What makes up an

Wondering what makes an audio system "high end". Is it name brand, price paid or simply what your ears discern as quality? In the current issue of TAS several budget systems are also described as "high end". Most of the components in these "budget high end" systems looked very enticing to me. What do you think?
Gs5556 you make a good point. Midfi has become much better and to buy by highest price will more often lead you astray than not. On the other hand I would be hard pressed to take all those Stereophile Class A components seriously. As Albert has pointed out in his initial post, it is the right combination of gear, not the gear per se, which makes for the "high end" sound of your rig.
who would have thought it, we are actually in complete agreement, but Albert's post, as I understand it, lies in the right mix of components, not in components per se. A component by itself, be it as good as can be, will easily be ruined by the weakest link in your chain and we all know by experience that a chain made up of highly touted class A gear can sound like hell. It is as in a good cocktail, a perfume, a wine or a cigar, even a woman, to be gleefully incorrect, it is the blend of different qualities that makes it.
Easy. If you happy with what you spent and your happy with the sound then its fine. On my last system I spent $80,000 on and spent more time worried that it was performing as it should rather than enjoying it.
Now Im trying to do it with what I call "My Best Bang for the Buck System". Dont try to keep up with the Jones and GET what you like! Whats in a Label?
One of the very best ways to achieve a hi end sound is to place your system in a smaller room. Avoid the need for a PA system. Seriously....
I think that in less expensive gear that tubes can create magic that solid state often misses. Now with a tube integrated amp and a used pair of -------you fill in the blank but I would go for monitor speakers here. Better bang for the buck. Even if you get floor stander that promise deeper bass you will probably not like that sound, often muddy, and slow, etc...
if the stereo system as a whole is to be assessed as to its merits, assuming that each component satisfies some standards of construction, some objective criteria for performance is necessary.

again, it is easier to specify standards than to specify implementation. it would be wonderful if errors in perception could be eliminated by designing some method which takes the listener out of the equation.
This has been done, as you suggest Mr. Tennis. As I mentioned in another thread, there is at least one high end manufacturer who actually prides himself that his designs are purely based on measurements. His gear is so "revealing", that it sounds most terribly wrong, sterile and cold. If you do not have a valid basal conception on human hearing and its reaction to music, all your best measurement will lead you astray. Especially the interface between the physiology of our aural makeup and our emotional responses to music is still a complete blanc on the map as far as I know.