After my recent post where I demonized stereo speaker installations I received a whirlwind of backlash from… Travis. During our conversation I was unable to clearly express to him why the most common speaker array in the world is not the most best for every application.
After referring to Sound Systems: Design and Optimization I came up with a better answer, taken directly from the book.
The problem I have with stereo is not artistic in nature. My goal is ‘same sound’ throughout the audience. Any overlap of sources creates variance throughout that space. Stereo requires overlap and increases variance. It is actually a form of desirable variance, for those people in the central area. So the question I’m always asking when I see these systems is, “Do the benefits of the center outweigh the costs of the sides?”
In the first diagram you see several plots of rooms with different dimensions with the blue triangle representing the central areas of the room that experience the stereo effect.
The second diagram shows a 80x50m room with a stereo speaker installation. As you can see, instead of experiencing stereo, the people off center experience two separate speakers.