Good for you.
An individual decision that I have no problem with.
Not everyone has a large disposable income, those are the ones that I am speaking to.
You can have good sound without paying exorbitant amounts of money.
Everyone who comes to my home when I'm playing music remarks on how good my system sounds. Tight yet deep bass, crystalline highs and a warm midrange (my speakers have a 3" dome midrange).
The great majority have spent several times what I have spent and yet have inferior sound.
One word: Bose..
If you had said that in the last melodramatic thread you were involved in I think you'd have a bit more goodwill towards you on the forum, as a lot of what you're saying makes a good deal of sense. It's just that when you come across as lambasting people for their personal decisions (whether you mean to or not, you do quite often) it's bound to get them upset - especially when you don't know their circumstances.
Here is something that you may be forgetting to consider (maybe not, I don't know):
I believe that my old amp, a misterX built solid state PPA 2.0, was more accurate and true to the source than my modified Melos. HOWEVER - I vastly prefer the way that the Melos presents music to me. Why? Because I'm not trying to be true to the source - I'm trying to be true to real life.
I am attending one of the best conservatories in the world for piano performance. I spend hours each day playing on grand pianos worth more than most people's cars. I know exactly what a piano sounds like - and it's not what I hear when I use most solid state amplifiers. However, my Melos sounds just like a real piano, despite being measurably "worse" than a solid state unit. How can this be?
Quite frankly, as I'm sure you know, most music is mastered terribly today. Overmastered, actually. The gain is crancked and it's compressed to hell. In short - most recordings of a piano fundamentally don't sound like a grand piano. So in other words, the solid state amp is faithfully producing a flawed sound.
Now i'm not saying you can eliminate the flaws in the original recording. However, there is no doubt that the added harmonic distortion present in my Melos tube amp SOUNDS LIKE to my human ears (even though it isn't) the lushness and warmth missing in the piano notes. If you can't have a perfect recording, I'd at least like to have one that SOUNDS like the perfect recording. I don't particularly care if it is as long as it sounds like it is.
And THAT'S why I prefer tubes to solid state. They may not be able to produce the source as accurately as solid state, but they produce real life more convincingly. And believe me, I know what real piano sounds like.
Of course, keep in mind that everything is in my opinion. Everyone has different ears, but mine are all I care about when spending my money (and they are quite good, if I do say so myself). As a college student, believe me when I say I wish I could get the osund of my Melos at a $100 price point. But quite simply, I can't. And as a music major, I think it makes more sense for me than most to spend a good deal of money on a headphone setup when there is a great deal of required listening in the curriculum.
That said, I hope you stick around. You make people think, which is always a good thing. If you hadn't started this thread, I wouldn't have realized how very little I do know about the science behind distortion.