This has been one of those read-the-whole-thing threads for me, for substance, links and yucks. Besides that cable/interconnect technology and subjective aspects, the whole area of scientific thought and realization has gotten walked around by you guys in a pretty interesting way. My two cents:
Cent #1: Use to be a "wire is wire" guy with very similar feelings about much other tweaking. Since last Fall, I have gone through entire #1 system with mechanical and cable changes. Went after mechanical linkages (electrical and equipment stability), vibration, electrical noise in the breaker circuits, and nature of my interconnects and cables. The results have been both big fun and audibly very positive improvements. I found a bunch of stuff that worked and worked well together. I listen to old and new musical material with much more emotion involvement and less fatigue. Listening from the other room She-who-must-be-obeyed was so impressed that she accused me of getting all new CDs and vinyl. Which brings me to this question: if, in the recreational pursuit of high fidelity and music enjoyment, a positive effect is realized through a hardware change (even if the positive change is an anomaly), what's wrong with both enjoying the positive change and pursuing further improvement (within fiscal rationality) down the same path?
Cent#2: The physical and biological aspects of this world and reality existed before we did and before human intelligence undertook understanding and explaining these aspects. They did not need our permission to exist. In the last several thousand years, the development of science and the scientific method has done much to identify, measure, and explain various features of the physical and biological world, but certainly not all. During the last thirty years that I have been paying attention, there have been major shifts in what were once well established and accepted scientific facts. Witness particle theory, earth plate movement, and human immune system reactions to name but three diverse areas of changed scientific belief. These shifts came both from new information and from re-examination of old information (often in light of the new). The point is (and it's comforting to me) despite the current powers of scientific measurement and methodology all is not yet known and all is not yet settled. Our scientific toolbox has received some pretty neat recent tool additions and there is no reason to assume there will not be more tool improvements in the future. My question: if a positive audible difference can be obtained from a cost effective hardware tweak, do we have to wait for the scientific methodology and measurement (and actual research) advances necessary to explain it fully before we can enjoy it in our recreational hifi music reproduction?
BONUS CENT: I use to have to have new tech and new equipment models as soon as they were introduced. Photo equipment, motorcycles, guns, and computers besides audio equipment. And then I had to screw with everything to "improve" it. Consequently, I paid for a lot of research and development (both folded into new stuff prices and in my DIY "costs" of stuff improved/broken). Now, I am willing to be six months, a year, even a decade behind some cutting edges. Objectively, the differences are actually quite small and I get the benefit of R&D I did not have to pay for. Subjectively, there is still plenty to screw with and improve (witness Cent #1) and (unfortunately) break.