Purely as another data point, my experience has been quite the opposite. I've managed costs by avoiding - out of necessity! - ultra-expensive tubes (see below for one reason why they become/became expensive). Guess what, I found reasonably priced tubes that were good and...I was startled by the magnitude of the differences (across these three amps: Schiit Lyr 1 (limited tubes tried); Decware Taboo mk II (a lot, Rectifier & driver tubes); Decware CSP2+ (Rectifier & driver tubes)). The ability to 'tune' for different DAC/HP/Speaker combinations is an added plus, which is where - I completely agree - mere subtleties come into play once one has a small complement of tubes in the 'right' zone for one's preferences and hearing. One thing I'm nervous about: it was evident the Lyr made certain tubes - found to maximize its performance (not entirely hype I'm pretty sure) - skyrocket in price and dive in availability! The Mj2 is so reasonably priced I fear the same will happen for whatever tubes are found to work best with it. Not a bad thing of course. Just another success-chapter in Schiit's product evolution.