Thank you, May, for bringing this back out of the ditch. Quite a post you've done there! Do you think anyone will respond or was your post too long for them? How much they have to read seems to always be a sticking point in these "discussions".
"Polarities" and "Electrets"! OK, I was ready to play with some pidgeons but I wasn't ready to jump into that end of the pool. Now I've got to swim or at least tread water. Do you have any more information on this thinking?
Then, I wonder if you might address this thought also. You say, "But you CAN change the SOUND by doing any of those things - AND create better height in the music, better width, better depth, better separation of instruments, better definition etc and this is EXACTLY what numerous people have been reporting !!!!! From EXACTLY the SAME digital information on the disc !!"
I know all those who have been protesting will take this as an insult and it is not meant that way but ...
What if someone simply doesn't perceive those qualities? What if height, depth, separation, etc. means nothing to them? This has been my experience with many clients over the years, they do not hear those qualities that I and others hear that define for me - and others - the differing nature and quality of a component's performance. I have seen many a clinet of mine and other salespeople who has chased the "perfect sound" for years and invested enormous amounts of time and cash into securing what they believe is being described in the magazines. Each new component brought them more frustration rather than more happiness. Finally, the day comes when they have invested too much and heard too little and they decide it is all a sham. Every one of them has gone back to the extreme of a $150 receiver or a $400 power amp being all that's required by them for good sound.
I've never had a problem with this if that is how they prefer to listen. What I've had a problem with is their insistence that we all get dragged back into the bushes with them. They cannot get over the idea someone else might actually be hearing the qualities they describe.
Like I said, this is not meant as an insult but it is what I have seen happen more than a few times.
I don't know these people on this forum well enough to say that is what has happened but the more they say, the more they sound like each client I had who gave up in frustration. They all fell back to relying on machines to tell them what to believe and they all fell back to everyone being dishonest if they could not hear what was being described.
Many of them were technicians, engineers, designers, etc. who had the machines to prove to themself they could not hear what they wanted. Many of them were musicians who would choose an instrument not for the wood or metal used in construction but the way a single, individual, inanimate instrument played in their hands or an amplifier sounded in the studio. But they denied the same qualities when it came to home audio.
And then the arguments started and the accusations flew. The ones who started every thread or conversation with an accusation of dishonesty were the easiest to spot for what they heard and what they did not.
I can only guess they will never hear "Electrets" and "Polarites" and the effect they might have.
The fact that they can hear improvements from a digitally encoded disc must be as incomprehensible to them as it is to Welsh Hi Fi and Ethan !! But, having tried that particular technique, they are prepared to describe to others what they have heard !!
And, somehow, I suspect those people who have heard the difference are not as shy about admitting what they perceive as some others might be and not as influenced by what cannot be possible.