I will try to clarify the question. People involved in this insane hobby are pursuing what some people delude themselves into thinking is reproducing live music in their home. Others will admit they are trying to put together a system that sounds good to them.
What I am wondering is: since truly high fidelity is impossible, who is happier, the person who decides to be content with their system, or the person who owns the current state of the art gear? That's a long sentence!
The person who has the latest and greatest is always striving for an illusive goal. The person who is content listens to the music rather than the system. If they beleive that the system sounds good, then it sounds good to them. This doesn't require 'cheap' gear, but can be done at any price point.
Which person is better off at the end of the day?