In the beginning, the earliest loudspeakers were largely designed from basic physical principles, but their subsequent rapid development and the lack of ideal materials meant that much of the progress was made via a combination of some tedious experiments and remarkably visionary thinking. By the 1960s, as materials technology advanced and more experience was gained, some excellent loudspeakers were available which even sounded good by today’s standards, but progress was always hampered by both the inability to make measurements in a practical way and the uncertainty about the perceptual relevance of each aspect of loudspeaker performance. During the 1980s, however, psychoacoustics was a rapidly developing science, and the widespread introduction of computer-based measurement systems provided insight into the behaviour of loudspeakers that had previously only been dreamt about. Together with laser scanning and mathematical modelling, loudspeaker design became distinctly more scientific, and, as loudspeaker performance improved, the audibility of changes fed back more information into the science of psychoacoustics. Whilst loudspeaker design still relies heavily on audible assessment in the final analysis, much of the burden of ‘cut and try’ had been unloaded from the process.