Recently picked up a set of speakers from the 2005 timeframe. FR from the manufacturer showed +/- 0.5 dB from 200 to 20K, without smoothing. Independent reviews that did measurements confirmed the manufacturer claim. My in room measurements with REW show +/- 2.5 dB, 200 to 10K, gentle downward slope to 20K, 1/3 smoothing. Probably not surprising for in room vs. ideal measuring conditions.
Another set of speakers owned since 1996, updated (more on that later), measured +/- 2 dB from 200 to 14K, steep drop to 20K 1/3 smoothing. Overall, a smoother curve between 200 to 10K.
Listening evaluation done with same equipment, same music, and same measured SPL. The 2005 vintage speakers sounded very smooth, clean, with excellent detail. However, the overall impression was a bit clinical and lifeless. Vocals were very smooth, but subdued Overall nice, but an impression of listening to speakers.
The 1996 vintage speakers sound was very similar with regard to clean, with slightly less crisp cymbal while other percussion popped. Vocals more forward. Certain frequencies more forward. Overall, a more lively presentation of music with the speakers almost disappearing.
Comparing FR to listening experience leaves me puzzled. The 1996 vintage speakers in room FR smoother, but produced music with more life. The 2005 vintage in room FR had a peak about 800, dip at 1K, and peak at 5K. Yet the overall sound smooth and clean, but without life.
Back to the 1996 vintage speakers updates. After watching several of Danny's videos improving the performance of speakers sent to him, did a crossover rebuild. All quality parts used, nothing boutique or expensive, to rebuild the 1996 crossovers. The 2005 vintage speaker crossovers are stock with several poly caps, a couple electrolytic in the LF section, iron core inductors in the LF section, a couple small air core inductors, and all sand cast resistors.
Can the crossovers be the main reason there is a clinical vs lifelike sound quality?