So what High End Equipment do you think of as being Overrated? and I don't mean just the wicked expensive cost no object items. how each of us "rates" an item is almost entirely subjective. So I would say that whether something is overrated has more to do with perceived performance than perceived value. If something is the very best then I would argue that it cannot be overrated, nor can it be overpriced. What price is appropriate for the best?
Some current or almost current products that I view as dramatically Overrated are:
The Berkeley Alpha DAC - I've listened to this DAC in several systems and every-time thought it was OK, but nothing special. With many pundits touting that it is one of the very best DAC's regardless of price I find it very overrated.
Benchmark DAC-1 - Four years ago I purchased one and ultimately found it wanting, now there are many DAC's in the sub $800 range that dramatically outperform it. Yet it is still touted as being top tier and a great value by many, way overrated.
Digital Amplifiers - I had the Bel Canto Reference 1000's and I've listened to others. Without fail I have found them all to be decidedly unengaging, and not especially good amplifiers. My back and I so wanted to like the Reference 1000's. To go from 90 lb. mono block amps to 13 lb monos would have been fantastic. Not to mention that the digital amps made a significant difference in my monthly electric bill, but alas they don't stand up to more conventional A/AB amplifiers. Overrated.