Hang on, surely newer hi-fi equipment & technology must be better?

What new technology? Modern gear uses the same circuits and design elements, implemented more cheaply, with lower quality parts and construction.

There is no ‘new technology’ in analog audio. Almost all analog electronics circuits date back to the earliest days of tubes and transistors. Even things like class-D and class-T amps are not new, and CD was designed in the late 1970s.

Digital is a little different and things have generally improved. Even so, to get a decent sounding new DAC or CD player, you have to pay for it.  I’m not saying that there’s no great sounding new gear out there, there is, but it’s generally expensive.