Enjoyment is the name of the game. I'm still happy with my Yamaha RX-460 and Paradigm 3seMk3 speakers, as well as other speakers that I (in my mind) have positioned carefully. Never felt the need to go beyond the bass, treble, mid-cut, and the other crucial tone control: volume. I can make the system sound good to me at any level I consider reasonable for the situation. How did we ever get by without room correction? Yeah, yeah, something like the picture I posted earlier, I know. Oh, that and bass traps.
I also have an RX-770 and a pair of AR9s (Hi-Res Series), but I don't have an appropriate room to put them in. I also had a pair of AR S20s that I really liked.
Do I have tin ears? Dunno, but I was told that I was one of the best critical listeners at the time when I worked for Dolby Labs.
My mantra is: I'd rather have a 9000$ CD collection playing on a 1000$ audio system, than a 1000$ CD collection playing on a 9000$ audio system. Because in the end, if my tech budget is eating up my music budget, then what's the point of getting an audio setup in the first place.
Put it this way: What would you rather eat? A great meal cooked on a decent stove or a mediocre meal cooked on an amazing stove?
We'd all like to have it both ways but that's just not a reality for 99% of people. And a lot of the times when I listen to "Audiophiles" talk, I have the nagging suspicion that that's where they find enjoyment. They enjoy the realization that they're the lucky few who can splurge on this type of stuff.
This fetish for spending insane amounts of money and all the mysticism and snake oil that comes with it seems to be unique to the audio community. You don't find this in other parts of the tech community, take PC gaming for instance. Sure there are expensive graphics cards and processors that people buy, but there it's all about the benchmarks and concrete scientific data. And if companies like intel, AMD or Nvidia use deceptive marketing practices or manipulated benchmarks then there are legions of tech reviews ready to call them out on their BS (which we saw recently with the core i9 release).
There doesn't seem to be this propensity for mysticism and pseudoscience which you find in the audio community. Now you might say that this is because audio is a very subjective topic. But that doesn't explain why people still promote ideas that have literally been scientifically disproven such as SACDs sounding better, 1000$ USB cables sounding better, Nyquist frequency not being adequate, WAV sounding better than FLAC etc. etc.
And this whole "I'll trust my own ears" thing is complete Bull. There's nothing more subjective than one's own hearing after having spend thousands of dollars on a USB cable. Trust me, after having spent that amount of money you're going to hear a difference whether there is one or not.
Besides, you can't turn a subjective personal experience into an objective universal argument.
Anyway, forgive my rambling. I realize some people's eyes might have glazed over