Objective: expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations (Merriam-Webster)
Arthur Salvatore is an old-timer with an outdated website that contains many fascinating insights into audio. My favorite section describes his "audio philosophy". One aspect which can be put in practice by all of us, concerns his description of "levels of audible improvements":
Here is a graphical summary:
These levels of audible improvements are not intended to be "universal", and they should not be applied "to the letter". I would suggest they should be merely taken as guidelines for each of us to challenge ourselves when evaluating components.
Before publicly expressing one's opinion about a component on a forum, the following questions should be answered:
1) Are the changes consistent in my system ?
- Swap components back and forth, and ask yourselves where on Salvatore's scale you qualify those changes
- Are they consistent over time ?
2) Can others perceive the same changes in my system ?
Invite some friends over (both audiophiles and if possible non-audiophiles), and ask them the same question (Salvatore's scale)
3) Are the changes replicable in others' systems ?
Though not always feasible (size of equipment, Covid, etc...) components should always be evaluated in a variety of systems. This obviously pre-supposes that a good component should perform well in a variety of systems. There are some "dependencies" (ex: impedance matching, etc...), but these can usually be taken into account. Others' systems may be better (which is good) or worse (which may make the changes less audible), which is why one must do this with a variety of different systems.
By following these guidelines, you may actually "make friends and influence people" !