One thing that is very important to me at Affordable Home Audio is that when I talk about speakers, I try and do so from as informed a position as possible. Within monetary restrictions, I talk about speakers which I can hold in my hands and test myself. An important part of any discussion of speakers is speaker measurements.
There were many techniques developed years ago for making engineering measurements of speakers. Gated sine, white noise response, all sorts of things made it possible to understand both frequency, temporal, linear and non-linear aspects of audio equipment.
These techniques necessitate the use of either very large spaces, like your backyard, or a very expensive anechoic room, in order to perform. Reflections in the room make it impossible to analyze speakers using these traditional techniques. Most businesses focusing in audio (the company I work for included), and university labs have an anechoic room for acoustic testing. Below is a great example of an anechoic chamber, made by Paradigm Audio.