But there is this other dimension. In my acoustic guitar design and archival recording I have identified an accumulation factor. Recording engineers and piano techs and other technical artists also experience this phenomenon. When on a particular path of exploration, guided by both cognition and intuition, there are many choices which are not provable or even discernible. But a conglomerate effect becomes identifiable / meaningful over time. There are so many subtle factors contributing to the overall result, that each of them could be ignored or over-ruled, but they can matter in their aggregate.
I think it may have to do with how our brain processes signal and the threshold that it will register a response. For example, our brain could identify a certain amount of echo given the delay after the initial sound arrival. Theoretically, there is echo everywhere, but our brain will only trigger a response only if above a certain delay. If our brain is perfectly analog, then the brain should be able to tell use the exact amount of echo from small to large. But I am glad because we would be driven to crazy if we are constantly bothered by all sort of echo around us. So in a sense, our brain will only let us know if an echo is worth our attention.
I think this is our own built-in "hysteresis" not unlike the hysteresis in for example a thermostat. Let's say you program your thermostat at 70deg with 1deg of hysteresis, then the thermostat would turn on when the temperature is below 69deg and will turn back on at 71deg. Without hysteresis, the thermostat would oscillate constantly at 70deg. In the same sense, our brain would oscillate constantly without a built-in threshold.
So given a small change may not make a difference but as the amount of changes built-up in the aggregate, our brain will trigger a response as if a switch has been turned on.
A lot of people have reported a certain "burn-in" phenomenon in which the changes happened abruptly that lends to a certain mystery only adds to the whole "burn-in" controversy.