Being the slow, lip moving, long digesting reader that I am, I am just now really thinking about the November review of the Thiel CS 2.4.
I am finally starting to have the light-bulb-over-the-head feeling about the impedance curves and how they can reveal so much about a speaker's design and the effect of these impedances in reflecting the sound of a speaker. Thanks for that!
When perusing the speaker's frequency response curve, though, I had a vivid 70's flashback...that stepped up bass and treble response had the same pattern as what we used to call the "car equalizer smile." The equalizer slides would be up at the upper and lower ends of the spectrum and left alone in the middle. I've sen many a home system set up that way, too.
The frequency response curve of the 2.4's fit that old pattern!
Rereading the review, I'd venture to say that the treble peak was where Wes Phillips' preference for the Theil's "crisper articulation, especially of incisive guitar tones" comes from.
Those peaks may also be reflected in his comment about the Thiel's "just the facts" presentation. An exaggerated high frequency, for me, gives me an overly analytical, "just the facts," feeling, as well.
I also wonder if the frequency response curve is responsible for Mr. Phillips feeling that the Thiel "commits itself to music." Maybe that's the feeling lay-listeners go for when they do that to the sound with their equalizer settings!
That sort of "U-shaped" frequency response has been created artificially by so many lay-listeners in the past, that I reckon there is surely some subliminally satisfying thing it must give to a listener. Why else would we see that setting appear over and over again? It's more than "flattening the in-room frequency response."
Wes also noted that the Thiels "get so much right between those extremes," which does fit the response curve, with the Thiels being nicely controlled in that region. In the review, it's the frequency extremes that drew almost 100% of the reviewer's commentary. In fact, there was almost no midrange commentary - which is entirely in keeping with how that frequency response curve would direct a listener's attention! Interesting how the flattest or most even part of what the speaker does can be sussed out by lack of criticism in this part of the audio band.
All in all, I think the review matches the measurements here, strikingly so! The match between the subjective and objective here is in the details of the emotional reaction to the speaker, where "intellect bypassed by emotion" actually does lead right back to intellect by inference. The subjective can insightfully describe the objective, it's just hard to put our finger on sometimes!