Originally Posted by jsound
Dave: I think that your own experience bears put what we both are saying: your replacement drivers cost much less than new speakers, but made a difference. You could have spent a pile of cash, but gotten pretty much the same results.
I believe that speakers are subjective, not absolutes (again, once you pass a certain level), & whatever sounds good to you sounds good to you - some people are fond of a bassier sound, some are not. It also depends on what you listen to - while any good speaker will reproduce accurate sound, some are better if you listen to jazz, some are better if you listen to classical, etc.
(I've heard this said, in particular, of B & W). What it all comes down to, in the end, is your own preference.
Your listening environment also has a profound impact on the speakers you are comfortable with. The same speakers will not sound equal in different rooms. (I think many people ignore this - the speakers that sound great in the showroom may not impress you in your listening environment.)
I say this only from experience - I've helped a few people set up their systems, & found that they were really not aware of the impact that "hard" & "soft" rooms (or furnishings) have.
Of course, the listening environment does have a lot of influence on the sound of speakers, but I differ with the subjective opinions, where a person may prefer a bassier sound, etc. All of that amounts to a goal of choosing speakers as if they were musical instruments, where, say, choosing the sound of a Stradivarius over a mass produced violin. Speakers are not musical instruments, they are transducers designed to reproduce sound accurately as possible, without introducing any sound of their own. That is the goal: perfect replication of any music, without imposing anything in between, especially not a characteristic sound of the speaker.
The goal is impossible, but must be kept foremost in mind. If a speaker imposes its own sound, say a "warm" sound, then all music it "reproduces" will be forced to sound "warmer". Thus, the speaker is "filtering" the sound, adding "tone", and has become a "tone control". Yes, warmth is often preferable to cold, its "cozy", pleasant, but this will color all the music. If not perfection of replication, then it should at least be as neutral as possible, and that is more attainable.
I would prefer to hear people say they like "warm" music better than "cold" music, not that they prefer speakers that color all the music "warm".
I have heard people say that some cables are "warmer" than others, that some have more "space" or "air" than others. Pure subjective and inane spoutings, since, as I mentioned, double blind tests have proven them to be unable to differentiate any cable with any reliability.