I'm not sure if I'm not making myself clear or what but...
You are making yourself absolutely clear. I have heard it all before. Every time I have had this discussion with "one of the faithful" they think they have some new, revelationary argument or evidence that will make me go "oh, I did't realise that".
But they don't. It's the same old opinions, rumours, and pseudo scientific straw-clutching as before.
So, yes I fully understand you.
A. these people I am speaking of have no financial interest in any of it. In fact some of the gear can no longer be bought due to lack of interest, so it was a pain to even deal with. Since that time other manufacturers have made new gear.
A lot of the people at the forefront of "hires" very much have a vested interest. Linn, for example. Also the studios and anyone who sells "hires" content stands to gain.
There is also a huge "belief system" that underpins this (as well as a lot of other audiophillia). To a degree this is based on elitism and snobbery. A lot of people who have bought expensive high-end systems hate the thought that the same results could be obtained from a mid-range consumer system. It's also based on flawed understanding of digital audio (the Xiph article I posted explains many of the "tricks" designed to fool people). Unfortunately digital audio isn't as "obvious" or as comprehensible as analogue.
I have seen many cases, for instance where people have attributed analogue characteristics to things like digital cables where those changes could not have possibly existed (and have been proven to not exist). The mere suggestion or assumption is enough to trigger the brain into imagining a difference. Noone is totally immune from this, but people who have a propensity to believe that it might make a difference are much more suggestible. Those who have just stumped up a lot of money on an expensive piece of kit even more so!
B. they think, to a great degree "audiophiles" .. the air guote audiophiles.. are indeed "audiopfools" as well.
Yes and no, but I actually think a lot of this is peer pressure, and the Internet has helped with this. If the public wasn't routinely ridiculing things like Brilliant Pebbles and $1500 network cables, I have little doubt that a lot more of the industry would be lining up behind them.
The trouble is there's a fine line between snake oil and science. Despite your assertion that they are against this stuff as much as the rest of us, the industry is awash with snake oil, especially when it comes to cables.
A relevant case in point is Neil Young and the Pono. If someone as big and influential (and experienced in recording studios) as him can flog a nice bottle of "Dr Young's Elixir for the Willfully Ignorant", then the industry is a long way from being out of the influence of this.
As I said, the way to approach this would be to do much more open scientific testing. If you think you have found something that works, test it properly before making claims about how revolutionary it is.
C. They know about the hide a file inside a file and all the tricks
I wasn't saying they didn't. What I was demonstrating is how easily people are fooled. I was showing that people who claim they can hear differences were shown to have been imagining it. As I said, this is a human condition and no amount of training can remove it. Only removing human bias with proper testing can.
D. they have absolutley no reason what so ever to "add xx--xx on" just to be doing it.
No, but if they have valid (if only valid in their own minds) reasons for doing so, then the imagination takes over and we end up with people doing things which don't necessarily make sense.
For example: it is very clear that higher-resolution does make a difference with audio files. Science tells us it does, and the difference between a 8-bit recording and a 16-bit one is very clear. The same applies with frequency: a 24kHz sampled recording sounds far worse than an equivalent 48kHz one.
The trouble is the human imagination tends to extrapolate this: if a 16/48kHz recording sounds so good, surely a 24/96 one will sound so much better. And a 24/192 recording must sound fantastic. And what about 32/384....
The trouble is, these assumptions that the human mind makes are wrong, but we are inquisitive people and that leads to us trying it anyway. And because we are predisposed to believe in things like this, the imagination is very good at filling in the blanks and tell us we perceive a difference.
Once again, this is all human nature.
The reality is a 24/96 format music file is at least 50% full of inaudible (to humans) noise. This has been proven time and time again in rigorous scientific tests. The whole discipline of audiology is based on this (I know because I have a hearing impaired daughter and frequently speak to specialist doctors about it). At best this noise is pointless and expensive (if you are paying a premium for the files and for the system to play them on). At worst it can introduce damaging intermodulation products in your equipment which can degrade the audio.
Now on the latter point, especially given there's some scientific evidence to support it, your would have thought the industry/audiophiles would have jumped all over this. After all "better audio" is the aim, and anything which produces "worse audio" should be considered harmful.
The fact that this has all been roundly ignored by the industry makes me think they are more interested in "better specs" than "better audio".
E. They are -painfully- aware at how their music gets destroyed in manufacturing an delivery
As I have said in other threads, I have no problem using hires in the recording studio. That makes a lot of sense: it gives "space" to manipulate the music in without damaging it. One of the best descriptions I heard (from one of the original developers of the SADiE who is a good friend of mine) was "it gives us an inaudible area to push all of the noise, artefacts, and other rubbish that occur during digital production".
F. Some are mastering engineers and or deal with mastering on a regular basis
And their job is to master to a high a quality is possible. That is not in doubt, nor is their use of higher resolutions.
However, I've yet to see anything other than apocryphal evidence or opinion that these guys can detect the differences between standard and hires audio formats. I'm sure they have convinced themselves they can, but their job relies on them believing in their ability to hear really well. They are prime candidates to be susceptible to confirmation bias.
So again I've tried to make it clear here that these people are not claiming the "better cd" or "my records sound better"... Rather this is what they do to keep the start of the recording / mastering art as high as possible,,,, and I would go so far to say that they are probably way more skeptical than most as to what does and doesn't work.
I have no problem with them doing this. This part of the process should remain committed to aiming for the best quality possible for masters. I will point out that the majority of doing so is not about file formats or technology necessarily, but about the skill of the mastering Engineer. Technology is not always a silver bullet.
These guys are great at their jobs, but proving or disproving the efficacy of different technology is generally not in their skill set, as much as they like to think it is.
If they were all over the map on this, like when someone aks what pickup to buy, which mic, which pre... but this has not panned out that way... that to me is the simple answer. It must actually be real.
As I said, it's a belief system that has been handed down as "assumed knowledge" in the industry. It's also based on a lack of knowledge of sampling theory (I doubt most of the people who work in recording studios have the mathematical skills to fully understand it) and that fact that a lot of things in digital audio are counter-intuitive.
There's also a lot of peer pressure: I know of one recording studio Engineer who challenged some of the industry assumptions and did some tests which disproved the influence of certain things (in his case cables, power supplies, etc.). After doing do he was subject to all kinds of snarky comments and vitriol from his peers.