Your comment brings a smile to my face. When saying that digital cable impact on SQ amazes me, the last thing I meant was to imply is that digital cables are the only thing that leads to amazing SQ.
After 5 years of reading 10,000 of posts, posting thousands myself and trying many 100's of experiments, I agree, we do not understand many of the underlying mechanisms that impact SQ. I share your frustration with this situation. Nevertheless, we have developed a set of best practices that work.
First, we have collectively crowd sourced the development and production of unique solutions like the Uptone ISO Regen, ER Regen and LPS1.2 that deliver substantial sound quality enhancements by reducing noise, isolating grounds and re-clocking digital signals. The impact of these devices has stood the test of time, and happily the level of commercial success has created enough incentive for these talented people to continue the work. There have been many other companies that have imitated the Uptone devices, another sign of success.
Linear power supply companies, like Hdplex, Paul Hynes, Farad and others continue to innovate based on demand generated from these pages.
Likewise on the cable front, innovations like the Ghent DC cabling, or the Phasure Lush cables, are all based on the JSSG360 ideas offered by John Swenson and further developed and validated by members here.
Software solutions like Roon, Audiolinux, and Euphony continue to make incremental SQ gains with the help of our members.
Lastly we are getting much better at finding the most sensitive parts of the chain, to prioritize the next set of tweaks to enhance SQ. Knowing this guides efforts to find incremental SQ gains from cabling, network configuration, software and hardware tweaks. We have also proven that these enhancements can be replicated and shared with others that validate the enhancements by hearing the same impact.
I suspect that someday sooner rather then later, John and/or Alex will be able to definitively tells us what is happening.
But in the meantime, SQ is at a very high level with clarity, image density and subtle detail that creates a spine tingling perception of realistic presence, a noise floor in the basement and musical enjoyment that is beyond my best expectations. I don't know how much further we have to go, but any progress from here will be gravy.
Thanks again for the smile and Happy New Year,