Most high-end audio systems I see and own are collections of equipment added/subtracted/modified over time.
The systems have grown organically as we add the next best thing or eliminate the one we don't like. Rarely do we get to sell everything and start fresh with a clean slate.
Imagine for a moment what your system might look like if you started over with everything new. I just went through that mental exercise and surprised myself with the results.
My first thought was one of excitement - this would be the chance to take all that I knew and really get it right. I'd start with getting the AC power foundation right, get my sources exactly the way I want, settle on exactly the right amplifier that had more power than I needed, a great pair of loudspeakers and then cable all of it together. Pretty exciting.
Except it's a crap shoot. There's an old saying "the devil you know" resonates well here. I am quite familiar with all the warts as well as all the great points of my system. I have made many studied experiments, work arounds and arrived at the best set of compromises I know how to make.
Starting fresh with a clean slate means I have to do it all again and what compromises and changes will I make?
There's safety and confidence in changing out one area at a time in a system you know well. There's also the chance that starting fresh might just blow you away.
So many choices.