I think the '70s and early '80s were the heyday of home audio. Especially the '70s. There were audio stores everywhere. Even small towns had them. And almost every adolescent and young adult had a system. The choices and manufacturers were almost limitless. Plus you could get a LOT for your money. Just one example...I owned a Sansui AU20000 integrated amp. It was under $1000. Absolute top shelf amp. An amp like it today would likely be in the $12,000 to $20,000 price range. Top quality speakers were easy to find and usually very reasonably priced. What happened? Today you often have to travel long distances just to audition or purchase components. And, speaker and connecting cables......$2000+?!!!!!! Have you priced headphones and headphone amps lately? Or, decent quality turntables? Or, cartridges? What happened, indeed? To be fair, I'm not talking about entry level stuff. But I'm not talking about the high level stuff either. Just good decent sounding components and systems. I mentioned headphones and headphone amps above. I happened to be researching phones and amps now and I'm dumbfounded as to why they have to be so highly priced. Three to $6000 for a good sounding, mid to upper mid priced headphones and an amp. And, as mentioned above, cables are the worst offenders when it comes to prices. I mean, they must be gold plated! Wait a minute.....actually some are. Maybe that's part of it? But just medium range cables are easily $2000. Did you hear me?!! We're just talking about cables! I remember using 16 gauge lamp cord on my '70s system thinking it was the ultimate. It was back then. Probably cost me about $30. And many great sounding systems had those little tiny 30 gauge spindly audio cords. Man, how things have changed. Don't get me wrong, there are some great sounding $3000 to $5000 systems. But it seems to me you have to pay a lot more these days to get top quality, even taking the era into consideration. My entire '70s audio system cost me $7000...Sansui integrated amp, 4 JBL L166 speakers, 2 top notch turntables (one automated, one manual, top quality cartridges), a very nice Pioneer reel to reel recorder, a top quality Fisher cassette recorder, Kenwood FM tuner, a dBX compressor/expander, and a Garrard click and pop remover for one of the turntables and Koss headphones. I remembered we saved and saved and saved to get that system. All hand picked stuff according to specs. We just seemed (to me) to get much more for our money. Just this year I decided to take the audiophile, high end audio, plunge again. And plunge I did. Ended up with an integrated amp, 2 speakers, high end DAC, and a server for streaming. That's it. Didn't even buy a turntable. Don't have any vinyl left to play on one. I set a budget of about $12,000 and then proceeded to obliterate it. That was my choice, I didn't have to do it. And nothing has been what I would call a "bargain". None of it. Does it sound good? You'd better believe it sounds good. It sounds outstanding, superb, and sublime...all at once! But this is one of the very few things in my life that has given me a nasty case of buyer's remorse that I'm having trouble getting over. I think of what else I could have done with that money. I'm not talking about what else I could have spent it on. I'm talking about what good I could have done with it. Something for someone else. I'll have to admit when I crank the system up it puts a smile on my face. And sitting in my chair and relaxing to great music on a great system is very, very, satisfying to me. But I could have had a system that sounded almost as good for thousands less. So, my rant is aimed squarely where it should be, and maybe one other place. But at least initially it's aimed at myself and perhaps secondarily (the one other place) at the high end home audio industry for making it so tantalizing to spend much more than you anticipated. OK. Alright. So it isn't their fault. It's completely my own. Too late to do anything about it now. Think I'll go listen to my system. Just as well enjoy it.