The most missed obvious tweak of all

The greatest tweak of all. Just when it got to the point where I thought I had a serious problem with my hearing I went to the docter. He said "get the wax out of your ears and you'll hear again" and then he laughed. He cleaned my ears with this syring type looking thing(painless) and voila, I am fixed. Apparently there is no way to keep your ears free of wax and the reality is that once in a while you have to get your ears flushed.
Everything sounds wonderful. I can hear again.I've got a couple of decent systems. Now that I can hear them!
You Bet! Everyone should buy a home ear cleaning kit for five bucks at the drug store. I wish a clean out the old mindset kit was as easy.
It is disapointing that few audiophiles bother to learn about how our hearing actually works, so they can proceed from that knowledge rather than from obsolete engineering assumptions. Digital processing allows for masking, unmasking, and a host of other controls which affect the sound much more than the difference between wires, amplifiers etc. Our computers allow us to experiment at home in ways that just a short while ago were only possible in labs. This is known by many in the industry, but resistence to learning is fierce. The marketing of expensive tone controls continues unabated.
I have to have this done every couple of years myself. Some people are more prone to wax build up. It does make a significant difference. If you are prone to this, do it regularly at relatively short intervals, every year for example. If you wait too long and the build up gets too plugged up, then they really have to drive the water in with the syringe to break it up and get it out. I can assure you from experience, it will most definitely hurt.
Can you elaberate exactly what you mean by digital unmasking and masking. I did not understand your post but would like to.
The common way of having ones ears flushed or cleaned by a physician is to have them Syringed and it is a relatively painless procedure. I had my ears syringed this past weekend and it did not hurt. My ears were badly blocked and the Dr reccommended that I soak my inner ear first but I just had him do it. In my extreme case where I was badly blocked the Syringe or flushing, there is no needle at the end of the syringe but it has the water rotate and flush out the wax, was not painful at all but refreshing. It was mildy uncomfortable but it did not hurt in any way.It actually was very relieving.Do not be afraid to have this done. IT IS NOT AT ALL PAINFULL AND IS WORTH THE RESULT OF CLEAR PASSAGE OF SOUND TO YOUR EARDRUMS.It is normal hygene which a lot of us take for granted. My Dr said there is no avoiding having your ears flushed as it is not possible to safely remove wax from your ears yourself.
The last time I had my ear canals cleaned, the only thing that came out was flakes of pure gold.
i recently had my ears cleaned and out came several magic pebbles. I strategically placed them in my listening room and guess what: the highs were extended, the mids more emotional, involving, and organic, and the bass was tighther with noticeably more slam.
Mitchb, it probably depends on your doctor and on your condition. I have been personally cleaning by own ears for the last 50 years. Initially, doctors had recommend removal of my adenoids because my hearing was off. Then a ear doctor looked into my ears, which one might well expect would be a first thing to do. He found a quarter of inch in diameter and better than a 1/2 inch long plug of wax. It could not be flushed out, but had to be softened and carefully removed.

Thereafter for many years I had to yearly go in to have the wax removed. While my condition was severe, he said that many have ear wax accumulation. At some point a doctor told me I should invest in a rubber ear syringe and flush my ears every three or four months. He said to follow the directions carefully as you can damage your ear drums. I have done so since and many visits to a doctor for my physical have always found him satisfied that my ears are clean and have no problem. Usually, I do not need to soften the wax as warm water makes it soft. Sometimes I then put several drops of alcohol in to dry my ears.

I actually notice that I loose high frequencies in my left and most troublesome ear. When I hear this as I did this last week, I know I have been remiss and need to flush my ears. I did so this morning. I notice after getting plugs out what everything has more high frequency content.

If you have a yearly physical and the doctor checks your ears and makes no comments, you probably have no problem or benefit from cleaning out your ears. I have such good fortune.