Not many of us understand how a modern piece of digital equipment works. Right? We get it about converting analog to digital in big brush strokes, but down to the actual bit level? Not likely. Even fewer could actually program a DAC like Ted Smith does.
And it's not just digital audio that's a mystery. Even something as obvious as speakers can be daunting. Imagine yourself with the chops to take a handful of wires, parts, and a few drivers to create magic like an Arnie Nudell, Dave Wilson, or Peter Walker—even a Scott McGowan whose singular vision of Sprout built a category.
The people that craft the products we take for granted are like sorcerers. They wave their wands, recite incantations, babble bewildering terms like dissipation, filter windows, rise times, latency, and poof! A product that makes music is born.
The trick for audiophiles is choosing which sorcerer to align themselves with. None are perfect, all design with personality.
Instead of blindly choosing a company's products, it's often helpful to pull the curtain back to see if you relate to the wizard operating the levers.
After all, it's magic.