This reminds me of a discussion I had with my father some time back. Basically, he and his friend & colleague (both of whom are engineers) said something akin to - " The truth is something we agree upon". Now it might be a case of semantics, but I fundementally disagree with this stance. I believe that the truth is the truth no matter what us humans figure out about it. Now clearly, what we believe to be true at any given time is the best approximation of truth, but we must always be open to the truth being something else than what we currently believe is true. Anyways, again I am having some difficulties placing myself on the spectrum of objectivist - subjectivist. Here are my rough definitions based on some years reading on head-fi, reddit etc.. Objectivist: - All DACs sound the same, this is a fact (given comptetent manufacturing/design) - All amplifiers sound the same, this is a fact (unless badly made/tube etc) - Headphones sound different, but its mainly just a matter of EQ - "Detail" is actually just treble heavy signature - Any headphone rig exceeding 600$ including amp and DAC is a matter of taste, not of quality (so for instance, HD650 cannot be beaten in a technical aspect unless you prefer a brighter signature, or more bass) - You can tell how a headphone sounds based on its measurements, any quality stated beyond that is simply "perceptions" and essentially disposable impressions. Subjectivist: - Believes DACs sound slightly different, but with the differences being impactful - for instance adding a sense of space to recordings, lowering treble spikes, tighter bass response etc. (not measurable afaik?) - Believes amps sound different but even less so than DAC, except when speaking of electrostatic amplifiers, in which the differences seem to be viewed as more important than DACs - May or may not believe cables sound different - Believe a wide range of headphones deliver a wide range of different levels of quality, so for instance clearly there is a host of headphones performing strictly better (to their ears) than HD650, but not necessarily HD800. It seems most agree that its a matter of taste once you get to around HD800 and up. - Believes that measurements is only one part of the puzzle Now clearly, at least around these parts, objectivists and subjectivists seem to agree that the perceived differences are real. Then we have to ask ourselves, well why do we perceive these differences? Is there a difference in sound, or is it completely made up in our minds? This is interesting because to me, both stances seem reasonable. It makes completely sense to me that biases and expectations would sway the way I think of equipment. It also makes sense to me that those biases could make me hear something isn't actually there. For instance, looking back at it I remember going from my modi MB DAC to my Gustard X20 Pro and I felt it did EXACTLY what I hoped it would do - make the sound a tad bit more flat/even sounding and bigger overall sound. Thats a bit strange, isnt it? I expected it to do that, and it did that. Thats weird, that doesn't logically make sense. That sounds like a bias at work. At the same time, I can remember listening to my rig before purchasing and being annoyed several times at certain point in songs, at several different moments thinking that this is the one imperfection I want taken away. And once I did upgrade my DAC, after months of deliberation, I never once had any complaints. I really did find the rig to behave exactly like I wanted it, and I stopped looking for upgrades. So was I never annoyed with the sound in the first place, convincing myself that I needed to waste hundreds of dollars on a big box to take up desk space? Or was I in fact annoyed with the sound, then once the new DAC arrived, I just masterfully learned to simply ignore it to fool myself? I am looking at other aspects of my life, and I find that my view of the world would be wildly different if it turns out that my enjoyment of any experience was such a big subject of my biases that I am essentially never able to judge somethings quality without considering a host of other factors before it. When I buy a pair of shoes, I like to think that I am completely able to judge its comfort based on its comfort, not if its a 100$ adidas shoe or a 300$ adidas shoe. Earlier today, I sat outside bathing in the sun - I live in the city, close to a road with lots of traffic. I closed my eyes and listened to the cars driving by. I considered how hard it would be for me to recognize the sound of a semi trailer driving past if I didn't already know that semi trailers drive past the road that is there regularly - if I had no concept of where I even was, who knows what my mind told me that sound would be. A train? Some strange machine flying in space? Me being carried away rapidly past a factory? I can't help but consider that blind testing seems to be a weak sort of proof, but at the same time, clearly biases play in to a large degree also, especially in this community. It feels as if the truth is somewhere in between, its hard to say I am a strict objectivist because it just doesn't sit right with me that its all bias.