(I wrote this in a different thread, but it’s a general observation.)
Looking at all these discussions, the mind boggles.
Indulge me, play through some scenarios.
My son used to play trumpet, he switched to the standup bass, came to my house for a demo, I could clearly tell the difference, even when we did a double-blind test, his girlfriend replace the instruments, I could easily tell. Ridiculous, no?
To stay with the same kind of instrument, my friends and I did a blind test between Kenny G and Coltrane, we got 74% success rate on the difference. Ridiculous.
We did a blind test with recordings of Clapton on acoustic guitar, on his Unplugged album, and the electric he usually used, again we could tell with 62% success rate. Still ridiculous.
We tested speakers, the Wilson Alexia vs. the Bose Wave. Ok, I’m being silly with the Bose. Wilson Alexia vs. Magnepan 30.7, both highly regarded, but of course we could tell the difference, right?
Headphones, comparing the Sennheiser 800 with the RAAL SR1a: no question, both are great but there is no debate about whether we notice the substitution. Right? Or STAX 009, or Hifiman Susvara, or Abyss. Of course, the difference is dramatic.
DACs, it’s more subtle. In my experience, comparing the Chord M-Scaler with the Benchmark DAC3+HPA4, the initial impression is positive on both, pretty similar, but over time, with experience, the superiority of the Chord stack is evident. Ok, superiority is subjective, but the difference became quite obvious.
Ok, now let’s talk about AC power filters. USB direct-connect vs. networked. And optical vs. Ethernet. And USB regenerators and reclockers. And cables, USB and Ethernet. CD resolution or high-res, or DSD or MQA. I’m not going to argue about whether they make a difference. But when you read about people recommending one solution, you often see the phrase “we did this or that test and we could clearly tell the difference.” And people argue about that. And blind tests, and confirmation bias.
You don’t hear people talking about confirmation bias between a trumpet or a bass, or Kenny G or Trane, or Wilson or Magnepan. Or Lagavulin or Southern Comfort.