Well for starters, the Sonic Impact amp can be had for less than $30, so even if it sounds *decent* it's a good deal. Even though I am stating that it sounds great, there can really be no belly-aching about it because it's so darn cheap.
SET amps are also cheap to construct, so I don't know where you're going with that. People pay obscene sums for something that can be mass produced for next to nothing.
I think CDs sound fine just as they are.
Ummm... that is my point
. If all we listened to was hype, as opposed to sound, then things like the Sonic Impact, SET amps, and vinyl would never be considered good/good values. On the other hand, products like these (and Vandersteens, Gallos, (relatively) inexpensive electronics like Audible Illusions and Golden Tube) are consistently found and favored over their more expensive and imposing competition.
Your "point" still doesn't explain the fascination with different interconnects (bullocks) and cable risers (more bullocks) and people buying speakers based on their price tag and some really inventive marketing.
I'm sorry to say that yes: you're arguing with someone who's mind is completely closed to the possibility that cables and audio risers and tiki torches strategically placed about the room while a Tibetan Monk chants in the backyard is going to increase my stereo system's audio fidelity. I've listened to a lot of stereos (and, FYI, I think it's extremely rude of you to act as though the people you're arguing must have bricks in their ears to disagree with you
, of all people. I know I don't appreciate it), built a lot of stereo equipment, and have a lot of experience in this domain, and not once have I ever heard a substantial difference going from one cable to the next.
Really, can we stop discussing this ridiculous nonsense? Had I known anyone was so insecure about their audio system, I would have forgone my original comments many times over. I think fancy interconnects and cable risers are a bunch of voodoo, and yes: my mind is made up. If you're not comfortable with the fact that some random stranger on the Internet thinks you wasted your money, then I suggest therapy.
That said, if you think CDs sound really just great, then it is indeed clear that you have not (as you said) listened to LPs (or indeed, SACDs) on a good playback system. Sad.
I just don't think those offer much (if anything) beyond a CD. Truthfully, I don't even listen to CDs anymore; all twenty gigs of music I listen to are on my computer, compressed to about 300 kbps in variable bit rate WMA files. This is because it's easier for me to listen to and the fidelity is quite good--I'd gladly take the taste test against the CD I tore it off of.
I wouldn't listen to LPs for no other reason than dealing with them sounds like a pain in the butt.
Truthfully, if you want my opinion, there has been zero (0) innovation in audio playback in the last forty years. This is largely because:
1. It was already damn good to begin with.
2. There is a very serious law of diminishing returns with respect to high end audio.
3. Assuming 1 and 2 are true, the only way to continue making money in the audio domain is to come out with new, flashy junk on a regular basis to entice consumers into throwing their money away.
Most of the so-called "innovation" in the audio industry is, in fact, very clever marketing, junk science, and messing with people's head.
And this is my final post. I'm sick and tired of being considered some sort of boorish moron simply because we have conflicting opinions.