After a number of years in this hobby, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and understanding; While the forums here provide some great insight at times, its predominately clouded with assumptions and misguided information spread by inexperienced, uninformed, under-educated individuals who wrongly influence the majority for a sense of personal fulfillment.
A couple of key points to consider:
a) Everyone hears differently, has different tastes and ideas regarding what sounds good, flat, neutral, natural, etc. to their ears and we describe these thoughts just as differently.
b) Equipment is voiced by the engineer and should not be judged on chips, parts, specs, measurements, etc., instead products should be 'graded' on design, implementation and the actual sound, rather enjoyment it produces to your ears
c) Playback on audiophile approved equipment with remarkable measured specifications (ie. flat frequency response) does not necessarily equal the holy grail of musicality. They can just as easily be boring, lifeless, sterile and/or unenjoyable.
d) Synergy between components is paramount. One piece of gear could be "mediocre" when used in your system but could be "24k gold" in another's. Again...Synergy between components is paramount..
There is some useful information online including measurements, reviews, specifications, testimonials, etc. but none of this information can tell you how any given product will sound to your ears, and if you will actually enjoy it in your system with your music collection. In the end, we will always gravitate towards the gear that is most comfortable, easy to use and fun to listen to.
Just another brainwashed fool suffering the disease of consumerism, drinking the marketing Kool-Aid