Living in a vacuum
As much as our mental faculties like to focus on one thing at a time, the reality is we do not live in a vacuum. Everything affects everything else. When we opt for a new phono cartridge it has a very different electrical and sonic character than its predecessor. We'll need to readjust the cartridge loading, perhaps consider the connecting cables, and then at the loudspeaker's output, there's a whole new presentation of music to deal with. Or consider what happens when we change interconnecting or power cables. The signal or AC power may travel unmolested between equipment but what of noise or other upsetting events unrelated to the signal? Do you believe your equipment is immune to noise? Evaluating and judging the impacts of a single piece of equipment or cable within a complex system is a crap shoot at best. You might love what chili peppers do for your dinner but it probably doesn't work in a cake because we don't live in a vacuum. Our 2-channel audio systems are exactly that: systems.
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