You’re very welcome Greg, hopefully someone with more knowledge than I will chime in.
That’s a long standing argument between vintagers and moderners (are those words?).
Collings set (or fixed or cut through saddles, whatever you like to call them) can actually be removed. I had a D2H-G and actually removed mine to shave off the bottom to lower my action… Big OOOps! It did lower the action and played better. Luckily I went just the right amount on the first try and didn’t cause any string buzzing anywhere. But… That’s when I noticed the ends of the saddle were now lower in the bridge causing an ugly gap right where the saddle curves at the bridge. Oh well, sometimes you learn the hard way. The right way to do it is either make a new bridge or cut down the top, then shape and polish the existing saddle. Now, since the topic of this post is a '37 Authentic, it’s quite possible that it’s saddle is glued in to the bridge. That’s how they did them back then, so if they go to that much detail building an Authentic, it may very well be glued in. But that just means the repairman will either heat and remove the saddle or work on it in place. So, it still can be done! There are thousands of Martins out there with glued in saddles and luthiers see this all the time, it’s just more of a pain.
Back to your question Mark: I doubt if most folks could ever really tell any difference between a cut through saddle or a drop in saddle. I don’t think I could anyway. I’ve heard plenty of lousy sounding vintage Martins and plenty of great sounding modern day guitars. I’ve also heard plenty of exceptional sounding vintage Martins along with modern Martins. Mike R’s Golden Era D-18 comes to mind! It sounds incredibly good!
First of all, the only true way to tell is to have a bridge with a drop in saddle and another bridge with a set saddle and change it on the same guitar. Who would ever go to that lenght? Maybe a luthier with lots of time on their hands! If you use two different guitars even if they’re the exact same guitar built with the exact same specs, same batch of wood, same everything, they’re still going to sound different. The only way to really know, is by expermenting on the same one guitar.
It’s the same argument as Dovetail or Bolt On Necks… Hide glue or Modern glue… it goes on and on. Peronally, it doesn’t reall matter to me how they’re made as long as it’s built well, sounds and plays good.
I do love the looks of a vintage set saddle over a drop in saddle though!