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You might think that the best way to tell if a loudspeaker is any good is by listening to it. But this isn't always going to be the best way.
Listening tests don't work if any of the following conditions apply...
Oh, there is one more...
(I mention single loudspeakers because there are all kinds of applications where you might want just one. Or perhaps you are buying several for a PA or theater installation and you are auditioning just one.)
The only reliable way to tell if a loudspeaker is any good is to borrow or hire it, or even buy it, and use it on real work over a period of time. If it stands the test of time in real-life applications, then it's a good loudspeaker.
But specifications can help the decision-making process.
It is very true that specifications cannot tell you whether a loudspeaker is good. But they can certainly tell you if it is bad.
Here are the parameters you should be looking for...
You can compare models from various manufacturers and quite easily see which have the best specifications. You can then narrow down the possibilities towards a short list.
Actually there is a teensy little fly in the soup here. Hardly ever will you see a specification for the level of cabinet vibration, but clearly this is a significant factor.
However, you can judge this from polar response plots at a variety of frequencies, if available.
Plots that show significant output to the sides and rear at mid and mid-high frequencies will be suspect. If the responses are lumpy and uneven in these areas, so much the worse.
Specifications can never tell the whole story about any equipment. But the wise use of objective measurements and listening tests in tandem can help you arrive at a decision you can be happy with over a long period of time.