Originally Posted by DonH50
As a musician at times I like to be able to watch other musicians playing. Other times I prefer to close my eyes and let the music wash over, around, and through me... I do absolutely hate hearing my own performances, let alone watching my of fart self, as I tend to focus on every little mistake. As for live, sometimes the magic of a great performance in a great venue (be it a concert hall or jazz club, done both) just cannot be matched at home. But often I am happier with a good recording -- quieter, no smoke (OK, not really a problem any more), no coughs or murmurs from the audience, and a better seat than I can usually afford.
Speaking of focus: A lot of this thread has focused on spinoramas. What other scientific, measurable things are important? THD is easy, but I'd love to see more swept-IMD plots. I'd also like to see more phase+magnitude plots (not just magnitude), particularly through the crossover regions. As I've harped on (and on, and on...) before, to me many highly-regarded speakers seem to have problems transitioning through the crossover region even straight on-axis. How do the measurements show that?
Non-liner distortion measurements are a nightmare. The common ones, harmonic and intermodulation, are poorly correlated with how things sound with music in rooms. Humans do not hear all of the distortion components that are measured so the numerical measurements are wrong. They are useful to engineers, to whom the only meaningful number is zero. There are newer versions that include some psychoacoustics, taking into account the perceptual masking. It's in the book.
Humans do not hear phase or phase shift in the final sound that emerges from loudspeakers. We do not hear waveforms, whether they are impulses, steps, square waves or any voice or instrument of music - however much it appeals to one's engineering instincts. However, phase matters enormously in crossover regions where acoustical summation is the key. Imperfections will show up in on- and off-axis anechoic frequency-response measurements, which are used by designers to optimize the crossover designs. These days, for those who have the facilities, one can do spinoramas on each transducer in a system, design the crossover in a computer, and predict the final spinorama with impressive accuracy. Such systems are truly rare, but nice if you have one.
All that said, when we cannot get manufacturers to reveal old fashioned frequency response in a meaningful manner, anything more is even less likely