I think looking at the system as a whole is key. Using a budget amplifier to drive luxury speakers will generate sound, no question, but is that a "good" system? There was a quote in one of the papers I linked to that was nearly identical to a quote from someone Gene interviewed re: the importance of the source you use watching video (I think they liked to download the 4K videos into a proprietary playback system vs streaming). The guest said emphatically, "your system is only as strong as its weakest link". Gene probably remembers which guest I am referring to, Anthony Grimani was the other guest in the interview. As for a budget product vs a luxury product what you pay vs what you get is where measurements can be useful. The thing they emphasized in one of the studies I posted is just how many measurements are NOT useful. It seems the author felt one of the BIG differences in SQ in any component or interlink was the noise measured needs to be low, the lower the better.\n\nHere is a quote that directly addresses the topic of this thread:\nAudiophiles sometimes view cables as “tone controls”, thinking that their effect on timbre is the result of fine changes in frequency response. This notion is wrong.* \n\n*Source-pg 409, section 3.2-\nhttp:\/\/boson.physics.sc.edu\/~kunchur\/\/papers\/Audibility-of-cable-pathways--Kunchur.pdf\n(also look at the table in fig 5, pg 408, the noise spectra in the cables compared.)\n\n\nHow does using cables as tone controls work for audiopiles when their mantra for more than 50 years has been "NO TONE CONTROLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' and "the perfect amplifier is defined as 'a straight wire with gain' "?