Just making the point that reality and what we think are often not objectively related. It applies to all aspects of our thought process. John makes the very same points going back to Helmholtz. This understanding is not new and I sure did not discover it so I wonder why it is not well understood? Actually I don't wonder as our public education only teaches to the tests. We have a population with degrees, but no education in the broad classical sense. James Burke talked a lot about that. Really great lectures.
Now I could greatly get going with what is wrong with our simplistic "SINAD" kind of measurements and chasing one number engineering. I will argue back in the early transistor days, to get SNR and THD down meant you usually got a lot of other things fixed. Eventually by the 70's, we found out band-width was the driver for IM. ( Slew/TIM just different ways to look at it) but advertising stayed on the same bandwagon as no one has yet come up with a "musicality" scale. But we do get these limited static tests and they do tell us something, so I argue they are a place to start. In my experience really good sounding equipment measures at least respectively. I can learn a lot from Kipple loudspeaker measurements. ( Yea, I have built speakers for 45 years too). Not everything but a place to start.
I want to know other things because I have designed and built amplifiers and I know what they mean. Few audiophiles are engineers and I don't expect them to be, so Madison Ave, needs some simplistic "bigger is better" number for the rest of the world. After all, we can't trust our hearing and I am sure not going to trust some You-Tuber who never has posted a less than glowing review of anything. Been burned by that myself. Paradigm, Fosi, Parasound, SMSL, and Toppinig at least. Great reviews. Sounded like crap. On the bright side, I would never have found JDS, Schiit, IOTA, March, Tyler, Geselli, or other direct sales who are doing great work. I might have not paid attention to Hegel, Atoll, or even ATI. Gad, I might have a Denon AVR instead of my Anthem! Without You-Tube I would not know how turning down the level in JRiver fixed 99% of my DAC problems.
The only traumatic event I have had listening to music was when I had a CM labs amp that could get unstable and I would hear the heat sink pop and the amp go silent when I was about a foot from the power switch.
You can read my posts or not. Up to you . There is no test at the end.
Remember the old Stax "Nearphones" ? Much better presentation. Big boxes so they did not catch on, but they made use of your full ear. Unfortunately, like all Stax, they really highlighted bad recordings and of course STAX price. I have not heard any modern cans I like so still use my old Yamaha YH-1's. Maybe above a few $K they get better, but I'll never know.
Sigh, the phrase is " Miller time" but for me, that means Highland Gallic Ale. Life is good. Shameless plug for North Carolina craft beers.