Thanks for the reply. Your take on the Thiel 3.7s seems different than most others as just about every review found them to be, in practice, extremely neutral sounding. Secretes Of Home Theater Fidelity measured a very smooth in room response iirc. And to me, again, I do not hear obvious bulges and frequency dips in the sound (I sit between 6 and 7 feet from mine, in a room designed with an acoustician, FWIW). Also, as I mentioned, instead of the Revel speakers sounding different from what I'm used to, I'd mentioned it was the opposite: I was struck by how similar they sounded. I've never heard any speaker sound closer to the Thiels (giving me the same impression of evenness top to bottom).
Your reasoning seems to assume different speaker measurements would predict what I would and wouldn't like (to some degree). But then I'm not sure how that would explain why I like so many other speakers that measure differently from the Thiels, e.g. these Hales:
Or any number of speakers I've owned or auditioned.
I've also loved speakers that have been designed specifically for neutrality and wide even dispersion, even room power response, e.g. these Waveform speakers (designed with Paul Barton using NRC facilities, he's a proponent of double-blind tests as well iirc):
I still own a pair of Waveform speakers and love them. But they don't sound precisely like the the Revels, timbrally, to my ear.
I also much prefer the sound of my MBL omni-directional monitors. They are clearly designed for similar on/off axis sound, and apparently measure that way.
"The 101E Mk.II is remarkably flat throughout the midrange and treble,..."
I have the monitor version which uses the same midrange/treble omni-drivers, so I'm likely getting similar sound - even midrange/treble with wide, even dispersion. That's certainly how they sound - no speaker I know sounds so similar no matter how I move around the speaker.
Or I could talk about the Quad ESL 57 electrostatics. I'm sure their measurements will deviate from the Revel measurements, and I'd guess they would not be chosen over the revels in blind tests (?). And yet I can sit transfixed for hours in front of the Quads in a way that the Revels just don't seem to do for me.
So, again, I'm not yet getting to what degree I should predicate what I like, or predict what I like, on measurements. Again, this is FAR from saying measurements aren't useful as they obviously are. It would be simple to produce a set of measurements so "bad" that it would predict just about everyone here would deem the sound terrible. But withing the range of "not terrible" or "pretty good to good" things seem to get trickier.
I don't see any reason why I would be different from most people, if I took part in the HK blind testing. I'd bet I would prefer what most people prefer, and probably pick, blind, Revel speakers over most or all contenders behind the screen. So I have little doubt the HK research is predictive in that respect. It's also, it seems obvious, predictive to a degree outside the blind tests: they really have identified many areas of what makes "good" speaker design, in terms of what people want to hear. And in practice, even in non-blind conditions, I could tell the Revels were indeed very well designed speakers from their excellent sound.
It's just that last tiny bit down the stretch....that part where we say "this is a speaker whose sound makes me want to own it" were, at least outside the lab, I'm not seeing the predictions working out. And since that last "in the field" experience of how people actually buy speakers ends up being the crucial step, it seems I can't predicate my purchase decision on the fine research done by HK or Dr. Toole. And that's the puzzling part I'm trying to get at. Why not?
HK speakers are designed via the best scientific research we have in terms of predicting what people prefer. And yet outside the lab, in the world of speaker shopping, especially among picky audiophiles, many people who hear them still prefer the sound of other speakers. Why?
Is there something not quite described in the measurements, or not yet interpreted in the measurements, that would explain why, for instance, I find the sounds of instruments more timbrally truthful or believable on certain speakers vs others, even against some speakers that measure optimally for "listener preference?" I dunno.