Here are some of my quick notes relating to the new subjective / objective discussion.
- The Sony Qualia 010 has some of the worst measurements on paper of any headphone, ever. (yet, it's legendary, and it sells for more today second hand than it did when it was new)
- Measurements will vary from tester to tester, they're not uniform, look up an IEM, look at it's FR charts from different testers, it always varies.
Example, look at the volume level of the NE-700X here at 20kHz. That looks... very very good. Compare the 20kHz volume to every single IEM here http://sonove.angry.jp/
- Measurements, even from the same tester, don't seem to indicate the overall sound very well, anyway.
Example 1, q-Jays versus Shure SE535 (I've heard both, they sound nothing alike, at all, totally different)
Example 2, Sony MDR-EX700 versus Sony MDR-EX1000 (I've heard both, these sound totally, nothing alike. If anything, the EX700 is famously harsher)
So what does this tell us about audio, at least at the end of the chain? That it's an inexact science. The results vary all over the place, are non-indicative, and don't correlate very well to what we hear.
Keep in mind you can make a Skullcandy look better than a STAX on paper, if you play around with them with an equalizer and effects prior to measurement.
A lot of people like to look at the world in black and white, i.e. if there's no data... it doesn't exist. That isn't reality, there is a lot in this world which exists, with no data or evidence to support it.