Let me try to make this point in a different way. I will describe why the notion of accuracy is subjective.
First, let's make clear we are only talking about the case in which there is an original acoustic event.
Second, let's say that we are comparing two different ways of reproducing that event. The following things might be different between the two:
- microphone placement and/or stereo configuration
- microphone frequency response
- microphone polar response pattern
- microphone nonlinearities
- speaker frequency response
- speaker polar radiation pattern
- speaker position within the listening room
- speaker nonlinearities
- listening room configuration and treatment
For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume electronics are perfect, so that everything from the electrical output of the microphone up to the speaker inputs are exact.
Third, let's assume that the listeners were present at the original event and that they noticed certain things about it. Let's say they are noticing fairly sophisticated patterns, like differentiation of rhythmic character between phrases (something a musician with extensive training might notice). This kind of pattern emerges from a complex relationship between many individual events. I.e., there are many note attacks with different articulation and timing, and TAKEN AS A WHOLE this concept of "rhythmic quality" emerges. A musician might spend decades refining both their production and perception of rhythmic quality, and their ability to perceive fine differentiations.
Now let's shift to a visual analogy. Let's suppose we have an original visual scene of a person, and we have two photographs of it taken with different lenses, films type (color qualities), perspectives, etc.
When looking at a person, there are many details to notice. There are areas of different colors, shapes, brightness values, etc. These are the details. There are also EMERGENT properties like body language, emotion on the face, etc.
I find there is a widespread misunderstanding among objectivists, a little point that seems to be better understood by subjectivists.
Myth: "when looking at a scene or listening to a sound, you perceive everything."
That's not true. There are an infinity of possible emergent patterns within a perceptual field and no one notices them all.
One person might look at a photograph and perceive every single shape, line, and color within that photograph, but fail to notice body language or emotion. An autistic person might do that, for instance.
Another person might focus primarily on body language and emotion, but not consciously notice the shapes as much.
YOU NOTICE WHAT YOU'VE PRACTICED NOTICING.
Everyone from an early age has developed an interest in certain patterns and has focused more on those patterns than others. If they undergo artistic or musical training, their emphasis on certain patterns might be reinforced even more at a deep level.
So when you ask two people to judge the accuracy of a reproduction, whether visual or acoustic, their answers will be relative to what they've spent their lives focusing on.
An instrument builder might respond primarily to timbre, while a percussionist might respond primarily to rhythmic quality.
So, perceived accuracy is subjective, is relative.
I anticipate that an objectivist is going to respond something analogous to this:
"Emergent properties don't matter, because if you get all the shapes, lines and colors right, it won't alter the emergent properties"
But we are comparing reproduced sound fields that differ from the original. There is no doubt they differ and that those differences are audible. Many important comparisons will include two devices with audible nonlinearities.
It's simple. We are comparing two objectively inaccurate reproductions and determining which one is perceptually most accurate.