Psychoacoustics is very much a thing, it's just not this thing.
- turning the delay fill down 10dB so that you don't "hear" it at all but instead perceive the main cluster as louder? Psychoacoustics.
- Hearing under 12ms difference from ear-to-ear as stereo localization, 12-18ms as comb filtering and 18-up ms as delay? Psychoacoustics.
- Perceiving louder volume as better sound? Psychoacoustics.
- Hearing Sheperd tones as an endlessly ascending scale? Psychoacoustics.
Psychoacoustics is the ear-brain transfer function. It is important. Hearing is not only integrative, it's lossy. There's a lot of processing involved in hearing. The cochlea is actually a digital vibration array; encoding discrete integers as a continuous spectrum is all psychoacoustics. Psychoacoustics is also cultural and gender-based; the Japanese tend towards "bright" speakers because theirs is a language of vowels so they don't hear consonants as well, thus they emphasize the high end more than Americans or Europeans, for example.
But this isn't psychoacoustics. This is a combination of:
- The Ikea Effect, whereby consumers place a higher value on objects they partially created
- In-group Bias, whereby members of the audiophile community favor products created within the audiophile community
- Choice-supportive bias, wherein those thousand dollar cables must sound good, after all you paid for them
- Anchoring, whereby those thousand dollar cables are a bargain because you could have paid $10,000
- cognitive dissonance.
When this first appeared on the Internet, hundreds of people at the show commented on the video that it sounded awesome, there must be something wrong with the recording, what the fuck, etc. Fact of the matter is, if you're there jamming to Eddie and Crew for however many hundreds of dollars you paid, you aren't going to wrap your head around the fact that it sounds like a Merzbow cover.
Just remember. That's not distortion. It's the speaker flattening.