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I have a VPI "Magic Brick" on top of my Preamp. I probably would not have considered it, except the manufacturer of the Preamp actually recommended it in the owner's manual (Conrad Johnson). I also paid $25 for it (list is $80). I think it did quiet the background (a little). I usually do not try something new and untested. The latest thing for me is Stan Warren told me to freeze all my cables in dry ice. Crazy ??
Everything makes a difference. And just it has it been shown there are "super tasters" who have more tase buds than average, it seems very probable that there are "super hearers" who have above-average hearing acuity. Is it politically incorrect to say that some of us can hear more than others?? Everything has a range, too, folks...
Hi Elizabeth, I have no idea what your talking about. I have never heard of anyone who is like this, and it angers me that you would trick us into thinking people like this exist. I want scientific proof that people could act this way, and until you provide it you should be banned from this and all internet sites! ;>)
Hi Elizabeth: Correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me that the "nonbelievers" never ever mention "music" or how it sounds in their posts. I suspect that their only reason for entering the threads is for debate and that they do not really share this hobby. Turning the other cheek, so to say, is the right thing to do (I agree with you there), but I also find it very hard to do after having had my life's experiences repeatedly slapped.
......I trust my ears, my judgement, my common sense, sometimes my intuition, and am open minded enough to try a lot of different "things" in an attempt to improve the musicality of my stereo system-- those that don't work get culled. JD brings up some good points regarding the skeptics. Cheers. Craig
I have been haunting Audiogon for about a year (sometimes it seems like decades). The past couple of months, I think, have seen some real improvements. Posters are actually questioning the necessity of bashing ideas and people. Some are even bold enough, like Elizabeth, to start threads about a kinder, gentler Audiogon. My first post to this site many moons ago was a plea for posters to temper their language and egos - to be less caustic; I believe it was a thread about amp stands. You know what happened? I got smacked around. Luckily I didn't take it personally and stayed tuned to this site. If I hadn't I wouldn't have seen the positive shift in this site. There is still alot of name calling, but more people are starting to see that that isn't what this hobby, or site, is all about - at least it isn't for me. Thank you Elizabeth for this thread.
I could not agree more Elizabeth. As I have stated in postings here, my system will never be finished. Once we close our minds to the possibility that something might bring improvement, and never even give it a try, we cease to progress. I think that most of the people that visit here are sincerely looking for knowledgable responses from members who have tested a particular item or idea, and can share that experience. Asking questions is never dumb, what is dumb is to loose the excitement of exploring and adventure that a child has. Age does not have to diminish this joy, sharing ideas helps keep your own mind open to discovery, and in this way, the reward works both ways.
if, indeed, there are strongly-held polar opinions of a product that may be expressed in a manner adherents of either end of the spectrum can understand, then that product is on the cusp of subjectivity. its being useful or harmful, worthy or scornful, valuable or worthless becomes, then, a matter of faith. wars have been fought over such beliefs. is it any wonder that something warlike occurs when our subjective views of beloved audio gear, tweaks, and very auditory accuity are challenged? i don't like it when this happens any more than elizabeth or others who have joined this thread. i also abhor my own failings that allow me to get sucked into these battles sometimes. none of us can change human nature, tho, which is why i think audiogon has attempted in a still flawed way to impose upon us a set of standards that reel in our tendancies to behave like savages. sadly, there will forever be jerks like 720... trying to entice us into stone throwing, no matter how many rules or rating systems are put in place. the best we can do is ignore them, as others have already said. the worst we can do is allow these interlopers to drive us away. this is a wierd and wonderful cyberspace village that is constantly being recreated. just remember that every village needs an idiot or two.
Well, speaking as a skeptic, I'd like to say that the lot of you are full of...oh, wait, that's not what you wanted to hear. Actually, I find Audiogon's discussions far more civil than those of, say, rec.audio.opinion. Indeed the most intemperate responses I have seen came from believers who took umbrage at someone daring to suggest that the laws of science ought to be presumed to govern audio. I don't care if you choose to believe something that lacks any scientific basis. What I do care about is the peddling of pseudoscience to justify that choice. It's a gross disservice to the less knowledgeable lurkers who are trying to learn something here.
There are plenty of things in this world that work despite lacking a clear or testable scientific explanation. Trial and error sometimes is the most sound process available to us. But, basing a choice or argument on pseudoscience is another matter. I agree that it's a gross disservice, or just plain gross. I've read some terrible and even self-contradictory explanations of how certain accessories work, but I'm not sure that has much correlation with whether the product works or not. It's marketing dressed up as (pseudo)science, and I agree we'd be better off without it. We had an interesting pseudo-science attack over on the power cord thread, where a doubter claimed to be championing an ultra-rational position but displayed such a lack of understanding of scientific method and logic that it quickly became comical. It just shows that "true believers" are not confined to the tweakers. Or, in other words, there are "true-non-believers" as well as "true believers," and both are guilty of short-shrifting the importance of real world evidence. "True-non-believing" has the advantage of being cheaper, however.
Don't recall where I read this, but here's the deal on Tice clock. The clock's purpose was to load the audio rig's AC line with a constant current, thus swamping out smaller current variations in the line which are caused by the constantly varying audio signals. You can achieve the same effect with a small lamp (use an incandescent) or anything else presenting a constant load. Theoretically this improves your sound. In practice, this is one of the few tweaks I have tried that didn't seem to make any difference, at least at our house. ymmv
Jayboard; well stated position. I would just add one thing. Sometimes the lines between true science and pseudo-science can become blurred IMO. I fact, I believe that high-end audio is an endeavor that is inherently amenable (susceptible?) to both because the engineering and tech. types who build our equipment are often operating at the "cutting edge" of music reproduction technology. Well, the cutting edge also attracts the pseudo-scientists who just want to "make a buck". Cheers. Craig.
I think they all want to make a buck Garfish - and good on them. But they all employ copy writers to write their ads, and generally trot out a load of rubbish, whether its for good products or bad ones. This industry sells on hype and we have a tough job sifting through the claims. I remember working in the software industry where we would produce the sales material first and if any sales could be made we handed the brochure to the programmers to see if they could build it. Caveat Emptor indeed.
These are some of the best posts in my short 6 months since discovering audiogon.Iv'e read some threads were if a product mentioned does not fall into the category of high quality to postor b,then poster a is gonna hear about it with both barrels blarring.I think these people are just as bad as the scientists who all think bits is bits,all cables sound the same ect,and by the way any of you mad scientist types out there,how come iv'e been wating 20 years for a promissing new format like sacd? Is it because your off trying to preach science to the world instead of hard at work.If these einstein wannabe scientist know sooooo much how come they have not cured a major disease in over 50 years.That being said iv'e found some wonderful tweaks since reading this board regularly.Most of the ones iv'e tried involve isolation of gear and even speakers and they all seem to produce results,whether good or bad in any given systym .The best tweak so far was dedicated lines to my gear,this makes an unbeleivable dramatic change for my systym blacker background,deeper tighter bass,cleaner highs,more defined well placed soundstage.Although i had heard of dedicated lines before, on audiogon you find people that take the time to explain to others in great depth and detail how to accomplish this without having to hire an electrician.I love to hear posts raving and ranting about the latest greatest tweaks,even more so when there are several that agree on the same product,tweak ect.I would really like to hear more about power cords ie which ones work and which ones don't and what exactly does any particular one improve on any given system.I beleive the reason you don't see many posts going into detail about the improvements there latest tweak has brought them is fear of someone jumping down there throat with PROVE IT. There is no winning an argument with these mad scientist types,if only they would focus that energy on technology maybe we would have no desire to tweak to better the sound of music.But then there would be no reason for forums like this would there.Maybe these einsteins could go find a cure for cancer instead of trying to preach bits is bits 101.
Stevemj, your statement concerning audiophile fuses is a subject that was covered here at Audiogon a few months ago. I myself posted a comment that the materials used in mass production fuses certainly DO represent a weak link in the electrical supply chain. If an audiophile fuse were to be offered, with (say) OFC copper ends and fuse element, I think it would be very successful. I am in good company in thinking that the fuse is an important component. Just this month, I received a $10,000.00 preamp from one of the most respected manufacturers in high end audio. Inside were specific instructions regarding the factory installed fuse provided by the head engineer. I was to neither reverse the position, or wipe off the treatment that had been applied to it. This is the second time in less than a year where an audio engineer has given this EXACT advise concerning fuses. In each case, the manufacturer had conducted listening tests to determine the correct orientation and treatment of the fuse. Considering the value of these engineers time, I sincerely doubt that they would waste their effort on such a project, if did not result in an improvement in performance. As far as your idea about simply gold plating an ordinary fuse. This would most likely provide reduced performance (dissimilar metals) when compared to a super clean stock fuse. It is possible that the performance could reverse (between these two) in the very long term, if the oxidation became more of a problem that the detriment of plating. I can tell from your many posts that you are a true Audiogon non believer when it comes to interconnect and speaker wire. Did you ever consider my suggestion to experiment for yourself? Used product is very little risk, worst case is you sell it for same or near what you paid. Best case is that you learn that there is a difference, and you gain the personal satisfaction of making better music from your system.
Great post Albert and I agree Jostler, that peddling pseudo science does Audiophilia a great diservice. But as I pointed out in another thread, there is a similar diservice being done, by what I call scientific arrogance. The world abounds with phenomena which "science" has no explanation for and hence tends to ridicule them as nonexistent or vodoo or as you suggest, full of s**t. As someone said in another thread, audiophiles are generally fairly well educated and no fools. They cannot possibly all be gullible idiots, who imagine things. To me, the legitimate scientific stand would be to take seriously, what lots of people maintain they are hearing and to admit, that "science" so far has no adequate answer for this phenomenon. Without creative people, blessed with an open minded curiosity and a sense of wonderment, there would have been no scientific progress at all, just dogmatic sterility!
Detlof: You are dead wrong about one thing: Science DOES have an explanation for what you all claim to hear through your green pens. It's that you are allowing non-auditory cues to influence your sensory perception, a phenomenon that has been well-documented for decades. You may not like that explanation, just as you may not like Darwin's explanation for the origin of the species. But that's the explanation, and it'll stand till somebody comes up with a better one. That's how scientific progress works.
Jostler3@hotmail.com, the explanation given to me concerning the scientific theory of the "green pen" treatment is as follows. The CD, while spinning does not always lie absolutely flat and perfect. This causes some deflection to the beam of the reader laser (scattering of an otherwise precise beam). The green marker is the opposite color of the laser, and therefore is more efficient at absorbing the scattered beam than the reflective silver finish of the disk. I suspect that the performance gains of the green treatment vary wildly, depending on the manufacturer and condition of the CD, the design and type of transport, and possibly even the contractor who provided the laser itself. I hope this takes out the Voodoo. It makes perfect sense that if you can reduce laser scatter, there will be fewer errors for the circuit to have to deal with. I heard the performance gain long before I knew of this explanation, but I am the type of person who does not need an explanation to enjoy the tweak. I ask years later at a CES show, more out of curiosity than anything else. Best to you, good listening!
Jostler, did I ever say, that I was sure, that what I hear is auditory and nothing else? I think not. We are all influenced by all sorts of factors all of the time. That's why experimental setups take such painstaking preparation, and even then often enough we cannot be sure. But you know all that much better than I do. All I ask, is to not make us out to be more stupid, than in fact we may truly well be. I don't pretend to "know" anything at all in the field of audio. All I can do, is to try to describe what I percieve and to grope for some sense in it. You however, no offense meant, strike me to be much more of a believer than I will ever be, in that you seem to maintain that science has an answer to all. Besides, how will you know what I or anybody else hears. Of course you know, what can be heard and what not, otherwise you would not come to such statements as above. But how can you be sure, that you are right? Slowly I come to the conclusion, that you and your likes - and
I do pay you probably more respect than vice versa - operate from model of reality, a model which is often close, yes almost identical with reality, but never quite so. This model is safe ground, and it will grow in scope and refinement, as science progresses. But the gap will remain. The more we know, the more questions arise, the more obvious the gap becomes. I suppose, its also a question of temperament. I feel more at home by being fascinated by what I don't understand and grappling with it. Its obvious, that I'll make a lot of mistakes and be lead up the garden path by all sorts of factors. But its fun, I don't have to know better all the time. Respectfully,
If all of the CD's and CD ROMs manufactured were totally green, the reflective surface would be significantly reduced, and the ability of the laser to accurately pick up, would be diminished. Another example would be a solid colored filter on the lens of a camera reducing the efficiency of the films ability to record light. Solid green would make no sense, especially when the jitter reduction provided by a small amount of green on the edges of CD's is already debated. In other words, most systems would be much worse with the totally green treatment than what is the standard reflective color.
Detlof: I'm trying to draw a distinction between two assertions:
1."I like the sound of vinyl better than CDs."
2 "Vinyl is better than CD because..."
You're right--I cannot know what you hear, nor can I know what it is you want to hear or think you ought to hear. Now, as long as you're sticking to statements like #1, that's fine. But once you start trying to explain what you hear in more universal terms, you're playing on your opponents' home turf. Some posts in this and related threads seem to suggest that science has failed because the poster prefers the distinctive sound of an earlier technology. But science isn't trying to satisfy your preference because it can't--it doesn't know what that preference is, and each of us has different preferences. That said, many products are engineered to appeal to audiophiles with particular preferences, and you and I and everybody else buys them for exactly that reason--we like the sound. Nothing wrong with that. So why do people feel the need to justify their purchasing decisions by trashing science?
You're quite the literalist, aren't you, Albert? Fine then, since you seem to need it spelled out for you, why don't all CD-ROMs come with green rims? Why doesn't CompUSA carry green pens? We do you believe everything some salesman tells you? (For the record, I once heard a demonstration of the green pen effect, and yes, the CD sounded different after treatment. I can think of several possible explanations for that, however, and none of them would make me go out and pay $15 for a $1.29 marker.)
Jostler, all points well taken, I could not agree with you more. Its an interesting question you pose at the end of your post. Let me venture a guess: Many audiophiles have no scientific training. As I tried to point out somewhere else, they are passionately on to something, which they deeply percieve but actually often know little about. They could try science, but that seems so cut and dried, so far removed from what moves them. It also takes a lot of effort. Science would always cut them down to size, which hurts, because its sonic nirvana they are after. I may sound ironic, but I am not, because its wonderful to be inspired and to be on a quest. I have nothing against that, as you probably know, because to be on a "trip" may well have a value of its own, but it sure ain't science and it will never be. You are right of course that these people are believers, but the mistake which is often being made, is the fact, that this belief does not necessarily have to be merely subjective, but psychologically objective in that sense, that it can grab a lot of people all over the place all the time, where the form and contents of this phenomena seem strangely alike in those inspired. Now what for these people is psychologically REAL, in our culture has the stigma of being subjective, its sort of "only" psychological, so how can it stand up in the "real world" of facts and figures. They don't see sufficiently, that they are in a psychological state, which is real in its own right, which they can share with others and enjoy. Unfortunatedly, and this is where the nonsense starts, this is not enough for many of them: Who wants to be merely "subjective". They are not in actual fact, but unfortunatedly, they think they are, so they venture into "their opponents hometurf", as you so aptly put it... and get torn to pieces. No wonder, they thrash science as a consequence, get ridiculed in turn and ad nauseam, ad nauseam, ad nauseam... the carussel keeps on turning ....I feel, it should take a point of view outside the fray, to try to grasp what is actually going on here. This question has fascinated me for years, also in other fields outside of audio. Do you mind if I say that I enjoy talking to you, because it helps me (subjectively (-; ) to clarify my thoughts?
Asking why all CD's and CD ROMs don't come with green rims is like asking why LP manufacturers never properly cleaned and treated their products prior to shipping. There would certainly be an audible difference, but in what percentage of the pubic would it be perceived or appreciated? Most companies that manufacturer such goods delight in saving even a half a cent in production. This multiplied by hundreds of millions of copies comes out to be significant. Quality of reproduction has never been the goal of music producing companies, it the cash that is the bottom line. As far as the green pen being overpriced at $15.00, yes if probably is. In fact there were several discussions on line at one time, listing the proper color green pen produced for artists available at office supply stores. They were only about a dollar or so, and were supposed to produce the same results. Why then did I choose to pay the additional $12.00? Because the pen designed for audio was formulated so it could be reversed. The green could be removed with warm soapy water, returning the CD to it's original state, unharmed. If the office supply version damaged even one CD, that had to be replaced, the savings would evaporate. Now last, why would you want to do this treatment? My guess is that you would not, as you seem to be more concerned with the philosophy and science of why this does or does not work, as opposed to looking for ways to improve on our very flawed music producing systems. I defend your right to believe as you do, but do not understand why you are so opposed to something that could help, for so little investment. I guess it boils down to the passion and interest level in the whole thing.
yust some rambling thoughts...
i recently saw some blank cd-r's adwertized f/s in an mcm electronics catalog w/treated edges to ensure better digital transferring... as others have said - if a $15 green pen upsets ya, buy the $1 pens... my $7 neutrik xlr-rca adaptors are every bit as good as the $100 bat wersions... yust cuz ya tink science can't answer all the questions doesn't mean yure trashing science - mebbe it means ya have the utmost respect for science, but are accepting of the fact that there are still *some* tings science has yet to explain. don't forget, it wasn't too long ago that folks thought the sun revolved around the earth, & that the earth was flat...
regards, doug s.
Sedond: Actually, it was a long time ago, and folks didn't change their minds because somebody said, "Oh, maybe science doesn't have all the answers yet." They changed their minds because some scientist proved them wrong. That's all we objective skeptics are waiting for--just prove us wrong. If you can.
sorry, the point i was making obvoiusly went straight over your head. let your senses be your guide - the science will follow. mebbe in your lifetime, mebbe not. when science finally proved that the earth revolved around the sun, & that it was not flat, it dint mean it *wasn't* that way before they finally proved it. meantime, we don't have to prove yure wrong - 'til the science adwances, we can't. yust like ewe can't prove *we're* wrong. meantime, use yer senses - if ya tink it sounds better, cool, do it. if ya don't want better sound yust cuz ya can't understand what makes sound it better - cool, ewe can do *that* too...
personally, i haven't heard significant differences between cd's treated w/green rings & not. i also haven't heard significant differences in i/c's either, once the rat-shack low-quality stuff is surpassed. then again, i haven't tried the kilo-buck stuff, cuz my budget precludes it. but, i don't begrudge those that hear differences, & i don't need scientific proof to be able to believe them. i *have* heard significant differences w/speaker cabling & w/power conditioners, & i don't need scientific proof to believe *myself*
re: earth-sun stuff, ewe say "it was a long time ago"... SO??? not too long ago, in *this* hobby, the same arguments being made today, that cabling/power conditioning/etc make no difference, were being made about power amplifiers. now, partly due to scientific adwances, & partly due to the fact that people who listen to home stereo aren't deaf, wirtually *no one* argues today that all amps sound alike...
regards, doug *so objective that i know there's more we *don't* know than what we *do* know* sedon
Jostler, I don't understand you. They are "convinced that a large majority of them......" Based on what science? I doubt all the proper testing has been done for anyone to scientificly state there is no difference. I believe your totally backward in your apraisal, I say I hear something, you prove it doesn't exist, not I prove it does. What school taught you to protect your turf and doubt everything? Sounds corporate to me.
Jadem: The science involves objective listening tests (as opposed to the kind most audiophiles do most of the time). Two amps, both operating within their design parameters (e.g., not clipping) and not having any substantial frequency response or distortion anomalies, will not be distinguishable in the kind of objective tests I'm sure you will tell me you don't believe in. Of course, this is also supported by plenty of evidence that listeners cannot distinguish small FR variations or low levels of distortion, which are the only things that distinguish most amps (tubes, and especially SETs, being obvious exceptions). It's an experiement that's been done many times, which is why the burden of proof now rests with those who want to claim otherwise. That's how science works.
no, my head's not in the sand - i don't need proof for what i can hear - i already *have* it. those who don't believe that there's a difference yust cuz it hasn't yet been measured are the ones w/their heads in the sand. like the flat earth, proofs *will* come, cuz folks *can* hear differences.
re: amp testing, set upa a test w/two amps that meet your description, & i'm sure that they will either be distinguishable - or not - depending on who is running the test & how. while i *am* for objective testing, it's been shown many times that *objectivity* is not easily attained. kind of a catch-22. we all yust have to do the best we can. jadem6 states directly wghat i inferred - prove to me differences in sound *don't* exist.
It too bad Jostler that you choose to see it that way. Is low level distortion all it is? What effects does this distortion have on other components? Can you have two "identical" amps, if so how? Can you prove the impact of burn-in is equal in each piece of equipment? What impact does the interconnect have on the given amp, and thus a potential variable? If your right though, shouldn't any amp of the same spec sound the same? How do you explain that they don't? I'm afraid your objective listening test is so potentially flawed that I discount the value of the science. I'm saddened that you will choose to protect yourself and not allow your self the chance to learn, but it's not my lose, it's yours. J.D.
I don't know why tubes and especially SET's are exempt from Jostler's generalized description of all amps sounding the same, but I am pleased that the exception was made. I will agree that similar amp designs sound "somewhat" alike, provided they are constructed with equal care, parts, circuit design techniques and are of near identical power. Unfortunately there are almost an unlimited number of problems that every amplifier must face in a high end system that can, and do make even that statement an exception. These problems substantially effect the sound, and ultimately, what pleases the listener. Just the very tip of this issue in broad terms are; The amps ability to drive non linear loads with a varying impedance. Ability and speed to electrically recover after driving such a load. Ability to reject or be nearly unaffected by a multitude of outside sources such as RF, EMI, brown downs, power surges, electrical noise, digital signals ( on AC from your electric company ), household appliances, and all the ground planes in the system and the house. If this sounds complicated, you are right. It is only a fraction of the reasons well informed and intelligent audiophiles argue about which amp sounds right in their system. Often the conclusion of a well conducted test in two locations with similar equipment will come to two completely different ends. I believe that very often, if the two testers could visit each others location, there may not be any disagreement about the test result in THAT system and THAT location. I believe that most of us are after similar high quality results. The enormous number of factors that effect the result of our tests are so many and so varied, that only listening with the intention of finding the best compromise will resolve the problem. Of course there are the issues of peripherals as well. This includes, but not limited to, all the variables of isolation, Interconnect and speaker cables, room dimensions, acoustics, and software. To illustrate my point. I could give at least six names of Audiogon members, who I have met in person after I began postings at Audiogon. Each have visited my home and listened to my system. Each one of them will tell you that the difference of removing even one isolation foot, changing one single wire or removing one weight off the top of a piece of equipment, is so big that it can be heard without any further discussion or tests. I know Jostler3 will not believe this, and I would be ( honestly!) pleased for he or she to come and listen at my home. I cannot predict in advance what combination of removing and replacing parts in my system would provide the most enjoyable tonal balance of music for this specific visitor, but I can absolutely guarantee that the difference will be so obvious, that there will be no doubt that the change was made. Most posters will probably have no problem understanding my assertions, because they have experienced similar results in their own system. The problem with scientific and numerical argument lies in the fact that the conclusions are correct, only if every minute possible variation can be considered in the test. I do not believe that anyone here has the resources to test in such a manner, which leaves the human ear as the only consistent and reliable tool. After all, it is what must live with your final decision in the end, and it will eventually reveal any mistakes you make that are based on prejudice, short term conclusions, or the numbers that science uses to describe only a single test situation.
Nicely stated Albert. I think the challange to the guys who require scientific proof is determaining how to predict the varience, not challange the fact. That would be of value to all of us, to simply hide from the things not understood and claim "science" as your protector is crazy. I just wish Jostler and his like thinking minority would use that potential brain power for something helpful. I'm crearly of a different mind than Jostler in that my whole life is about creativity not fact, but I just can't imagine losing as much of life as I believe he is missing. Too bad for Jostler, it just helps me learn who to listen to for good audio advice. Albert and Sedond you guys are true winners. J.D.
I agree with Albert, that with the inherent limitations, experimental setups generally fall under, vis a vis the complexity of the object in question, the only consistent and reliable tool is our pair of ears. Science obviously cannot help us here, because its premises will not allow as "real", what we, the "empiricists" if you like, are hearing and describing. To discount us all as selfdelusional would be just as simpleminded as to discount the vality of scientific thinking per se. It seems to me however, contrary to Jadem's opinion, an asset to our field , if someone is sceptical and questions, because audio abounds with snake oil peddlers, charlatans and wierdo theories. We are swamped with hype and clever sales talk and who can be really sure, that all that stuff will have no effect on what one "hears".
Lets face it, how can I be sure, that what I hear, is not only actually there but also really an attribute of the object under scrutiny. Not that this really bothers me as an audiophile. As such I am not after scientific truth, but after musical enjoyment. But if a person like Jostler would ask me, if I really were sure, that its the "sound" of this wire or that amp which I am hearing through my speakers, I would even in the best of cases have to admit to a residual doubt. Is there a way out of this fix? Perhaps in part: Through the years we audiophiles have developed a descriptive language, a terminology and lingua franca, which, with the most erudite amongst us, has achieved a high degree of differentiation in the description of what can be heard and under what circumstances. You may think of the mags what you like, but probably one has to admit that languagewise we all have been educated by the likes of Holt and Pearson. Now I may believe, that my Jadis stuff in my system, with all other things being equal, will sound such and such with this particular software and will form a descriptive set of that experience in my brain. If I chance on a post by say RCPrince, who also owns Jadis gear, describing some aspects of what he hears and I compare that to my findings and to those of my local peers with similar setups, I will not entirely lose my doubts about the objectivity of what I hear, but in time and listening to others, I will be able to form a fairly structured opinion of what Jadis gear can sound like. Of course that is not objectivity, only a possible approximation towards it, but with that I can live, like the most of us, quite comfortably. The "scientist" in me might be unhappy of course with that subjective tinge, which will always remain to all our describing, but I'll surely forget all about that, when I am drawn into the music.
Detlof, what you state, reminds me of certain aspects in clinical psychology: Metric personality tests are usually pretty scienceproof, but they tell you either something you already know anyway or will throw light only on isolated aspects of personality. If on the contrary you try the holistic approach in assessing a person and putting that into descriptive language, you are at once scientifically in deep water but often enough closer to the human reality of the person under test. You see, you are not alone in your dilemma.