This made good musicians and records sound amazing, but lesser artists and recordings were not so good.
Nothing is truer than that.
Back when I actually had the "good stuff" in the early 90s, and I really didn't even have a proper room for it, as I bought "too big," I quickly learned 3 things:
1. You need a proper room, sized for the equipment for proper acoustics and sound stage. I had 3-way Apogee Acoustics "Diva" ribbon speakers with active crossovers and a bunch of Counterpoint SA-100 amps. Nothing sounded good as I needed a minimum input level for the Divas to work properly. The output, in terms of acoustic output, was too much for the room. The surface area of the ribbons was immense.
2. Because of point 1, I learned some lessons in "near field" acoustics. Small isn't necessarily bad. While small speakers will never achieve seismic event inducing low frequencies, they move less air and are lots more accurate due to lower mass. And in smaller spaces, the amount of air they move is more pleasing to the ear because it works better with the air volume of the room. So, I severely downgraded at a loss, to 2 SA-100 amps and a pair of B&W 801 Matrixes. The mid driver was awesome. Practically a full range driver which made listening a pleasure. The 15" and 1" simply added that "little extra." Still large by most wive's standards. But I wasn't to live without deep bass. And I, still to this day, despise outboard subwoofers for anything other than movies. The electrical hit we had a few years back absolutely destroyed the amps, power supplies, my CD player and speakers, the big screen... Only the cabinets were salvageable, not even the speaker wire, which was silver, survived. A nut on a hi-fi board with a mind to completely rebuild them bought the cabinets from me.
3. Truly great components can literally bring out the worst details of the recording or simply show what the next weakest link in the audio chain is. I've heard speakers that were pretty accurate to the point of being sterile, but they also showed the flaws in the amp. A better amp showed flaws in the preamp, then the turntable, tape deck or cd player. The Matrix's were warm enough to provide the pleasing sounds of the full-range speakers in the console stereo from the 70s but in a bigger and more accurate way.
At that point, I got out of the quest for the best and learned to just trust my ear. Something that's served me well as a guitar player too. Even though my hearing has gone to shit, my ear is really well trained and makes up for a lot of the damage.
But I admit I am interested in the hi-res audio available despite my ears. Unfortunately much of what I listen to on a daily basis is only available in standard CD quality 16/44 res, some at 24/96. Very few items are available at higher rates, like DSD which is bloody expensive. I had heard the first Boston album in DSD at a store on a McIntosh system in recent months. I noticed details not available on my copy. If I win the lottery, I will get a proper system again and hire a team to help me download the highest res copies available to replace what I currently have. It was 4 years in the making for me to find time to burn 1200 CDs to FLAC. I ain't getting any younger to do it again.