For background, I spent my working life involved in audio so I have a reasonable idea of how things should sound, aging ears notwithstanding.
We spent a week in Melbourne partly to buy a new hi-fi system and visited enough hi-fi to come to the following conclusion:-
Either Leak amps and RCA speakers were WAY ahead of their time, or a lot of modern hi-fi makers are putting glitz ahead of sound quality. We took our own music, records and CD's, that we knew well and were mostly very disappointed at what we heard. We were looking at systems basically up to $10,000.
Finally we did hear something we liked - a Devaliet amplifier and Ambience ribbon speakers. It blew our budget by a bit, but candidly the other gear we heard just sounded dead and lifeless compared with my 60 year old system. The system we bought though does sound great, bass not quite as deep as the RCA's but a somewhat cleaner mid-range and vastly better top end.
I know the RCA's were a professional type speaker and probably cost a lot of money, but even so I think it a disgrace that sixty years of development still hasn't matched the sound quality without paying a lot of money. Surely by now a mid-range system should be able to compete with a sixty year old system!