One hundred years ago a tinker was a traveling craftsman skilled in the art of metal repair. He would be invited into homes to repair eating utensils and small metal objects.
Today, in our disposable society, there’s no need for a person to repair a mangled spoon or a fork’s broken tine. We just throw it out and replace it.
A more modern usage of the word tinkering might apply to an audio purist’s quest to build a musical system. A modern tinkerer will mix and match components, tweak and tune a system until reaching a new level of purity.
When it comes to high-end audio I cannot think of another personal pursuit that so encourages tinkering. Most endeavors support the use of pre-approved (often brand-specific) components: Canon lenses on Canon cameras, Tesla swag on Tesla cars.
Not so much HiFi. DACs from one manufacturer connect to preamps from quite another and both interconnected from yet a third vendor.
Mixing and matching, tinkering and adjusting, tweaking and tuning.
It’s part of what makes our passion so unique and our results so personal.