I have never been a dealer or manufacturer of audio equipment, the professional side of this is new with the company Kvålsvoll Design. But I was one of the last people to convert from vinyl, I have had speakers of very different types, though all of them have been designed and built by me. In the mid-80ies I was part working in a local audio shop, so I have quite good experience with commercially available speakers too. But back then, it was not common to find 400 liter ported cabinets loaded with 15-inch woofers with high Bl, in any shop. This was also the time when the Apogees came, and that was something that actually did sound different and on some parameters quite an improvement. If you look in the designs section on my we page, there is a short note about the planar speakers I made late 80ies, with some pictures from a newspaper article. Those could never play loud, but they had some qualities that I suspect my current design never will be able to match.
Trying to explain this (about the electronics) to the typical hard-core audiophile is pointless, you will never break through. For those who are not that much emotionally connected to the tech side there is hope, if you get them in to the room to listen.
Most of this is actually quite simple. If you hear a difference in a dac, but this difference disappear if you do not know what you listen to, the only logical explanation is that this experienced difference is created in your brain, and has nothing to do with sound. For rational people capable of some very simple logical reasoning, this is possible to understand.
But all electronics must be good enough. This does not necessarily cost much money, and as an electronics designer this is obvious to me, the parts to make an amplifier circuit does not cost a lot of money, and there are no mysterious phenomena unknown to science, that strangely only affect audio signals.
The cheap amplifier in Room2 has more power, less noise, inaudible distortion - as long as you don't push the output stage beyond limits. Sound quality improve because the noise that was audible on the audiophile preamp is now gone, and there is more power available before clipping. This goes well only because the F2 speakers have decent efficiency, they are true 8 ohm - not "8 ohm dipping down to 3 ohm - and they are placed in a small room. But adding a couple of decent output stages does not need to cost so much either, like I had to in the Moderate Cinema, because the F1s kept on killing the Marantz unsufficiently dimensioned output stages.
When we get into functionality, the new cheap amp kills the old on all aspects. I have already mentioned the dsp functionality for delay and crossover to the bass system. Then we have the built-in dac - no need for a separate box, and it has hdmi input for best possible connection to the computer. and then there is the calibrated master volume. No need for this on music, some will say. I say I love it, I always know how loud I have my volume turned up, on any system, because they are all calibrated to the same level. Not to mention when you want to measure something - you always know the volume is correct and repeatable.
Then we have the speakers and the room. Not so easy. But solving and leaving those other issues that proved insignificant, at least leave all our time and resources and effort available to improve and solve what matters.
And they say "high-end is dying"..
Yes, I certainly hope so, to be replaced by good sound instead.