Tonearms: Ripoff?

If you search for tonearm recommendations you'll find an overwhelming amount of praise for $1k and less products. Audiomods and Jelco are the two most mentioned.

The Audiomods is just some guy making Rega-based tonearms in a workshop. Just some guy is putting out tonearms that compete with tonearms that cost many times the price -- from the likes of SME, Clearaudio, VPI, Graham, etc.

So the question is -- are tonearms just a scam? How is it that everyone loves Audiomods and Jelco to death and never talks about / dismisses high end tonearms? Is it because there's no real difference between one of these low-cost tonearms and the high end ones? Is an Audiomods Series V ** really ** the equivalent of a SME V? Some guy in a workshop equals the famed precision of SME? Is that once you have the math and materials worked out all tonearms are essentially the same? Or is it that most owners of record players online are dumpster-diving for vintage gear and simply can't afford to listen to better?

So, what's going on?
No one needs to say it because it’s so obvious. I have never made a carefully selected tonearm upgrade that wasn’t a huge improvement. This includes going from a Rega arm to a Jelco which was huge and a Jelco to an SME. And 5 more since then. A better arm. properly mated with an appropriate cartridge just sounds better. It’s not complicated. Better usually costs more. In almost everything.
  • @dhcod I have the same cartridge as you in my main table - a Decca London Super Gold with a Paratrace stylus - mounted in a 12" Jelco 850.
    • Could you kindly describe the different tonearms you moved through and the differences wrought? 

Wow.  I think we have a very hungry troll on our hands.  Good night Irene

you pay, you get, it has always been like that and always be. How better depends from the rest of the chain, and your ears. Please also consider reselling prices and there you have the complete picture. On the other hand no bad products exist nowdays, all have a good standard but some animals are created more equal than others.