Which color of car do you like the most kid? "NEW".
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Newer, high tech cars can outperform older ones but why do collectors covet and care for older cars, especially high performance cars? There's more involvement required with the requisite skills necessary not to launch it into the weeds, or around a telephone poll.
Just about anyone can drive a new, high performance car up to it's limits, but it takes a skilled driver to bring it back once you exceed the limits. It takes that same level of skill to bring out the best of what was once considered the best.
All the best,
I'm not sure what a musical instrument has in common with cables or tubes, but you are correct, the whole affair does call into question the efficacy of blind testing.
If you read the summary of the test, the unsighted violin players certainly heard differences and were able to differentiate the sounds of the violins. Their preferences are simply a matter of taste, much as one prefers one tube, or cable, over another. Perhaps it is the new violins that are magic, or the original poster, and not the tubes or cables.
New cheaper violins compared to what? Oh Stradivarius? That means those "other" newer cheaper violins could be some of the best recent or currently made violins in the world, some of which are very, very good. Doesn't take much to be cheaper than a Strad, these "cheaper" violins could still cost an easy million. Stradivarius made violins late 1600s-early 1700s, wouldn't that make most existing violins "newer"?
Plus, is every violin player convinced that Strads are the best? Seems to be a faddish opinion. How about Amatis and Guarnaris or a list of other extremely fine violins that most people have never heard of? Was Stradivarius THE only person who ever made a magnificent violin? You can bet that most professional violinists aren't using Strads because old Antonio didn't make many and even fewer survived. So what are all the other musicians using, a cigar box with strings?
The OPs analogy is totally lost on me. Am I to conclude from inference that there is no difference between cables because some violinists picked violins other than those of Antonio Stradivarius? The whole thing is moderately ridiculous and even if it weren't, what does it have to do with audio cables?
Violins, like most wood instruments, need to be played a while to really see what's what in terms of personal preference as they are sort of "organic." A "first blush" test, although interesting, is nearly meaningless. Musicians good enough to play Strads would be using something else if something else sounded and felt better. Nobody really cares what violin a great musician is playing except the violinist, as the thing that matters is what is being played.
Audio gear has a "break-in" period of sorts...warm up, tubes settling in...etc...but wooden intruments change all the time due to humidity, how often they're played, how hard they're played, who sneezed on them and why...Also, comparing new violins to ONE Strad is silly, as that Strad has its own feel and vibe for sure and no two are the same. Interestingly, in the "collectable" guitar world, any mods or refinishing trashes the value, or at least diminishes it greatly regardles of the sound of the instrument, but old violins get neck resets, fingerboard changes and all sorts of stuff to help 'em through the ages usually with no harm to the monetary value of the instrument.