Doing this in the digital realm is a whole extra level of crazy.
Since the placebo effect is really only particularly relevant in some "human-subject sciences" (medical and some social sciences), sure.
But the question here seems to be more whether someone can get an MS in the hard sciences without applying scientific thinking to all decisions in their life, for which the answer is obviously yes. It's actually to be expected to a certain extent; not every decision is worth the same amount of attention, and subjective impression is often a good enough basis when the cost of a bad decision is fairly low. (And I suspect most people who criticize particular instances of this in others do it plenty themselves.)
Also, in some places, there are people who can get an MS in the hard sciences without applying scientific thinking much at all. Fortunately, they (mostly) get weeded out when they're called upon to do actual work in whatever field they claimed to have studied.
ps: this stuff is also achieved in iOS devices. Mind-blowing as that may seem.
pps: just playing audio files is not, in general, latency sensitive, so larger buffers can mask more egregious cycle wasting in the setup and other overhead. Playing sound effect files (gunshots, squealing tires, etc) is however latency sensitive, and there can be many at the same time, so there we shoot for smaller buffers and pay more attention to overhead reduction. In both cases, however, we never start outputting from a buffer that is not filled. Cacheing issues mostly, and also scheduling. Usually that is shared memory, even core to core dual cache shared, with the audio handled in its own subsystem, so there are some very subtle issues at the extremes we work in.
(I'll leave the Monster cable manutroversy out of it here:)
Opportunities here. "Oh, you want the audiophile quality version of the firmware? That's a separate download, from our degaussed and quantum-aligned servers, just a sec..."
Re cables etc - there was $1m dollars offered to anyone a few years back who could disprove the audiophile nonsense:
For example, one of the responses proposed pre-loading a large fully-rendered audio segment onto a DMA buffer to remove the CPU from the latency-sensitive pipeline entirely.
Even if this did matter, it's still bullshit. Memcpy isn't going to add latency and jitter over some "optimized" copy routine. And C++ new certainly isn't going to be better than malloc, when it's almost certainly calling through to malloc.
Audio is full orders of magnitude less data and this is on hardware that's 20 years newer. With any reasonable buffer size this is a slam dunk, unless perhaps you're really concerned about latency.(In which case automatically streaming multiple megabytes of audio data across DMA isn't going to help you either.)
They are more like techniques for creating April Fools jokes...
>For example, one of the responses proposed pre-loading a large fully-rendered audio segment onto a DMA buffer to remove the CPU from the latency-sensitive pipeline entirely.
You missed the fact that that response was taking the piss of the initial post...