Back in the days when movie moguls like Louis B. Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn ruled Hollywood, cinematographers used soft lenses to enhance the beauty of their starlets.
The softening of the face was thought to add to the star's beauty because we could not see skin imperfections like pores, wrinkles, and blemishes.
Today, we use razor-sharp lenses and apply makeup to remove the anomalies.
Both techniques were aimed at the same goal of reducing imperfections.
We can relate these practices to our own passions in audio.
Like an over-etched or over-sharpened image, some combinations of cables and transducers go too far by unnaturally emphasizing certain areas of sound (cables by means of unequal attrition and transducers by specific addition).
When this happens we're at first enamored by the increase in detail but over time we're less drawn into the music.
High levels of detail that are not in balance with the overall presentation of the music can act as a harsh light that makes us squint.
Perfection in an audio system is found when we achieve the perfect balance.