Strictly speaking, Fletcher-Munson and the like are not rules or laws, but rather experimentally derived models of human aural perception. They are built on averages and generalities- in the case of Fletcher-Munson the results are said to apply to "average young people without significant hearing impairment". I doubt that describes many of those reading this thread... They have also been revised numerous times. While these rules of thumb are helpful perhaps to people such as yourself designing amplifiers aimed at as broad a segment of the market as possible, they are not "laws" or universally applicable "truths" like …
In terms of universal truths and laws, one can pretty safely say that as the distortion products go to zero, that the fidelity improves. How well this happens with complex loads, etc. is where topologies matter. But if we assume that some amps were possible with a vanishingly low THD+N, then they would sound the same regales of topology
… the law of conservation of energy or the laws of thermodynamics. As a result, they can not be relied upon on to be an accurate predictor on an individual basis.
Statistics, stereotype and generalities are borne from things being similar.
Humans are tuned to those sorts of easy ways to categorise things.
And the statistics of a group, are indicative if the sum of the individual biases and likes/dislikes.
Thus, the guy shelling out $5K for an amp would be best advised to trust his own perceptions and tastes and to listen to the amp in his system, in his room, to form his opinions rather than rely on the perceptions, tastes, and opinions of others. Of course there are always those who love to gamble.
And thus if one considers themselves similar to others in the group, then they would be more wise to gamble that what other people like, that they will also find that they the same stuff.
and likewise if they find that they are at odds with the group, then they would likely deviate from the group perspective.
An example would be cable deniers or believers.
- If one identifies as a cable believer, then other cable believer perspectives likely have more bearing, and theuy find speaker cables, IC and power cables all matter.
- And for the cable denier, they likely find similarity with other cable deniers, and value their similar group’s inputs.
- and some probably find no difference in XLRs and power cords, but could believe that speaker cables make a difference, and identify with their brethren/sisters.