More expensive = better?

Because I have never owned any very high end gear I’m wondering if an $8000 integrated amp will sound jaw dropping better than a $5000 one? Right now my system is Parasound JC2 and SMC Audio DNA1 Gold. 

Thanks in advance,



It is the height of foolishness to believe that the more a component costs the better is sounds because, well, markets! What a laugh! There are massive, absurd, insane levels of diminishing returns as you climb the audio ladder. I’d also say that a lot of those "returns" are pure placebo. Just like with cables. No one will take a bet with me that they will be able to price rank a series of cables on a blind A-B test. You might be able to detect the cheapest pair assuming they were complete junk-- but the moment you hit a certain level of materials and build quality there is no better, there are just differences that, usually, you learn to hear over time. Same is true with amps. There are different flavor notes, different power capacities, and the differences you’ll hear as a result of how it plays in your particular room (most important thing for most people whether they know it or not), and with your particular combination of gear. To believe that a $100,000 amp "sounds" better than a $10,000 amp because it costs more makes you a... perfect customer! Fact is, it just ain’t so. More money does not equal better sound for almost anyone. Been there, done that, it’s a mind f@ck. BTW-- prices on top gear have jack to do with what it costs to make or what they’ll sell it to you for. It’s called "aspirational pricing" and a lot of that has to do with the astounding levels of inequality that exist today in our society. Paying stupid money for something and not thinking twice about it, mostly because you want the "bling factor" is for chumps, show-offs, or for those with more money than sense-- and there are plenty of those folks around-- about 80% of whom inherited that wealth anyway. Beyond a certain range or point, quality never equals price.

What @mahgister (and others) are trying to impart onto you is ‘synergy’ matters. That is, how your individual components (including room treatments) work together.

You can assemble a very inexpensive system that sounds incredible in the right room.

You can also spend thousands of $$ on components that do not complement one another.

Cost has little to do with it.

creek has a $6000can  integrid that shames even the most expensive of anything you put against it ...or anything made, period!

If the extra money is mostly spent on thick faceplates and a sculptured chassis and marketing, probably not. Money spent on design, engineering, quality parts is money well spent. Lack of equipment synergy might make a more expensive component sound worse.  Try before you buy



"No one will take a bet with me that they will be able to price rank a series of cables on a blind A-B test."



There is the very difficult, and the impossible.

This one falls into the later category.

As you said, you could probably also include CD players as well as amplifiers and still find no takers.

Let’s face it, even with loudspeakers, it’s far from easy.

What we can easily hear, eg bandwidth, scale and tone are qualities that don’t always equate to cost.

It’s a pity that Harman aren’t able to publish the results of many decades of blind listening tests at the their testing lab. That data could certainlybe interesting to anyone with a long term interest on audio.

Seeing as how it’s unlikely to be in the interests of national security perhaps there should be a 10 year disclosure rule.


After all, it’s faintly ridiculous enough that the full JFK files have remained undisclosed for almost 60, and that Pfizer BioNTech have demanded 75!


[USA – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it now needs 75 years to fully release Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine data to the public].