ef37a wrote:I would like to challenge the premise "can't go to a shop and listen to...."
Are/were there eversuch shops where they have a whole stack of speakers readily wired up to some impeccably source and readily switchable for your listening?
Gear4Music has about two dozen sets wired up. It's not a treated room and obviously far from good, but it does show the larger difference between speakers. Certainly enough to knock a few off the short list.
Have they indeed Drew? I can think of several things to say about that!
First off, any speaker buried with 23 others is going to have its response heavily modified and, as I said before, its directivity and therefore imaging completely buggered. Shoot! Some of them are almost 'soffit mounted'! Even two identical speakers will sound very different if one is on the edge of the stack and the other in the middle.
Then, having gone to the enormous trouble (the switching system* must be a wonder to behold!) and expense, they have £1000s of stock tied up, they don't treat the room! To me that shows a level of ignorance of basic acoustics.
One 'historic' test of speakers that USED to be done was to play 'natural' sounds simply recorded. Jangling keys, a toy xylophone was used. For mid range accuracy there is nothing better than the human voice. Record 'significant other' and see if the speaker sounds like her or him (cannot use self) . Full range can be tested with a grand Joe but only one YOU have direct harkening of.
Honestly, to me this thread seems about peeps choosing a pair of 'nice' speakers for the living room!
*And switched instantly they must be. No fair the guy saying "Hang on, that's not the Blugers. Ah, I think this is the right pair of XLRs"!!
Quick test. Play pink noise through one of your speakers then slowly move about a sqr foot of material, a copy of SOS will do, across its front at about a foot away. You will hear the sound quality change. THAT's how sensitive speakers are to their surroundings. Heck, I can hear the effect and I have nothing past about TWO kHz!