One of the first tests I make my associates here do is take a basically normal neg with a very known neutral grey area and make a print at a middle filter like a #2
Then spend an afternoon matching that print or more importantly making the known neutral grey area match with each filter, including the 1/2 grades.
from 00 to 5.
by doing this you get a practical laymans visual version rather than a scientifice plotted graph version of what each filter does.
You can also do this to to match a dichroic head to the Ilford filters if you have two types of enlargers at your disposal.
by doing this you will get a handle of density , and how it is affected by the filters.
Also you will actually see what each filter can add to the equation.
Immediately if you are using Ilford Warmtone you will see that if you are relying on the 00 or 0 filter for the highlights you are leaving a lot of wonderful tonality on the table.
Unfortunately I cannot write out exactly how it all comes together as each negative has its on lighting vocabulary that is critical to how you start and what filter to start with... Christopher .. you are getting a lot of good advice here from a lot of people , I think myself included.
Unfortunately with all good advice we are not in your darkroom while you are trying to figure it out so take a lot of all the advice with a grain of salt.
You need to figure it out yourself,,, lighting ratio,, development procedures for different lighting ratios, then a printing workflow that you repeat time after time.
If the print looks good , compared to what you see of other printers you respect , then its good.
If you gave the same negative to 10 different people responding here, and asked them to print it to their best ability's, you will find most likely 10 very different versions.. ALL GOOD, It would be up to you to then decide which version is the best... now try telling the others you think their prints are of less quality and a storm will brew.
At the first APUG conference we had a show of over 18 well know printmakers who presented their best work .. to most peoples surprise not one artists work stood out from the rest. We had AZO , PT PD , Carbon, Silver, Bromoils , Dag's, Lith Prints , InkJet, prints on the wall and this was an eye opener for me... I for one came away from that experience understanding a bit more about perceived quality..
Another way to look at his print quality thing is to visit a collector/archive that has world class prints from past masters and current workers.
Look at the work , rather than read about the work.. you may conclude that a lot of discussion is just bullshit.
Paul Paletti Gallery in Louisville Kentucky has a very lovely collection of current and past workers, just walking through his space is an eye opener because you will see original prints in such a variety that you cannot but think that a lot of what we write about the past workers is crap.
Why do I say this?? Amongst Paul's collection I still think the two best prints IMHO were one by Brett Weston ( pretty obvious choice) but the print
that moved me the most by leaps and bounds was a Gary Winogrand (World's Fair, New York 1964) Women sitting on park bench. Probably not printed by the photographer and really not a person you would consider able to make a great print.
My point is that once you get to a certain level with your printing , stop looking at your navel, graphs will not help you out, specialized timers will not help you out,
specialize developers will not help you out, and to the topic split printing will not help you out, as these are only tools,, great imagery will always trump technique.
so spend some time learning some basic principles, let your eyes be the boss, and have fun,