It is certainly all about what you want out of your system. If you don't want the best possible fidelity (i.e. recreate what is recorded faithfully) or want to only spend $500 on your signal chain, it is wishful thinking to believe that a properly setup pro audio signal chain will not sound many times better (even with the same speakers in the same room), especially if you are willing to bi or tri-amp and run multiple subs.
Even with a $3-5k AVP and consumer amps you will not have the clarity or detail of a system like mine. This is based on real measurements and far from just my opinion. It doesn't get more objective than actual measurements at the main listening position. These were taken at my main listening position in my room. One should believe in science, engineering, or objective measurements.
I take measurements anytime I change something in my setup as I want an objective metric and to understand why I hear the differences I do. There is so much BS in the world of audio, and honestly it is much wiser to learn about the science (and even engineering limitations first of various equipment), before dropping thousands on a setup that will not sound as good and quickly become outdated. I learned this the hard way myself.
You immediately hear the clarity and realism of a setup like mine, no matter what the volume level. Even for low frequencies, my setup is below .25% THD which is unheard of. For THD, getting below .1% at the MLP is incredible. These are actual in room measurements too and not some snake oil charts that are my opinion.
Unfortunately, there is no accurate source for people to learn from, it takes a technical background and lots of knowledge and effort to setup a system like mine, and no home theater installer I have ever met are knowledgeable at creating world class systems that a middle class person can afford. And although folks here mean well, few have the time to learn what is required for ultimate fidelity and just perpetuate audio myths as if they were fact. Some of it is true, some of it isn't.
Take the time to read and understand technical aspects discussed at these sites:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler
Very well written opinion piece and there are a lot of discussions on this forum and in this thread on this topic. That said, you definitely have nice gear and I won't debate what you hear verses what others do and what is considered "acceptable," "fantastic," or "sound world class" because that is also subjective regardless what charts you post.
Btw, it's not my intention to dissuade anyone from going down the path you suggest if you have the extra money or desire.