Originally Posted by Jon Lane
Given that one of our models was part of this test, please let me add some basic pointers for anyone doing a speaker evaluation. These tips are TAI essentials – I wouldn't develop a perspective on a product's sound without all of them in place myself – and I suspect most makers would agree.
First, only listen to one set of speakers at a time. In fact, only have one set in the room. Speakers are microphonic and any high level energy will acoustically modulate the undriven cones and inject currents back through the reactances in the crossovers. This energy will be released back through the cones and domes as distortion, even if at low levels.
Second, only try one set of speakers at a time because this way you can experiment with placement and room setup. The details of room interaction can and have filled books, but just know that to really get to know a speaker's sound, give it and your room your undivided attention. You'll get a more blanaced sound, you'll develop the system's real potential for soundstage and focus, and you'll remove all sorts of colorations. A wall of speakers will absolutely alter the sound of each speaker in it so in order to acoustically load a speaker the way it was intended to be loaded, only one set at a time please.
Third, In the affordable solid state amplifier class, we always recommend high current amplifiers. By this I mean an amplifier benefiting from much more design emphasis on its power supply and output stage than the cheaper units, thereby to deliver appreciably more instantaneous dynamic music power. (Look for up to twice the rated power into 4 ohms versus 8.) Such amplifiers almost invariably sound purer, cleaner, more dynamic, musically richer, and more at ease. (With the A5 being a 6 ohm speaker with 5 ohm minimums, this is probably all the more important to this test.)
Lastly, never, ever equalize. Use each speaker alone and unaltered in order to get a real sense of what it's capable of. Use ample amounts of break in, and if your aim is to evaluate the speaker rather than just setting it up and using it, don't introduce a subwoofer. Drive it well and drive it unaltered. Some will advocate for level setting, which is acceptable, but I personally never use even that. I want the personality of each component in the system to be unaltered.
Loudspeaker comparisons like these are a lot of hard work and I really feel for the enthusiast who has to pack them all back up. My hat is off to the OP. To make the task easier, try these tips as part of your regular evaluation routine.