No need - ethan pretty much nailed it. Although if you did want to venture there, I must warn you that it's a dark and dangerous place filled with numbers and diagrams. My mindset is of the mathematical sort.
I'm going to take a stab and add that it may be that there are simply too many 10/10s and the original point of the 10/10 was to show the best that he had heard up to that point. Of course, only |joker| knows.
Indeed. The inherent problem with a rating like 10/10 is that it implies perfection. In the absence of perfection I have to make a decision on what is valued most in an earphone and that's extremely subjective. The problem with the CK10, CK100, DBA-02, etc is that it is not difficult to imagine a listener who will absolutely hate each one of them, for different reasons of course. The DBA-02 seems to be slightly less polarizing thus far, perhaps because people are finally doing research before jumping on the bandwagon or perhaps because only those who are convinced that it's the one to buy are patient enough with all of the shortages and delays. Regardless, the CK10 is a perfect example - I think the split is around 60/40 in favor of 'hate' vs. 'love' for the CK10 and I, of all people, can easily see why. For all of the things the CK10 (CK100, DBA-02,, UM3X, IE8, TF10 etc) does better than any other earphone, it takes one or two risks with its sound. With the CK10 that would be the 'hot' treble and lack of fleshiness to its sound but it varies from earphone to earphone.
With the SM3 it's different - I can see someone finding another earphone preferable to the SM3 but I can't see anyone absolutely hating it. In the case of the SM3, the lack of weaknesses is its greatest strength. In that sense, I can't see any earphone that I've heard aside from the SM3 earning a 10/10 - and especially not the current trio, each flawed in its own way. It really doesn't matter what I think about it in the context of my personal (analytical) listening preferences.
Edited by ljokerl - 10/20/10 at 11:46pm