When I audition a stereo system using popular music I seem to focus most on imaging. Does it feel like I am in the space it was recorded in?
When I audition using classical music the space becomes less important and what I seem to focus on is the sound of the instruments. Do they sound right?
I used to justify this split thinking that pop music had fewer "real" instruments than classical; and many of them amplified.
But increasingly my pop choices lean towards the acoustic space and that justification fades into the area of old assumptions that need to be reexamined.
Now I am wondering if perhaps the recording engineers are the cause of it. Classical recording engineers perhaps focus on getting the sound of each instrument perfect while pop engineers are looking for a bit more excitement and bling?
Just a thought.