God, do I miss Roger Modjeski....
Your post triggered a RM flashback. A good friend and audiophile (now passed on) and I took a trip to the Newport show years back. Several rooms were $100k systems. More than 60% of the rooms were fairly underwhelming for whatever reasons, blame it on the rooms maybe. We looked at each other many times listening in various rooms wondering why so many of the manufacturer’s rooms were just okay sounding...Room after room, listening to every single room over a few days.
That same weekend we returned from the show and sat down to listen to his RM tube amp and AI Modulus III preamp paired with his Totem Monitor speakers at the time. He had just under $20k investment in his entire system. We realized his little well matched system sounded better than 85% of everything we had just heard at the show. The missing part of the story is this friend spent 20 years trying different setups, speakers, cables, rooms. He spent a lot of time getting the synergy and component matching "right", and was eventually awarded a nice writeup by members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) who ranked his little system very highly against some other very impressive system costing 5x the price. His game was component matching and finding a really good synergy. I'd bet he’s up there with RM right now listening to something nice and not overly expensive.