Originally Posted by _tk
It's like saying that all internal combustion engines sound the same because they are all built with the same principal in mind.
All internal combustion engines are not built with the same principle of sounding the same. If sounding the same was a design goal, then they would. Do all internal engines look the same? Do all amplifiers look the same? They're not designed to. Their end functions are their main design goal. Two internal combustion engines of different design with identical torque curves will perform identically, given the proper conditions.
Since you brought up a strawman, do you believe only internal combustion engines that cost $40k are sufficient? Or can one that costs merely $5k get the job done? Here's the usage: propelling a vehicle at up to 60 mph. See how a lack of criteria makes it difficult to provide recommendations?
None of my amps sound the same either. Heck, I can usually tell a somewhat distinct sound signature/difference between models even at a place like Best Buy Magnolia in one of their crappy rooms.
That's exactly the kind of situation that is *designed* to get you to hear differences where none would exist under controlled conditions. If you prefer the way something sounds in the Magnolia, the only way you'll guarantee you will prefer it in your system is if you move into that crappy room and use their system.
But maybe I should just buy a $399 Onkyo AVR and tell everyone "it sounds just as good" as the Luxman or Marantz that I was looking at?
If you spend $3601 on getting the Onkyo gold plated, it will suddenly meet your standards, and impress everyone else.
I'm not sure why this is even being brought up though. It's my money...let me "foolishly" spend it on what I want/like.
It's being brought up because you're at the Audio Video *Science* Forum. This site is predicated to the use of *Science* to discuss and enjoy the business and hobby. Terms like "great" vs. "good" sound, "screaming" or "party" amplifiers aren't scientific, or really useful in any way. Ignoring that speakers have wildly varying impedances that affect their interactions with amplifiers isn't scientific or useful, either. Neither is strongly correlating price with performance, especially past a relatively high price point. So yes, you asked for help on a site where people use science to help each other, you shouldn't be surprised when we try to use science to help you.
I will give you that even though horns have evolved greatly and through many types over the past century, they still all suffer from Higher Order Modes to some degree. The best horns today probably have those HOM's below audible limits, and I bet that under a proper blind test you wouldn't be able to tell that you were listening to a horn. No problem, if you don't want any horns, that simplifies things. But when you say horns aren't "detailed" or "dynamic", that's pretty backward to how most folks describe them. Anybody else think that horns aren't at least relatively "dynamic"?
Subwoofers are a reasonable suggestion, and in your OP you mentioned that they were a possibilty. Contrary to your impression, subs aren't always about "loud bass"- they can be about *clean* bass, and cleaner everything else from your mains. "Clean" means free of the extraneous frequencies generated by.distortion, that stuff you hate so much from the horns you heard. Every room has modes, regardless of whether you believe in science or not. Some bass notes will be louder ("boomy") than others, some will be inaudible. You fix this by moving where the sources of bass are in the room. Unless you want to put your main speakers in the middle of opposite walls like giant headphones, you'll want at least one sub you can move around. Or just turn down your tone control to kill everything below 200Hz. If you like it that way, fine, it's your right to have that preference. But it's certainly not *accurate*, which is the goal of a scientific approach to sound reproduction.
We're trying to use science to help you. If you don't want that, you might as well go back to Magnolia and play "Pin the $4k on the donkey".