They are interlinked, even when the distance from listener to speaker is short there is an effect because we are inside a room.The 1st one is not correct but the 2nd one is spot on.
A thought experiment: Blink of an eye is roughly 100ms, which is roughly 34 meters of sound travel. So, in a small room one gets lots of sound to ears within the blink of an eye that has traveled various distances, mostly long. The 34m of travel could mean for example 7 early specular reflections between front and backwall that were 5meters apart. While the 34m alone attenuates the highs some, also each collision with surfaces like walls or furniture attenuates and scatters the highs more than lows. An average seventh order reflection has probably lost quite much of highs. If one measures frequency response at listening spot it shows up: even if speakers anechoic direct sound was flat the in-room response probably is not because whole lot "more" sound than the direct sound arrives to the observation point from all around which results some kind of a downwards slope frequency response. In general, highs attenuate more than lows with time. When listening closer to speakers room sound as average is the same as before but now the direct sound gets louder in relation and various masking effects in hearing system suppresses "the room sound", sound from all directions within a time window. If you had artificial mouth that blows air and spits droplets on top of your speakers I bet it would further suppress the room sound and cause maximum attention to happen. Well, quite complicated subject and I'm not too familiar with psychoacoustics so won't go any further with the thought experiment
Whats my opinion for the topic? I have no expert level knowledge but based on basic observation there is two main things that affect I think: bad acoustics and playback system distortion. Ever been to an (relatively) empty room just talking to a person, or doing chores? very uncomfortable with the flutter echo and all, uneasy feeling, fatique without any stereo system at all. Ever listened your stereo system with the 85db average level? want to turn it down as it seems too loud? What if you go to a concert, say a small jazz ensemble playing completely acoustic. its likely you'll measure about 85db there as well as the band likes it because they are humans like you and they like it nice, but now it doesn't have much fatigue and I bet its due to distortion, and its sounds quite nice! Could be even louder! So, for home listening I bet many don't want it 85db as it probably sounds too loud because the system isn't likely capable of it with low enough distortion, and/or possibly poor acoustics of the room. "Fatigue" makes my subconcious to say "its too loud, turn it down" but as long as it's clean then yeah, the louder the better it sounds. If the material was mixed at 85db it is probably the sweet spot.