- May 19, 2020
I didn't mean to imply that I have all the answers, just that a recording is distinct from the original performance. That said, I feel that it's reasonable to consider a speaker's performance as we would an amplifier's: the output signal should be exactly proportional to the input signal. If any changes are inaudible, that's probably close enough. Yes, I realize there are a million variables with directivity, where & how you measure, etc.; but it seems difficult to argue it's the wrong goal. And, yes, we have a long way to go.
I don't think anyone has all of the answers. That being said, the measurement of amplifier (and other solid state device) performance is essentially solved because the reproduction of the input signal (i.e. "recording") can be described through a suite of measurements (i.e. a 2-dimensional FR chart, various distortion measurements, various noise measurements, etc.), all of which we know how to interpret. Whereas, a 2-dimension FR chart does NOT fully describe the sound of a loudspeaker, not even close, because it radiates in all spherical directions and each sound vector interacts with the listening room (another variable), causing changes in phase and intensity. So no, you can't possibly consider an amplifier's performance in the same way as a speaker's performance.
Thanks for the links to non-scientific magazine articles.Of course, that's not the full picture, as it ignores imaging/spatial characteristics, which is what I tried to address earlier. I'll grant this much: I don't believe there's a single radiation pattern which can accurately render the imaging of all recordings. But - sometimes - we can point to what works & what does not.
Here are a pair of @John Atkinson articles which do a better job at what I was trying to express. "Clowns" is a short one about imaging in the recording/performance context. "The Stereo Image" (1981!) is what I alluded to before - a longer examination of the imaging characteristics of different recording techniques. I have not reread this one yet, just skimmed enough to verify it's the article I remembered.