All consumer products have some sort of misleading marketing on them. The difference is high volume consumer product are regulated by FTC where boutique consumer products are not. So cheaper audio (is there any left) are more feature oriented and more competitive. The cheaper audio are being replaced by A/V home theater gear. Because of competition these gears actually have a deflation. The value is placed more on feature and convenience, and of course quality. The boutique audio placed their value on quality (mythical or not), prestige and uniqueness. So audiophile products include vinyl, vacuum tubes and other ancient technologies. It is also the only technology product that features inflation in prices more than the economic inflation.
This is why we need to be informed consumers to sort out what is the proper value/myth for ourselves. A case study of Bose would be very interesting. Are there similarity between Bose believer and cable believer?