It's easy to get the whole loudspeaker market dead wrong. Wooden boxes with dynamic drive units built in 2017 ostensibly look the same as wooden boxes with dynamic drive units built 50 years ago. However, under the surface there are so many subtle changes and developments over the years, they have almost nothing in common. OK, there are always exceptions (Klipshorns and Tannoy designs remain unchanged over the generations), but most speakers are very different today.
The combination of more sophisticated measuring instruments and more modern materials has raised the bar of all loudspeakers, and the never-ending game raising of the top end of the market allows brands to explore what would have been sci-fi performance a few decades ago.
But perhaps the biggest change is the level of diversity that now surrounds the loudspeaker market. Audiophiles have never been swift to adopt active loudspeakers, and were even more reluctant to accept loudspeakers with DSP or even digital source inputs. There have long been exceptions (most notably active systems from Linn and Meridian), but in the main, the audiophile view of a loudspeaker was a device that turned an electrical signal into vibration and not a lot else was allowed.
That mindset is changing rapidly. The lines between 'audio system' and 'loudspeaker' are blurring, and this is a good thing. Products that could not have existed even a few years ago are now more than just background noise in audio, they are an important subset of the most significant part of an audio system. In many cases, they are the audio system!
What's fascinating about this is how much change has taken place to even the classic loudspeaker. The audio world has become the best kept secret in consumer electronics, but the changes we see in loudspeakers are even more stealthy than in the rest of the audio world. I think they deserve praise. Audiophiles can sometimes criticize modern loudspeakers for being at once too modern and not modern enough, but many of the current models are, I feel, just about modern enough!
Congratulations go to Paul Schaefer who wins a pair of MarkAudio-SOTA Tozzi Twos. Paul has decided not to disclose where on the planet he resides, but wherever he lives, he's richer to the tune of a pair of excellent wide-range point source loudspeakers. Well done!