Originally Posted by nicke2323
Now, search the scientific literature and surf the internet for positive ABX tests of modern high-end vs low-end amps and sources.
I don't necessarily disagree with the results or the testing methodology I just don't care for his lack of communication skills and ridiculous diatribes which go against my own experience and that of many others.
One sensible thing he does say is that ultimately listening to equipment should be the final arbiter of whether it's worth paying for or not.
Personally if I am going to spend money on a CD player or amp or whatever I'll read reviews in magazines and online in order to find out what's out there and then go and listen to it at a proper dealer with demo rooms.
Generally I'll compare all the stuff from the magazines and then end up buying something which I hadn't heard of or read about but that the dealer recommends listening to, because it usually turns out to be better. Certainly it all sounds different.
In my experience speaker cables and interconnects make a difference, power conditioning can make a difference depending on your locality and what other appliances are sharing the supply. The size of your room and how well damped it is makes an absolutely huge difference and you need to choose your amp and speakers accordingly.
With digital the speakers and amp can have a greater influence on the sound than the source, but expenive sources do deliver improvements albeit subtle ones and tend to be better made and last longer.
With analogue the source is of primary importance in the chain and the more money you spend the better it gets simple as that. However if it's a turntable you need to put most of the budget into the motorboard followed by the tonearm followed by the cart then the phonostage for the best resuls.
Buying cheaper older stuff on ebay etc is the only thing that's really changed this in the last decade and that makes it easier to try more equipment and pick up the odd bargain. Most importantly this gives the lie to the newer always means better school of thought and removes the root of the main conspiracy theory that disafected online Hi-Fi hacks peddle out, that the magazines are in the pay of the manufacturers etc etc. The market now set's it's own levels.