Originally Posted by RayGuy
... and at the risk of starting another shooting war, there is more to how a speaker sounds than just it's measurements.
Decades of scientific research show that measurements have a very high correlation with sound quality. You don't think its important to consider buying speakers that measure well? Should a speaker that measures poorly still be considered for people who want accuracy and high sound quality? There are a lot of expensive "audiophile" speakers that measure, and therefore sound, bad.
Also, I think if your only consideration is sound quality, some of the brands that measure well would make good options. If you want speakers that can play loud, clean, without distortion or compression for home theater....I'd steer away from typical retail low efficiency speakers and possibly consider higher efficiency speakers. On Sounstagenetwork.com, almost all speakers are tested for distortion at the 90 dB level. This is 15 below reference....not terribly loud for movies. Most speakers tested are already showing substantial distortion at this sweep level....only a select few were retested at 95 dB due to having fairly low distortion at the 90 dB drive level.
To play devils advocate, many people will say they would never listen louder than -15, -10, whatever...that its just too loud. The counter argument is that it isn't just
too loud, but that the majority of normal retail speakers will start compressing and distorting with level as low as 10-15 below reference, which makes things sound louder and uncomfortable to listen to. Do a little reading on threads in which people have switched from normal hi-fi type speakers to home theater oriented(high efficiency) speakers, and they are able to listen louder more comfortably.
90 dB might also sound too loud for many people, but this isn't continuous or average. 70 dB average listening level requires 90 dB peaks from each speaker for home theater. I agree sound quality is very important when considering a speaker, but no speaker will sound good distorting, compressing, and clipping ones amp. Therefore I believe it is important to select a speaker first and foremost that will support ones desired SPL without distortion, compression, clipping etc. And be careful not to limit yourself on previous max listening levels as there is a high probability that this was due to lack of capability.
If the loudest I ever wanted to watch movies was say, -15, no matter what, ever, I would be considering several of the retail brands that measure, and therefore sound, extremely good. But when even the most expensive retail speakers are not tested any higher than 10 below reference due to substantial distortion already setting in, it makes sense to me to look at speakers that have higher clean playback capability.
Also, the 90 dB distortion measurements are taken at a distance of 2m..I suspect most people sit further away than that, which would require even more capability, or reduce the level at which the speakers being tested can play cleanly. I say this to reinforce the point that it doesn't take a huge room or volumes as high as you might think for most retail speakers to hit high levels of distortion.