IMO, historically audiophile tried to get the playback as accurate as possible. The original design all had imperfection because of bandwidth of the devices. There were a lot of smart people came up with lots of good design. The competition was to get the lowest distortion and the flattest response. As technology advanced, the differentiation becomes less and less. Amplifiers become almost interchangable. However, there is a difference in sound between the newer technologies vs old. My friend told me people are just not used to distortion free sound.
This of course has an impact on media circulation. If all amplifiers sounded the same, why do I need review? The media (Stereophile) started promote subjectivity as a measure. Around the same time, Monster cable debuted their cable. Stereophile at the time even made lamp cord on the recommended list. Monster cable at the time was reasonablly priced.
Then came the digital revolution. CD player replaced turntable. There is no longer any adjustment or tuning. The audiophile magazine will be out of business unless there is a new twist. So they are touting cable and subjective listening. Now come the IC power cable, cable stand even a machine (limited edition, why?) that will demagnetize LP, CD and cable. Are you serious?
But consumers are not educated by anyone. Cable being the highest margin item, the sales guys will relentlessly praised them. Magazines are promoting them. There is no consumer advocate to help them. The cable myth exploded. People don't know better.
My opinion is that the quality at the lower end of the market is getting better and better. The price of high end is getting higher and higher. Why would Sennheiser discontinue the HD580 with no comparable product at the same price point HD600, IMO sounded the same as HD580 is twice as expensive. There is a thread on headphones that are giant beater on this board. Someone actually suggested HD580 is a giant beater. Today's "audiophile' have a herd mentality and a fixation on price. If the price is low then it can't be any good. Ah yes, we don't like EQ because it will color the sound, but we loved this $1000 cable because it has a warm tone. You, the noob, after you get the cable don't forget the cable lift and the power cable. For all these purchases, we will give you a discount on these audiophile grade fuses.