How many levels are there?

We high-enders are forever taking things to a new level. Cleaning our vinyl with SludgeGone takes us to a new level. Changing interconnects takes us to a new level. Installing tube traps takes us to a new level. Someone observed the other day that changing from glass-based to ceramic-based fuses took him to a new level.

My question: How many levels exist? Can they be quantified? Is it possible to develop an audio quality scale?

Twice in the last week, I've read reviews (different venues; different reviewers) that noted that various tweaks were sonically "equivalent to a cable change." This suggests some internal quantification.

Hmmmm...some people find a cable change pretty significant. Maybe we need a smaller unit...the improvement rendered by a really small tweak, like changing your spikes from steel to titanium. Let's call that a TWEAKLE.

Let's see....

Ten "TWEAKLES" equals one "CABLE'QUIV" and ten "CABLE'QUIVS" equals one LEVEL? Would that be about right? Let's just call them Twees and Quivs and Levs, for short.

If this works, we can be much more helpful to each other in resolving our perennial audiophilic conundra. "Well, Kelly, I'd say those new Sovteks bumped things up by at least half a Lev." "No way, dude, they aren't worth more than a few Milliquivs." "You're right, after I listened for a few days I realized that they didn't make a Microtwee of difference.

And how many Levs in a Nirvana?

Inquiring minds wanna know....
Bishopwill, we already had Lev's, just call Mark and ask him. He will probably tell you that Lev's are the ultimate measurement in audio :^)
Bishop; as I've made upgrades to my stereo system over the last ten years, I give each new "level" reached a numerical designation, eg I started with "Stereo Rig #1" (SR#1) which was a $250. boombox (each upgrade had to be "significant"). Now, 10 years later I'm at SR#19 (and about $40K), but still can't see the "TOP". It may be like climbing Mt. Everest and being just 100 ft. from the peak, but still unable to see it 'cuz a helluva snow storm is ALWAYS going on.

Your proposal has merit-- if you can define your terms in an absolute way that makes sense to all us audio geeks-- seems like that's what the "Objectivists" want too, but it's not presently possible. Cheers. Craig
will: just wonderin' if you had anything to do with naming the 4 varieties of quarks. IAE, i think there must be an infinite number of levs. if it were not so, stereophile would have told you. -cfb
There are 17 levels. Trust me on this one.
Yes, Herman, but there are hidden bonus levels.

No, I named the four varieties of Nirvana:

You're looking at this wrong - there are the different gradations of improvement, as described, but they're not interchangeable. You start out upgrading Levels and then realize that everything you try, while improving the sound, doesn't give you a whole level. You're at level 9 at this point and you need a new scale. So, to use your terminology, you start looking for CABLE'QUIVS of improvement. Over time, CABLE'QUIVS become an extraordinary improvement. A couple CABLE'QUIVS of improvement "blows away" any competitor. To fellow audio "crazies" who are still working on Level improvements this sounds absurd - how can a cable make as much difference as I just got by upgrading my speakers and amp? After a while, it becomes difficult to find even a CABLE'QUIV of improvment, so the scale gets redefined to TWEAKLES and you're off again. -Kirk
I once (yes once) read a great write-in letter to stereophile. The guy was remarking on the high cost of krell 'the path' and other speaker cables. ( I think they were about 1200 or so).

Anyway, to paraphrase extensively, he determined the 'foot stomp unit' as a quantifier and baselined using his new Madonna album as having 150 fsu's ( since he figured he stomped his foot 150 times during the playing of the album).

From this he came up with $15/150 fsu, or 10 fsu/$. From this he determined that he would need to stomp his foot 12,000 times for the cable to have equal value for money.

This guy makes sense.
I personally think it's a full circle that some of us eventually will go through when upgrading our equipments. I started with a simple components, then upgraded these components, then came the special interconnects, swapping out manufacturers' power cords w/ after market power cords, soon it was introducing a power cleaner, next came the isolation balls & spikes, now I just want a to get back to simple basics. Make any sense to you guys?
There are NO levels. It's a continuum with noise on one end and musically-activated bliss on the other. Use whatever means works: changing seats at intermission, playing with your system and its components, playing a musical instrument,
or varying your SSRI!
I saw one of the forum topics on Audiogon is, paraphrasing, why are there not more people into high end audio? I think this is because, in order to be an audiophile, you have to have the penchant to never be satisfied.

Never being satisfied might sound bad. Ok, lets say we are high achievers who are always looking to set new goals once we achieve old ones. Yes, and in this manner of speaking, the levels of audio is possibly quite infinite.

Ofcourse, not just infinitely large, but there are infinitely many tweakles like dots on a numberline.
From time to time I think I am there. Then, I make the mistake of auditioning new cords or equipment and find I have not reached the final level. It is kinda like golf. You keep refining the game, with occasional setbacks. For me, the key is keeping the music more important than the quest for the delivery system.