I was going to post this in the Unreal Power cable thread, but it got closed, so I make a new thread instead.
A few years ago I compared Virtual Dynamics Judge ($50,000) against the laptop battery. The battery sounded flat, thin, grey, toned down and lifeless. The power cable sounded clearer and more detailed with much larger bass and greater 3 dimensionality.
Having good measured performance doesn't result in better sound.
I added shielding around Nordost Valhalla, it sounded grey and compressed like being choked inside a carpet. It had great measured performance (shield removed many dB of noise), but sounded absolutely horrible. The problem was that the wiring they used resulted in smearing, and the RFI entering the cable compensated for it by making it brighter. The side effect was that the microdetails were gone, which made it appear cleaner, like a field of snow covering up the textured ground. Valhalla sounded exactly like that.
Nordost Valhalla always sounded best without shielding. I placed lots of harddrives around the Valhalla and got better sound, because more noise was entering the cable.
I'm glad that no engineers are making audiophile products. You need to fine-tune audiophile products only with the ears, and throw away the tools. If a cable manufacturer claims that he's an engineer, I immediately close down that website and never go back.
I had my entire system wired with Nordost Valhalla when I was a beginner, but later switched to Virtual Dynamics Genesis which had shielding. Virtual Dynamics used metal powder dampening around the wire that made it sound brighter with a steely sound character, this way it compensated for both the blurry wire and shielding. But they did many things wrong because they used measurement tools half of the time. The hot glue they squeezed into the cable is not good for the sound. If I use one single drop of super glue on a tweak, the sound quality is reduced.
Another thing they did wrong was to use metal powder, it may have good measured performance, but it's horrible for the sound, it makes it sound too mechanical, far from real life. It's better to use crystals around the wire for the most natural sound, and instead of hot glue you use tree fibers. There is nothing more natural sounding than that, and music is supposed to sound natural. Not mechanical and lifeless like engineers do. I'm glad that most engineers are skeptics, then we won't need to endure their horrible sounding cables. The other engineers who are building cables, they should throw away their books and tools before they embarrass themselves further. The only way to build audiophile products is by ear.