A recurrent theme here is that a new piece of equipment, including direction of fuses!, generally sounds better. But then past equipment sounds better when we revisit. And so on. Often, we return to an old generation to revisit its glory.
We may be at the level that this is not a contradiction but a feature. Every piece has its own color. When we don’t have it, we seek it. We like the new color, and then move on to others, each taking a turn as better.
Nothing in audio is the real thing, ie real voice or instrument. These supply illusions, usually most pleasurable though unlikely to ever arrive at finality other than end of the financial or effort investing. Each generation generally adds a new twist, something appealing. But, alas, so did past generations of equipment. They all have something valuable to listen too, to glimpse at something novel about the performer and performance. Like a violin, trumpet, vocal, etc sound we didn’t appreciate before. Likewise even for real voices and instruments themselves, eg Steinway vs Boesendorfer, a performer at different stages of their life.
Equipment perfection is an endless enigma. Oh, what a journey. This is our lucky charm.
My friend has three sets of speakers each of which will be rotated into his system every so often. Each configuration then has its own specific set of speaker and interconnect cables for its optimum playback. That would make my head swim, but he’s done it beautifully, with each configuration in its own way sounding wonderful.
I completely agree this phenomenon exists. Especially in differences in the frequency domain. Warmth, detail and such. But, for me, any improvement in lower noise and higher transparency is something that lasts.
I have done just that. I have the BHK/M1200 combo that I have now decided will be for listening to music and Parasound (solid state) pre and power amps for movies, but will occasionally listen to music through the Parasound. Switching things does allow me to reset my ears. Then i realize what I’m missing, and put the BHK/M1200’s back in the system. I’m not bashing the Parasound, as i really like the Parasound pre/power amps, but am a tube fan and like the magic the BHK/M1200’s have with my speakers.
I always have two or three pairs of speakers on hand. When I get the itch for a new set, I rotate in one of the other two pairs, and that satisfies me without having to reach for my wallet. It’s almost like getting a free upgrade.
To be blunt, it is an outcome of the human propensity to own and revel in the newest shiny thing. I plead guilty to purchasing new gear more often than not simply to have something different in my system. I’ve owned so much gear over the years I can’t remember it all. In my case, I don’t rediscover the glory of my past systems because of some new revelation gained from the newest shiny thing I added to my current system. I constantly remind myself that different in no way makes the many variants of my system in the past any more or less good. I’ve been shopping for a fully restored Marantz receiver and have come close to pulling the trigger to remind myself of how superb it actually was. Same comment for other gear, like the Quatre DG-250 gain cell amplifier that was then and still would be today amazing.
It is probably common that a tweak to improve the overall SQ might eventually become unidentifiable as it contributes to better system sound.
But a thing that sounds bad in my system never stops sounding bad and so it gets tossed. Like a rock in my shoe.