the quest for the best--within limits

many threads appear on these forums of the following type:

what is the best (fill in component type) that costs less than (fill in the price point) ?

i am curious as to why there are so many threads of this type, when, i suspect, the originator of the thread probably realizes that there is no definitive answer to such a question.
I believe it's just a matter of people not having the buying power they used to have. Not just what they have in the bank but also what they can afford to put on credit. It's the economy.

Also, they rely on those who have gone before them and their sage advice.

All the best,
Maybe people have finally figured out they've been getting screwed.
I don't think they mean best literally, but are asking for members favorites, to start a short list for exploring.
It is multifactorial but one of the most important contributors is that many Audiophiles cannot audition the gear they can afford. As such they rely on the less likely to have an inherent bias from forum contributors versus the conflict of interest almost all magazine reviewers have to deal with. There just aren't enough Brick and Mortors.
There are so many threads like that because everyone wants the best. Right?
They are lazy. Many of the questions have been asked before. A few strokes of the keyboard will find the answers to many questions asked.
You make a good point, the audiogon archives are rich with information on many topics. Redundancy is expected I guess with most open forums. Classic example," what amplifier/how much power is needed to drive magnaplanars". You could spend a day reading the number of posts on that popular issue.
People do have a hard time with the search function. (How long until competitive googling becomes a sport?) But I also think that looking for equipment on the used market expands the possible options far beyond what most people have seen or heard, and it's suspiciously easy to find reviews that say whatever it is that's being reviewed is the "best." Some people seem to find forum members more credible than reviewers ... not sure why. :)
I got to agree with Dover. There are some posters of these types of inquiries are just plain lazy. How many Oppo BDP-95 questions do you see that have been addressed before. A search through the A'gon archives or using their favorite search engine could easily get that info. For me I will always search the archives first and then post.

As for the trusting of forum members vs. reviewers. I find it weird too and I read both. Sometimes I feel the reviewers may not be the most objective. Who knows if they have been paid off to write what they say.

Also I think these best of within $$$ threads start up because buy and try and sell if you don't like is getting tougher to do. People want to save themselves the hassle of that whole process, trim down their lists or get an idea.
i think the basic issue is there is no best in audio. there will always be disagreement as to the superiority of one component over another.

what is best for one is not best for another, as there are many variables which determine what is best for a person with a particular stereo system.
Best is what you have until you find somthing better !!!!!
My favorite to laugh about is "what cable is best for my XXX?"
As if anyone could sort out the real answers from the fanboy perennials, and the folks with an agenda.
And Dover has the best answer. The people asking the question are just not willing to bother doing a little research.
If this site every gave a defenitive answer on ANYTHING, people would not have so many questions. What's the point in searching the archives, if there are 235 answers posted, they will all be different. The best thing to do is to search the forums of each item of equipment and read what people that own the item have to say. And read between the lines even then. Audiogon is sort of like the UN of the audio world. Everyone's opinion has to be respected, no matter how silly.
And Dover has the best answer. The people asking the question are just not willing to bother doing a little research.

Wouldn't you consider asking the question here part of the research process?
"Wouldn't you consider asking the question here part of the research process?"

It certainly doesn't cost anything to post a thread but the problem is a lot of people get tired of repeating the same information over and over again repeatedly so one would be well advised to research existing threads as as well.
One of the easiest ways of narrowing down equipment choice is to use the Virtual Systems.
For example if you have tonearm x, and want to know which cartridge would be best, then search on virtual systems to find out what other owners of tonearm x are using. Check the rest of their system to find out if they have similar taste to you.
Make a shortlist and check reviews on the web.
I think this methodology will give you a better, clearer picture and more likely to make the best choice than hundreds of recommendations without any explanation.
The answers would be futile at best. Even if one searched
the archives or asked another "which is best"
question, the answers are as varied as the number of
different systems.
I think people re-ask old questions because it is easier to get personal value out of answers if it is part of a dialogue. I can re-ask an old question, get the same old answers, but then respond with follow-up questions specific to my situation. It's also possible that re-asking a question is helpful in order to get a more recent perspective... maybe technology, gear, research, or other elements have changed.
Some are looking for confirmation (validation) for a component they've already identified as a potential purchase.
when a discipline is subjectively based, e.g., art, music, literature and cuisine.

there are many algorithms that are implicitly used to evaluate what is experienced.

thus, having different standards for judging, makes it impossible to determine what is best.

further , sense perception is unreliable and varies from listener to listener, making the concept of what is best a useless exercise.

what is usually substituted for best is sentiment what someone likes most is usually what a person connotes by the term "best".
Fellow enthusiasts, just say no to using the term "Best."
the first thing i thought of when i saw this thread is wondering WHAT IS THE BEST COMPONENT YOU HAVE HEARD REGARDLESS OF PRICE and THEN-what would come closest to that ideal level of performance for a more reasonable price (an item with less features or more basic cosmetics for example). If you've been in a similar situation or have similar components to the questioner i feel some obligation to offer some advice. we all live in different cities and have had different exposures to live demonstrations as well. SO why not help out someone who sounds like they are SERIOUS about getting something you have spent some time with? if they are not doing serious research then fine, let it go where it belongs- into the "who cares?" trash bin. i am always looking out for threads where i can actually learn something new having only limited exposure myself.
people who go to audio shows or live in NYC (for ex.) could really do us all a big favor
and share their experiences. It's no wonder when you google for answers Audiogon Forums come up again and again. so is this where you come for authoritative answers?
ok fremch fries, i will take your gambit.

i like quad esls because, i find that within a certain frequency range, they sound closer to a real instrument than any other speaker. yes they have limitations--they are bass deficient and it is not advisable to exceed certain spl levels. some say they are not sufficiently extended. i don't agree , but i respect the criticism.

i have a favorite amp, namely the conrad johnson mv125. i find its richness and never sounding unpleasant, make it an amplifier suitable for most speakers. it too can be critiqued. it has the classic tube sound, which some do not like.

my ravorite preamp is the mcintosh c22. agin, a component not in production.

these three components have in common a vary personal taste. i would not say that either component is the best . all i can do is try to accurately describe why i favor them and say something about their "sound".

so i agree, that "best" is a term that should not be used.

instead, just say "favorite", or "i like very much".

i would not advise anyone to pursue the components.

i respect differences in taste and i think there are many "great" stereo systems that come in different "flavors".

as i live in the ny area and have gone to many shows, including ces, i am willing to expound on what i have heard, so long as my comments reflect my taste and perception.
Start listening to music and you will forget you even have a system. If you can hear your system, something is wrong. Maybe that's why there is so much talk about components. You people need to move up (up grade) to Polk and Harman Kardon!
Don't care. Rarely bother reading any thread with that word in the title. Actually, I highly encourage using "best" so I don't waste my time.
08-03-12: Ngjockey
Don't care. Rarely bother reading any thread with that word in the title. Actually, I highly encourage using "best" so I don't waste my time.

Yet, you wasted your time anyway!!!!
The answer to your question, MrTennis, should be obvious.

What fascinates me is the flip-side to that question when the erudite types provide the non-sensical response,

"There is no best component or right answer. Whatever is right to your ears is what's best."

That's always a classic.