It all depends on what scratches your itch. I got into hi-fi in a pretty serious way in the early ’70s, have had very good systems since that time and the opportunity to hear many, many more over the years. One aspect of the "hobby" is improving sonics. Nothing wrong with that-- in fact, if you devote the time and attention necessary, you can wind up with a pretty good sounding system, depending on set up and room. But that’s only one part of it--looking for the next acquisition, the next incremental improvement, comparisons among different pieces of gear or approaches. (I’m leaving the hard core DIY builders out of this for now).
In this context, the music is grist for the machinery-- used largely to assess sonic outcomes.
The same can be said for the pursuit of "the best" pressing; I know people in record collecting who are buying for sonics and some incremental difference in vinyl formulation, using the same metal work, may justify an outlay for yet another copy of an audiophile warhorse that everybody has and knows. There are collectors of the obscure, the valuable, ’78s, whatever, but I’m trying to keep this mainstream to what much of the audiophile market encounters.
I went off on a lark a dozen or so years ago, coinciding with my retirement, to curate the many thousands of records I had accumulated since the ’70s. It was an education. I replaced some copies, got rid of others and opened myself up to a whole world of other music that had not drawn my attention-- post bop jazz, that fits somewhere short of "free" jazz and includes soul, funk and other elements, often under the rubric of "spiritual" jazz. This eventually became a highly collectible area and less fun because of the prices. (Condition is always an issue).
I then had an epiphany- a lot of what I like about this pursuit has to do with the story behind the recording- how it was made, who the players were, what technology was used to make it. This is in some ways an intellectual pursuit but it is adding immensely to my enjoyment.
You can have more than one "goal" in this hobby- I do--I’m less about acquiring new gear for the sake of climbing higher on the mountain- my vantage point is pretty good where it is. I still buy records but have slowed down given the inflation of the used record market in the last few years. I will buy a rare record on occasion simply because I want it, but I buy them to play, not simply as some sort of "investment." (I don’t consider much of this stuff today to be an investment at the high mark ups in today’s market).
You are the one who decides what is important to you and how you want to spend your time. I was recently fascinated by the story of Joe Bussard, who collected old blues records- he did it purely for enjoyment and had a great collection of extremely rare records. He passed away recently and those records will be sold.
To me, it’s all a learning experience. I’ve gone through periods of my life where I didn’t have the time to pursue this stuff and other times where I was extremely active. I guess part of it is changes you go through as a person-- you evolve, so it isn’t surprising that your views and approach to this pursuit should change and evolve as you do.
To me, the ultimate engagement is making music. I don’t consider myself to be more than adequate these days on keyboards and play guitar more for fun than any serious effort to get "better"-- but there is huge joy in that even as a rank amateur.
Keep changing, keep thinking, keep evolving-- it’s the only way we stay vital. And it should be fun. If you aren’t having some fun, take a pause. That’s been part of the process for me as well.