I, too, think the endeavor was worthwhile, despite the results and what any would have to say (pro or con) about them. Because penn admits to not being neutral, that leaves the door open for suggestions that the listening portion of the tests are compromised. I don't think it helps to go there. Neither does it help to ignore science in an attempt to get at what's going on in the complex interactions that take place between components and the cables that connect them.
I have no axe to grind either way really, but my general thought has been that differences are possible in theory due simply to the number of variables involved. And yes, I have heard some differences in my system upon changing an IC cable. But this was in one particular spot in the chain (preamp to power amp), it wasn't a listening test (just regular listening, plus the change was out of necessity and guided by my wallet rather than hype), and while the difference was noticeable but subtle (to me), I know one person's "subtle" is another person's "dramatic."
Anyway, the debate will continue, and my hope is that it does so without the all-too-frequent negatively-charged talk that renders rational discussion difficult or impossible.
For what it's worth, I saw this on Wireworld's website. While they are a vendor with a product to sell, I like their general approach:
EVALUATING CABLES OBJECTIVELY
The superior fidelity of WireWorld audio cables can be demonstrated in objective listening tests, which show that they sound more like a direct connection than other cables. They also preserve square wave test signals better than other cables. However, laboratory testing and specifications can be easily misused in cable marketing and are often misleading. Test instruments are useful tools for product development and quality control, but the most important cable parameter of all is value, which can only be measured with human perception.
Some people still doubt that there are any real benefits to upgrade cables. A few double-blind ABX cable tests, which failed to prove that any cable differences were audible, would appear to support that position. However, ABX style listening tests were proven to be ineffective in the development of the compressed audio formats, such as MP3, and are therefore of questionable validity in cable testing. The listening tests performed by the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and WireWorld are ABC-hidden reference' tests, which utilize a control' such as a bypass (i.e., a direct connection). WireWorld has promoted double-blind cable tests for over a decade, because they provide valuable answers when they are done correctly.
In the fifteen years since we developed and patented The Interconnect Comparator, our ongoing double-blind cable bypass tests have revealed that the most consistently audible cable effects are the tonal and spatial colorations caused by electromagnetic (inductive) interaction. Material upgrades can provide worthwhile improvements in fidelity, but sonic neutrality and transparency can only be achieved by thoroughly optimizing the inductive properties of a cable until it preserves the natural harmonic structure of a direct connection.