I think the late 1990s was the golden era for hifi myself. I remember that issue from 1996 like it was yesterday. A new what hifi magazine coming out was great as the internet was in its infancy then and magazines were still the main source to get hifi reviews from.
Inflation was low, products between £200 and £500 offered the sweet spot for great sound and value. The major manufacturers were all keen to trump each other from all over the world to get 5* reviews pouring in high research and development costs to differentiate designs and technology.
I thinkthe classic products from the late 1990s could well hold their own against those of today for amplifiers and cd players. In fact with inflation now going nuts the 1990s gear will probably have better components and more liberal use of base metals such as copper and aluminium.
I started working for my current employer in 2003 42" plasmas were still £5000 LCD was in its infancy and a 19" was nearly £2000 and the pictures on early LCD's were awful CRT' s were far better.
Now we are selling OLED TV's starting at just over £1000 and 75" 4K LCD's for under £1000.
It does make me wonder about the quality of components going into modern products.
My own TV a Samsung UE49RU8000 died after 14 months, needed a new main board at a cost of £100, thankfully no labour charge as it was repaired at work.
The TV that I had previously a LE40C550 - that was 10 years old at the time of buying the UE49RU8000 - I gave away and is still going strong, now 15 years old.