userlander, I don't want to get into a flame war with you - the main thing is that you are enjoying your choices. I don't pretend that the Head-Fi FOTMs are 'best of breed', but surely you can understand that most of us don't hand over our credit card details for every $99 DAC/amp we come across on e-bay ?
Still say that's "budget?"
At least if it were marketed that way it would be that cost. And in that case, you would probably rave about it.
A lot of people can't see that, though, because of... well, because of hype. That's what advertising budgets are for, and that (and other things) is a lot of what you pay for when you buy your "non-budget" gear. Some people are relatively more immune to that, however, and can hear something for what it is, rather than the price tag attached. That's how you can know when you're not a victim of hype.