When we go to the theater or concert we buy the best seat we can afford. We don't question the fact that a seat closer to the front costs more than the ones in the back.
Yet, sometimes we're surprised when we're asked to pay a premium for better sounding audio equipment. "If all manufacturers use the same kinds of bits and pieces in their designs, why can't they just design better sound for lower cost?"
It's a great question and one we wrestle with. Sometimes it is possible to extract better sound through design innovation. Rearranging the electronic bits in novel new ways can often yield surprisingly good results.
Mostly, using better (more expensive) parts gives better performance. And while we love the idea of the simplest signal path, it's often the complex ancillary support systems feeding those simple pathways that wrings out the last nuances in the music.
The best seat in the house costs more.
We shouldn't be too surprised when the best sounding equipment costs a bit more as well.