Sokolov posted an interesting rant below in another thread, which provoked some good replies. My own thoughts are below. Quote: There was an interesting rant on another site, the author and link to which I don't have handy, but in which the author stated that for any new component to replace an existing one in his system, it had to beat his current reference, upgraded to take it as far as it could go. Many common tweaks DO make a sonic difference (though some may not). Upgrading the clock and OPAMPs in a digital component and upgrading the capacitors where they are in the signal path or power supply result in distinctly better performance. However, I do understand this rant -- I recall someone having in their signature something like "Don't ever forget it's about the music.", a wise reminder if ever there was one. We definitely do tend to get caught up in the gear. For me, it is fun tinkering and the results often increase my ability to enjoy what I listen to. When I don't feel as good about a change to my system, I reverse it. Often changes I have made which I thought would make no difference at all, though I can't nail down exactly what I feel has changed about the sound, have often changed my feeling when listening, for better or for worse. Through a process of alimination, and an increased understanding of the effect of various things, when I do choose to buy something new, it is much easier to guess whether it will be a worthy improvement or not. When it is, the reward is more pleasure when listening. However, I reckon I could stop now and be satisfied with the sound quality of the gear I have.