What a great thread!
In 2008, I was well-down the road of audiophilia. More precisely, I had a condition known in pro-audio circles as Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or GAS for short.
Anyway, one evening I was getting ready to buy a Beresford DAC/Headphone amp, and was doing the requisite Google search for op-amps to play with once I got the Beresford. During my search, I came across issues of the Audio Critic. I started reading. A week later, I was still reading, and left the Beresford op-amp rolling thought well behind me. I had a living room clogged-full of Parasound amp and pre-amp, Definitive Technologies speakers and dreams of buying more and more cables and interconnects and...you get the picture.
A year later, I had Ohm Micro Walsh speakers (he did advocate Ohms.They are certainly NOT monkey coffins), a Marantz SR-7003 receiver and an Emotiva Ultra-10 sub. My system is humble, and really allows me to get into the music. I don't have cheap stuff, but it's not outrageous, either.
Reading and absorbing the Audio Critic changed my outlook, and instead of spending $$$ on crap, I feel that I am able to focus on important stuff- like my Hifiman HE-5LE's that I run with a speaker tap off of the Marantz, and my Grado tape-modded SR225i's. I also have a pre-order in for the Mr. Speakers Alphas. I am all about cans these days, because the bang for the buck is incredible. Better speakers than I currently have would cost upwards of $5000. Headphones are a much better bargain, and I don't have to 'treat' the room.
Great thread- I'm glad I found it.