That can certainly be the case. But big/high-quality transformers, or any other expensive part, is only as good as the results you can get out of it. And if, at the end of the day, you've got a parts BoM (with, or without, other attendant boutique nonsense) that puts you in the $50K price bracket, but product performance that's barely discernible, possibly worse, than something in the ~$1K realm, then that's a really big problem. When I heard the Audio Note unit I was unimpressed before I knew a) what it was and b) what it cost. I'm all for advancing the "state of the art", in whatever manner is necessary - provided the "art" we're "advancing the state of" is not "how far can we can push prices without backing it up with performance"!