First Hi-Fi systems that capture our imagination are like first girl friends; clouded by time, nostalgic yearnings, the inability to accurately repeat the experience, or divine what could / would have been.
I remember early on in my audiophile career going through a long period of being told by experienced audio folks (both retailers and hobbyists); "this is much more transparent", "has much better bass", "sweeter, more extended highs", "imaging", "dynamics", and on and on and added those comments into my knowledge base believing they were absolutes and would definitely improve my listening experiences. But I hadn't quantified for myself what it was about the sound quality of my first rig that was so alluring and so I contracted "upgrade-itis" believing there was always something better to acquire that would give me that "first" experience again. A constant Grail quest. But things are never that simple.I was completely out of hi-end audio from 2004 to 2016. When I returned, and over the past 2 years and 9 months my "better" has become "different" in many cases. And my audio life became easier and more enjoyable as I found I could enjoy a lot of different approaches and varieties of sound. I have my preferences and different degrees of acceptance but there is no one and only for me when it comes to reproduced sound and so I tend not to be dogmatic or feel the need to defend my equipment choices or denigrate the choices others make.
FLTWS. Thank you! You have summed up, far more eloquently than I could ever have done, exactly the way I feel about Hi-Fi