"There's a popular myth about scientific measurements that regards such data as enjoying an objective and independent existence in the outside world. The problem with this view is that the data must be perceived by an observer. The observer structures and interprets the data in accordance with his cognitive or theoretical framework. A scientist's preconceived notions, or theoretical view he is out to prove, will provide cues as to which data are essential or on how to pattern the data in order to support the theory.
Thus, the data are imprinted with an unconscious subjective bias. James Clerk Maxwell, the father of classical electromagnetism, is said to have remarked once that "There are two theories of light, the corpuscle theory and the wave theory; we used to believe in the corpuscle theory; now we believe in the wave theory because all those who believed in the corpuscle theory have died."
The point, of course, is that the significance of particular data patterns depends very much on who is perceiving these as cues for confirming particular theoretical assumptions and inferences. It's amazing how many times scientists have reported positive findings on the basis of "data" that were actually buried below the noise floor of the experimental apparatus. Eddington's measurement of the gravitational bending of light by the sun during the solar eclipse of 1919 was hailed as confirmation of Einstein's theory. Einstein's theory of general relativity has, of course, been verified numerous times since then. But it was later discovered that Eddington's results were fortuitous. The experimental errors associated with his photographic plates were such that he could just as easily have obtained a negative result.
Scientists are basically deterministic in outlook and are conditioned to search for causality. The simplistic reduction of such an attitude leads to the following dictum: If it exists, it can be measured. The corollary of which is that if something cannot be measured, it does not exist.
Thus, one can understand the logic behind the assertion that all cables that measure identically should sound alike. This might be true if we could assure ourselves that the measurement set was all-inclusive and sufficiently refined or sensitive to establish a particular pair of cables as identical twins. But how can you know a priori
all of the factors which impact sonic performance? And at what level do these factors make an audible difference? To argue simply, as opponents of exotic cable have done, that impedance variation is all that matters because nothing else appears to matter, reflects a lack of imagination.
Science is about the search for a hidden reality. To say that all of the important design considerations for cables and amplifiers can be condensed into a simple recipe is to say that these aspects of audio are closed and require no further investigation. This mirrors the view of many physicists in the latter part of the 19th century. Many budding physicists were advised to pursue another discipline because pretty soon there would be nothing left to discover about reality.
Fortunately, for the time being, high-end audio remains largely an art. A high-end product should evolve on the basis of extensive listening tests. The same circuit can be made to sound differently with different boards, layout, or part selection, and in all these cases the differences would be impossible to discern, measurement-wise, at the current state of the art. Take the soundfield produced by a conventional two-channel audio system. Aspects of this soundfield could be measured at various levels of accuracy, but none of these measurements can reliably answer the question of "how close to 'live' will that soundfield be perceived?" The soundfield at the head is processed and interpreted by the ear/brain and results in the perception of a soundstage projected outside of the head. Just how realistic that soundstage is must be decided by the audiophile on the basis of subjective listening tests. High-end audio is about the conviction with which the "illusion of live music" can be reproduced.
Copied and excerpted from - http://www.stereophile.com/content/...sI56SJElVCs.99
One can do all the double blind tests he can muster, but the real test for audio is does it do for you what music is supposed to? Does it evoke an emotion? Have you lived with it, do you like it over the long haul, and does it excite you? If the answers to these questions are no, or unknown, then you have no basis except paltry short clips of listening.
Happy new year!