I gave up asking that one a while ago, because everybody who might have the technical chops to address it seems more intent on defending their own pet theories about what is and isn't "ideal" in speaker design rather than approaching the speakers as existing phenomenon to be characterized. And even those who are trying to characterize seem unable to do so without editorial comments about the validity or lack thereof of the goals behind the design, as if that really matters for something that was built more than 40 years ago and now sits physically before us as a fait accompli. And let's not get into certain peoples' inability to discuss any of this without taking personal potshots at other posters.
On to another subject:
Zilch said, "and we'd be best served by figuring out the factual basis for what is likable about ARs."
I posed the very same question myself (after good-naturedly chiding Speaker Dave for not tackling the question himself), and I posted my impression.
I haven't heard from anyone else, but since Zilch has posed the same question, I'd love to hear his and others' responses, in very specific terms, as I tried to do in Post #49 in this thread.
Until someone makes a presentation of "why it sounds the way it does," rather than "why it doesn't sound the way it should, the way it was intended to or the way most people like a speaker to sound today" and then demonstrates the accuracy of their characterization by building another speaker that duplicates it in measurement and listening experience, we'll continue to be treated to dueling opinions that constantly hover on the edge of closing down threads.