Thanks, and your points are well taken.
As I mentioned in my first post in this thread, I am thankful for the approach and information available at ASR, which doesn't mean I share precisely the same goals in terms of my own equipment purchases.
For instance, I love the Devore O/96 speakers. When they came out there was quite a vitriolic comment thread in Stereophile with some self-claimed experts declaring the design ridiculous and incompetent "nobody who knew what he was doing would match that size woofer with that tweeter" etc.
And yet I found, like so many others, that the O/96 was one of the most special, beguiling sounding speakers I've ever heard! So given there is a sort of "direction" to what is evaluated as "good" or "bad" design on ASR (again, well justified IF you adopt the underlying goals), that kind of product mostly won't be on the radar there, and indeed the Devore speakers have been mocked by some there. In that sense, ASR isn't the place where I would likely have been led to auditioning those speakers. It was the subjective reviews, and listening reports from other audiophiles that got me interested, and I found the general take to be bang on when I heard those speakers.
This is one example for why I have often defended the usefulness FOR ME (and many other audiophiles) of subjective reports about some audio gear on the ASR site. Exchanging subjective impressions is not as reliable information per se as objective measurements, especially when you have a specific goal for the measurements (correlated to the sound you want). But, as I argue, that doesn't make them completely useless or always inaccurate.
And I find the case interesting in regard to the research on speaker design (Toole/Olive/Harman Kardon etc). The research suggests that, in the blind tests, I would be most likely to prefer Revel speakers over the Devore, as the Revels are successfully designed to hit the "preference" target that arose out of blind testing.
I completely accept that research. I think that if I were to go to the Harman Kardon facilities and engage in blind tests, it would be safer to bet my money I'd select the Revel speakers under those conditions.
So what do I do with the fact that I actually did audition a few Revel speakers (which were very competent sounding as predicted) and yet still heavily preferred the Devore? Well, it could be that I happen to be one of the outliers, and even in blind testing I'd select the Devores. Less likely, but possible.
My own decision would be to purchase the Devores over the Revel based on my auditions. This is because, in "sighted" auditions even IF there are other non-audio factors influencing my perception of the Devores being more engaging, those are the conditions under which I'll be listening to the speakers. If there are other factors influencing my perception of the sound (e.g. the looks), fine, I'll take 'em because it's sure working to keep me engaged! Plus, this approach has led to plenty of satisfying purchases over the years, and I just really, really enjoy listening to all sorts of different loudspeakers, so I could never be one of the "order it just on measurements" folks. But I totally GET that an emphasis on measurements work for some other people. (AND, btw, over at ASR most members would prefer to hear a speaker before purchasing. Even when you've narrowed the field down to several "good measuring speakers" there's still enough variation to bring in personal preference).