So, help me out guys. You may want to crack a beer for this one, it's a little long-winded, sorry...
I'm a married, 3 kids, enlisted AF guy (read limited budget for the past 18 years), and am seriously questioning the issue of "upgrade-itis" by those who continually swap components out. Sure, it's to get that much closer to the real thing, but I think it's become an obsession for most people. Some of these guys I've met have even said they can't tell a difference between cables, biwiring, etc.
I've personally gone through a few mid-fi components over the years, as memory serves:
1. Yamaha R-700 receiver with Genesis 110s (I do miss those, first good system)
2. The Carver Receiver with Dahlquist DQM-9s (good and loud)
3. NAD 1600 pre and 2400 power amp with the DQMs (lotsa dynamic range), then Energy 4.1Es
4. Leak Stereo 50 amp with the NAD 1600 with the 4.1Es (slightly fatiguing)
5. Modded Magnavox 6V6GT console amp (nice, but low power) and Monitor 5As, home-made Buschhorn folded horns, Wharfedale W70Ds, Vandersteen 1Bs, New Large Advents
6. Currently have NAD 7000 and HK 680i receivers driving Monitor 5Bs.
This is nothing compared to some guys, but my wife thinks I'm nuts, because it all sounds the same to her. Giving some thought to that statement, I can't say any of it really, really stood out, although some were not so hot.
Today, I did an A/B comparison of the two receivers driving the Polks, and I feel they both sound pretty damn good, almost identical, except the HK has slightly more bottom end, and a tiny tad more forwardness to the treble. Could be the 60 watts of the HK vs. 40 watts of the NAD. The HK tuner is slightly more sensitive than the NAD. Am I missing something? Do I have a tin ear after all? The NAD is supposed to be a great mid-80s piece, and the HK supposedly a so-so early-80s piece.
I'm tempted to take both into my local hi-end joint (Advanced Audio in Tacoma) and ask if he'd hook them up and compare to the "good stuff" and see if I can even tell any difference. I stopped in a few weeks ago to listen to Vandy 2CE Sigs, and he asked what I would be driving them with, and I told him about the NAD; he looked a little disappointed. "Alright, then" I thought. I'll bring it in. Kinda embarrassing, though, if I don't intend to buy any of his products.
Or, if there is truth to it, should I not even tempt myself by doing the comparison, thereby causing me to lust for the good stuff?:o