Suppose we created a black box into which we could put any form of audio processing and amplification, and fed its output into an array of loudspeakers. Audiophiles could register their preferences for the sound and, based on these preferences, the contents of the box would be modified. The idea would be that, eventually, we would home in on the most desirable audio reproduction system possible because it would be based purely on blind listening tests. As we know, blind listening tests are the gold standard when determining audio quality.
What would this give us?
I suggest that what we would get would be a box that transformed all music fed into it into Dave Brubeck’s Take Five.
It would take an awfully long time. Starting from random contents in the black box, the output would initially be white noise, or silence, perhaps. Listener feedback would be ‘statistically insignificant’. At some point, however, the random noise might begin to resemble a snatch of jazz rhythm which most middle-aged male listeners would latch onto, giving positive feedback. The highest common factor of audiophile listening is, obviously, Dave Brubeck’s Take Five, so from the initial ‘seed’, this piece would eventually crystallise out of the randomness.
[see the comments for a detailed explanation of what this means!]