real rooms are imperfect and some have surprising challenges.

No offence intended but I would find that extremely tedious and inconvenient. Are the speakers on castors for ease of moving?

Even though the speakers are large and heavy it isn’t that much of a hassle. (My previous speakers did have castors!) unfortunately the room turned out to be a real problem, and although I found a layout that is pretty much as perfect as I think possible without room treatment, it doesn’t suit other uses of the too at times I’m not focussed on listening (it is also a cinema room, with 12ft wide screen). When I first set up the room to originally planned layout it sounded absolutely awful, with no bass at all. The headache of trying to resolve it is what introduced me to REW, which suddenly made it a whole lot quicker.

Ideally I’d treat the room, but it’ll needs a lot to make other layouts work better, and it is shelved pending a decision on whether to move home in near future.

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Certainly I know some rooms can be extremely challenging. Our present room is far from ideal but it works OK. To be honest even if I could have the luxury of a dedicated listening room I wouldn’t want it. I’m of the view that a hi-fi system should work in normal domestic surroundings and shouldn’t require any special care.

You are clearly dedicated to getting the very best listening experience that you can in a very awkward room. Just take care when moving those big heavy speakers!


Whilst I like the sound even imperfect, there is something magical getting it spot on…

If we decide to stay in this house indefinitely, I’ll do some room treatment, but the best position is unlikely to change. I’ve also sketched a design for speaker bases with retractable castors, lowering onto spikes when castors raised, in case I still gave to move them when old and decrepit (me, not the speakers!)emphasized text


I always try and aim the speakers in the middle and plonk myself right there as well. Find it works for me, however if I’m working music is only in the background and not that important.

It really depends on the speakers. My PMCs have great off axis response and I’d usually listen while doing the dishes way off to one side. Stereo image and frequency response well intact.

Things like electrostatics and single driver high sensitivity speakers are more “head in a vice” with that sweet spot that is a 1m bubble or smaller. I have Omegas which are in this category. Both the Omegas and the PMCs have different charms, go in different systems with different listening habits. The PMCs are great everywhere. The Omegas are simply incredible in the sweet spot and awful 1cm out of it.

Off-axis performers to go in the living room for all to enjoy. Strictly on-axis performers to go in the office for an audience of one.

the only time I sit in the sweet spot is at night after the house has gone quiet - the rest of the time the music is just on - Totem Hawks here - great off axis sound… still sound really focused though when in the zone…

The main reason I have never owned ESL63s has nothing to do with lack of bass ‘slam’ - it is simply that I have still got some friends and we like to listen to music. Speakers that work for one exact head position may appeal more than flash headphones, but they are surely just as anti-social.

I had Shahinians for donkey’s years as a result and stil use them upstairs. Sadly, wide (or no) sweet-spot for listening requires other compromises…

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I had a pair of Dynaudio Contour’s which to my ears sounded better off-axis so I spent many years sitting about 4 foot off to one side or the other. Since swapping those out with Spendor A7’s following a house move, I find being in the sweet spot better, particularly for vocals which these speakers tend to highlight.

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