I’d like to add this: I appreciate the fact that there are two professionals contributing here, despite the fact that there is tension that’s been created by disagreement. I’m trying to read through the commentary to the points being made, the examples being given, and the facts. The reality is, there are many ways to arrive at the same destination. I’ve listened to, and owned A LOT of gear in my life, though none, so far, by either of these designers. Some products allow the music to communicate to you, some don’t, and a combination of components may speak to me, but not to you. I know this isn’t a technical question, but I felt compelled to write it nevertheless.
I appreciate your balanced view on two designers, with very different viewpoints, airing their design thoughts in public. Im fine with it and I hope readers understand that sometimes a statement is so shocking to me that I get a little worked up about it.
I have experienced and previously stated where cartridge loading makes large difference. I love to do things on the fly with minimum time between evaluations. Therefore I built a 6 position load box for my Denon 103 from 10 to 200 ohms, including no load. I can just dial through and listen. The Denon is a cartridge that needs loading otherwise it is bright and harsh. Around 100 ohms it sounds good to me. Below that it gets kinda dead sounding. On the other hand we did the same with the Lyra and no load sounded the best. We had a switch of 12 loads from 3 ohms to no load. From 10 ohms up we heard no difference. The audience was 40 people who generally agreed and were surprised at what they heard.
I fully agree and have stated before that each of us have a system that is "his sound". It can be fun to visit and listen to others sound. Now what does one do when (and this is a horribly delicate situation which I have encountered too many times) one visits a friend and while the owner thinks things are fine the system is actually broken. When I found the bad 6SN7 in the Oppo the owner said it had probably been like that for a month. When we find a speaker out of phase it might have been that way for half a year. When I hear a distorted amplifier and I put it on the bench and find it way out of spec what has the listener been doing?
I visited another audiophile who had $100,000 of good gear in a cubic room about 14x14x14 feet with all hard surfaces and no treatment at all. The room was so live I couldn't even carry on a conversation. I politely said.. "Hey its nice outside can we go sit in the sun and chat" When we came back in to listen he asked me what I though of his system. I told him, Sorry I cant hear the system I can only hear the room. Once again he though because he had good equipment that it had to sound good.
Of course we should trust our ears but where is our reference? How many high end systems are being listened to with something out of wack.
I am likely one of a very few designers that actually will repair others equipment. I do this because I like to see others work, how they make things, how their things perform. I have tested over 400 amps and preamps and can tell you all about what is going on in them.