Hi guys, not interested in another cable war but....
My belief is that the placebo effect has a great influence in this matter. In fact, it even satisfies several scientific criteria, including the ability to be predicted and to be reproduced.
If the argument were about whether wires have any physical property differences, then those can likely be measured. But that has never been the argument. The "war" (if you will) was always about whether the wires could alter the sound. (i.e. sound different).
Electrical property measuring tests that remove the actual hearing participant (the human) seem like they would be useless in an attempt to discover this answer. By removing the human from the equation, you remove half of the information needed to form a conclusion I would think.
We all know that merely showing the audiophile the type of wire being used will alter the sound to them, and so the question really has but one logical answer in my opinion. Wires can alter the sound unless you skew the test by eliminating an important constant...the ability of the audiophile to know which cable is in use.
Just because I admit that the sound variance may be influenced by properties other than those that are physical in nature does not mean that I think the sound (or perception) has not changed for the listener. There have been experiments with green ketchup that demonstrate it tastes different than the red variety (according to the participants who could see the ketchup), when there was actually no chemical difference between the two other than the tastless food coloring.
The human psyche has a very powerful influence on our reaction and indeed our physical being, and I believe it works in both directions. I think that those that claim the wire can make no difference in the sound are just as influenced by the placebo effect as those of the opposing view. In other words, it is my opinion that if you believe it cant, then it wont...If you believe it can, then it will.
If you are of the belief that your mind does not, or can not influence your perception and even your senses, then this is where we will just need to agree to disagree. My stereo sounds better (to me) in the dark. Why? Because I can focus on it better without that one sense (vision) being as active as it would be in a lighted room. Nothing physically changes except the light being on or off...but my perception of the sound changes.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe that it is neither all physical nor all psychological, but rather a combination of the two, and in varying proportions depending on the predisposition of the individual. But, I guess that could be said for most anything really.
As for me, I use a good quality cable. You wont find any really cheap stuff in my rig, nor will you find any that costs more than the gear it is hooking together.
Everyone should buy whatever brings them the most listening pleasure, for whatever reason that may be. No justification needed.
Happy listening everyone.