I really enjoyed John's article although I think he is missing a key ingredient. Would we save a lot of money knowing in advance what we would be end up being happy with? Yes, of course but I would argue that part of the enjoyment of being an audiophile is the path along with the final destination. I too started small with Arcam and entry level Thiel speakers but as I came to realize what I had been missing it was quite a lot of fun to set my sights on new components and mix and match. One other sticking point..I do not know of any audio dealers who are willing to give you a 100% trade in credit although I wish there were a lot it's a great way to get people to upgrade.
I also enjoyed the article BUT, this bit seems to miss the point, the bit about incremental purchases eventually getting to that $20K being a 'long painful way' when, for most of us, it is the only way that exists..The idea that I could go out and buy any audio item, and spend $20K, even one of real magic, is simply too silly to consider. In the real world, many folk do not have $20K total, even over time, to buy an audio system, much less to leap to an individual item.
For folk with a lot of the ready hanging about, a leap to quality makes sense, but I am left with the analogy of the fellow, recently having managed to swindle millions from the market, deciding to buy his $100K in art by the square foot. Sometimes it takes time and pain to reach the point that the sound of the $20K item might be appreciated for more than its price tag.