Originally Posted by OllieS
Sure, what *if* the result was due to a bad test procedure? If the person felt he heard a difference regardless then what does it matter? It's a truism for him.
Their own truth is that they heard audible differences, even if it was an audible illusion. They experienced it as if it were real. Whether it was due to bias, or a bad test, or a mood swing etc is not particularly relevant. The fact is, they experienced something and I'm sure those people can put a value on that change.
It really is IMO accurate to use the drug versus placebo analogy. If I take a placebo and find it reduces my pain, I might run around and tell all my freinds to get the placebo. but the folks who ran the test will know that while my pain may have abated, it was not due to anything the pill contained. Since my reaction to the placebo is internal to my psyche, I'd be well served to figure out how to get the placebo effect whenever I want it without having to bother to ingest sugar shaped into a pill first.
Similarly, when we hear differences in uncontrolled tests, there's a very good chance that the difference was not caused by the change of (name the device: amp, preamp, DAC, interconnect, speaker connect, cable elevators or Shakti stones). Imagining the differences are some subtle but overwhelming indescribable "thing" that only we and our friends can perceive (and don't ask us to participate in a double blind test, please) doesn't make it so. If we've reacted to internal changes in our own attitude or attention, or if there's some other factor involved that actually changed the sound in some relatively subtle way (changing seating positions, for example, will change how tweeter and woofer blend) then we start spending money on the things that don't make a difference, using faulty reasoning to support our likely incorrect conclusions.
On the other hand, if I was allowed to believe that the sugar pill ACTUALLY, through its chemical action, improved my pain, and at some point noticed they weren't working any more I might have less than charaitable feelings toward whichever quack sold me the bill of goods for as long as they could.