I just got through reading Jason Victor Serinus's last 2 articles relating to how we judge audio "quality" in "How we see it". He has a real point when he notes that many (if not most) people don't use live acoustic sound as a reference and judge audio qualities very subjectively based on what they "like". I am a strong believer in using real unamplified instruments (including) voice as THE ultimate reference for how a piece of audio gear should sound. It is said that humans have poor "audio" memory but strangely I have found this to be completely false. While it may be hard to "remember" the sonic qualities of a piece of gear auditioned yesterday, the sound of real instruments that one has played with and listened to for hundreds or thousands of hours becomes part of you and something you never forget. In the mid eighties I played in the Jazz performance workshops offered at York University and participated in these ensembles for 3 years during all of the fall, winter and summer academic sessions. All the instruments were unamplified, except for electric guitar and the occasional electric bass. Strangely 20 years later, even though I no longer play, I can identify quite easily when a piece of audio gear gets it "right" using piano, upright bass and cymbals as references. While I may not notice when these are done wrong, I sit up, take notice and know immeadiately when they are being done "right". I find it both amusing and disturbing when I read the endless debates at Audio Asylum or Headfi as people search for, and argue about, their "prefered" sound in audio gear. This strikes me as utter nonsense since to me there is simply "right" and "wrong". The issue is NEVER what I want to hear or whether it is "pleasing" but rather, whether the equipment is capable of transmitting correctness of real live sound (assuming the origonal recording has an element of correctness to begin with). To seach for equipment that has audio qualities one finds pleasing ridiculous and akin to buying a TV monitor that exagerates one's favourite colors. This of course would never fly as a standard for assessing the quality of a video monitor but for some reason is acceptable in the audiophile world. Personaly I think the audiophile community lost it's way when it discarded the notion hi-fidelity as simply the accurate reproduction of the source, nothing more and nothing less. That's why I've lost patience with the audiophile mentality and lean more and more towards equipment used in studio where some semblance of "objectivity" still exists.