Do cables matter? Do amps sound different? Do tweaks work? What can matter? While AK hasn’t seen the level of flaming about these topics seen on other sites, a number of recent threads in various forums seem to be getting there. This post reflects my thoughts about how we can talk about this stuff here in the spirit of AK’s “All Audio, No Attitude” slogan. I’m writing as a member of the AK community, not as a moderator, so don’t take anything here as official AK policy. My gear is fairly high end by AK standards, and I do think amps sound different and cables matter, that not all digital sounds the same, and that some tweaks are worth trying. On the other hand, technically implausible explanations bug me, and I want to understand why things sound different to me – and explanations that don’t make technical sense to me discourage me from spending my money on certain things. There’s stuff out there that I think is silly, but that others seem to accept as reasonable. I might say “I don’t see how that could work” or “to me, that doesn’t seem worth trying” – but I’m not going to say “only an idiot could fall for that snake oil” even if I sometimes think it. Why? Two reasons – that’s no way to talk to each other, and I have lots of experience with changing my opinion. I used to think that cables didn’t – and couldn’t – matter, until it was demonstrated to my satisfaction that they did, at least a little and at least some of the time. I know that there are people out there who think some of my opinions about audio gear are silly and can’t be scientifically supported – and when they know their technical stuff I’m willing to listen as long as they’re civil to me. A member here recently put it this way in a private conversation: Of course that shouldn’t happen. The problem is, the tone of such responses is usually not so straightforward - it is more along the lines of "You're an idiot for thinking that you can use spaghetti as speaker wire." Or if the original response was just stating a scientific fact, someone else comes along and takes that as an excuse for mockery. What’s more, the science often isn’t indisputable – there’s a lot to measure, and a lot left for science to learn about relating measurement to perception. The same member went on to say Speaking for a moment as a moderator: It’s hard to moderate this stuff without appearing to (or actually, sometimes) taking sides, and none of the moderators would claim we’re perfect. What’s more, we all have opinions – which cover pretty much the whole range of possibilities – on this stuff. But if you look at the threads that have been locked, it is because the civility got lost, not because of the opinions expressed – at least that’s what we’ve tried to do. OK, moderator mode off. Bottom line, my opinion on how to discuss this stuff: 1. Remember that your opinion is an opinion, and others have other opinions. And yours may change (if you’re not open to that, why discuss at all?) 2. If you know the technical stuff, try to share it in a way that doesn’t insult others. 3. Keep in mind that nobody’s opinion invalidates your choices, if you’re happy with them. Carry on.